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Issue 34 September/October 2008





IN THIS ISSUE: Working together for Inspirational Service Employer of the Year The Secret Garden Tenant Involvement Area Association – Money Matters What customers say Service Standards Comments, Compliments & Complaints Over 55s Equality Impact Assessments Hope Social Enterprises RESPECT – Your life, your choice Stop Domestic Violence Heating advice Smoking in homes Condensation and damp

Working together for Inspirational Service Chan Abraham, Group Chief Executive, explains how all of us can play a part in creating inspirational service In the last edition of Luminus News I said that, wherever possible, we want people who contact Luminus to leave with a smile on their face and I called this Inspirational Service. I believe we all have a part to play in making sure this happens consistently. I am always encouraged when I come across examples of great service, whether by our own people in Luminus or by others. We need to build upon the things that work well, learning from these so that we maintain the high standards that benefit everyone.

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I regularly receive letters from tenants telling me how much they appreciate the good work, dedication and respect that our staff give them. Very often, tenants tell me that Luminus staff “go the extra mile” to help sort out a problem. These are good examples of inspirational service.

“Tenants tell me how much they appreciate the good work, dedication and respect that our staff give them” Sometimes things don’t go entirely to plan. In such cases our staff are still prepared to go the extra mile to put things right. We can learn from these situations too. We want to continue to learn, to improve and to excel. I believe all our tenants have a part to play in this and we have provided many different ways in which tenants can get involved.

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Contents Page 2 Working together for Inspirational Service Page 4 Employer of the Year Page 5 The secret garden Page 6 Tenant involvement Page 7 What customers say Page 8 Service Standards “We want to maintain high standards” These range from letting us know your views through personal contact with a staff member, surveys, a variety of events and meetings and taking part in committees. We also want to encourage greater involvement of young people in our communities.

“We also want to encourage greater involvement of young people in our communities” Over the next few months we will be looking at developing our approach to tenant involvement even further and working with our Tenant Services Consultative Forum to make sure that this is as effective as possible. If you have views or comments, then please let me know. I will personally read what you have to say and make sure that every letter receives a reply.

Page 9 Comments, compliments and complaints Page10 Over 55s event Page 11 Cambridgeshire celebrates age Page 12 Godmanchester in Bloom Page 13 Homelink update Page 15 New homes Page 16 Stop domestic violence Page 17 Heating advice Page 18 Smoking in homes Page 19 Condensation & damp Tell us what you think

Let’s work together to continue giving inspirational service!

Your views are important to us. Please tell us what you think about Luminus News. Call 01480 428707/8 or email

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Employer of the Year!

Nigel Finney, Executive Director (Operations) receives the award on behalf of Luminus

Luminus has been recognised as Employer of the Year at this year’s National Business Awards (Midlands region). The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday 15 July at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham

The prestigious award, sponsored by City & Guilds, was presented to the company that can best demonstrate how it has applied its human and supporting resources to achieve outstanding commercial success.

Luminus prides itself on being an employer of choice. The Group now goes on to present at the National Business Award finals for the UK and will attend the gala ceremony in London on the 18 November.

Charter Mark

Your new look Luminus News This is the second issue of the new look Luminus News and already the new style has saved Luminus over a third of the cost of the A4 version, both on printing and postage.


Luminus has now made a commitment to use recycled paper for all our literature helping us to do a bit more to save the planet. Let us know what you think of the new look Luminus News by emailing


Issue 33 July/Au

gust 2008



IN THIS ISSUE: Fit for Purpo Companies se: Changing to Work For the world Behaviour for New home Tenant Involvemen Gender Equa t Area Asso the better The Sund s Customer ay ciatio lity Scheme Satisfactio n Alternative n 55+ Community Times Best 100 Open Door Day Anti-s Church Fun Heating Win FREE ocial Day Gas Home Insur apprentice ance day Top Tips ...and more

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We have been reaccredited with the prestigious Charter Mark award for our commitment to providing excellent levels of customer service.

The Right Stuff!

The Luminus Neighbourhood Warden team has been “Highly Commended” in the National Customer Service Awards Luminus Neighbourhood Wardens help to deter potential acts of vandalism and petty crime by their presence.

Luminus Neighbourhood Wardens get ready for action

They provide reassurance and a point of contact for many residents and help solve problems. They really do have ‘the right stuff!’

The Secret Garden

Barry Finnimore works on the Norris Road communal garden

Luminus has been working with the local community to transform a communal garden in Norris Road, St. Ives In 2007, the tenants of a nearby flat block raised the issue of an overgrown and rubbish-filled garden.

Barry Finnimore, Luminus Neighbourhood Warden for the St Ives area, the Warden team and the local residents agreed to make it a project to clear the area and make it useable again, involving all the local residents in creating a community garden.

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With help from the Warden team the residents and some volunteers, they have laid out, constructed and planted the garden to create a “pleasant garden area” that is used on a regular basis as a communal meeting place for residents and their friends.

Tenant Involvement One of the most active areas of tenant involvement is the Design Review Group

The group looks at issues ranging from how useful the Luminus website is to considering which contractors have the most customer friendly service.

This group for tenants and leaseholders is open to anyone who wants the opportunity to comment on new initiatives or services that Luminus is hoping to launch. The meetings are built around a specific item or service and therefore people do not need specialist training to take an active part.

The meetings are friendly and informal and a great way for customers to express their views. If you would like to get involved please contact our Tenant Involvement Officer, Tracey Stone on 01480 428702 or email

Area Association


Luminus provide various money saving ideas for tenants. The next Area Association will help you to learn more and may also provide opportunities to save money! Come along and see what you can learn about saving money and ENTER our £50 prize draw*!

Thursday 6 November at Brook House, Huntingdon, PE29 3QW

12.30 – 2.30pm and 7 – 9pm Free transport available! Call 01480 428575


For further information or to book transport or parking, contact the Luminus Tenants’ Transport Service on 01480 428640 or email

cheap household goods sale *To enter prize draw simply fill in a feedback form

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What customers say

We have looked closely at comments made by residents in last year’s customer satisfaction survey As a result of tenants’ comments we have: •

Organised repairs where requested

Asked Neighbourhood Officers to make contact with residents when estates’ issues have been highlighted

Assessed the condition of tenants’ kitchens and bathrooms, and added them to Luminus’ planned maintenance programme

Given home ownership information to interested families

Dealt with garden maintenance problems

Arranged for surveyors to visit where tenants expressed dissatisfaction with repairs completed

We have reported performance from the customer satisfaction survey to the Housing Corporation, including the percentage of tenants satisfied with the overall service provided by Luminus, and the percentage of tenants satisfied with our repairs and maintenance service. Your responses about how satisfied you were when you last had contact with Luminus have proved very useful. Feedback about how helpful staff were, and whether getting hold of the right person was easy, helped us when we created our ‘Customer Care’ training programme for staff earlier this year.

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Service Standards Dealing with your Complaint

Service Standards

We recently told you about our new range of Service Standard Leaflets which are being produced in consultation with the Luminus Design Review Group Made up of tenants and leaseholders, the Design Review Group has been working with senior members of staff to agree the standards which our customers expect from our all key services.

What you can expect from Luminus

These include Customer Service

Service Standards

What you can expect from Luminus

Carrying Out Repairs to Your Home

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Carrying out repairs to your home Dealing with anti-social behaviour Letting homes Collecting rents and service charges Adaptations for people with a disability Tenant Involvement Dealing with your complaint Neighbourhood and tenancy management Equality and Diversity Income and benefits advice Leaseholder issues Customer service

The leaflets have now been produced and will be available from October. You will find them in our reception area, and our website at They will also be available on request in different formats, to include large print, audio version, braille and in other languages. Every year we will be working with customers to review the Service Standards to make sure we met the standards during the previous year, and to decide whether they should change for the following year.

Service Standards

What you can expect from Luminus

We are inviting you to get involved with this work. Please contact John Askin, our Performance Review Officer on 01480 428728 for more information.

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Comments, Compliments & Complaints

At Luminus we are always looking for ways to improve our services and this includes the way we handle your comments, compliments and complaints Luminus has created a new Customer Services Division to make sure we continue to deliver the best to you, each and every time. We will be employing a Customer Relations Officer who will deal with any queries or concerns you have about our services, and ensure that the right person at Luminus deals with your issue, within a short timescale. We have put in place a new two-stage complaints resolution process to deal with issues if you are not happy with the way your query was handled.

The first stage will be for the matter to be investigated independently from the team who delivered the service to you, and the second stage can include either an investigation by an Executive Director, or a personal hearing with our Group Chief Executive and one of our Board Members. At Luminus we value all the feedback you give us because it helps us find out where we need to improve our services. It is also good to know when you are pleased with our services. It means we can keep delivering the same service for the benefit of everyone, and we can also tell the members of staff

involved about the positive feedback we received. To give us your comments or make an enquiry you can contact our Customer Services Team by: •

Calling us on 01480 428333

Talking to us in person at our offices at Brook House

Completing an ‘Online feedback’ form or downloading a Complaint Form, from our website at www.

Writing to us at Luminus Group, Brook House, Ouse Walk, Huntingdon, PE29 3QW.

Have you had a great customer experience at Luminus? Let us know!

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Over 55s Event On Wednesday 27 August, Luminus held the first Community Day for the over fifty-fives. The event was free to attend and provided information about the wide range services available to all over fifty-fives. “This was the first Luminus Over 55s Community Day. With a number of challenges facing all our communities, we are really pleased to be able to offer practical help and support such as through this event and it proved to be very successful.” Chan Abraham, Group Chief Executive A happy tenant toasts a successful event

Luminus hosted a number of stands to inform attendees about the services the company provides including information about sheltered housing, and the Out & About activities and transport project. A warm welcome was extended to people to come along and meet the Luminus Neighbourhood Warden team who play a vital role in helping build and maintain the quality of life in our communities. Hope Social Enterprises were also present, selling much-needed household goods at bargain prices, including electrical goods and soft furnishings. Also in attendance were a number of community organisations including

Assistive Technology, the local Library, Neighbourhood Policing, Local Pension Service, Huntingdonshire District Councils’ Leisure Centre and many more. As a special feature visitors were able to get crafty and design their own eco-friendly canvas-bag. Refreshments including Luminus cakes were served all day and every visitor was entered into a prize draw of £100. The lucky winner was Mrs P Knight of Huntingdon.

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Out & About

Out & About is an activities and transport project for the elderly, vulnerable and disabled that takes members out for day trips including shopping, visits to historical homes and gardens, pub lunches, city trips, theatre shows and lots more.

Forthcoming visits include: • Hamerton Zoo • Stamford Market • It’s Showtime Christmas Special at Wicksteed Park

• Theatre Trips • Shopping trips • Visits to the fair • And much more

Leading up to Christmas we will also be going to Pantomimes and Christmas fairs. If you would like to become an Out & About member and go on some of these great trips please call 01480 428428.

Cambridgeshire Celebrates Age

In October 2008, the Luminus Oak Foundation sheltered schemes are celebrating older people in a programme of activities. The events tie into Cambridgeshire Celebrates Age, which aims to promote the well-being and improve the quality of life for older people. Activities include health and wellbeing events, musical quizzes and card making. You do not have to live on a scheme or be a Luminus tenant to attend.

Luminus would like these to be events for everyone and encourage older people to take part. If you are interested in attending, please contact Ruby Gray on 01480 428562.

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Blooming marvellous!

Luminus’ sheltered scheme in Godmanchester, Rectory Gardens, has been working over the Spring and Summer preparing the schemes garden for Godmanchester in Bloom. Residents Betty Turner and Colin Dean showed the Anglia in Bloom judges around the garden on the 28 July 2008 following months of hard work in the garden and fundraising by all the scheme’s residents.

The scheme was awarded a certificate of recognition by the judges. Godmanchester in Bloom recieved a Silver Award as well as a highly rated special environmental award.

Rainbow Anglia Savers Credit Union Credit Unions are financial cooperatives owned and run by their members to provide an alternative to banks, building societies and high interest lenders. RASCU provides an excellent way of saving for those rainy days. You can save as little as £1 per week and after 13 weeks of saving you can apply for a loan of up to 3 times the value of your savings, with a repayment interest rate of only 1% per month on the declining balance. RASCU has been based on Oxmoor for three years and in that time has

established a base of just over 50 members. The Credit Union is run by 4 volunteers, George, Anne, Ken & Barry, who give up their time on a Thursday morning in order for members to call in. If you would like further information regarding RASCU and how they might be able to help you call Tracey Croucher on 01480 428575 or send an email to tracey.croucher@

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Home-Link updates The Home-Link choice based lettings service has now been running for almost 8 months, with around 8,000 website bids made on over 350 available homes in Huntingdonshire Staff across the sub-region have all been working extremely hard to ensure customers understand how to access the service.

about available sheltered housing for older people and the introduction of our new Mutual Exchange service.

Each month the Operations Group, made up of Home-Link service staff who are responsible for monitoring the systems and processes involved, have met to discuss how things are going and recommend any amendments needed to improve customer service.

In addition to these exciting additions, the Group are also in the process of setting up some service standards to enable us to produce benchmarking statistics about how Home-Link is performing.

More recently they have been working on specialist information pages

Equality Impact Assessments Over the past year we have been developing our new Equality Scheme, which includes our Gender Equality Scheme, Disability Equality Scheme and Race Equality Scheme The Schemes have been developed with our customers and the next stage is to look at all the services we provide to make sure they take into account the needs of all our customers, for example people who have a disability and those who are of different cultural or religious backgrounds.

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We will begin these reviews in October and we hope people will be able to help us with this important piece of work. For more information call John Askin, our Performance Review Officer, on 01480 428728. We look forward to working with you.

Fun at the Ferry Project

Ferry Project, part of Luminus, aims to help homeless people to move from a situation where they are vulnerable and dependent upon others to a position where they are independent and getting on with their lives. Two recent activities have included a family fun day out to the Sea Life Centre in Great Yarmouth and an activity challenge day at the Horstead Centre near Norwich. Both events were very enjoyable and will help Ferry Project clients to develop and move on with their lives. For more information about the Ferry Project please call 01945 467596.

Hope household goods HOPE Social Enterprises, a subsidiary of Luminus, is a re-use, repair and recycle company with the aims of providing high quality high street seconds goods at a fair price (currently a £35 iron sells for £6) whilst providing employment to vulnerable, homeless and long term unemployed. We sell: Bedding Throws Table Runners Curtains Cushions Lampshades Slow Cookers Suit Cases

Biscuit Tins Coffee Makers Blenders Bread Bins Toasters Bins Irons Kettles

CD Racks Glass Ware Saucepans Ironing Boards Kitchen Scales Towels Magazine Racks Sandwich Makers

And much, much more. If we have not got what you want, ask us and we will try to obtain it. Over 90% of our stock has up to two thirds of the original price taken off. i.e. Items that were £100 are now £35. At 95 Norfolk Street, Wisbech & 15-19 Commercial Road, March

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New homes Luminus is continually seeking to provide affordable homes throughout the eastern region and over the past eight years Luminus has invested over ÂŁ50 million in its properties and developed over 400 new homes. We are currently working on a number of projects including: Broughton, Milton Keynes Homes are now available at Broughton, Milton Keynes for over 55 residents at our new development of 57 flats and 10 houses. 17 of the flats are available for social rent and the remainder of the properties are available for an initial purchase of 50% shared ownership. Broughton, Milton Keynes

The Whaddons and Thongsley

The Grand, Ramsey

Brookside, Huntingdon

Luminus has started a process of consultation with the residents of 26 bungalows in The Whaddons and Thonglsey, Huntingdon as part of an exciting redevelopment proposal for this area. Subject to consultation and planning permission, residents may be able to move into their new homes from September 2010.

Luminus has won a planning appeal to redevelop the former Ramsey Grand into an exciting new community centre with high quality housing. The new building will incorporate a library learning centre, a range of services for children and young people, a community information centre and some much needed high quality housing.

Work has now started to build an extra care sheltered scheme on the former Brookside music school site located on Huntingdon ring road.

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This scheme, due to be completed in 2009, will provide extra assistive care for older members of the community in an excellent central location.

RESPECT - Your Life, Your Choice Luminus is supporting the Citizenship curriculum in six Secondary Schools across Huntingdonshire, working with Year 8 students. The Respect booklet, sponsored by Luminus and obtained from the Children’s Safety Education Foundation, covers subjects such as bullying, anti-social behaviour, domestic violence and alcohol and drug misuse. Staff from Luminus aim to support these books by attending the schools to give talks about real life experiences, thus enhancing the learning of the students involved. This will no doubt add interest and value to what is an important subject. This book is designed to help students think about and hopefully make the right decisions in their life. Luminus have chosen to support this book as part of our commitment to helping everyone play a constructive part in making our local communities safer and better places to live and work in.

STOP DOMESTIC VIOLENCE! Luminus has a zero tolerance policy towards domestic violence. As many as one in four women may experience domestic violence during their lifetime. At least two women a week may die as a result. We have an officer who works with other agencies in tackling domestic violence and can provide help, support and guidance to any victim. Where a victim flees their home due to domestic violence, Luminus will take legal action against the abuser if they remain in the property. If you are suffering domestic violence or know someone who is, call the National Centre for Domestic Violence on 0844 8044 999. This service is free of charge. In an emergency, always call the police on 999.

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Bonfire Night pet safety Bonfire Night can be traumatic for your pets. Here are some useful tips to help them. Cats and Dogs • Keep them indoors with all windows and curtains closed and switch on music or the television to drown out the noise. • Leave your cat or dog to take refuge in a corner if it wishes • Make sure your pet is microchipped • Exercise your dog during the day Small animals • Animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs can also become stressed from loud noise. Bring them indoors or into a shed to give them extra protection

Bonfires • Animals such as hedgehogs can die by crawling into bonfires • Build bonfires as late as possible • Disturb the foundations of the bonfire to give any wildlife a chance to escape before it is lit • Always clear up afterwards - litter is hazardous to all animals If you see an animal needing help, call the RSPCA on 0870 55 55 999. More details at:

Heating advice As the summer fades away, it makes sense to test your heating so any problems can be resolved. Please use the following steps: 1 Set the programmer to heating mode 2 Turn the thermostat and radiator

valves up high

3 Check all the radiators throughout the

house to ensure they warm up without

any cold spots

4 Please report any problems to our

Service Centre on 01480 428333.

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Smoking in homes We have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of our staff at work, including protecting them against the harmful effects of second-hand smoke Tenants may be politely requested not to smoke when our staff or contractors are in their homes. Please do not be offended!

This is to ensure the safety of our staff against the known hazards of passive smoking. If tenants are smokers, they are requested to limit smoking to rooms where Luminus staff will not be working, and open windows in rooms where

staff are working to help clear second-hand smoke. If tenants continue to ignore reasonable requests to stop smoking, staff may consult their supervisor about continuing visiting or working in the property.

Don’t forget! Diary dates 2008 Area Association


Thursday 6 November Huntingdon Christmas

The new Luminus Guide for Tenants is due to be launched for Christmas 2008.

Lights “Big Switch On” Sunday 23 November

It will be available in a variety of accessible formats including an online version. If you would like to be part of the Design Review Group for the Guide, please contact Tracey Stone on 01480 428702

Tenant Services Consultative Forum Thursday 11 December Carols for Christmas Wednesday 17 December

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Condensation & damp

Condensation is the most likely cause of mould growth in your home and you can do something about it! Follow the points below to help reduce condensation and eliminate mould growth. Where does it occur? Condensation can be in kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and, in fact, any rooms where there is excess moisture combined with cold surfaces and little ventilation.

Points to Remember: Producing less moisture vapour • Cover sauce pans • Dry clothes outdoors Ventilating your home effectively • Ventilate rooms when in use • Increase ventilation when cooking, washing and drying • Keep doors shut and windows open

• • • •

until the moisture has been vented outside Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes If extractor fans are fitted, use them Consider fitting humidistat controlled fans Vent your tumble dryer to the outside air

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Heating your home effectively • •

Keep low background heat on all day Find out about benefits and help available for fuel bills

Contact us 01480 428777 General Enquiries

01480 428333 Service Centre

Monday to Thursday 9.00 am - 5.00 pm and Fridays 9.00 am - 4.30 pm

For reporting all repairs.

01480 428522 Rent Enquiries - NORTH

01480 428500 Rent Enquiries - SOUTH

01480 428521 Benefits Advice - Sue Cargill

01945 467596 Luminus Ferry Project

01354 658732 Hope Social Enterprises

01480 428702 Tenant Involvement Officer -

(Luminus Group Services)

01480 428588 Neighbourhood Services

Tracey Stone

For help to understand this newsletter please ring 01480 428707/8

If you have any comments about Luminus News or would like a large print or audio version, please contact the Communications Team on 01480 428707/8 or send an email to This document has been printed on Era Silk.

communications. Era Silk has now gained Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.

Era Silk is the first recycled coated paper made from genuine UK waste that performs like a normal graphic paper, providing the environmentally responsible approach to

Supported by ECF pulp, this allows Era Silk to combine the quality of an FSC certified product with strong recycled credentials.

Published by Luminus Group • Registered Office Brook House Ouse Walk, Huntingdon PE29 3QW Tel No: 01480 428777 • Fax No: 01480 428555 Email: • Website:

Luminus News Issue 34 October 2008  
Luminus News Issue 34 October 2008  

Luminus News Issue 34 October 2008