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Melin News Edition 33 Spring 2017

www.melinhomes.co.uk

Proud of your home See how you have helped make your neighbourhoods a great place to live

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A Melin milestone

New residents gets the keys to our 4,000th home

Meet our apprentices

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The young people building their careers at Melin


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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.

Later opening hours

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fter 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. Check the back of this magazine to see all the dates coming up for late night opening.


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In this issue… p5–6 Our 4,000th home We’ve reached a milestone and held an event at our new Heol Pont y Goron site in Sebastopol.

p9–12 Money Advice Helping you to understand the changes brought about by Welfare Reform

p13–14 Meet our apprentices Meet the new faces who have been working across our Direct Workforce.

p15–17 Pride in your place See how you have worked with us to create great communities

p22 You said, we did This issue we update you on the feedback and work carried out at St Vincent’s Court.

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

A welcome from Paula to your spring issue

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his is my first issue of Melin News as Chief Executive and I would like to say hello and welcome to this edition. During my first six weeks in the job I have been getting to know the business and I am now looking forward to getting out and about in our communities, meeting you all and hearing your views.

Paula Kennedy

One of my first tasks is to tell you about a bit of a milestone for us here at Melin – we have turned 10! We began as Melin in 2007 and April marked our (and our Residents’ Panel) 10th year in existence. There will be lots of events throughout the year for you to attend, so stay tuned to see how you can help us celebrate.

Our next issue will be dedicated to us turning 10, but I just wanted to say in the meantime thank you for making Melin what it is today. We have done so much together, but there is so much more we want to do. Melin has grown and developed over the last 10 years to become the organisation it is today and none of that could have happened without our residents. I have been made to feel very welcome by everyone and I am really excited as to what we can achieve going forward.

Paula Kennedy Chief Executive


Spring 2017

Pay your rent 24 hours a day I

f you have a debit or credit card you will soon be able to pay your rent 24-hours a day with our new automated telephone service. Our payment line will be launched in April. All you need to do is follow the voice prompts and enter your payment card details via your telephone keypad. You will just need your tenancy reference number to hand. This can be found on your rent statement. You can also pay your rent by Direct Debit, standing order, telephone, online, post or in person. Whichever way you choose to pay your rent, it is your responsibility to make sure the payment reaches us in time.

Your money T

imes are tough and lack of money can be the cause of stress for many of us. Because we understand that managing money can be hard, we have a dedicated team of accredited Money Advisors, who are here to help you make every pound count. This service is available to every Melin resident. For more advice tailored for you, email our Money Advice team at enquiries@melinhomes.co.uk or call us in confidence on 01495 745910.

Turn to page 7 to see more information on the Money Advice team’s work.

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Melin News

Miss Lauren Ball and Mr David Thomas with Paula at their new home

We mark the milestone of our 4,000th home T

o mark the building of our 4,000th home, we held an event at our new Heol Pont y Goron site in Sebastopol, Torfaen. The 22 new homes were built on the old Crownbridge school site, which means we now own and manage over 4,000 homes.

The event was attended by Torfaen Council Leader Councillor Anthony Hunt, Executive Member for Education Councillor David Yeowell and Executive member for Housing Councillor Gwyneira Clark. The visitors were taken on a guided tour of the development by our new Chief Executive Paula Kennedy and had a chance to meet some of the residents of Heol Pont y Goron. Resident Mr David Thomas said; “Having this home is life changing for all of us as a family. We didn’t want to move from the area as it feels like a real community here and it’s so safe for the boys. Hearing about Melin reaching its 4,000th home is


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superb, and I can’t believe we are in that actual house. We feel so blessed to have this home that we will always look after it; it feels like we have won the lottery.” Chief Executive, Paula Kennedy said; “This is a huge milestone for us at Melin and underlines the progress we have made since we started in 2007. None of this would be possible without our partners such as Torfaen County Borough Council and it’s a great example of how partnership working can deliver vital new homes for people. It was great to show Councillor Hunt and his team around our newest development and to meet our newest residents in Heol Pont y Goron.” We are committed to building over 1,000 homes over the next five years and contributing the Welsh Government’s 20,000 new homes target. Councillor Anthony Hunt, Leader of Torfaen Council, said; “It is nice to walk around such an impressive, new and spacious development. I’ve met some of the residents here on the site and have been hearing the stories about how these homes have changed people lives. Well done to Melin.”

100 people helped O

ur Tenancy Support Officer Kate Pope-Makowski recently marked a milestone in her role as she helped her 100th resident. Kate’s work is about keeping you in your home and making sure you have access to services that can help you stay on track with your tenancy. You can contact Kate for:

● Access to services which can improve mental/physical health ● Help with referring to floating support teams ● Access to benefits and grants ● Possible adaptations to your home if your needs change ● Tackling hoarding or similar issues If you could do with Kate’s help call 01495 745910 or email enquiries@melinhomes.co.uk


Our staff are here to help you Meet your Independent Living Assistants Jon and Ceri are here to support you with your tenancy. They can help if you live in one of our sheltered housing schemes or any other properties managed by our Independent Living Team in Monmouthshire, Newport or Blaenau Gwent. So, if your needs have changed or you would like advice about services that could help you, please let them know.

Jon Email jon.mason@melinhomes.co.uk

You can also speak to Jon or Ceri on 01495 745910.

Ceri Email ceri.jones@melinhomes.co.uk


It’s your Melin News!

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elin news has been delivered to your door for the last 10 years, that’s 40 editions of your favourite magazine. We want to include more articles that feature you, our resident, after all that’s why we are here!

“What kind of stories do you need?” Please contact us with ideas of anything you think would be of interest to other residents. It doesn’t just have to be something you have done it could be something you think would be interesting to read about.

“Give me some ideas of what you’re looking for” ● Have you raised money for charity? ● Have you volunteered helping local people? ● Have you been a good neighbour? ● Would you like to nominate someone who has made a difference to your life? ● Have you received money from our community fund jump? Tell us what this helped your community achieve. ● Has Melin helped you? Would like to share that story and encourage others to use our services? Remember it’s your Melin News. If you would like to get in touch please contact us by any of the ways listed on the inside cover ask for the Communications team. Where possible include photographs – look at all the residents that have featured previously, it could be you!


Putting more money in your pockets

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ur Money Advice team now has dedicated energy advisor to help you save energy and money. We can help with gas/ electric arrears, claiming a discount, changing supplier and much more. The Money Advice team is committed to putting money back into your pockets, with nearly £2m in unclaimed benefit and grants in the last year alone. They don’t judge, are all accredited and are here to help. There are lots of ways to get in touch with the team: Call: 01495 745910 Text: 07860 027935 Email: moneyadvice@melinhomes.co.uk Live chat: www.melinhomes.co.uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/melinhomes Twitter: @melinhomes

Welfare Reform update Housing costs for 18–21 year olds

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rom April 2017, some 18-21 year olds will have no help with housing costs in their universal credit claim. This only applies to new full service universal credit claimants; there are exemptions, to see if you are affected please call us.

ESA reduction of £29 per week The government plans to reduce the ‘Work Related Activity Component’ in all new ESA claims, this means that these claimants will only be paid the same rate as a jobseeker.


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Anyone who could or should be making a new claim for Employment and Support Allowance or (if on Universal Credit) a formal request for a Work Capability Assessment could be significantly better off by doing so before 3rd April 2017!

Bedroom tax rules change The recent government changes allow an extra bedroom for some couples who are unable to share a bedroom due to a disability, and for some non-household carers of a child or other person living with the claimant who stays overnight on a regular basis. Call Money Advice for more information – 01495 745910.

LHA Cap will affect all Universal Credit claimants from 2019 The Government is going to cap the amount of Housing Benefit/ Housing Costs Element available to social housing residents. This may affect the amount of benefit you can receive towards your rent. For more information on the rates in your local area visit your Council’s website or contact the Money Advice team.

TAX Credits two child limit From 6th April, families with a third or more children born after that date will no longer be able to claim additional support through child tax credit and universal credit. There are exemptions, please call the team for more information.

Can a DHP help? Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are payments made to help people who get some Housing Benefit (or Universal Credit that includes a Housing Costs Element), who need extra help to pay their rent. DHPs are not payments of benefit. They are freestanding payments to be made at the discretion of the Local Authority. Call the Money Advice team to find out more and help you with an application.


(even more)

Welfare Reform update (continued) The Benefit Cap In November 2016 the Benefit Cap was reduced again. For families with children and couples without children it has been reduced to £20,000 a year, and for single people with no children, it has been reduced to £13,400 a year. This reduction is taken from your Housing Benefit award or your Universal Credit Award, which could mean that you may have a shortfall in your rent payments. Please contact the Money Advice team on 01495 745910 or by emailing us on moneyadvice@melinhomes.co.uk to see how we can help you.

Universal Credit latest At present UC only applies to a very small amount of claimants in Wales, this changes in 2017. Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:

● Housing Benefit ● Income Support ● Jobseekers’ Allowance (income based) ● Child Tax Credits ● Working Tax Credit ● Employment and Support Allowance (income related) The dates for these changes are:

● July 2017 Torfaen ● November 2017 Newport ● March 2018 Monmouthshire ● April 2018 Blaenau Gwent ● June 2018 Powys


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Universal Credit claims can be made online – if you need any help with the claim process or understanding Universal Credit our Money Advice team can help. Universal Credit is paid calendar monthly, therefore if you have made a claim you will not receive any money for five to six weeks so please get in touch to see what help is on offer.

Local people benefit from community fund O

ur community fund Jump2+ has recently given over £1500.

Local disabled children’s charity TOGs benefitted from £569.16 from us towards creating a sensory garden at the front of their building. The New Inn charity has transformed their outside space with a jungle theme and the garden now features different levels, smells and touch experiences for the children as they enter the building. Our Communities Team arranged for Growing Spaces to complete the work as they have a wealth of experience in creating sensory gardens. A resident whose circumstances in life had taken a dramatic change also applied to our Bursary Jump2+ fund for help to start her own business. The money will pay for her to complete a Level 3 Diploma in teaching Yoga (YMCA Awards). Hopefully those of you living at our sheltered schemes will also benefit as she intends to give free introductory yoga sessions.

Bursary Funding


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Melin News

Meet our apprentices W

e are keen to provide training opportunities and currently have seven apprentices working across our Direct Workforce. Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity for people to learn and build their skills. Our apprentices work with us while they are at college to gain industry recognised skills and they also benefit greatly from spending time with their more experienced colleagues. We currently have four gas and plumbing apprentices, one electrical apprentice and two painting apprentices, you may meet them when we are carrying out repairs and services to your home. Here’s what they had to say about their experience so far:

“I have been an apprentice for six months at Melin and I’m really enjoying learning something new every day with the teams I work with.” — Cae “Being an apprentice means I can learn my trade in college and with actual work experience.” — Joel “Every day is something different and I get the chance to get stuck in and help.” — Dan “The apprenticeship gives me the opportunity to train to be a fully qualified gas and plumbing engineer and two months into it I am really enjoying it.” — Jack “Melin are a really good company to work for and the painting team have really looked after me and made me feel welcome.” — Liam “I am nearly fully qualified and this apprenticeship has been a brilliant experience where I have learned a trade and made so many great friends.” — Luke “You are always learning, not only about the trade but from meeting residents, It’s been a great experience so far.” — Owen


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Meet our apprentices Our apprentices: Top row left: Cae. Right: Luke. Second row left: Dan. Right: Jack and Dave, who all worked with our gas and plumbing team.Third row, left: Liam and right: Joel both part of our painting and decorating team Bottom right: Owen joined our electrical team.


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Melin News

Pride in your place Our Communities Team is always on hand to help

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e have a team dedicated to helping you make your street and house somewhere you are proud to call home. Our Communities team is always out and about getting to know you, giving you a chance to get involved and have your say. You may have already seen them arrive in your area on the Melin bus as they stage events throughout the year. The events give us the opportunity to listen to your views and give you the chance to help us provide you with excellent services.


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This is what the team has done for you over the last few years: ● Supported you to organise over 400 events, ranging from information days to partnership events and scheme consultations engaging with over 11,000 of our residents. ● 1,206 young people engaged with us on our sports initiative partnerships, learning new skills and taking part in activities that they may not have had the chance to experience. ● Organised 73 Melin bus trips which have been enjoyed by sheltered scheme residents helping to alleviate loneliness. ● We have carried out more than 34 community clean-ups and have removed almost 30 tonnes of waste material from our estates. ● We have worked with 66 partnerships over the last three years to deliver joint objectives. ● The team supported the development of the Residents’ Panel and the creation of the Customer Services Group, the Resident Disability Group and The Volume, our Youth Forum. ● Jump2 has donated £12k to community groups and Melin residents who were helped with education and training costs. Jump2 funds are raised by our staff.


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Melin News

Helping you get the most out of Melin New experiences – this Melin trip was the first time some of these youngsters had ever seen the sea Trying new things – fishing gave these youngsters valuable time out and the chance to try something new and learn new skills. Combating isolation - Reminiscence sessions have given people a chance to talk and get to know their neighbours. Some of you at our sheltered schemes have been treated to therapy sessions such as reflexology or Indian head massage. Pride in your place – Many of you and your children have joined some of our staff on our community clean ups, or planting initiatives helping to make your place somewhere to be proud of. Follow your dreams – A previous winner of our Jump2 Bursary said: “Thanks to the education bursary and the funding it gave me to go to university, I am now working in my dream job.” If you think our team could help you or your community, get in touch at communities@melinhomes.co.uk or 01495 745910.


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Taking action on anti-social behaviour W

e work hard to make sure eviction is the last option when dealing with problems. However, we will not tolerate fraud and continued law breaking. If necessary we will go to court to obtain a possession or eviction notice. Recently we had an example of a former resident who received a home from us using a false name on her application. Not only this, she did not declare that her partner was living with her, who was becoming the cause of numerous complaints to our community safety team and the police from other residents. The resident agreed to sign an Acceptable Behaviour Contract and this was done at the local police station with the neighbourhood officer. She was also served with a Notice of Seeking Possession and advised of how serious the situation now was. The resident was quiet for a couple of weeks but then the problems started again. There were not only anti-social behaviour issues but rent arrears had also started to build up, on top of an outstanding debt from a previous address. At this point, a decision was made to proceed to court for possession. At court the resident admitted to all the anti-social behaviour, obtaining a tenancy by deception and arrears. As a result, the judge gave us a possession order for 21 days.

ASB: The numbers

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he top three types of ASB complaints we received in the last three months were;

● Noise related complaints ● Drug/substance misuse/dealing ● Verbal abuse/harassment/threats In total, the team dealt with 101 complaints in the last three months.


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Melin News

The Lifeline service M

any of you who live in our sheltered schemes will be familiar with the Lifeline service. While we are lucky that our scheme managers are on hand during office hours, the lifeline alarm system is there to make sure you have access to help 24 hours a day. The system is there to help anyone who may need to ask for help quickly, but the well-trained staff are also on hand around the clock even if you want some advice or reassurance even in the middle of the night. So if you would usually speak to your scheme manager but they aren’t available you can be connected to an operator who is there to help. Don’t forget if you go out before you get the morning call from your scheme manager please let one of the operators at Lifeline know so that we know you are safe. So if you fall or feel you are at risk, don’t hesitate; just one push of the button will connect you to the control room and an operator will be able to identify who is calling and from where.

Helping new residents W

e recently welcomed our new residents to Heol Pont y Goron in Sebastopol, Torfaen. Our Neighbourhood Housing Team are a vital link in allocating our newly built properties.

“All our properties are for people who do not have an adequate home of their own, and it was lovely to see the new residents moving into their homes at Heol Pont y Goron.” Denise Cook, Neighbourhood Team Leader said. The team work closely with the five local authorities and the properties are allocated through the Common Housing Registers. A pre-tenancy visit is carried out to those applicants who have


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been shortlisted and this helps us ensure the property is both affordable and suitable for our resident’s needs. When we have completed our pre-tenancy visit and are satisfied that the property is suitable, a provisional offer letter is sent to the applicant. This confirms the rental charges, along with a date and time for our potential resident to meet us at the property for a viewing. The sign-up process is always an exciting time for our Neighbourhood Team and we always try to build positive relationships with our residents from the start.

Avoid crank calls P

eople living at Llys Ebwy recently got some expert advice on what to do about crank calls. Trading Standards officer Rachel Gibbs was joined by the local Police Community Support Officers at the Ebbw Vale scheme to talk to residents about nuisance calls which, at best, can be an irritating interruption, but they can also cause anxiety and distress. Residents found the talk very useful and also shared stories of calls they had received. She also shared advice on how to reduce the number of nuisance calls.

Top tips to avoid crank calls; ● Register with the free Telephone Preference Service. Call 08450 700707 or visit www.tpsonline.org.uk ● Speak to your telephone service provider to ask what call blocking technology they would recommend. There may be a charge involved for such a device. ● Opt out of receiving promotional information from companies you deal with by ticking the relevant box on their website or clearly stating this if you are dealing with them on the telephone. ● Go ex-directory (to do this you will need to speak to your telephone provider). ● Finally, many nuisance calls originate from overseas so ask your telephone provider to block international calls to your number (there may be a charge for this service).


You could win £25 in high street vouchers!

The Spring Quiz You could bag yourself £25 worth of high street vouchers. Have a go at our quiz (by 31st May), 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!

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What is the collective name for: a. A _______ of peacocks? b. A _______ of jellyfish?

10 On which board game are The Strand, Mayfair and Park Lane?

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Asunción is the capital city of which South American country?

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What is the singer Tom Jones’s real surname?

12 The zodiac sign Pisces covers which two months?

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Which football team does Prince William support?

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Who wrote the novel ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’?

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What produces bubbles in the making of champagne?

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Thomas Chippendale was famous for making what?

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What is the most common element in the human body?

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How many Oscars did ‘Schindler’s List’ win?

11 Who directed the film ‘Gandhi’?

13 Which was the first country to give women the vote? 14 Vienna lies on which river?

You can post your answers to Melin News Quiz, Ty’r Felin, Lower Mill Field, Pontypool, Torfaen NP4 0XJ or email them to news@melinhomes.co.uk Don’t forget to include your name and address and we’ll announce the winner in the next issue. Good luck!

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

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You said, we did St Vincent’s Court

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hen the Neighbourhood team carried out a survey in St Vincent’s court, residents gave their views on how we could improve the area. Some of the concerns you highlighted to us included:

You said

● The CCTV system needed improving ● There’s no way for residents to silence unknown callers on the door entry system ● General fear of crime and anti-social behaviour ● Refuse and fly tipping

We did

● We upgraded the CCTV systems and we can now see footage back at the offices. ● The door entry system has been upgraded so residents can now mute unwanted calls. ● New railings have been installed around the bin area and heightened to keep the area secure from fly tipping and dumping. ● Our Communities team organised a community clean up event, this included a litter pick and skip for residents to dispose of their rubbish. Since this work we have noticed a definite reduction in calls and reports of ASB and problems with rubbish. Thanks to those who took part. Keep an eye out for further resident surveys. If you have anything you wish to discuss with us, please contact us at enquiries@melinhomes.co.uk or call 01495 745910.


Are you a looking 23 Melin News for a job, training or placements? Get in touch with Melin Works on 01495 745910 or visit www.melinhomes.co.uk/melinworks

Funding to help you find a job W

e have paid work placements available to people who live in Blaenau Gwent as well as other opportunities in 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 the Melin Works team on 01495 745910 or email melinworks@melinhomes.co.uk To view our latest external work placement opportunities visit our website. We also have a weekly jobs update email, if you want to be added to the mailing list, email melinworks@melinhomes.co.uk or visit www.melinhomes.co.uk/work-placements

Our Melin Works team

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he team is here to provide you with practical advice, support and help with finding a job or developing new skills. We care about building your confidence and helping you into work. They have years of experience securing employment, work placement and training opportunities for people of all ages.

1 Stuart Baldwin – Head of Enterprise and Employment 2P  aula Skyrme – Principal Employment Officer 3 Lee Dunn – Employment Officer 4 Mark Blewitt – Employment Officer 5K  eith Jones – Work placement/Volunteer Officer 6R  ichard Dalgliesh – Employment Assistant 7 Alison James – Employment Assistant

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Pensioners’ hall gets made over O

ur contractors have helped us to answer the call of local pensioners who were desperate to give their community hall a much-needed makeover.

“Many people who come here have commented on how much better it looks.”

Our communities, sustainability teams and Mel’s Handy People joined forces with contractors Glanmor, Robert Price, Gerflor and suppliers Dulux to freshen up Pontymoile OAP Hall. The hall has been used by older people in the area since the early 1950s and it is steeped in local history. People who use the hall got in touch with us to see if we could help as their favourite meeting place was in need of repair.

Thanks to the team effort we were able to install new toilets, kitchen cupboards, flooring, paint and a free asbestos survey by Encompass, which thankfully gave the building a clean bill of health. Marilyn Manley is one of the many people (aged 50 – 94) who use the hall on a weekly basis to meet with friends. Mrs Manley said: “We are really grateful for all your help. The work you have done has really brightened up the hall. Many people who come here have commented on how much better it looks.”


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Melin News

CSG: Having your say on our services T

he resident volunteers on our Customer Services Group (CSG) are into their third review of our services. In a bid to make sure we are delivering top quality services they have looked at your responses to the star survey and are investigating how we can make improvements. They have already conducted a review into our communication and another into how we deal with void properties.

Here’s what has changed as a result:

Communication review We looked at the information we send out and is available in our reception areas. We worked with staff and some of the improvements from this have been:

● A new sign-up with much more relevant information; ● Jargon-busting – using plain and easy-to-understand language; ● A new method of recording letters coming into Melin to ensure urgency in replying.


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Empty properties review The group looked at the condition of empty properties and the time it takes to have them ready to let again. We have made improvements to how we deal with empty properties by:

● Implementing a new target which sets out how every property should look before it is ready to re-let; ● Having a staff member dedicated to dealing with getting empty properties ready to move into again; ● Reducing the number of days a property is empty. The group has worked closely with staff and each member of the group has been given his or her own area of research to carry out. One member of the group said: “Working on different projects has been enormously interesting and, with lots of goodwill on both sides, has resulted in making changes that are of benefit to both the residents and the organisation.” During these reviews, the group work closely with staff and have their own area to carry out the research work for the review. They are currently looking into the condition of cleaning procedures in our properties. The group has been out to visit general needs areas and our sheltered schemes. The emphasis of this and every review is to evaluate Value for Money (VFM) If you would like to join Customer Service Group please contact john.lewis@melinhomes.co.uk or call him on 01495 745910.

Register to vote T

he Welsh Local Government elections are taking place on 4th May 2017. If you haven’t already, you will need to register to vote. The quickest and easiest way to register is online. Visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote You can also contact your local council’s democratic services, who will be able to help you register. The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Thursday 13th April.


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Melin News

Young volunteers speak up T

he Volume is our youth forum – made up of young people who we can call on for ideas on improving our services. But we also make sure that volunteering on the group works for you. So if you want to boost your skills and experience enrolling on The Volume could be for you. Alys has been a member of The Volume for a while now and she recently got the chance to try out her dream career when we took her along with us to one of our school projects.

“I’ve always been interested in teaching, and when the opportunity came up to experience a day in the school I jumped at the chance!” Alys told us. “My visit to Crickhowell Primary School provided me with experience of work in a primary school environment, which is somewhere I have considered working in the future. I enjoyed teaching, helping and playing games with the children in order to complete the task given and to make it an enjoyable experience. “It was a rewarding opportunity to try something new and develop my skills in communication and solving problems. It provided me with confidence to take on other challenges in the future.” Want to grow your confidence? Want to learn new things? Then come and join The Volume! Join now by emailing georgina.james@melinhomes.co.uk or call 01495 745910.


Resident Forum Community Groups and Associations

Customer Service Group

Leaseholder Group

Resident Disability Group Youth Forum

About the Panel I

t is a group made up of 10 elected members who meet once a month. These volunteers form an umbrella group who monitor the involvement of residents and directly engage with and support communities. We want you to have your say and help us shape the services we provide you; as you can see from the diagram there are a number of ways that you can get involved in a variety of groups. Resident Forum – volunteers who inform and update the Panel on what’s happening in their communities and how the Panel can help.

Youth Forum – young people who make a difference to our communities through volunteering and boost their own skills at the same time.

Customer Service Group – volunteers who ‘mystery shop’ the services that we provide and make recommendations on how to improve them.

Leaseholder Group – this is a new group that is going to represent the views of leaseholders.

Residents’ Disability Group – this group comprises residents with experience of disability, who meet with Melin staff and outside agencies to discuss how we can provide the best services for people with disabilities.

Community Groups and Associations – groups who meet with or contact the Panel. The Panel supports these groups through grants to set up resident associations or grants to improve their communities.


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Melin News

Plans for the year T

he volunteers who represent your views recently held their annual residents panel strategic planning day.

Throughout the day they agreed the following things as priorities for the coming year. The Panel will:

● Ensure that they will use Value for Money principles in their work during the year; ● Promote the newly formed Residents’ Forum; ● Use Star Survey results to monitor Melin service performance and inform CSG areas to be review; ● Continue to support CSG/Youth Forum and the Disability Group; ● Continue to work with Communications to engage more with residents; ● Carry out visits at sheltered schemes to explain panel responsibilities. If you have something you would like to discuss with the Panel you can email residentspanel@melinhomes.co.uk or call Caroline Morgan on 01495 745910.


STAR survey winner C

ongratulations to Mr Moore of Tredegar Court, who recently won £200 in shopping vouchers. Mr Moore won the vouchers as part of our prize draw for filling in the STAR survey and returning it to us. “I am over the moon at winning £200 in vouchers and I need to have a good think on what to spend it on. Thanks to Melin for the vouchers but also listening to the things I brought up in the survey.” Mr Moore told us.

The vouchers were presented to him by the Chair of Resident’s Panel Jan Harris.


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 3rd May Wednesday 17th May Wednesday 7th June Wednesday 21st June Wednesday 5th July Wednesday 19th July Wednesday 2nd August Wednesday 16th August

Melin News 33  

In this issue: Proud of your home – See how you have helped make your neighbourhoods a great place to live plus A Melin milestone – New resi...

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