Bridge Brief - May/June 2020

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BRIDGE BRIEF Information for Newport City Homes residents

May/June 2020

How we’re supporting you Our response to the Coronavirus pandemic


Keeping you and our colleagues safe is our number one priority. We are doing everything we can to minimise the impact of Coronavirus in our communities, so we have changed the way we

work to keep delivering essential services in these difficult and rapidly changing circumstances. At the time of going to print, we are only attending emergency repairs, essential safety work and preparing empty properties for those who urgently need a safe place to call home. This means you may see us cleaning communal areas, working in empty properties or clearing our outdoor spaces to keep you and our other residents safe in your homes. Please be assured we will always follow the latest Public Health Wales advice as we undertake this work. As Government advice changes, so will our ways of working. This is a rapidly moving situation and things are changing daily so to keep up to date with our latest news, please check our website and follow us on social media.

These are updated daily so you can be sure you’re accessing the most up to date information on our work. If you do not have access to the internet, you can call us on 01633 381111. Finally, I would like to thank you for your understanding and support. Our teams are working extremely hard to do the very best we can for you under these difficult circumstances. Please keep safe and stay well.

Ceri Doyle Chief Executive

NewportCityH @NewportCityH

Our commitment to you If you are struggling as a result of Coronavirus, we are here to help. We will: ■

Keep you safe and secure in your home

Help you get the financial support you need


Find solutions if you have difficulty paying your rent Do everything we can to support your wellbeing

Bridge Brief: Information for Newport City Homes residents

We will NOT take eviction action against any tenants experiencing financial hardship as a result of Coronavirus

Welsh Government information for social housing tenants Senedd Cymru - Welsh Parliment, Cardiff Bay

Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government, wrote to all social housing tenants explaining how Welsh Government is working with housing associations, like Newport City Homes, to make sure you have the appropriate help and support if you need it. They have published guidance for tenants on the support available and what you can expect from us as a landlord. This guidance has useful advice from the Department for Work and Pensions and local Councils. It also has information about how to find help with your day to day bills and living costs, and how to avoid scams.

Scan or click on this code to read more

May/June 2020


Coronavirus information from trustworthy sources With many false claims and misinformation about Coronavirus (COVID-19) on social media, it’s really important to only use trustworthy sources when seeking advice. The following organisations update their websites and social media channels regularly:

Your safety is important to us

How are you doing? The Coronavirus outbreak means life has changed for all of us for a while. It may cause you to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely or frustrated. If you’re finding things hard emotionally right now, you’re not alone. It’s important to remember it’s ok to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently.

Here are some top tips from the NHS: ■

Stay connected with people

Stick to the facts with credible news sources

Talk about your worries

Support and help others

Focus on the present

Look after your body

Look after your sleep

Do things you enjoy

There are many organisations including the NHS, Public Health Wales and Mind that offer information and free resources to support you with your mental health and wellbeing.


Bridge Brief: Information for Newport City Homes residents

Food deliveries As a responsible social landlord, we have a duty to contribute to the phenomenal public service response being delivered across Newport by helping to reduce the pressure on our public sector colleagues. Over recent weeks, we have been working with local food banks to deliver much needed food parcels to residents in need of a little extra help in these difficult times. We’re proud we can change the way we work to play our part in reducing the demands on public services at this challenging time.

If you are struggling to get enough food for you and your family, let us know and we can help you find support in your area. Just give us a call on 01633 381 111.

Get Foodcreative! deliveries Looking for something to lift your spirits or help keep the children busy?

Keep boredom at bay and have fun together!

Discover some new games and activities for your family, from arts and crafts and interactive storybooks, to quizzes and workouts, with free online resources or just have a chat with a local support groups. Have a look at: Newport City Council at

The Book Trust at

Newport Live @NewportLiveUK

Age UK on 0800 678 1602

BBC Bitesize @bbcbitesize

And discover some new games and activities for your family, from arts and crafts and interactive storybooks, to quizzes and workouts.

May/June 2020


Our repairs service At the time of going to print, we are only attending emergency repairs, essential safety work and preparing empty properties for those who urgently need a safe place to call home. As Government advice changes, so will our ways of working. Some examples of emergency repairs include: ■

Dangerous electrics


A gas leak

A major water leak or a roof leak that’s causing water damage

Broken windows or broken glass

A front door that isn’t secure or doesn’t lock

Rhys Maintenance team

If you’re not sure whether your repair is an emergency, get in touch. Please be assured our colleagues will adhere to all social distancing guidelines as they work.

Have a repair that’s not an emergency?

Grounds maintenance Where it is safe for our staff to do so, we have been cutting grass and litter picking in communal areas to make sure these spaces are kept safe and clear.

Our maintenance colleagues are supporting call centre staff. They can advise you on any non-emergency repairs and let you know if there’s anything that you can do while you’re waiting for our normal repairs service to resume.


Bridge Brief: Information for Newport City Homes residents

Safety work required by law Our approach to maintaining gas safety compliance checks and our commitment to keep you safe in your homes has not been relaxed. Our legal duty of care to you remains as important as ever which is why we are continuing to carry out any safety works required by law. This includes: ■

Gas servicing

Electrical testing

Fire checks, testing and repairs in communal areas

Asbestos surveys

We will contact you if your gas safety inspection is due. Please be assured our colleagues will adhere to all social distancing guidelines as they work. If you have an emergency gas leak or your carbon monoxide alarm is activated, please call the National Gas Emergency number on 0800 111 999

If we come to your home We understand these are difficult times for you, but please be assured keeping you and our colleagues safe is always our most important responsibility. This is why we have to come into your home to undertake emergency repairs or essential safety work such as gas safety checks while restrictions are still in place. If we come to your home, we’d really appreciate your support in helping us to work as safely as possible.

Our commitment to you We will: ■

Call ahead of your appointment so you know we are on our way

How you can help us Before we arrive ■

Ensure you or someone you live with is at home for your appointment

Ensure the route to the repair, boiler or gas meter is clear

Ensure your gas and electricity is switched on

Clean the area our engineer will be working in as well as you can although we understand this may not always be possible

If you or a member of your household develops Coronavirus symptoms, please let us know as soon as possible so we can rearrange your appointment.

Social distancing

Adhere to Public Health Wales social distancing guidance at all times as we undertake our work

Stay in a different room as we undertake our inspection, and maintain a two-metre distance at all times.

Clean the area we have worked in and take any waste away with us

If you do not agree to this, our colleague will leave immediately and we may have to begin formal proceedings to allow safe access to your home.

May/June 2020


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Financial difficulties? We can help.

Many of us are finding life in lockdown is challenging - and we know it’s even more difficult if you’re facing financial worries too. We can support you and help you get the financial advice you need if you are experiencing difficulties. If you are struggling to pay your rent, get in touch. We will do all we can to help.

We will not take eviction action against any tenants experiencing financial hardship as a result of Coronavirus.

We can: ■

Help you with benefit claims

Offer budgeting advice

Help you find the right support services to suit you and your family

Support you with rent payment difficulties through a range of repayment options

Call us on 01633 381 111 to talk about the support available.

Ways to pay your rent

If the way you usually pay is more difficult at the moment, you might find it easier to use one of these other methods:

By direct debit

You can choose the day and how often you wish to pay


Using your Allpay card

Cash or cheque using your Allpay card

At any post office or shop that is open and displaying the PayPoint logo


Bridge Brief: Information for Newport City Homes residents

Via the Allpay App Using your smartphone

Debit or credit card

With us by calling 01633 381 111

r u o y g n i Clean as e r a l a n u m m o c

In the current situation, cleaning your communal areas is essential so our regular cleaning and safety checks have continued. We regularly clean, disinfect and deodorise communal areas such as entryways, stairwells, halls and balconies. As part of this, our cleaners focus on frequently used touchpoints in communal areas such as handrails, banisters, light switches, front and rear communal doors and handles, walls, lifts and laundry facilities.

Our cleaning teams not only clean, but also help to reduce fire risk by making sure all communal areas and emergency escapes are clear. It’s a tough job at any time, but it’s especially tough right now, so we’d really appreciate your support.

You can help us keep you safe by:


Keeping all communal areas clear – stairwells, entryways, halls

Avoiding the area when our colleagues are on site

Maintaining a minimum of two meters between you and our colleagues

Smile if you see us! Sometimes, a friendly face can makes all the difference.

We’re all facing the same difficult challenges and finding things hard at the moment. Your support and cooperation makes a huge difference to our colleagues as they work hard to keep you safe in your home.

May/June 2020


Preparing homes for those in need We believe everyone deserves a safe home, access to good sanitation and somewhere to self-isolate safely. You may have seen us working in empty properties and wondered: why the urgency? It’s because we’re preparing them for the most urgent types of lettings.

Colleagues from our Maintenance team are doing this to: ■

Provide properties for vulnerable people who are experiencing homelessness, suffering domestic abuse or are living in other difficult circumstances

Relieve pressure on our NHS. By providing more homes, we can house people who are well enough to leave hospital but can’t because they have nowhere to go. Doing this means we are freeing up much needed hospital beds so the NHS can treat more critically ill patients

Safe homes We know that life is particularly challenging in lockdown, but for victims of abuse, isolation can also be a potentially dangerous time. That’s why our Tenancy Management team have been working in partnership with organisations across Newport to find safe homes for those suffering domestic abuse.

We have signed the ‘Make a Stand’ pledge, demonstrating our commitment to tackling domestic abuse and sexual violence experienced by our residents across Newport.

If you or someone you know is suffering physical or emotional abuse in the home, here are some ways to get help:

The pledge is an initiative developed by the Chartered Institute of Housing in partnership with Women’s Aid and the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance.

■ If you can’t talk in safety, but you need help immediately, police forces across Wales will respond to a silent 999 call – dial 999 followed by 55 to indicate that you can’t talk, but need help

■ The Live Fear Free helpline is free and available 24/7 – call 0808 8010 800 or text 0786 007 7333 any time, if you can do it safely

We have begun a training programme for our colleagues to help them recognise and support those who may be experiencing domestic abuse.


Bridge Brief: Information for Newport City Homes residents

Housing First We have been working on Housing First, a collaborative project to help reduce homelessness across Newport. This has become an essential support service for people experiencing homelessness during lockdown. Through this project, we can help people who are experiencing homelessness or living in temporary accommodation, to move into a permanent home of their own, where they can stay safe during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“ We can’t thank you enough.

The weight of the world has been lifted off our shoulders

This support is particularly important for those who might not otherwise be able to apply for a home to rent, such as Jamie and Jordan who were sleeping rough, but moved into their new flat in March of this year. Jordan said, “We can’t thank you enough. The weight of the world has been lifted off our shoulders, it’s nice being able

to go home and shut the world out, and it wouldn’t have been possible without you guys so once again thanks so much.”

“Housing First gives people who face significant challenges a chance to turn their life around by providing them with a roof over their head.

For Scotty, who moved into his new home recently through the Housing First project, having a kitchen where he can prepare hot meals safely and easily will make all the difference.

Having a fixed abode means so much more than just having somewhere safe and warm; it means developing new skills, managing finances, and starting new and healthy habits going forward. Housing First is so important as it gives those who are most vulnerable a second chance at leading a new, happy and healthy life.”

Scotty said, “I want to say a very big thank you to Newport City Homes and the Housing First team. My home is everything to me. I can’t wait to start cooking and baking with my new things.” . We work with partners including The Wallich, Eden Gate, Pobl, the Gwent Drug and Alcohol Service and the NHS to help people like Jamie, Jordan and Scotty with a fresh start in a safe, warm home. Our Homes & Income Officer, Alex Williams works on the Housing First project. She said:

I want to say a very big thank you to Newport City Homes and Housing First team. My home is everything to me

Notice to residents on Universal Credit Please remember to let the Department for Work and Pensions know if your rent has increased this year. If you don’t tell them, you might not receive any extra money you’re entitled to. You can do this on your Universal Credit account, where there are prompts to guide you. We can’t do this for you, but we can help if you’re not sure how, just give call us on 01633 381 111.

May/June 2020


Your health and wellbeing Looking out for our older NCH residents is one of our most rewarding jobs. Our colleague Debra is part of our dedicated 55+ Health & Wellbeing team.

Debra recently serenaded our lovely Aneurin Bevan Court residents in Duffryn, singing to them from the garden of their flats. Many joined in with the sunshine sing-along safely from their windows and balconies!

Debra 55+ Health and Wellbeing team

Click h to vieewre


I sincerely cannot thank NCH enough for the AMAZING team they have at ABC. Julie & her team are unsung heroes as are the catering team. Given the challenging situation that we are currently in, these staff members are simply outstanding.



Bridge Brief: Information for Newport City Homes residents

Here are some of the things we’ve been doing to make our older resident’s lives a little easier: ■

Calling all residents in our 55+ schemes and any resident over the age of 70 to check they’re ok and have the support they need

Linking them to services in the community so that essentials like shopping and medicines can be delivered to their door

Delivering meals to our Aneurin Bevan Court residents for them to enjoy in the safety of their home

Ensuring laundry facilities are still operating and (maybe most importantly)

Having a good old chat!

We’ve received some truly heart-warming feedback on how we’ve been looking out for our older residents – thank you for your kind comments.

“ A lovely lady from

Newport City Homes just called my Nan to check she was okay and was getting her shopping and medication. They said if she ever needs a chat or feels lonely, she can give them a call. This is so kind, and a lifeline for some people.

Let’s talk! We know a lot of you are worried, scared or lonely it’s so important we keep talking. Since the Coronavirus pandemic, we have been calling our older residents, as well as those who have told us they are vulnerable. Residents have told us these welfare checks are really making a difference to their health and wellbeing, so we have expanded this service to all of our

residents to ask if we can help you in any way. We check in, make sure you have everything you need, and can put you in touch with charities or volunteers who can help get you medicines or food during lockdown if needed. If you or an NCH resident you know would benefit from a welfare call, let us know on 01633 381 111.

May/June 2020


Social distancing in communal areas We’re getting increased reports of residents and non-residents congregating in our communal areas and gardens which is making many of you uneasy about leaving your home for essential reasons. Gwent Police have stepped up their enforcement action for anyone not adhering to Government social distancing guidance. They have the powers to ensure members of the public adhere to current restrictions. If you are aware of anyone breaking these restrictions, please call Gwent Police on 101.

Everybody needs good neighbours Sometimes, people’s behaviour can annoy others without them realising it. Often, it can be general living noise, like music, children playing or dogs barking, from your neighbours. You may be more aware of it than usual as everyone is staying at home at the moment. If noise begins to affect your enjoyment of your home, why not try explaining it to your neighbours calmly while maintaining the required social distance? You may find out there is an understandable reason for the noise or they may thank you


for letting them know. Sometimes all it needs is a quick chat. That way good neighbours can remain good friends!

Print me, colour me in and cut me out Click here for a print-ready version May/June 2020


Keep in touch!

Have we got your most up to date contact details?

If you’ve changed your phone number or email address recently, get in touch to let us know. We can keep you updated on news and information relevant to you.

All our offices are closed in line with Government guidelines but we are still here if you need us.

Contact us

Resource Reg. No. 2110

NewportCityH @NewportCityH 01633 381 111 Resource Reg. No. 2110

Resource Reg. No. 2110