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a guide to your home


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contents 7 introduction 8 about your home 9 useful numbers 12 about ongo 14 what if? 16 complaints & customer feedback 17 other services from ongo 21 22 24 25 26 27 28 29 31 34 35 36 37 38

living in your home moving in your tenancy agreement your neighbourhood home safety & security fire safety keeping communal areas safe distraction burglars & rogue traders anti-social behaviour, harassment & other criminal matters making alterations to your home keeping pets in your home our lettable standard finding the right home for you ending your tenancy

41 repairs to your home 42 who is responsible 43 reporting a repair 44 asbestos 46 condensation & mould 5


contents 47 48 50 54 55 56

money matters paying your rent & other charges welfare reform money advice affordable warmth top 10 tips for energy efficiency

59 60 62 64

supporting you support services sheltered & retirement housing schemes aids and adaptations

65 working together 66 resident involvement 68 e-learning

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hello

& welcome to your new home Your handbook is a useful guide to living in your home with plenty of spaces for you to add extra information

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introduction

about your home

Your tenancy type is Your tenancy reference number is Your tenancy start date is Caretakers visit areas regularly and will remove graffiti, pick up litter, check communal areas for hazards and maintain the car parks and garages.

Getting in touch with us By telephone: 01724 279900 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday or on our 24 hour freephone 0800 0326363. Visit our Customer Centre 15-19 Cole Street in Scunthorpe Town Centre. Opening times: Monday to Wednesday 9am -5pm. Thursday 10am-5pm, Friday 9am – 4.30pm and Saturday 9am – 12.30pm. You can visit us online at ongo.co.uk/north-lincolnshire-homes Follow us on Twitter @ongoUK Like us on Facebook facebook.com/nlhomes ongo.co.uk 8

Send us an email to enquiries@ongo.co.uk Register for your online account At ongo.co.uk you can sign up for an online account where you can check your details, see your rent account, report repairs and tell us what you think about our services.


useful numbers introduction

Emergency Services & public safety Humberside Police: In an emergency call 999 or for all non emergency calls ring 101 Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 Humberside Fire and Rescue 01724 295920 Environment Agency (to report pollution, damage or danger to the natural environment and wildlife) 0800 80 70 60 Floodline (24 hour advice on floods and flood warnings) 0845 988 1188

North Lincolnshire Council

Highways Service

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Switchboard 01724 296296 Benefits (Housing Benefits) 01724 296131 Housing Advice Team 01724 297777 Bins and recycling 01724 297000 Council Tax 01724 296093 Education and school enquiries 01724 297240 Environmental Issues (litter, dog nuisance, fly tipping) 01724 297000 Emergency contacts out of normal office hours: General enquiries 01724 276444 Adult Social Services 01724 298190 Children’s Social Services 01724 296555

To report issues with street lighting, highways, roads, bus shelters and footpaths and pavement repairs contact 01724 297000 9


introduction

Social Services Older People’s Services 01724 297979 Children’s Services 01724 296500 Mental Health Services 01724 275900

Health Scunthorpe Hospital 01724 282282 For non urgent medical advice 111 National Drugs helpline 0800 77 66 00 Drinkline (advice, information and support for anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s drinking) 0300 123 1110

Utility Suppliers & Services For gas leaks ring National Grid 0800 111 999 Electricity supply problems or power cuts ring Northern Powergrid 0800 375 675 Severn Trent Water Billing 08457 500 500 Water Meters 0845 7090 646 Emergencies 0800 783 4444 Anglian Water Billing and general enquiries 08457 91 91 55 Water supply queries and emergencies 08457 145 145 Reporting a leak 0800 169 3630 ongo.co.uk 10


introduction

Advice & information services Citizens Advice Bureau (including consumer advice) 08454 04 05 06 Childline (for children up to 18 years old) 0800 1111 NSPCC Child Protection Helpline 0808 800 5000 Cruse Bereavement Care (helpline for bereaved people and those caring for bereaved people) 0844 477 9400 or 01724 281178 Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247 National Debtline (for anyone in debt or concerned they may fall into debt) 0808 808 4000 Family Lives (support and information for parents) 0808 800 2222 The Samaritans 08457 90 90 90 Carers UK (advice and information for carers) 0808 808 7777 Scunthorpe Job Centre Plus 01724 274444 The Pensions Service 0845 60 60 265

ongo.co.uk

Age UK information line 0800 169 65 65

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about ongo introduction

ongo is a partnership of companies set up by North Lincolnshire Homes with one promise, everything we do is put back into local communities. North Lincolnshire Homes is your landlord but through ongo we can now do more things like training and offer commercial services such as a locksmiths. The best bit is that any money which is made will be reinvested back into North Lincolnshire Homes to improve our services and to build new homes.

Our promises to you: As a customer we know how important it is for you to know what you can expect from us so we have created a list of promises. Every conversation we have with you is important. At ongo we aim to deliver excellent services and homes, put you at the heart of the business and maximise resources and opportunities. To do this we promise to • deliver excellent standards of customer care by making you feel valued and helping you voice your opinion. • communicate with you in the best way we can. • make sure our staff and those acting on our behalf will give you their name whenever greeting you in person or the phone. • wear a company badge whilst at work and carry a separate photo ID whenever coming to your home. ongo.co.uk

• introduce ourselves. • arrive at the agreed time and be suitably equipped to deal with the appointment. • leave you a calling card if you’re not at home when we call.

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We also ask you have consideration for other people that use our services when sharing our reception areas and resources with others.

introduction

All we ask in return from you is that you do not use offensive, discourteous or threatening language or behaviour whenever dealing with us or our partners.

Who’s who at ongo We have an Executive Management Team. Andy Orrey is in charge as our Chief Executive. He’s supported by Steve Hepworth, Director of Operations, Pete Stones, Director of Regeneration and Erika Stoddart, Director of Resources. ongo is overseen by four boards and it’s their job to make decisions about what’s best for tenants and for the organisation. As a tenant you are able to get involved with the boards. Every year there is chance for you to apply to be a board member. Watch out for our adverts on the website when it’s time.

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what if? introduction ongo.co.uk 14

Question

Answer

I need something fixing?

Ring our Customer Advisors on 01724 279900 or 0800 032 6363

I can smell gas?

For gas leaks ring National Grid on 0800 111 999

My neighbour’s playing loud music or I’m concerned about anti social behaviour?

We have Area Housing Teams and a Tenancy Enforcement Team who deal with anti social behaviour issues. Call us.

I can’t afford to pay my rent this week?

Give our Financial Inclusion Team a ring. They can help you with budgeting advice.

There’s a water leak in my home. What do I do?

Turn your water supply off at the Surestop button or the stop cock then give us a ring.

My power’s gone off?

Check you have money in your meter or you have paid your bills. Check your fuse box and trip switch and see if your neighbours have the same problem. Then give us a ring.

I have no hot water/no heating?

Check you have money in your meter or that you have paid your bill. Check your thermostat and timer controls on your boiler, then give us a ring.


I want to keep a pet?

Please read page 35 and then give us a ring.

I have lots of good ideas and want to make North Lincolnshire Homes the best it can be – how do I get involved and get my voice heard?

There are many ways you can get involved. Read page 66 to find out what opportunities our Resident Involvement Team can offer.

I’m receiving a lot of junk mail?

To stop junk mail and unwanted phone calls you can register with the Mailing Preference Service and the Preference Service (TPS) you can do this online at tpsonline.org.uk and mpsonline.org.uk

I want to move to another property?

See page 37 to see how we can help find the right home for you.

I want to make an alteration to my home?

We’re happy for you to decorate your home, but you’ll need our permission to make some other improvements. See page 34.

I want to take in a lodger?

Call our Customer Centre and one of our advisors will be able to help you with more information. Tel 01724 279900.

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If it’s inside your home or garden then contact a pest control company. Let us know too so your Housing Officer can check there are no issues with the property. If the infestation is in a communal area then it’s our responsibility to resolve.

introduction

My home has an infestation (ants, cockroaches, rats etc)?

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introduction

complaints & customer feedback Customer feedback is very important to us regardless of whether it’s good or bad. We want you to tell us what you think about the services we deliver so we can learn from our mistakes and build on our successes. We do this through regular surveys. From time to time we ask independant survey companies to ring you on our behalf to find out what you think about repairs and what it’s like to rent a home a from us. If they ring you can you please take the time to answer their questions because what you think really does make a difference. We know that sometimes we get things wrong so it’s important you let us know so we can try and resolve it immediately. If we cannot resolve complaints straight away or if it’s of a serious nature then we have a formal process to follow. All customer feedback is recorded by us and monitored regularly by Community Voice, our tenant group, and the North Lincolnshire Home’s Management Team. Whether it’s good or bad we’d like to know what you think about our services so give our Customer Contact Centre a call on 01724 279900 or pop in and see us at Cole Street, in Scunthorpe.

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ongo is much more than just a landlord of social housing. We are a social business which means we can offer other services to benefit you and your local communities.

introduction

other services from ongo

Choose to Reuse is our recycled furniture store based on Enderby Road, Scunthorpe. We take donations of pre-loved furniture to sell at low prices to people across North Lincolnshire. It has its own facebook page facebook.com/choosetoreuse where you can reserve items online before collecting in store. Our Handy Van Service offers an affordable way to get odd jobs done in your home, such as decorating and gardening. All Handy Van staff arrive fully equipped with the necessary tools to complete your job, but you must provide all the materials for example if you want a wall painting you’ll need to supply the paint. Other examples of what they can do: • Put up shelves or hang pictures. • Carry out some gardening work. • Fit towel rails. • Some minor decorating work.

For tenants we charge £10 per hour for the work.

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To book an appointment or for more information call us on 01724 279900.

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introduction

Crosby Employment Bureau is a not for profit social enterprise which offers recruitment and training opportunities. They offer local people: • Free weekly job club • CV writing • Help with job searches and applications • Interview tips • Free training courses • Volunteer placements – even with us at ongo To find out more visit crosbyemployment.co.uk or give the Crosby Team a ring on 01724 884848. Locksmiths is a service we offer as part of ongo. We have a team of Locksmiths based in Scunthorpe who can respond within one hour of your call when you’ve locked yourself out or been burgled. We also offer an out of hours emergency board up service to make sure your home is safe and secure while we get a locksmith to you. We can: • Make safe and secure • Planned and responsive lock changes • Picking locks and replacing locks • General upgrading

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If you need a locksmith give us a ring on 01724 298696 or visit ongo.co.uk/locksmiths for more information.


We have 1,600 garages available across North Lincolnshire and we offer reduce rates for tenants and Leaseholders. If you visit ongo.co.uk you will find an interactive map showing garages available now with no waiting list.

introduction

You can rent a garage from us.

Did you know? • Parking your car in a garage can lower your car insurance. • Your car would be more secure locked in a garage. • Garages can also be used for storage. If you’d like a garage visit ongo.co.uk/north-lincolnshirehomes or give our Customer Advisors a ring on 01724 279900. You can do it online with us too. At ongo.co.uk you can register for an online account where you manage your tenancy. Via a secure portal you can • Pay your rent • View your rent account • Check your details • Report and check progress on repairs • Tell us what you think about our services Once registered we’ll send you unique log in details so you can get started. ongo.co.uk 19


Notes introduction

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living in your home Here’s loads of information you will find useful whilst living in your home.

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moving in living in your home

Here’s a checklist of what you should be doing during your first month.

today Make sure you set up your accounts with your utility company or top up your meter card with at least £10. Once you’ve done this you need to arrange for us to come and reconnect your gas and make sure it’s safe to use. You need to ring us by midday for it to be reconnected by the end of the next working day. You will not be able to use your gas supply until you have done this. You’ll also need electricity for us to reconnect the gas. We’ll come to turn on your gas between 8.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Arrange your home contents insurance. Let us know if you have a new phone number. Redirect your post from your old address.

first week Register for your online account with us at ongo.co.uk Tell family and friends your new address. Update your address with your employer, Job Centre plus and your bank, building society or Post Office Account. ongo.co.uk 22

first month Be available for your first tenancy meeting with your Housing Officer and Lettings Officer. Your Lettings Officer will discuss this with you.


Questions for your first tenancy meeting. living in your home ongo.co.uk 23


living in your home

your tenancy agreement It’s the legal document that sets out your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and North Lincolnshire Homes rights and responsibilities as your landlord. It’s important you understand your agreement and what it means for you, because if you break any of the terms in it you could lose your home. Make sure you know your rights and what to do if there is a problem. All new tenants are given a starter tenancy, which is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy for the first 12 months. This means if you breach the terms of your agreement during the first year, we can end your tenancy by giving you two months’ notice through a Notice Requiring Possession. We don’t have to prove you have broken the rules to a Court, but we do have a strict procedure to follow. It is, therefore, important you do not break your agreement. Reasons for us ending your tenancy include you not paying your rent or causing problems with your neighbours. Once you’ve been with us for a year, unless your tenancy is a fixed term agreement, you will be given an Assured Tenancy (nonshorthold) which is more permanent.

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If we think you are not sticking to the terms of your agreement we will get in touch with you to talk about it and see how you can put it right. We want you to keep your tenancy so if you are experiencing any problems with your home or your tenancy contact us. There are a number of different tenancies, to find out which you have take a look at your agreement.


Working together we can keep our neighbourhoods clean, tidy and safe.

living in your home

your neighbourhood

We keep neighbourhoods well maintained by removing graffiti, litter picking, clearing fly tipping, cleaning communal areas and removing abandoned vehicles. In the growing season we make sure grass in shared areas is cut regularly and keep public space well maintained. We don’t cut grass at individual homes - but we have a handyvan service to help you if you need it. Call us to find out more, on 01724 279900. We want you all to take responsibility for your local neighbourhoods too. We expect you to keep your gardens clean and tidy at all times. This means: • • • •

No rubbish in gardens Weeds are kept under control Cut your grass regularly in the growing season Hedges and boundaries need to be well maintained.

Gardens which get overgrown or are filled with rubbish look unsightly and attract unwanted guests such as vermin. You will also find yourself in breach of you tenancy agreement. ongo.co.uk

We ask you to report any issues to us immediately so we can take steps to sort it out. We will take action against anyone who is found to be causing damage, fly tipping, graffiti or causing any other antisocial behaviour. This also applies to any visitors to your home.

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living in your home

home safety & security As burglaries cause a great deal of distress, we want to make your home as secure as possible, but we need your help to do this. Here’s some advice • When you’re away from your home try and make it look like you’re still there by leaving on lights during the evening or set them to come on using an automatic timer switch. • Let a trusted neighbour know you are away so they can keep an eye on your home and report any suspicious activity to the police. • Remember to cancel papers, milk and other regular deliveries before you go on holiday. If you’re going to be away for more than four weeks you must let us know (this is so we know you haven’t abandoned your home). • If you’re going to be on holiday or away for a few days in the winter remember to still set your heating and hot water to come on but you can reduce the temperature on your thermostat. This reduces the chances of the pipes freezing.

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fire safety • We fit smoke alarms in your home, they just need testing once a week.

living in your home

Top tips for keeping your home safe from fire:

• Make a fire action plan so everyone in your home knows how to escape in case there is a fire. • Keep doorways and windows clear so people can escape if there is a fire. • Over half of all fires in the home are caused from accidents during cooking so take extra care in the kitchen, never leave young children alone in the kitchen and if you use a deep fat fryer consider using one controlled by a thermostat. • Never leave lit candles unoccupied and make sure they are in secure holders on a flat surface. • Make sure cigarettes are stubbed out properly and disposed of carefully. Never smoke in bed. • Don’t overload electrical sockets and unplug electrical items when you go away for a few days.

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keeping communal areas safe living in your home

In some of our properties there are shared areas such as hallways, we call these communal areas. In these residents must not: • Leave any item in the communal area including decorative items such as curtains, mats and pictures. • Store mobility scooters, mobility aids, bikes, push chairs and prams. • Store flammable materials in cupboards • Keep the main entrance doors wedged open when not in use • Smoke in communal areas Failure to comply could result in tenancy enforcement action In the event of any accidents in the communal area or concerns regarding health and safety in these areas, you should call us on 01724 279900 For more information visit ongo.co.uk

community safety You can help us prevent crime by telling us about community safety issues such as where a security light is needed or a door entry system to a block of flats is faulty or damaged.

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Neighbourhood Watch schemes are a way for residents to get together, help to prevent crime and make neighbourhoods a safer place by looking after one another and your community. These schemes develop close links with the police, who can provide advice and information about local problems. Well-run schemes have a big impact on local crime. For more information contact North Lincolnshire Council’s Safer Neighbourhoods Team on 01724 275327.


The following advice has been given by Humberside Police.

living in your home

distraction burglars & rogue traders Distraction Burglars and Rogue Traders are a group of people who make false claims to steal from people. This can include claiming to be representing a company or charity to gain entry into your home before stealing items while you’re distracted or the practice of deliberately overcharging for unsatisfactory goods and/or services. Here’s how you can avoid becoming a victim: LOCK, STOP, CHAIN and CHECK When someone calls at your door follow these simple steps to help protect yourself and your home from bogus callers. LOCK: Keep your front and back doors locked at all times, even when at home. STOP: Before you answer, stop and think if you are expecting anyone. Check that you have locked any back doors and taken the key out. Look through the spy hole in your door, if you have one, or the window to see who it is.

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CHAIN: If you decide to open the door, put the door chain or bar on first. Keep the bar or chain on while you are talking to the person on the doorstep.

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living in your home

CHECK: If someone who looks official calls at your door, always do the following. Ask for and carefully check their identity card, even if they have a prearranged appointment (all genuine callers will carry one). Do they look like the person on the card? Is the name the same one as is on your appointment letter? Close the door while you do this. If you are not expecting them and they have not shown you an identity card, do not let them in until you have checked and double-checked that the caller is genuine. If you think the caller is genuine, but you would rather have a friend or relative with you, ask the caller to rearrange to a time when you are not on your own.

only let a caller in when you are absolutely sure that they are genuine. Genuine callers will always be happy to make an appointment to call and will carry an identity card with a photograph. They won’t mind waiting if you want to phone and confirm their identity or want to rearrange the appointment. If you are going to ring the company or organisation the caller claims to be from, don’t rely on a number provided by them, you could be ringing an accomplice of a bogus caller. More information can be found by visiting www.humberside.police.uk

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living in your home

anti-social behaviour, harassment & other criminal matters

Our Area Housing Teams and Tenancy Enforcement Team deal with anti-social behaviour, harassment and other civil and criminal matters. We work closely with our partners at the Police and the Council’s Neighbourhood Safety Team.

anti-social behaviour Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is anything which is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to others. This can be aggressive and threatening language and behaviour, violence, graffiti and vandalism and using a property or area to use or sell drugs or other illegal activities such as storing stolen goods, burglary and under age drinking. It also includes noise nuisance eg. loud parties, shouting, banging, excessive volume from TV’s, radio’s and stereos.

We know tackling bad behaviour is a top priority for you – it is for us too - which is why we work with lots of other agencies to make sure you have the support you need.

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We are very proud to have signed up to the Respect ASB Charter for Housing. This is a national scheme which sets out the standard of support people should expect from their landlord when dealing with anti-social behaviour. 

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living in your home

harassment Harassment is behaviour that is likely to intimidate, offend or harm people because of their race, ethnicity, gender, age, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, faith or belief. The difference between ASB and harassment is that harassment is intentional and is motivated by hatred or intolerance toward the victim. Your tenancy agreement gives more examples of do’s and don’ts. To report ASB or harassment you can ring us in confidence on 01724 279900 or report an issue through our website ongo.co.uk In an emergency or if a criminal act has taken place, you should report this to the police immediately.

hate crime Hate crime is when you’ve been abused due to your race, beliefs, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender or disability. You don’t have to tolerate it, report it. You can let the police know: Telephone: • Emergency - dial 999 • Hate Crime Reporting Line (24 hours) 0300 123 4283 • Hate Crime Co-ordinator 01482 220707 Text: 07772 867 343 Email: HateCrime@humberside.pnn.police.uk ongo.co.uk 32

Or our Customer Centre in Cole Street, Scunthorpe is a dedicated reporting centre for Hate Crime. If you are concerned about domestic abuse, sexual abuse or stalking there are lots of organisations who can help you. Visit saferneighbourhoods.net or in an emergency situation ring 999.


We offer a mediation service to resolve conflicts involving noise, property boundaries, low level Anti-social behaviour, bullying and harassment, environmental issues such as pets, car parking, unkempt gardens and issues involving young people.

living in your home

community mediation service

This is a voluntary process where someone from outside the situation helps you to explore and understand the differences you have with the other person. It’s the people involved, ie you and your neighbour for example who decides what’s going to happen next and the terms of an agreement, not the mediator. We use certified mediators who have been trained by Mediation UK. This is a free and impartial service. The mediator will meet with both parties separately to explain what’s going to happen and what the dispute is about. A joint meeting with all parties is then arranged to see if an agreement can be reached. Once agreed it is then written up and both parties sign it.

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living in your home

making alterations to your home You need our permission to make improvements to your home. You can do this by giving us a call on 01724 279900, coming into see us at our Customer Centre, on Cole Street, in Scunthorpe, or you can write to us at: Meridian House Normanby Road Scunthorpe DN15 8QZ We ask that you give us as much detail as you can of your plans. In some cases planning permission may be needed from the local council. If you’d like to add a satellite dish, garage, greenhouse or shed, you must check with the council first. If you’d like to park your car on a hard standing you’ll have to get permission from the highways department at the council as the kerb will need lowering if it isn’t already.

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It is your responsibility to make sure the alterations are carried out to a satisfactory standard and that when you move on from your home you leave it in a good condition. We may charge you to carry out any repairs needed after you have moved. You can decorate your home without asking for permission though. To find out more give us a ring or visit ongo.co.uk/north-lincolnshire-homes


We know pets are great additions to your family and we’re more than happy to support responsible owners. We have, however, a few rules to help you understand what’s acceptable to us and what’s not.

living in your home

keeping pets in your home

Before you get a pet, you need to get in touch with us to ask if it’s okay. Usually we’re happy to give the go-ahead for you to keep any of the following in your home: cats, dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, some reptiles, some insects, aquariums (depending how big it is), however there are a few pets that it isn’t ok to keep in any of our homes. This includes: • Any animals which is registered under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. You can get an up to date list of all animals under the Act at www.archive.defra.gov.uk • Dogs included in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. • Livestock or farm animals such as sheep, goats, pigs, cows, horses, ducks, cockerels or any other animals you might find on a farm.

If your pet causes damage to your home or a nuisance to your neighbours then we may take away your permissions to keep that pet. For more information visit ongo.co.uk

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You cannot keep a dogs or cats in flats or sheltered accommodation unless the property has its own front door with direct access outside to the ground floor and not a communal entrance.

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living in your home

our lettable standard Each time a home becomes empty we will carry out safety checks and make any repairs to make sure it meets our lettable standard. This simply says that all our homes must be clean and in a state of good repair before they can be let to a new tenant. Once you are living in your home we expect you to keep it clean and tidy, and that you carry out minor repairs yourselves and decorate it to a reasonable standard. On our website you will find some useful videos of how to maintain your home. Visit www.ongo.co.uk If there are repairs or you are not happy with the condition of your home when you move in, it’s important you let us know so we can put it right.

Don’t forget our Handy Van Service offers an affordable way to get odd jobs done in your home, such as gardening and decorating. For tenants we charge £10 per hour for the work. To book a appointment or to find out more give us a call on 01724 279900. ongo.co.uk 36


living in your home

finding the right home for you We have a range of homes across North Lincolnshire. We let all our homes through our lettings scheme, called Home Choice Lincs at www.homechoicelincs.org.uk Once registered with Home Choice Lincs you can place up to three bids a week on homes you are eligible for.

mutual exchange When you’re looking to move house you may wish to consider a mutual exchange. This allows tenants to swap their homes even if they are tenants with different housing associations or from a different local authority. It is usually two people or families who swap homes, however, it is possible for three or more tenants to be involved. Anyone considering a mutual exchange should visit www.homeswapper.co.uk to register their interest and see what homes are available. It is up to you to visit the home you’d like to swap for yours and make sure you are happy as you will be taking on that tenancy.

Come and talk to us if you’d like to consider a mutual exchange.

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Before you can take part in a mutual exchange you must have an assured tenancy, not have a court order against you, you must be up to date with rent payments and it must be the right size for your needs and you must pass a pre leaving inspection.

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living in your home

ending your tenancy If you wish to leave us and end your tenancy you must let us know 28 days before you’d like to move out and fill in a termination form. Once we know you are planning to move we will come and see you in your home and check to see if there are any repairs which need to be carried out or any re-decoration which may need doing before you leave. • You must carry out any work which we spot as your responsibility before you leave or you may be charged. • When you move out we ask you clear out all of your belongings including any rubbish and clean the property throughout. If we have to clean after you leave you will be charged. • Make sure you take meter readings for gas, electricity and water, let your supplier know you are leaving the address and also let us know who your suppliers are. • Make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked. • Make sure you’re up to date with your rent payments. • Hand in your keys, including any meter keys, in person to our Customer Centre, on Cole Street, in Scunthorpe.

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living in your home

• Please let us know what you’re new address is. • You’ll also have to let North Lincolnshire Council know you are moving for Council Tax and Housing Benefit purposes. • Arrange with the Post Office to have your mail re-directed to your new address. • Tell your telephone company and the TV Licensing Agency. • You must sign a tenancy termination form. If you abandon your home this can affect you in the future if trying to get a new home with us or another housing provider.

Ending a tenancy following death In the event of death, this doesn’t automatically end your tenancy. Visit ongo.co.uk/north-lincolnshire-homes for more information.

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Notes living in your home

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repairs to your home We share the responsibility for looking after and maintaining your home

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repairs to your home

who is responsible? We are responsible for keeping the basic structure and outside of your home in good repair, as well as maintaining some internal fixtures and fittings. We’re also responsible for central heating, water and the electricity in your home. You have responsibility for decorating your home, filling in minor cracks to your plaster, general maintenance inside the home such as replacing light bulbs, your wheelie bins and other refuse containers. Your Tenancy Agreement explains more of your responsibilities. If we carry out a repair which is your responsibility, either because you have asked us to or you haven’t done it yourself, then we will charge you for the work.

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If something does go wrong in your home, here’s how to report a repair. You can let us know by telephone, online or you can come in to our Customer Centre to see us. You can report repairs 24 hours a day on 01724 279900.

repairs to your home

reporting a repair

We need to know as much information about your repair or problems as possible so we know what needs to be done to correct it. We’ve tried to make our repairs process as simple as possible so each repair now falls into one of three time categories for when it must be fixed. So depending on the problem, we will repair it the same day you reported it, the next day or at an appointment which best suits you. Emergency repairs will be fixed on the same day they are reported. An emergency is a problem which could cause danger to your health and safety or could lead to serious damage to your home. Emergencies include things such as a total loss of electricity or water supply, leaking water or heating pipe, tank, cistern or toilet – where the leak cannot be controlled by isolation or other means, or insecure downstairs windows and doors. If we cannot fix the whole problem immediately we will make it safe and return as soon as we can. Urgent repairs will be carried out the next day. These are problems which could affect the comfort of your home, such as partial loss of electricity or water, blocked or leaking sewer stack or toilet, or a collapsed ceiling.

Sometimes damage can happen as a result of accidents, misuse or abuse. If any damage is caused in your home by you or a member of your family or a visitor then we may charge you to carry out the repair.

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All other repairs will be carried out at an appointment which best suits you. This could include repairing kitchen units, repairs to guttering or re-hanging doors.

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repairs to your home

asbestos Asbestos is the name given to a group of fiberous minerals found naturally. It’s stronger than steel and not affected by heat or chemicals which led to it being used in a lot building materials. It can be found in homes built before 2000. If in a good state of repair and left undisturbed asbestos is not a hazard to health. We have and are continuing to gather information through surveys, to monitor and manage the presence and condition of asbestos in all our homes. Asbestos is most commonly found in: Outside your home • In soffits and facia boards (boards around the edges of roofs) • Guttering and downpipes • Outlet pipes from fires and boilers • Roof tiles • Corrugated cement sheeting usually on sheds and garages

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repairs to your home

Inside your home • In textured coating (artex) usually fitted before 1990 • Fire stop panels (inside heating cupboard doors or near heat sources) • Ceiling and wall boards • Floor tiles (thermo plastic) • Toilet cisterns made from composite materials • Electrical mains fuse cupboards • Inset panels, fibre gaskets to gas fires or parkray type fires • Bath panels

If you have any concerns about asbestos or think something may contain it, do not carry out any structural repairs or improvements to your home without our permission. You can clean and do some basic decorating though. Any damage which may expose asbestos products should be reported to us immediately . We have skilled trades people, contractors and surveyors who are trained to recognise and work with Asbestos safely. Do not attempt to remove it yourself or place it in your wheelie bin. It must be disposed of safely at a licensed waste site. ongo.co.uk 45


repairs to your home

condensation & mould When it gets colder outside there is more of a chance of condensation and mould developing in your home. It is caused when warm air settles on cold surfaces, such as windows and walls, and becomes water. The water feed fungal bacteria that naturally exists in every home and this becomes mould. You can cut down on the chances of mould and condensation developing by: • Using an extractor fan in your kitchen and bathroom. • Keeping your bathroom door closed. • If you’re drying clothes inside, close the door of the room where they are and open the window. • Keeping your furniture away from the walls. • Keeping your house warm. • If you have rooms which are unheated, keeping them ventilated. The only lasting way to stop mould is by stopping condensation so if you see moisture appearing wipe it away with a dry cloth. If you do have mould in your home, wipe down your walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash and after treatment redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to prevent the mould coming back. There is a difference between condensation and damp.

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Damp is caused when water is coming in through the walls or roof or if there is a problem with the damp proof course on your home. For more information give us a ring, on 01724 279900 or visit our website ongo.co.uk


money matters All the info you need to know about paying your rent, welfare reform and some handy hints on saving money

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money matters

paying your rent & other charges They are several ways you can pay your rent. Online by visiting ongo.co.uk - make sure you sign up for an online account. Direct Debit which automatically pays your rent from your bank account on a set date. Swipe Card, you get one of these when you move in. It can be used with cash, or a credit or debit card, at any Paypoint or Post Office. If you lose your card or need a replacement give us a call. You can pay your rent over the phone with your credit or debit card, but please be aware any payment made by credit card will have an extra 2.25% added to your payment. We have a Financial Inclusion Team who are on hand to help you manage your finances. If you are having difficulty paying your rent, come and talk to us before the debt gets out of hand. We can help with budgets, offer advice on benefits and how to deal with your debt. If you have other debts, you may prefer to take some impartial advice. Helpful organisations include: • Citizens Advice Bureau • Consumer Credit Counselling Service

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• National Debtline

Remember if you don’t pay your rent it may lead to you losing your home. Call us straight away on 01724 279900 if you are worried. We are here to help.


If you think you may be entitled to Housing Benefit it’s important to make a claim as soon as possible.

money matters

If you are on a low income or are receiving benefits you could be entitled to receive Housing Benefit. It’s up to North Lincolnshire Council to assess your needs, but we are more than happy to help you with benefit advice, help you fill in forms and sort out any problems.

You will be asked to provide your National Insurance number, proof of your identity, proof of your income and evidence of any savings you may have, including shares or bonds. Once you are claiming Housing Benefit, it’s important to tell North Lincolnshire Council if any of your circumstances change, such as if someone moves in or out of your home, or you start to earn more money. You also need to be aware of Universal Credit which replaces six existing benefits including Housing Benefit into one single monthly payment. By 2017 it will be available across the UK so you need to be prepared. It will be paid into your bank, building society or Post Office account and it will be up to you to make sure your rent is paid on time. Our Financial Inclusion Team can offer more advice or you can visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit The rent you pay is calculated using guidance from the Government and every housing association and council must follow the same rules. Each year you will get a statement explaining payments made to your rent account and we’ll tell you in writing about any rent or service charge increases which take place in April.

Some tenants who receive special services pay a service charge for things like communal heating systems, or support from a Support Officer.

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You can check your rent balance anytime by setting up an online tenant account at www.ongo.co.uk

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money matters

welfare reform If you receive benefits, the Government has been making changes to the benefits you are able to claim and has also put a cap on how much you can receive. Here’s what you need to know.

universal credit Universal Credit is replacing six existing benefits including Housing Benefit into one single monthly payment. By 2017 it will be available across the UK so you need to be prepared. It will be paid into your bank, building society or Post Office account and it will be up to you to make sure your rent is paid on time. Our Financial Inclusion Team can offer more advice. Call them on 01724 279900 or visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit

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All current and future working age tenants renting homes from a registered social landlord now only receive Housing Benefit based on the needs of the household. You will have to pay the rest of the rent yourself.

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under occupancy rules

The rules now allow for one bedroom for each person or couple living as part of the household with the following exceptions: • Children under 16 of the same gender are expected to share. • Children under 10 are expected to share, regardless of gender. • A disabled tenant or partner who needs a non-resident overnight carer will be allowed an extra room. • Foster carers will be allowed one additional room, so long as they have fostered a child or become an approved foster carer within the last 52 weeks. • Parents with adult children in the armed forces (or reservists) who normally live with them will be able to retain the bedroom for that adult child when they are deployed on operations. • A disabled child can have a room if they are unable to share a bedroom. Tenants with one extra bedroom will see a 14% reduction applied to their eligible Housing Benefit and those with two or more extra bedrooms will see a 25% reduction applied.

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We are here to help and advise you if you have any questions or worries call us on 01724 279900.

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money matters

the benefits cap There’s now a limit on how much benefit a working-age household can get. If you live on your own with no dependent children it’s £350 a week. For couples or anyone with dependent children its £500 a week. It doesn’t matter how many children you have. The cap covers these benefits: • Employment and Support Allowance (unless you just get the ‘support’ part) • Jobseekers Allowance • Housing Benefit • Income Support • Guardian’s Allowance • Widowed Mother’s Allowance or Widowed Parent’s Allowance • Child Benefit • Child Tax Credit • Incapacity Benefit • Maternity Allowance • Widow’s Pension • Bereavement Allowance • Carer’s Allowance • Severe Disablement Allowance The benefits cap does NOT apply if you or your partner is of ‘pension age’.

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The cap won’t apply for 39 weeks from the date of claiming if you or your partner had been working continuously for the previous 12 months and lost a job through no fault of your own. Find out more at www.gov.uk/benefit-cap

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If you’re 16 to 64 and get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) you will be assessed to receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP). • From October 2013 people on fixed-period DLA will be re-assessed for PIP.

money matters

personal independence payment

• From October 2015 everyone getting DLA will be re-assessed. Find out more at www.gov.uk/pip

discretionary housing payments DHP’s may be given to you on top of your other benefits to give you some extra help towards housing costs, such as paying for an extra bedroom. These are only for the short term, but help cover the costs whilst you are looking for a new home. You can apply for DHP’s from North Lincolnshire Council. We can help you do this too. We have a Financial Inclusion Team who can offer advice on budgeting, working out what benefits you are entitled too. For more information telephone 01724 279900 or visit ongo.co.uk

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money advice money matters

Struggling to get to the end of the week with money left in your purse or wallet? Looking to save some money or finding it difficult to pay your rent. Help is at hand from our Financial Inclusion Team. They can provide practical advice on budgeting, benefits and can help you claim what you are entitled to.

useful tips We are all looking to save money in any way we can. Here are some helpful things we’ve come across to help keep some more cash in the bank.

cutting energy bills My Home Energy Switch is an energy supply service from the National Housing Federation to help you reduce your energy bills. This service is completely free and impartial and on average customers save £101.35 per year on their energy bills.

life hacks The internet is filled with lots of great tips and advice. Just type “life hacks” into your favourite search engine to bring up a wealth of simple but clever ideas to save money and make life that little bit better using everyday resources.

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money matters

affordable warmth A lot of assumptions are still made about fuel poverty. People think only older people are affected or that people know how to get help, but we know this isn’t the case. All types of households are vulnerable which is why we’ve teamed up with affordable warmth experts from the Neighbourhood Energy Champions, a national charity set up to cut fuel poverty. We also have a number of our staff trained as Neighbourhood Energy Champions. We can now assess if you are at risk and offer suitable advice to help you and your family. If you’d like to know more or to arrange a visit from one of our Neighbourhood Energy Champions give us a ring. Here’s some advice to get you started.

energy saving advice Keeping warm doesn’t have to cost the Earth. By making sure you are energy efficient, you should be able to stay warm in your home, keeping the heat up but the costs down.

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money matters

top 10 tips for energy efficiency

All of the following tips might not sound like they are directly related to keeping warm but the money you could save by carrying out some of these tips can be spent on other things including warmer clothing and heating costs.

turn your thermostat down Reducing your room temperature by 1°C could cut your heating bills by up to 10% and typically saves around £50 per year.

check your boiler Your cylinder thermostat should be set at 60°C/140°F.

close your curtains At dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows and check for draughts around windows and doors.

turn off the lights When you leave a room, flick that switch or turn down that dimmer.

don’t leave appliances on standby Remember to consider laptops and mobile phones which may be on charge unnecessarily. ongo.co.uk 56

try not to part-load Consider that a full load in a washing machine, dishwasher or tumble drier uses less energy than two half loads.


If you are using an electric kettle, make sure the elements are covered with water though.

fix leaking taps

money matters

only boil as much water as you need to

A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week can waste enough hot water to fill half a bath.

use energy saving light bulbs They last up to 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs, and using one can save you at least £45 over the lifetime of the bulb.

do a home energy check Walk around your home and work out where you can make the best savings.

heating Heating your home typically accounts for around 60% of your total energy bill every year. However, there are a number of things that can be done to reduce the energy you use for heating your home, reducing both your bills and carbon footprint. • Consider putting on an extra layer of clothing before turning up the heating. • Don’t open windows if it gets too hot, adjust the thermostat instead. ongo.co.uk

• Set the heating to switch off just before you go to bed and on again just before you wake up in the morning to save energy.

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Notes money matters

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supporting you For when you need a little extra help.

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supporting you

support services We’re here to support you in your home and offer you help and advice so you can maintain your independence and stay in your home for as long as you wish. Our Tenancy Support Team can offer you support whatever your age and needs. They can: • Maintain your independence and reduce the chances of hospital admittance or the need to go into a nursing home. • Maintain your home by providing you with support and guidance on how to pay your rent, declutter and clear your property and get on with your neighbours. • Signpost you to specialist agencies and support you to engage with these agencies in order to achieve a positive outcome. • Help you set up your utility bills and budgets when you first move into your home. • Assist you in finding employment or attending training courses or college. • Reduce social isolation. These are just some examples of what we can help you to achieve. As well as providing general tenancy support, specialist support is available to the following: • Young people aged between 16 and 25

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• People over the age of 55 • Members of the Black and Minority Ethnic Community (BME) • Those who have to leave their home due to an emergency i.e flood, fire


Your Support Officer will create a support plan with you, which sets out what you would like to achieve and how to go about this. Next it’s a support agreement which outlines the level of support we can offer and the final stage is the support provision where we will provide you with the help and support to achieve your goals.

supporting you

We can offer you choice and flexibility in the service that you receive through a range of support options tailored to meet your needs.

Your Support Officer is there to help you live as independantly as you can. The Tenancy Support Team do not offer personal care such as bathing, cleaning, cooking, shopping or collecting prescriptions. Nor can we handle your finances, have any involvement with wills, accept gifts, administer medication or lift or move you. If you need a little extra support give the Tenancy Support Team a ring on 01724 279900

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supporting you

sheltered and retirement housing schemes Sheltered Housing is accommodation especially for people over the age of 60 and Retirement Housing is for people over the age of 50. However sometimes there can be an exception due to special needs. The best thing to do is get in touch with us and have a chat about what’s on offer. The schemes offer bungalows or flats and are all either on the ground or first floor. You get your own bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living area. There are communal areas for you to share with your neighbours such as lounge areas which are fitted with state of the art entertainment systems as well as catering facilities. Some schemes have a scooter store, hairdressing and therapy rooms and on-site laundry facility. All schemes have computers located within the shared lounges and we can help you to learn how to use these.

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Sheltered Housing (over 60’s) • Broadlands House, Bottesford • Horsefair Paddock, Brigg • Ancholme Gardens, Brigg • Chatterton Cresent, Scunthorpe • Lincoln Court, Ashby • Victoria House Barton

supporting you

We have sheltered and retirement housing schemes located in the following area’s:

Retirement Housing (over 50’s) • Martins Close, Barrow • Wells Court, Broughton • School Close, Epworth • Albion Grove, Epworth • Greenfields, Goxhill • Blackmoor Road and Mowbray Close, Haxey • Day Close, Keadby • Wold Court, Wrawby There are lots of benefits to living in a Sheltered or Retirement scheme. There are often weekly social activities ranging from bingo and coffee mornings to exercise classes, craft sessions and fish and chip lunches. It also offers you security and peace of mind, knowing that you have many friends and neighbours who are close by to help out if you need it.

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We no longer have Resident Wardens within the schemes, we now tailor our support plans to each individual depending on how much support you might need.

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supporting you

aids and adaptations

There are times when you need a little extra help and to make sure your home remains safe and suitable for you we allow aids and adaptations to be fitted. We work closely with North Lincolnshire Council and the Occupational Therapy service (OT) to look at what you need and make sure you can get the right equipment in place to help you live independently. There are two types of adaptations, minor and major. Minor adaptations include grab rails, lever taps and bath poles, which can make a big difference to your comfort. We usually carry out installations within four weeks of you asking, however it may be sooner if you are unable to leave hospital until the adaptation has been put in place. Major adaptations include stair lifts, showers, access ramps and steps. These cost more, however, between us, the council and OT we decide who will pay for the work. You may also be entitled to some grant funding to pay for the work. We aim to have major work carried out within six months, however, in some circumstances this can take longer. Each request for adaptations is assessed on its own merits so give us a ring to find out more. ongo.co.uk 64

To apply for an adaptation for your home please contact the Occupational Therapy Clinic on 01724 298206.


working together We want you to be part of everything we do. Here’s how you can get involved.

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working together

resident involvement Getting involved is an important way for you to get your views and needs heard, as well as giving you a chance to shape and influence decisions which affect the services we provide. This is where our Resident Involvement Team comes in. They are there to offer help, advice and support to any tenant who would like to work in partnership to help develop our services. There are lots of ways you can get involved with us, at a pace and level of your choosing: Residents’ Associations are a group of people living in a neighbourhood, area, block or street who want to improve the quality of life where they live. Tenants Inspectors are volunteers, who check, challenge and improve all aspects of the housing service through mystery shopping and inspections. The Sheltered Housing Panel is a group of people who live in our sheltered housing schemes who come together to discuss common issues. Plain Language Champions are residents who read information we send out in leaflets, letters and policies make sure we are using plain language, not using jargon and these words are easily understood by all our customers.

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Armchair Champions are residents who contribute from the comfort of their own home. They look at specific content of any project or policy that is likely to impact on and affect our customers.


Neighbourhood Visits are when we invite local people to have a walkabout with your housing officer to highlight any local issues you may have.

working together

Focus Groups are small groups of volunteers who help us with particular topics. Members of North Lincolnshire Homes staff also sit on these groups. Examples include the Repairs Panel and the Regeneration and Development Panel.

The Leaseholder Panel is a way for our Leaseholders to get together to discuss any issues of common concern. Community Voice is the main constituted resident group which looks in depth at the way we provide services by actively helping to shape our policies, procedures and key strategies. The Scrutiny Panel is a group of residents who look at the way we provide our services. They carry out detailed investigations, highlight what we do well and offer ways to improve our services. We also offer free training sessions on lots of different topics so why not give one a go. Check out our events calendar at ongo.co.uk Anyone who would like to volunteer with us is given training and plenty of help and support so they can carry out their role successfully. We can help towards some of your transport, childcare and other expenses too. Come join our many volunteers who are already involved in improving our services. They make a significant difference and we’re sure you will too.

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For more information about how you can get involved give us a ring on 01724 298868, email resident.involvement@nlhomes.org.uk or visit ongo.co.uk

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working together

e-learning

We’ve created an e-learning website for you to use free of charge. It’s full of courses across a whole range of topics and we’re regularly adding more and more. You can learn about writing CV’s, interview techniques, how to use Microsoft office programmes such as Word or Powerpoint, effective writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, there’s also health and safety courses including manual handling as well as much more. At the end of each course you’ll get a certificate. You can access the courses via your desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Just visit ongo.co.uk to register your details. We’ll then email you a unique log in so you can get started. do it online Whilst you’re visiting our website don’t forget to register for your online account where you check your details, see your rent account, report repairs and tell us what you think about our services.

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Registered Address Meridian House • Normanby Road Scunthorpe • North Lincolnshire • DN15 8QZ

Customer Centre 15 - 19 Cole Street • Scunthorpe North Lincolnshire • DN15 6QY Telephone 01724 279900 Freephone 0800 032 63 63 www.ongo.co.uk/north-lincolnshire-homes


a guide to your home