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WINTER 2011 www.melinhomes.co.uk

EDITION 12

COMMUNITIES SPECIAL

Inside Keep well this Winter Melin’s 2011 year book Community Projects And more!

Save money this Winter with tips from the Energy Saving Trust

181111001

MELINNEWS


Melin news

Welcome to your latest issue of Melin News Welcome to another festive edition of Melin News. I hope that you enjoy it and find lots of useful information inside. Your community is at the heart of everything we do. Everyday we are working with you to help develop them and get people involved. We want to celebrate this, and that’s why this is our Community issue, it’s full of everything that we have been part of in the last few months. You can find out what happened when Melin staff went along to Panteg Park to do some digging on page 2 and get a sneaky peak at the hard work that has been going on at Trevethin and Penygarn Community Centre on page 3. We want you to have a safe and happy Christmas, so pick up some tips on how to stay well this winter and see our Money Box feature for advice on saving money. It’s the end of another year, so take a look back at what we achieved in 2011 in our Annual Report. And finally get a behind the scenes look at some of the people who make all of this happen on page 9 in our day in the life of our Communities Team. All that’s left is for me to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Best wishes, 01

Chief Executive.

Contents 02. Helping hand in the community 03. We throw everything in 05. Keep well this winter 07. Money Box . 2011 year book 08. Melin 09. Day in the life… 11. Winter blues 12. Jump to it! 13. Energy saving tips 14. Round up 15. Stepping stones 16. Care and Repair update 17. Melin Works catch up 18. Residents Panel

Christmas opening times We will be closed over Christmas from 23r d December at 12:30pm, and will be re-open ing at 9:00am on the 3rd January 2012. If you have an emergency outside office hours you must call 01495 325333

in large print, Braille, CD If you need this newsletnter guage, please contact or explained in your ow lan Tom on 01495 745907.


Digging deep in Panteg Park!

Melin volunteers recently helped children from Griffithstown Primary School and Ysgol Panteg plant some flowerbeds in Panteg Park as part of ‘Make a difference day’. Children from both schools designed their own flower beds for the park, with the winning design produced by Griffithstown Primary school who planted their flowers in the shape of a fish. The Mayor of Torfaen, Cllr Phil Seabourne, also popped along to take a look at all the children’s hard work on the day. Carol Wheeler, Project Co-ordinator at the Information Shop, said – “I am proud to be a part of such a great community project. This years’ Make a Difference Day has been the best we have done - the level of support we have received from Melin Homes has been outstanding.”

Scooter sponsors Melin are the proud sponsors of a Shopmobility scooter. Look out for it hitting the streets of Abergavenny town centre very soon. 02


Melin news

Melin throw in everything and the kitchen sink! We are all about helping out people and organisations here at Melin - we recently teamed up with some of our partners to donate a shiny new kitchen to Trevethin and Penygarn Community Centre. The community centre ser ves as a hub of activity for residents in the area with things such bingo, knitting, rs and Brownie meetings taking indoor bowls, mothers and toddle they approached us for help place there every week – so when than happy to help them out. re getting a new kitchen we were mo tners who work with us on our We could rely on our trusted par es – kitchen supplier Rixonway planned maintenance programm units and a sink, and building generously donated some kitchen were on hand with the s contractor Glanmor Development manpower. munity centre, commented: Angela Geddis, who runs the com kitchen. The contractors did a “We are ver y pleased with the new lot bigger, and we have a lot a great job – the kitchen now seems use when we are busy with to ier eas it more space which makes throughout the week.” the different events we have here

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We are still busy bringing homes up to standard! Our programme of planned maintenance is going really well

81%

we are over of the way to full compliancy with the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. We’ve installed over

480

new kitchens, bathrooms, boilers and windows and doors so far this year!


Keep well this Winter season. The cold Winter is fast approaching, but it isn’t always everyone’s favourite those who are elderly weather can be a worry for many, and could pose an extra risk for or vulnerable. Here are some top tips to help you stay healthy, safe, and well

this winter.

home as this can help reduce the risk 1. 1 Keep warm - both inside and outside of your some warm shoes of health problems. Wear plenty of layers and make sure you have with non slip soles. for your wellbeing and it also helps you 2. 2 Keep moving – staying active is great up to make a cup generate heat and stay warm. This could be as simple as getting of tea, doing some chores, or even wriggling your toes. get you warm from the inside, so try to 3. 3 Keep eating – Hot meals and drinks can help eat your 5 a day eat at least one hot meal a day. It’s also important to make sure you er stocking up on so you get all the nutrients and vitamins you need, so maybe consid some frozen veg. of sniffles 4. 4 Keep healthy – winter can bring with it all sorts invitation to have a flu jab, GP’s your up follow you sure and sneezes so make s, order them in especially if you are over 65. Also, if you rely on repeat prescription plenty of time if bad weather is forecast. if it gets too dark and cold to go outside. 5. 5 Keep your spirits up – winter can be lonely friends or If possible try to get out during day time when it is still light, or phone chat every now a for relatives for a chat. If you know someone who lives alone, pop in and then.

Keep Well this Winter Campaign Our Older Persons team have been out and about giving advice on how to stay well this winter. Michael, Rachel and Kate manned the Melin stall at the Winter Wellness event in Abergavenny Market, which was organised by Public Health Wales. The team gave advice on how to beat the cold this winter, and information about Melin’s Sheltered Schemes. They were joined by other local organisations including Age Concern, Gwent Police, and Energy advice charities. Kate, Extra Care Coordinator at Lavender Gardens, said “it was a great idea to have all this information in one place, and we hope it was a very informative day for local residents and the community”. For more information about Melin’s Older Persons Team visit www.melinhomes.co.u k/ olderpersonsteam or call 08453 101102 04


Melin news

MON£Y BOX Helping You Make The Most Of Your Money

Christmas is coming… But it’s never too early to start saving for next r year! Your local Credit Union is offering a safe solution to saving for Christmas 2012. With their Christmas Saver Account, you can save as much or as little as you like, so you can plan your Christmas shopping wisely and avoid those big bills in January. r, How you save is up to you – by standing orde es cash, payment card, or direct from your wag or benefits – and it can help you get one step ahead for next year. Then all that’s left to do is put your feet up and enjoy a stress free Christmas! If you need to borrow money for this Christmas, contact your local Credit Union to see how they can help.

Where is my local Credit Union? For people who live in Newport Newport Credit Union Tel: 01633 214913 www.newportcreditunion.co.uk

For people who live in Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly Smart Money Credit Union Tel: 029 2088 3751 www.smartmoneycreditunion.co.uk

For people who live in Torfaen and Monmouthshire Gateway Credit Union Tel: 01495 750020 www.gatewaycu.co.uk

For people who live in Crickhowell and Brecon Brecon and District Credit Union Tel: 01874 620104 www.breconanddistrictcreditunion.co.uk

Moneyline Cymru

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We are working in partnership with Moneyline Cymru to offer you another safer option for borrowing money, if you really need it. It can help you to avoid using dangerous loan sharks or doorstep lenders.

They offer loans from £50 and set repayment dates that suit you, which can be weekly, fortnightly or monthly. An adviser will work with you to find out the best way that they can help.

Moneyline is a not for profit company that offers affordable loans with fixed repayments that are collected straight from your bank account. They do not provide cash loans, so if you do not have a bank account they can help you to open one.

If you have any worries about money then it is important that you speak to your Housing Officer as they can put you in touch with people who can help. CWMBRAN 6 The Arcade, Cwmbran NP44 1PQ Tel: 01633 877123

To find your local Moneyline office, see the table below or to find out more visit www. elmline.co.uk or call 08456 431553

MONMOUTHSHIRE

NEWPORT

Telephone & Postal Service Tel: 0845 643 1553

56 Bridge Street, Newport NP20 4BL Tel: 01633 258233


Your Benefits Update If you are a single person receiving Housing Benefit for a room that you rent in a shared house then the amount that you receive could be reduced. From January 2012 the age that you receive full Housing Benefit as a single person will rise from 25 to 35 so it is important that you are aware of this. More changes to your benefits are being discussed by parliament. It is important you keep up to date, and you can find out more here http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/welfarereform.html Always speak to your Housing Officer if you are worried. Contact them on 08453 101102.

Welsh Water Assist Feeling the pinch with your utility bills? You could be eligible to apply for a reduced tariff to help make your water bills more affordable thanks to Welsh Water Assist. This provides financial assistance to households on low incomes, with three or more children, or with a medical condition which means you use a lot of water, by capping the amount you pay for water and sewerage at £120.

Can I apply for this? You may be eligible if someone in your house

How do I apply? You can apply online at www.dwrcymru.com/en/ Household/Help-PayingYour-Bill/Welsh-WaterAssist, or contact Dwr Cymru Welsh Water on 0800 052 0145 between 8am-8pm Monday to Friday or 8.30am-1.30pm on Saturdays to request an application form.

RECEIVES THE FOLLOWING BENEFITS: Income Support Housing Benefit Income based Job Seekers Allowance Council Tax Benefit Pension Credit Child Tax Credit

HAS THE FOLLOWING MEDICAL CONDITIONS: Incontinence Ulcerative colitis Weeping skin condition (eczema, psoriasis, varicose ulceration) Desquamation Abdominal stoma Crohn’s disease

Working Tax Credit

Renal failure – requiring home dialysis

Income related Employment and Support Allowance

Other conditions may be accepted if it uses significant amounts of water.

You may be asked for a signed certi ficate from your doctor if applying because of a medical condition.

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Melin news

Melin Annual Report 2010/11 We have had a great year! We’ve recently released our annual report which is packed full of information on the great stuff we did over the last year. We’re not just about bricks and mortar – we are always working hard in the community!

Here’s a taste of what we did Getting People Back Into Work We’re committed to providing opportunities for people. Our ILM scheme has had an

82%

success rate in getting people from Monmouthshire back into work.

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We’ve helped people back into work through the Future Jobs Fund, and we offer people training and experiences with a range of apprenticeships and placements.

Digging Deep!

Caring And Repairing

2010 saw the creation of our Coed Eva and Fairwater Groundforce teams in partnership with Torfaen Training and the Future Jobs Fund.

Our Monmouthshire and Torfaen Care and Repair agencies have been hard at work visiting over

They provided a free gardening and landscaping service to local older and vulnerable people. They were very successful in completing over

473

1,450

older homeowners and private tenants to discuss ways to help them stay independent and safe. Both agencies carry out a Welsh Government funded Rapid Response Adaptations Programme, which for every £1 spent saves the NHS £7.50.

jobs

97%

and getting satisfaction from residents!

To find out about Mel’s Handy People contact Caroline Morgan on 08453 101102

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To apply for Melin Works communities & Enterprisecall our team on 08453 101102


New resident Khadra O’Donoghue moved into Cobner Close in April 2010. She said her new home: “The move here has mea nt everything to me. It’s like a dream. Now of I’ve got a garden for my little one to play in.” During 2010/2011 over 200 computers were installed, helping each family save over £250 a year with online savings.

Top Marks For Our Direct Work Force As well as bringing our electrical team in-house to improve our repairs service, last year we got

99%

residents a satisfaction rate for our repairs and gas servicing thanks to our Customer Contact Team who efficiently respond to all types of calls. We were also busy carrying out planned maintenance on your homes – we spent over

£2million

installing new kitchens, bathrooms, boilers, windows and doors to bring your homes up to modern standards.

During 2010/ 2011 we ca staggering 11, 615 repa rried out a irs compared to 8,438 the previous ye ar.

Money Mentors

Getting Connected

Our Money Mentors project provided financial advice to people in the community – our Money Mentors were chosen from the local community for their knowledge of the local area and its residents.

In January 2010 we launched our ‘Getting Connected’ project.

During a 45 week period the Mentors saw over 200 people and helped them with over

£30,000 of financial advice. This scheme also created

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new jobs in Torfaen to previously unemployed people.

Our ground breaking work helping residents go digital saw Melin win an ‘Outstanding Achievement in Housing in Wales’ award from the Chartered Institute of Housing. The project was so well received that judges at the UK Housing awards also gave it a highly commended award under the ‘Supporting Social and Economic Inclusion’ category. As well as benefitting our residents, the project also provided employment for two graduate interns who helped residents “find their way” around their new computers.

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A day in the life of... Our Communities team

9.00AM

give As it’s our Communities issue, we wanted to n Meli at ple peo you an insight into some of the who make all of this happen. ever y The Communities Team work with residents ple peo ing gett ut day. They are passionate abo n and involved and spreading the word about Meli what out find to g ever ything we do. We went alon they get up to in a typical day…

Caroline, our Communities Team Leader, goes to a meeting to plan our upcoming events and visits on the Melin Bus. The Communities Team are always out and about meeting with our residents and the local community. If you see them on your street go and have a chat – it’s a great way of finding out what’s going on at Melin and how you can get involved.

These dates for your diary will all go into the which can be found at www.melinhomes.co Melin Events Calendar .uk/events

10.00 AM Communities Assistant Rose is working through our database of volunteers to find some people to help out at an information event she is planning.

nities We have lots of opportu th us, wi ed for you to get involv new me so rn have fun, and lea d out fin To y. skills along the wa s itie un mm more give the Co 02. 11 10 3 45 Team a call on 08 09

10.30 AM Keith is busy at a Melin Residents Panel meeting. They are discussing feedback from the last estate visit and going through applications for Landscaping grants.

The Residents pa ne have a budget whi l ch they use to award grants to Melin Schemes fo communal landsc r aping and small works. To apply call 08453 10 or visit www.melin 1102 ho co.uk/residentpane mes. l


11.30 AM The Melin Census is already well underway. Part one has already been competed at our Sheltered Schemes, and now Tom, our Head of Communities, and Caroline discuss the next steps

The Melin Census will be coming to a doorstep near you in the next couple of weeks. Keep an eye out for Melin staff who will be out and about asking questions about how we can improve our services to you.

12.00 NOON

Communities Officer Alan is working hard with our GwirVol young volunteers at their induction event. New volunteers are given a health and safety induction and they discuss what they will be getting up to for the next few weeks.

2.00 PM Another meeting for Caroline, this time she is planning our new residents incentive scheme, which could see you get rewarded for keeping up to date with things, like your rent or getting boiler ser vicing.

w skills unity and learn some ne mm co the in t ou lp he to nity GwirVol is great opportu -25. To find out more visit 16 n ee tw be ed homes.co.uk if you are ag email alan.hughes@melin or l rvo wi k/g o.u s.c me ho www.melin

4.30 PM Tom is preparing his Community Engagement presentation for our Leadership Group. This will bring together all of the team’s ideas about how we are going to communicate with residents and get people more involved with us. The Leadership Group is made up of the Directors of our departments and our Chief Executive, Mark Gardner.

3.30 PM

Dave and his team are out and about with Mel’s Handypeople, whilst Hannah, who administers the scheme, is booking in a new job. This is a brand new handyperson service which carries out odd jobs for elderly or vulnerable people.

To find out more about Mel’s people see page 14, or call handy Rose on 08453 101102.

5.00 PM

It’s nearly the end of the day and Alan is finalising plans for the for the outreach surgeries he is planning with Lynne Neagle, who is the Assembly Member for Torfaen. Lynne will be visiting constituents, including Melin residents, and we are helping her travel around on the day using the Melin bus.

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Melin news

Winter blues

Useful websites www.welshwomensaid.org • www.wdah.org.uk

Domestic violence is very common, and even if you are not experiencing it yourself, you may well know someone who is. In 2010, Gwent Police reported that there were 8,075 domestic abuse incidents– which is an average of 22 a day. Unfortunately winter can bring with it a rise in domestic abuse, as worries and tensions about Christmas boil over into something more serious. It is important that you know where to get help, so you don’t have to suffer in silence. Melin’s Community Safety Team has a number of ways they can help you.

We

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Since July, the team have been taking part in the Gwent Police Conference Call with partners such as the NHS and Social Services. Every morning they get updates about issues reported to the police and will follow up things affecting our residents – unless you do not want us involved. The team can visit you in your home, and can take out injunctions against perpetrators. Team Leader Michelle said the Conference Call is “a useful tool to help us provide additional support such as counselling or extra security”. Gwent Police have specially trained Officers who are available to help,

so if you are suffering contact them on their 101 number, or call 999 in an emergency. Or contact our Community Safety Team on 08453 101102.

If you need to leave your home: • Have some spare money saved for a bus or taxi • Take important documents such as your birth or marriage certificates, your passport, health records, benefit or bank books. • Keep a bag packed with a spare set of keys • Only leave when it is safe

raising money

rtant charities We’ve been really successful in raising money for impo lately. biscuits for Staff rallied together in October to make cakes and ess raising proc the in Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, nosed with cancer and money to help Macmillan support people diag as part of breast cancer their families. We then ‘went pink’ in November and wigs for the day awareness month – we donned our pink clothes and held a raffle for some rugby tickets. fight cancer! Thanks to everyone’s efforts we raised over £450 to help ed make a difference Go to www.wearitpink.co.uk to see how we helpmilla n.org.uk .mac For more information on Macmillan visit www

£450 raised


to it! Dancing her way to success Monmouthshire resident, 8 year old Emma Wells was recently shortlisted for a scholarship to the Royal Ballet Junior Associate Programme. She is waiting to hear if she will be able to take up her place, but in the meantime we have sponsored Emma to take some private lessons with a former principal of the Royal Ballet. Emma has only been dancing for just over a year and has already received a Distinction at Grade 2. She is currently working towards her Grade 3 at Monnow Ballet School and we hope that the private lessons will make a real difference. Emma is thrilled, with mum Helen saying, “she’s a complete natural and doesn’t realise how good she is. This could be a career for the rest of her life.”

Calendar girls and guys The Valley Life After Stroke Group were delighted that the Jump Fund has sponsored the month of August in their 2012 Calendar. The group meet every fortnight at Roderick Hill Sheltered Scheme, Tredegar, and is open to all. They provide support and advice as well as the chance to meet up with friends. Their 2012 calendar is sponsored by twelve local businesses, and all proceeds go to the group and the Stroke Association.

It has already been a success with well over three quarters sold. Treasurer Lesley Watkins said, “The calendar is vitally important for raising awareness about stroke sufferers and where they can go for support. Our group is a great place to meet friends and get advice, and we are always looking for new members. Thank you Melin for supporting us this year.” If you would like more information about the group, contact Lesley on 01495 726333.

Fundraisers swing into action anisations Partners, businesses and org take part in to gathered in early September was held at ich wh y, Da lf Melin’s Annual Go Woodlake Golf Club in Usk. erged victorious Local business Aquadrain em ed over £3,800. from the tournament, which rais GwirVol and lin’s This money will go towards Me can read you ich wh ts, jec youth initiative pro more about on page 17 To apply for our Jump Fund visit www.melinhomes.co.uk/jumpfund or follow our Facebook page by searching for Melin Jump Fund.

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Melin news

Save money this Winter The arrival of winter can mean expensive bills for your energy, but making small changes could save you money. We have teamed up with the Energy Saving Trust to bring you some money and energy saving advice straight from the experts. Remember that little changes can make a big difference!

Here are some top tips… • Turn your thermostat down by 1 degree and save around £55

a year

• Turn appliances off standby and

year.

save £33 a year

• A lot of energy is wasted when you are asleep. Turn your heating off half an hour before bed time and

up to 5% off your energy bills.

you can save

• Always wash a full load and set your washing machine to 30 degrees. The average washing machine costs £64 per year to run, and by washing a full load you could save £15 a

Save yourself £15 a year by drying your clothes outside if possible. Tumble dryers cost on average 40p an hour to run which adds up!

• Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping. • Are you on the correct energy tariff? Change energy supplier and you could save yourself up to

£150 a year.

Warm Home Discount scheme

Some energy suppliers are offering a Warm Home Discount of up to £120 off your energy bill in 2011/12 – if you are an older person, suffering from a long term illness or disabilit or are on a low income you may be eligible y, . For more information on which suppliers offe this and to see if you can apply go to www. r decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/funding/whds / whds.aspx.

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Contact the Financial Inclusion team on 014 95 745927, who will be able to help you with this .


Round Up… True grit Please take extra care if you have to go out in ice or snow this winter. Morris’s of Usk will be gritting our schemes this year and have filled several grit bins ready in case we have a spell of bad weather. Morris’s will monitor the weather and levels of the grit bins, restocking them when they start to run low. This is whilst we have stocks of course.

Our new IT system is almost here! The installation of Phase 1 of our new IT system has just finished, and work on setting up the customer-focused Phase 2 has just begun. Once the new system has been completely installed there will be some handy features to improve our service to you – you’ll be able to login to view your rent account, track your repairs and complete surveys. Also, our Housing Officers and Direct Work Force will be able to give you better customer service on the go with the new mobile working modules.

Office move update Our big move went successfully, and our Customer Services, Communities and Enterprise and Development teams have now settled into the new building. And they have been joined by Care and Repair agencies too. If you need to visit us our office its right next to our other one in Pontypool – just look out for the white sign with our logo on it.

Mel’s Handy People! We will soon be launching a new competitively priced handyperson service in the local community, with a priority on older and vulnerable residents - our handypeople will be busy carr ying out lots of general DIY projects such as erecting sheds and fences, painting properties and landscaping. Mel’s Handy People will be made up of both permanent staff and people being given work experience and placements through one of our ‘Melin Works’ schemes – so it’s a great new service for ever yone involved! If you want to book Mel’s Handy People, contact Caroline Morgan on 01495 745905 or email caroline. morgan@melinhomes.co.uk. 14


Melin news

If you: • • •

Helping you take step in the right direction

a

Are unemployed Living in Blaenau Gwent or Torfaen Not receiving Job Seekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance

Melin’s new Stepping Stones project could be just up your street. Stepping Stones is a European funded project which can improve your chance of getting work. We are working with Tai Calon Community Housing to help 180 people with training and support.

With Stepping Stones you can: • • • • •

Gain accredited qualifications Have professional careers advice Sign up for work taster sessions in a wide variety of careers Get advice on starting your own business Get expert training on CV writing and interview skills

Simon Cook, from Cwmbran was one of the first to sign up to Stepping Stones. We asked him why he dec ided to join. He told us: “I had been unemployed for a number of year s due to health problems, and had been a househusband. When the kids went to school I was looking for a new career and wanted to lear n a trade. I found out about Stepping Stones at a Jobs Fair and liked the idea of the work tasters. I am looking forward to lear ning some new skills and the chance to get a feel for the type of work I might enjo y. The project is looking positive so far.”

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Call Paula on 01495 745910 for more information email paula.skyrme@melinhomes.co.uk or visit our website at www.melinhomes.co.uk/melinworks melinhomes


Minister pays us a visit Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage Huw Lewis AM recently met with residents and some of our partners at Ty Clarence in Pontypool, including Care and Repair Torfaen. Huw Lewis came down to visit the Melin owned Ty Clarence buildi ng which is home to Melin residents, and employment agency A4e. Until their recent move to our Melin office, this was also to home of Care and Repair. Care and Repair provide free home improvement and advisory service to older and disabled people to help them remain in their own homes. Mand y Price from Care and Repair said,”having the Minister visit was really impor tant for us, and it was great to have a chance to show him some of the vital work we do in helpin g people retain their independence.” The minister also visited Melin residents Mr and Mrs Sansom, who told him how they love their one bedroom flat and the prompt repairs and excellent servic es that Melin provide! Huw Lewis then made the short trip to Melin’s headquarters, where he learned about our range of services that we offer, such as our BeMe counselling servic e, Melin Works and our energy efficiency initiatives. He also heard about how we will be working more closely with strategic housing teams from Monmouthshire County Council and Torfaen County Borou gh Council to provide more high quality, low cost homes.

Care and Repair have moved!

n hire and Care and Repair Tor fae Our Care and Repair Monmouths m Fro n. Feil Ty’r ol, offices in Pontypo teams have both moved into our s: way g win follo the in and contact them now on you can visit them here Care and Repair Tor faen Care and Repair Monmouthshire 01495 745936 enquiries@crmon.org.uk

01495 768870 info@crtor faen.co.uk

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Melin news

Mulberry magic After taking part in a 12 week placement on our Intermediate Labour Market scheme, ht Rob Morgan has found a job as an Overnig . enny rgav Abe in se Hou Warden at Mulberry Mulberry is a charity and social enterprise which runs field environmental study courses for schools and a youth hostel. Rob had been self employed until his business finished. He moved into a friend’s camper y van and in April 2011 was offered a voluntar position at Mulberry. Rob quickly became indispensible, with Dr tly Nicola Perkins adding “Melin’s ILM was exac d coul Rob ed; need both we the opportunity that ss asse d coul I and ce, den continue to gain confi his skills.” During his placement Rob lear ned new skills and had construction site training. He was such ing a hit with guests at the Youth Hostel and visit job. a him red offe schools that Nicola

ised “Over the 12 weeks we saw a new re-energ ce den confi in n Rob who had massively grow lly & pride, and since then he has become tota .” invaluable as a member of staff Rob said, “Mulber ry have been good to me, and I have found some great friends. Joining Mulberry and taking part in the ILM scheme was a major step forward in me rebuilding my life.”

Our volunteers work 500 hours, and they’ll work 500 more! Our GwirVol scheme is up and running and our volunteers have been out in the community putting in ov er 500 hours on 60 dif ferent projects since we began running the scheme earlie r this year! Melin’s GwirVol volunteers work on a range of projec ts such as sports and activity days for young Melin residents, community even ts, IT training for older people and environmental initiative s – they have also had a full induction, which included learning about the importa nc of health and safety, equa e lity and diversity. Two of our Gwirvol voluntee rs, Luke Jones and Simon Co oke, have enjoyed success from being part of the scheme as they have both gained 12 month contracts us on our new handyperson service (see page 14).

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These volunteers have been taken on by Melin wit h funding from GwirVol, which is a partnership organisatio n working to increase opportunities for young people in Wales.


Residents Panel round up New panel member Sheelagh Nicholson has recently joined the panel and will be carrying out secretarial work for the panel. She’s been a Melin resident for a year and looks forward to contributing to the work of the panel.

Achievement awards Another successful AGM was held in September at the Glen-yr-Afon House, Usk. Both the Residents Panel and Melin meetings were held at the hotel, and over 100 guests, including local authority partners, staff and Melin residents, attended the evening. After outlining our achievements for the past year awards were given to some of our amazing volunteers, and a surprise presentation to Mark Gibbons and Rex Codd for their hard work on the Residents Panel. Four Education Bursaries were awarded this year, which the lucky recipients will put towards further education and training to help them on the way to their chosen careers. The lucky few were Suzan Crawford, Phillippa Price, Terrie Heath, and Natalie Gardner.

Community Representatives We have representatives that are the vital link between Melin and its residents – they keep us updated about local communities, monitor litter, graffiti and anti-social behaviour, and work with landscaping contractors to assess the work they do. For more information on our community reps, or if you want to become one, visit http://www. melinhomes.co.uk/communityreps

Contact Melin Residents’ Panel Committee Melin Homes, Ty’r Efail, Lower Mill Field Pontypool, Torfaen, NP4 0XJ residentspanel@melinhomes.co.uk 08453 101102 www.melinhomes.co.uk/residentspanel

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Clive’s letter Dear fellow residents, The festive season is near and the end of the year is around the corner. Throughout 2011 the Residents Panel has been busy ensuring you get the best service from Melin Homes. The panel contributes to Melin’s commitment to provide excellent service by being a representative body for residents. We can bring any issues you may have to Melin’s attention and get them resolved quickly. We meet regularly, and also go on fortnightly estate visits with a Melin representative where we listen to any concerns that residents may have – if an issue does arise, we will try our best to resolve it within 2 weeks. This year we’ve used over £4,000 of our budget to improve communal areas by awarding grants and funding to residents for landscaping and small works projects such as providing communal patio furniture, or planting flowers and trees. We also give Melin advice on their policy and procedures so that everything they do is focused on the community – for example, we have a Disability Group that inspects disability access in Melin sheltered schemes. On these sheltered schemes we have also helped set up and support social evenings with the help of the Communities & Enterprise team in order to create a greater sense of community. On behalf of the panel, I would like to wish you a happy, healthy Christmas and a prosperous new year. It’s the season of good will, so extend a warm welcome to your neighbours! Clive Rees Chair, Melin Residents Panel

Melin Ty’r Efail, Lower Mill Field, Pontypool, Torfaen, NP4 0XJ T: General enquiries 08453 101102 T: Repairs 0800 9753149 E: enquiries@melinhomes.co.uk W: www.melinhomes.co.uk melinhomes

Residents’ Panel T: 08453 101102 E: residentspanel@melinhomes.co.uk

Melin News 12 -Winter 2011  

our winter edition of our quarterly residents newsletter

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