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Melin News Edition 32 Winter 2016

www.melinhomes.co.uk

Tablets for tenants Our tablet scheme for new residents has now launched, have a look at how it’s going.

plus

Winter savings

We’ve got three pages of money advice

Want to get on Board?

011216_001

Full details on how you can join the Melin Board


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Melin News

Better ways to stay in touch

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ur customer contact team receive on average 7,000 calls a month. The top five reasons for calls over the last three months were:

1 Money advice – money matters, rent, help and advice. 2 Asset management – repairs, planned works, requesting a surveyor visit. 3 Neighbourhood housing – including housing queries and estate management. 4 Independent Living – calls from people interested in viewing our properties and rent queries. 5 ASB – anti-social behaviour concerns. There will always be someone at the end of the telephone but there are lots of other ways to get in touch with us:

● Email: enquiries@melinhomes.co.uk ● Live chat: Chat to us using the box in the corner of our website. ● Type your message in the contact form on the right hand side of every page of our website (except the home page). ● Find us at www.facebook.com/melinhomes ● Join us on Twitter @melinhomes ● Text: 07860 027935 ● Tel: 01495 745910 ● For emergencies outside of our normal hours of 9am–5pm, please call 01495 325333.

Christmas opening hours

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he office will be closed from 12 noon on 23rd December and will re-open on Tuesday 3rd January. During that time, if you have an emergency and need to get in touch with us, please call 01495 325333. (Please be aware that you will be charged for any call out which is not a genuine emergency.)


Winter 2016

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In this issue‌ p7–9 Money Advice Check the pages in pink for news from our Money Advice team and a whole host of winter tips.

p10 Employment skills News from Citizens Advice about how volunteering can help you gain skills for work.

p11 Preventing condensation Getting condensation in your home? We look at how to and prevent it.

p22 Communities Christmas Updates and news from around our schemes and how our Communities Team have helped.

p23 Want to be on Board? Would you like to join our Board as a resident member? We give you the information here.

Let us know! Is there something happening in your community that you would like to see covered in a future edition of Melin News? If so send your stories to news@melinhomes.co.uk or call 01495 745910.

Melin News accessibility If you need this newsletter in large print, Braille, on CD, or explained in a different language, please email us at news@melinhomes.co.uk You can read this issue online at www.issuu.com/melinhomes


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Melin News

Welcome to your winter issue

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s we told you in the last edition, our former Chief Executive Mark Gardner has left for pastures new. We wish him well in his new job at the helm of a Cornish housing association. Our Board, Residents’ Panel and a few staff members were all involved in the selection process for a new Chief Executive and we can now welcome Paula Kennedy as our new CEO.

Peter Crockett

Paula will be starting early next year and we will of course bring you an interview with her in the next edition to help you get to know her.

Until then it is business as usual and we continue to strive to provide excellent services for you. A very merry Christmas and a healthy and happy new year from all of us at Melin.

Peter Crockett Interim Chief Executive


Winter 2016

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Tablets for tenants O

ur tablets for new tenants programme has got underway, with people living in our new development at Hooper Close in Gilwern being presented with their digital devices. All new Melin residents will now get a tablet with their new home. This is thanks to £20k funding from Y Lab. The tablets will give residents access to their online accounts and a digital copy of their handbook, as well as money saving advice and a range of other benefits from being online.

All new residents will now have access to all of our services wrapped up in one device making it more convenient for residents who can access information 24 hours a day from the comfort of their own home. As one of the first residents to receive a tablet Adam Burgoyne told us: “My old tablet broke a while ago and I haven’t been able to afford to replace it. I couldn’t believe Melin gave me one after moving into my new flat – it’s been the icing on the cake.”

A run-down on the numbers We opened 138 new anti-social behaviour cases during the last three months. Our ‘top three’ issues were:

● Noise nuisance ● Verbal abuse ● Drugs Between July and September we have let the following homes:

● 25 flats;

● Four bedsits;

● 15 houses;

● One bungalow.


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Melin News

The smart meter rollout I n our last issue we spoke about the rollout of smart meters. They are the new generation of gas and electricity meters which will replace the traditional meters in your homes. The benefits of getting a smart meter include:

● Receiving bills that are accurate, not estimated; ● Regular meter readings will be shared with your energy supplier through a secure wireless network, meaning no more manual meter readings; ● You will have an in-home display, which shows exactly how much energy you’re using, and what it is costing in pounds and pence. Just contact your energy supplier about getting a smart meter installed at no extra cost. If you would like some advice or help take a look at page one for the usual methods of contacting us, or text ‘energy advice’ to 07781 472210 or email energy.advice@melinhomes.co.uk


Winter 2016

We’re here to help I

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n April 2016, we launched an energy advice service for residents. To date we have helped 38 residents, with an estimated saving of over £10k. The team can help ensure you are on the best tariff, advise on simple ways to save you money and energy around the home, and check entitlement to schemes like NEST.

We met with Tracy, 43 who lives in a property managed by us with her two children and four cats. Tracy has worked full time all her life, but has recently suffered with ill health, sending her bills spiralling out of control. Our Energy Advice team have been able to complete a NEST application for a free boiler, a grant for a free washing machine, Warm Homes discount and installation of a smart meter. Our Money Advice team has helped Tracy access debt relief advice and help, and counselling. Tracy said “Melin have been amazing, I wouldn’t be where I am now without the support I have received. If you need money or energy help just give them a call. I am so glad I did.” If you’d like some advice or help take a look at page one for the usual methods of contacting us, or you can text ‘energy advice’ to 07781 472210 or email energy.advice@melinhomes.co.uk


We’ve put £1.4m back into the pockets of residents

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ur Money Advice team has put £1.4million back into the pockets of our residents in the last year, by helping them access benefits, grants and other ways to save money. This is a £300,000 increase on last year’s figure. The team helped people with personal independence payments, discretionary housing payments, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water bills, fuel debt, pension payments and tax credits. This also includes pension age benefits and grants to help older people. The team has also been helping residents through the changes that are happening to their benefits and how it is impacting on the amount of money coming in. Claire Pearce-Crawford, Head of the Money Advice team said; “This is nearly £1.5m of extra money into our residents’ pockets, directly helping them to get through tough times and make a real difference to their lives. This help has been particularly important given the huge welfare reforms that have been happening. If you are looking for help you can contact the Melin Money Advice team on 01495 745910 or email moneyadvice@melinhomes.co.uk

Winter Fuel Payment

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f you were born on or before 5th May 1953, you could get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay your heating bills. This is known as a Winter Fuel Payment. Most payments are made automatically between November and December. You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get the State Pension or another social security benefit. If you qualify but don’t get paid automatically, you’ll need to make a claim, speak to the Money Advice team who can help.


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If you’re unsure, get in touch with us before taking out any kind of loan or debt!

Beware of loan sharks

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oan sharks are illegal lenders who often target low income and desperate families. They may seem friendly at first but borrowing from them is never a good idea – even if your credit rating is poor or you only need a small amount for a short while. Loan sharks often use intimidation and charge far more interest than other more credible sources of credit. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) keeps details of all licensed lenders, as well as everyone who has applied for a licence or has had one taken away or suspended. Check the Consumer Credit Register to see if a lender is licensed. We ask our residents to speak to our Money Advice team before taking out any loan or debt – send us a message via Facebook, email us at moneyadvice@melinhomes.co.uk, or just give us a call on 01495 745910.

Free school meals

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egistering for free school meals is easy and confidential and it could save up to £400 a year. It can be done from the comfort of your home and even the school doesn’t have to know. The majority of schools have systems in place which mean it is impossible for other pupils to know who is receiving free school meals. Registering for free school meals helps your school to benefit from funding and it could also mean that you qualify for other help. Apply via your local council’s websites.


(even more)

Cold Weather Payment

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ou may qualify for a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain benefits. You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for seven consecutive days. You’ll get £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather between 1st November and 31st March. Any money you get won’t affect your other benefits.

Could you be saving money with Watersure?

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atersure Wales is a scheme which helps some Welsh Water customers with their water bills. To apply for the scheme, you must be on benefits and need to use a lot of water either for medical reasons or because your household has a certain number of school-age children.

You can apply for Watersure Wales by filling out a form and Welsh Water has a checker for you to use to see you can apply – visit www.dwrcymru.com/en/My-Account/Help-Paying-My-Bill/ WaterSure-Wales


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Join up for volunteering opportunities W

ould you like to gain experience, increase your confidence and improve your employment chances? We have teamed up with the Citizens Advice in Cwmbran to offer six different volunteering opportunities and to top it off we’ll pay for your travel!

Lisa started volunteering in November 2011 prompted by a loss of confidence and feelings of isolation after her daughter was born. Volunteering for three days a week as a receptionist was just the start for Lisa as she was later offered a full time job in administration. Just a year later she was promoted to a supervisor role and she has been leading her team as Administrator Manager since 2013.

“Citizens Advice has taught me so much real life experience.”

Lisa is currently mentoring 10 volunteers and says “anyone can volunteer, we will provide full training and support. Even if we are unable to offer people paid employment we make sure we give people the skills, experience and confidence to gain employment elsewhere”.

The figures speak for themselves last year 22 out of 25 volunteers gained employment. So what’s stopping you? Lisa says “I’m a single mum who struggled to leave the house or answer the phone. I work full time but still managed to pick my daughter up from school. It is possible, support is here please don’t ever think you can’t, you can!” Another volunteer Jade started doing three days a week and found paid work within six months. She said; “Citizens Advice has taught me so much real life experience, everyone supports you. We are like a work family.” To apply, simply fill in the online form on our website www.melinhomes.co.uk/vacancies-at-citizens-advice


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Melin News

What is condensation? and how to prevent it

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ondensation will cause mould to grow, which can rot furniture and damage fixtures such as window frames. Condensation occurs when warm moist air comes into contact with cooler surfaces, which causes tiny drops of water to form on surfaces in your home. Moisture can be produced by everyday activities such as baths or showers, drying clothes indoors, washing dishes, cooking and using the kettle and even breathing. If you have condensation you can make a difference by wiping down windows, windowsills, and surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom every morning.

To prevent it, take the following steps: Make less moisture

● Never dry washing on a radiator. Dry your washing outside, or on a rack in the bathroom with a window open.

Ventilate

● Open a window when cooking or after showering and use an extractor fan if you h  ave one.

● Put lids on saucepans when cooking to stop steam escaping.

● Try to keep the bathroom and kitchen doors closed so steam doesn’t reach other rooms.

● Run the cold tap before the hot when r unning a bath to reduce steam by 90%.

● Let air circulate around your home – avoid putting furniture against outside walls.

Keep warm

● Heat your home efficiently, at a  constant low temperature of 18ºC, to prevent condensation forming because of changes in warmth. ● If you have rooms without heating, keep the doors open so warmth from other rooms can circulate.

Remove mould

● Remove mould immediately to stop it spreading and causing damage – special products can be bought from supermarkets and DIY stores. ● Never use a brush or vacuum cleaner to remove the mould.


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A day in the life of a… Tenancy Sustainability Officer

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ate Pope-Makowski is our Tenancy Sustainability Officer, but what does that mean? It’s an important question. Kate works with Residents day in and day out, her role is to help keep tenancies going and provide support to those who are vulnerable – a ‘joined up thinking and working’ approach. Kate brings together the work of all our teams as well as a host of external agencies to help our residents who face a number of challenges.

We spoke to residents who have benefitted Following a referral from our housing team Kate visited a gentleman in Newport to assist with the property. She arranged to help him get his property back to being more manageable, Historic repairs were addressed and rectified. Kate made the right connections to make sure the resident was referred to an Occupational Therapist who was able to install relevant aids such as grab rails and small adaptations. This improved our resident’s independence and mobility around his home. Help was also provided to access medical services and a request made to Melin’s Housing Team to take the case to a Housing Panel for increased priority Kate brings on the housing register to be considered. The together the work accommodation was unsuitable for our resident’s long term needs. of all our teams

as well as a host of external agencies to help our residents.

Kate also referred the resident to our in house Money Advice team for help with maximising benefits and the resident qualified for a disabled blue badge, making life much easier for the family to offer support.


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Melin News

A day in the life of a Tenancy Sustainability Officer (continued) With our resident set up to move to more appropriate accommodation, Kate finally focused on making sure the transition of the move went as smoothly as possible. “I was able to secure a floating support worker from Newport Council to make sure the resident had continued support, I really hope he continues to improve in a new home that is more suitable for his needs soon.”

Kate helped a resident with ASB issues Another example was a female resident who was referred to Kate via the Customer Contact Team. When Kate visited the resident, she made it clear that she felt vulnerable due to antisocial behaviour in the local area. Kate discussed security measures to reassure her of safety; such as a guard for the letterbox and ensuring the current spy hole was fit for purpose, She also arranged for an electrician to fit a new light. Kate was able to secure a food voucher and parcel to be delivered. Due to our residents circumstances, she managed to secure some vouchers for a local DIY store so our resident could brighten up some rooms and re-decorate in lighter colours. Kate discussed our Be Me service with the resident and then signposted the lady to a cognitive behavioural therapist, this service helps people understand how thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are linked, and teaches better ways of managing negative emotions. The therapy offers a long term solution to a variety of problems and promotes positive change by focusing on the here and now. Kate was able to refer this resident to our Money Advice team to access grants and help with maximising income, this was completed alongside a referral to Melin Works to enable us to assist with securing a job or placement in the future. “I guess there is no typical day in this role, but to improve the lives of our most vulnerable residents and get them the help they need is paramount” said Kate.


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Praise for the service Justin was helped by Kate and the team and said; “I really appreciate all the help and support that you have given me over some bad times. I think things are looking up for the first time in a decade – I can see a glimmer of light at last.” If you feel you could benefit from such help, then please call us on 01495 745910 or email enquries@melinhomes.co.uk

Happy at home M

iss West and Mr Williams of Mountain Road, Ebbw Vale moved into their bungalow in June. After previously living in a house that was unsuitable for wheelchair bound Mr Williams, they were delighted when they were found their new home. “When he was very ill we didn’t do anything about it, but once his health was improving it really brought home to us how unsuitable our previous house was for our needs. As soon as approached the housing team at Melin, they couldn’t have been better, helping us register and apply.” Miss West told us. The new house, according to the couple has made a “massive difference” to their lives. “Before I was stuck and it was difficult watching people around have to carry me and my wheelchair around the house.

“This new bungalow makes everything quicker and safer for me, and I am able to live my life to the fullest with the people closest to me” said Mr Williams.


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Melin News

Things to check if your heating stops working I f you have a problem with your heating or electric in your home, give us a call. All we ask before calling is to check certain things including:

Heating ● If you have a pre-pay meter, check you have credit. ● If you have recently topped up a pre-pay meter, whether you have restarted the meter so the credit will appear. If neither of these things solve the issue:

● Check the pressure on the boiler, which should be between 1 and 2. If it isn’t between 1 and 2, we can provide you with a guide on how to re-pressure your boiler. ● If it isn’t a pressure issue, reset the boiler and see if it provides you with a fault code.

Electric ● Check if it’s a complete power cut, just the lights or just the sockets that have stopped working. ● If it’s a complete power cut – it will be a supplier issue and it would be worth checking with neighbours if their lights work. ● If it just the lightbulbs, then seek to change the lights you were using. If changing the bulbs doesn’t work, we will need to come out and visit you. ● If it’s the sockets, check what you were using at the time of the power cut. You will need to conduct an appliance test and unplug all devices including white goods. Then plug back in each device one by one to find the issue. You may well be charged if you don’t carry out these checks and we have to visit you.


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Get your things insured! W e do not insure your personal belongings, carpets, furniture or valuables against theft, fire, flood or any other common household risk. Should the worst happen you could be left seriously out of pocket if you don’t have home contents insurance.

We will repair damage to the property itself as soon as we can, but you will have to deal with your home contents. As part of the Melin Offer we ask all our residents to make sure that they have appropriate insurance cover. Home Contents Insurance is affordable and can cost as little as £1 per week. Recently, we had two events where our resident’s personal belongings were damaged. One had insurance, one didn’t. One already has new clothes and a TV, one is struggling to get by. Please make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

Community fund boost S

Bursary Funding

ince August we’ve agreed to eight Jump2 Fund requests totalling £2313.50. Donations have been allocated for a football kit for RTB under 16s, kit for Ebbw Vale netball club, Reflexology sessions for carers, pitchmarkers and first aid kits for The Race AFC, funding to enable two people to complete their WRU UKCC Level One Rugby coaching qualifications, a small photocopier for Newport Family Centre, and two new electric cookers for a local school.

We’ve also given five residents a cash boost totalling £2381.58 to help them further their education or build their skills. The Bursary Jump applications donations have been allocated for college courses, study aids and a laptop. If you or a group in your community could benefit from a Jump2 grant visit our website and download an application form at www.melinhomes.co.uk/the-jump-fund


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Melin News

You said, we did W

e recently ran a consultation to get the views of residents at Clearwell Court, Newport. The consultation happened after we received their feedback via the Melin STAR survey on things that matter to them. Concerns included:

Rubbish – collection and facilities You said

● The refuse facilities at Clearwell Court needed improving. ● The trees/shrubbery being overgrown in certain areas around the scheme. ● The car park looking worn with no clear lines for residents’ parking.

We did

● Working with Newport Waste Savers, we have nearly completed the new dedicated additional recycling area. This are is to increase storage and encourage recycling. ● The car park will be resurfaced and lines painted before April 2017. ● The trees/shrubs were cut and pruned by the end of the grass cutting season this year.

Repairs, ASB and advice needed You said

● Anti-social behaviour and money advice asked for. ● Help with getting back into work. ● Repairs needed were highlighted during the engagement event.


Winter 2016

We did

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● Repairs that were highlighted during the engagement event have been addressed and completed. ● Advice and details of the noise application were provided to residents who reported some anti- social behaviour. ● Our Money Advice team provided support to residents who required advice in relation to income, finances and reducing expenditure. ● Our Melin Works team has engaged with those who expressed an interest in employment or voluntary work. ● Our Communities Team have contacted those who were interested in ‘resident engagement’ with us. ● You told us that you wanted to be able to get hold of us out of hours. We now host regular late opening hours – see the back page for forthcoming dates.

Fly tipping D

id you know that fly tipping is illegal? We recently helped Torfaen Council in a fly tipping prosecution case involving one of our residents. The resident was convicted and fined for ‘failing to take reasonable measures to secure that the transfer of household waste was only to an authorised person’. The resident claimed to have paid an unknown man to dispose of the rubbish. Two thirds of all illegally dumped waste in Wales comes from residential households, and householders have a legal responsibility to ensure that their waste is disposed of properly. Failing to do so can result in fines of up to £5,000 on conviction in the magistrates’ court or an unlimited fine if convicted in the crown court. Further information on the work that local councils and other agencies in Wales are undertaking to combat fly tipping can be found by visiting the Fly Tipping Action Wales website (www.flytippingactionwales.org). Please be aware of the consequences of fly tipping and make sure that you dispose of your waste the right way.


You could win £25 in high street vouchers!

The Winter Quiz You could bag yourself £25 worth of high street vouchers. Have a go at our quiz (by 31st Jan), kindly written by Newport resident Bill Fouweather. If there are a number of correct entries the winner will be drawn from a hat. Good luck!

1

What is the collective name for: a. A _______ of cats? b. A _______ of leopards?

2

Which English town is the parliamentary constituency of the Prime Minister?

3

If you are at loggerheads with someone what are you doing?

4

What is the oldest woman’s magazine still in publication?

5

Henrietta Mama was the wife of which English king?

6

Who played Maid Marian opposite Sean Connery in ‘Robin and Marian’?

7

In which city was Shirley Bassey born?

8

Who wrote the book, ‘Gone with the Wind’?

9

Tikka is a dish in which country’s cookery?

10 In which Italian city were 1960 summer Olympics held? 11 In the Bible who was hidden in the bullrushes for his own safety? 12 What value coin was introduced in the UK in 1998? 13 In the song ‘The 12 days of Christmas’, what gift is Gwen given on the 5th day? 14 Liverpool Airport was renamed after which pop celebrity? You can post your answers to Melin News Quiz, Ty Felin, Lower Mill Field, Pontypool, Torfaen NP4 0XJ or email them to news@melinhomes.co.uk We’ll announce the winner in the next issue. Congratulations to Richard Jones from Abergavenny who won the last quiz.

Check www.melinhomes.co.uk/news for last issue’s answers

Your answers 1a

1b

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14


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Your Melin account W

e have a simple and easy way to request a repair and make a rent payment – with your Melin account online. It couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is register on our website. It only takes a minute; just follow these three simple steps:

Log in to your account

1 Go to www.melinhomes.co.uk and tap the button called Your Account. 2 Type in your tenancy reference and email address to register 3 Start managing your tenancy online! Your tenancy reference can be found on your tenancy agreement. If you can’t find your tenancy reference, please email us enquiries@melinhomes.co.uk contact us on 01495 745910. Your online account is also a handy window into all aspects of your tenancy, from repairs made and requested on your home to up to date information on your rent account. Here’s what you can do through your account as soon as you have registered:

● View details of your tenancy

● View your repairs history

● View/print your rent statement ● Request a repair ● Pay your rent

● Change your contact details

Sign up now and start taking advantage of the benefits and services available to you online.


Are you a looking 21 Melin News for a job, training or placements? Get in touch with Melin Works on 01495 745910 or visit www.melinhomes.co.uk/melinworks

Case study – Laura L

aura Norman from Abergavenny had never been in paid employment, but was keen to begin working as soon as possible. The Melin Works team were able to meet with Laura to discuss her options and she said she wanted to get into the care industry. Mark from the team told Laura about local work placements and vacancies, and offered to support her in any application. Having seen a vacancy available with Q-Care in Abergavenny and secured an interview, Laura met with Mark from the team, who was able to purchase for her suitable interview clothing and offer to pay for her Enhanced DBS Check if needed.

“Having that bit of support from Melin Works made me feel far more confident in trying to get my first job” said Laura. “To have clothes that were suitable for a job interview really made me feel like I was ready and prepared to get the job and succeed.”

Funding to help you find a job W

e have paid work placements available to people who live in Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire and Torfaen as part of our Active Inclusion Fund projects. We want to work with those who are long term unemployed (12 months or more) and over 25. Funded by the European Social Fund and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, the Active Inclusion Fund aims to support people in overcoming barriers to work through improving skills and qualifications. If you’re interested you can contact Melin Works on 01495 745910 or email melinworks@melinhomes.co.uk To view our latest external work placement opportunities visit our website at www.melinhomes.co.uk/work-placements. We also have a weekly jobs update email, if you want to be added to the mailing list, email melinworks@melinhomes.co.uk


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Around the schemes Communities Christmas

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hristmas is almost here and our Communities Team has helped you all to welcome the festive season as the Melin bus doubled up as Santa’s sleigh. We have been taking Father Christmas around our estates and sheltered schemes to sing some carols and spread some cheer. We hope you and your families were able to get a glimpse of the big man. See page one for our office Christmas opening hours.

Knitting for a good cause

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esidents at St Mary’s Court in Newport are putting their knitting skills to use making blankets for homeless people and refugees. Their efforts will help Bethal Church in Newport’s bid to support homeless refugees and send volunteers over to Cyprus to help deal with issues created by people trafficking. They have also collected children’s clothes to send parcels out to Cyprus. Well done all!


Want to be on Board? O

ur rules state that three of our Board member places are to be reserved for our residents. A resident is defined as someone who lives in a Melin property whose name appears on the tenancy agreement. Being a Board member gives you a say in how we are run and how our services are delivered. Together with other Board members you’ll decide what our future plans are going to be, how our money is spent, and how many new homes will be built. Most importantly, you’ll play a key role in ensuring that we remain an excellent landlord and that our priority remains the provision of quality affordable homes and great services for the residents who live in those homes. To help you, you’ll get training and information on everything you’ll need to know as part of a team that makes all of the big decisions for Melin. Resident Board member elections will take place in the early part of 2017, with those elected taking their place on the Board from April 2017. Those elected will serve on the Board for three years, and can stand for election again, but no-one can be on the Board for more than nine years. If you would like to find out more, or put your name forward for election to the Board, please contact Karen Jones on 01495 745910 or email her at karen.jones@melinhomes.co.uk


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The current board members as elected at the AGM last September are:

Chair Christine Edmondson

Vice-Chair Julie Thomas

Tracey Blockwell

Steve Cieslik

Tony Crowhurst

Richard Essery

Jan Harris

Simon Harrison

Anne Hayward

Lyndon May

Lorraine Morgan

Toula Pearson

Dennis Robinson

Margaret Spencer

Wendy Bowler

Our texting service W

e are always looking to provide you with more ways to keep in touch with us. This includes our SMS text service.

Some residents will now receive SMS text reminders for things like repairs and end of tenancy dates. This is a new service to make sure you are fully informed regarding your home. It will also give a handy reminder to make sure you are home when we come to visit to carry out repairs. We have a new SMS text number – 07860 027935. Please save this number to your contacts so that you can use this to text us.


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Melin News

Volunteers help us strive for excellence T

he Customer Service Group wes recently nominated for a national award titled ‘The Most Inspiring Scrutiny Group.’ The group of resident volunteers work together with staff to improve the services you receive from us and they have already carried out reviews into void properties and relets and communication and have made a number of recommendations for improvement that will be approved by the board. Staff who work in those areas will then have an action plan to work to ensuring that you get the best service possible. “I am immensely proud of what the group have achieved and their dedication to improving services to residents” Communities Officer John Lewis said of the nomination.


Jan is highly commended J

an Harris, Chair of our Residents’ Panel was highly commended after being nominated for a GAVO volunteer award in the Trustee Volunteer category. She was nominated because of her dedication and commitment to the work of the Panel. Jan was co-opted onto the Melin Residents’ Panel in May 2013 then elected by residents to remain on the Panel in 2014. She has been Chair since October 2015 and has sat in on staff interviews and was part of the process to appoint our new Grounds Maintenance Contractor. The nomination referred to Jan as; “professional, well respected, warm, friendly and hard working.

She has made a difference to the relationship that Melin has with its residents and the way that services have been improved.” Well done Jan your help and dedication is much appreciated.

Panel budget updates T

he Residents’ Panel continue to meet on a monthly basis to represent your views. The panel has an annual budget of £40,000 which can be used by you to benefit your communities. Recently the panel has approved a number of applications including;

● Giving £100 to each of our sheltered schemes towards Christmas festivities. ● £300 to a Melin resident to help fund an electrical course ● Giving Growing Spaces £3,000 to support helping residents to rejuvenate their communal grounds. Since the September AGM there has been no change in the membership of the Panel; Jan Harris remains Chair with Mark Gibbons Vice Chair.


After listening to your feedback we are now offering later opening hours every fortnight. You will be able to tweet, message, call or live chat with our Customer Contact Team until 7pm. — Wednesday 21st December Wednesday 4th January Wednesday 18th January Wednesday 1st February Wednesday 15th February Wednesday 1st March Wednesday 15th March


Melin news 32