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Say Optima

MAY/ JUNE 2011

Optima’s magazine for residents

Inside

Housing families in flats. What’s your view? page 2

Tenant Satisfaction Survey page 3

See My Data page 3

Local offers launched at residents’ conference New parks for Woodview and Five Ways page 8


Welcome

The name of this mug is Colin Williams and I am the newest recruit to the Optima editorial group. I was born and lived in the Lee Bank area all of my life and witnessed its many changes and growth. I attended the original St Thomas School, that was situated opposite the peace gardens on Granville Street, and then moved to the present day St Thomas’. Some of my family still live in the area. I am the proud father of three sons- William, Lee and Joshua. My interests include writing poetry, football, martial arts and music which varies from Mario Lanza and Al Jolson to Slade, soul music and recently the excellent Adele and Elbow. I have volunteered my services so as to contribute creative ideas that will be solely for the benefit of this publication and hopefully therefore to all readers of it. The editorial group will be constantly looking to improve the service to you and with your help this will be achieved. Should you have any questions, qualms or views on this magazine then please feel free to use the suggestions box in the reception area of Optima’s offices or ring and ask for a member of the team. Thanks for reading. See ya around. Colin Williams and Will Hopkins, Editorial Group

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Housing families in flats What’s your view? Good quality homes for families to rent are in short supply in Birmingham and the number of families with children living in poor housing continues to grow. In the past Optima has not normally offered flats to families with children but, given the seriousness of the housing shortage in Birmingham, in future some flats will be offered to small families. We have no plans to move families with children into large tower blocks, as we believe these are fundamentally unsuitable for children. We do, however, plan to offer some flats in blocks of six storeys or less, to suitably sized families. We believe these flats would provide good homes which meet the needs of small families.

This means that a flat with two bedrooms, intended for three people, could be offered to a couple with one child. We are interested to hear what residents think of this change. If you have a view please contact Lesley Whitling on 0121 687 3102 or email lejw@optima.org.uk

It’s all change for housing officers Rupinder Bhambra and Rebecca Lancaster have left us to go on maternity leave. Replacing them are Frances Luke and Rita Ferguson. Whilst Alison Gilhespy remains with us, we are changing the estates she is responsible for. The new line-up is…

If you need to contact your housing officer call 0121 687 3133 or email housingteam@optima. org.uk

Estate

Housing Officer

Sentinels, Five Ways and Trinity House

Alison Gilhespy

Benmore, Woodview, Cotteridge and Hollies Croft

Frances Luke

Lee Bank

Rita Ferguson

Parking for Sentinels The council is offering residents car parking at reduced rates at Brunel Street and Pershore Street car parks with Brunel Street to remain

open 24 hours a day. To take advantage of the scheme, please apply for a parking permit application form from Birmingham City Council, Highways, 4th Floor, 1 Lancaster Circus, Birmingham B4 7DQ or email parking@birmingham.gov.uk


Make a difference today just by having your say! We conduct our satisfaction survey in stages over three years to help us get a picture of how residents feel about Optima each year rather than leaving issues to build up. The survey will be sent by Customer Service Network so your answers remain anonymous and we will only

see your survey form if you have a specific question that you want us to answer. If you haven’t had a survey within the last two years yours will be landing on your door mat from the middle of June. Without your feedback we can’t make changes or improvements and we also need to know if we are getting it right. So please take the time to fill in the form and return it to us. You don’t need a stamp to return it, just pop it in the envelope provided and post back. For those who live in one of our blocks with comments boxes on the ground

See My Data

floor, you can use these to return your form. Remember to use the Customer Service Network free post envelope, and then we will regularly check the boxes and post them on your behalf. Your views really do matter to us and at the same time you can help one of five local charities. For each returned form we will make a donation to a charity of your choice. A summary of the five charities you can choose from will be included with the survey form, so don’t forget to tick which charity you want. Go on, make a difference today by just having your say!

see the latest information about your tenancy

Garden Competition Spy You can now view up to date details about your rent account, repairs that you have ordered and any housing application that you might have made online. You can also tell us about any changes to your personal details or request new repairs with a point and click visual aid. To access these details you will need to be able to use the internet and have an email account. If you go to the Optima website, you will see a link to the See My Data page where you can register for secure access to your details. What you need to tell us to register ## Rent or leaseholder account reference number, which can be found on a rent statement or service charge statement

## address ## first and last names as held by Optima ## a telephone contact number ## date of birth ## National Insurance number ## email address.

If you have a joint tenancy, each tenant will need their own secure access setting up. Once you have registered your details, we will confirm your identity and send your log in details to the email address that you gave on the registration form. If you have any questions about this new service, contact Kevin Cassidy 0121 687 3166 or email kc@optima.org.uk

The garden competition spy will be in the area again this June on the lookout for beautiful gardens, containers and balconies. If you are proud of your garden and would like to enter the competition don’t let limited access to your garden make you miss out.  This especially includes the Five Ways estate as high balconies cannot be seen. All you have to do is contact James at Optima on 0121 687 3164 to arrange a suitable time to visit. It’s as simple as that. Good luck and happy growing! Don’t forget the best street or block category which could see your street, road or block winning a trip to the seaside.

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You can make the difference Challenge Optima Services (COS) – scrutiny here we come! There are many changes hitting the housing sector at the moment. One of these is the increasing role residents must play in working with their landlord to improve performance and deliver quality services to their diverse populations. In particular housing associations are being encouraged to develop a scrutiny role for residents.

Challenge Optima Services (COS) is a group of residents who review our services, look at performance management issues and raise any issues of concern. Recently this group attended training delivered by the Tenants’ Participatory and Advisory Service (TPAS) to learn about how to develop their skills of scrutiny further. Andy McGregor, from Clydesdale tower, first got involved with COS over 12 months ago. He commented: “I wanted to make sure that Optima deliver on their promises and I wanted to get the very best quality of service from our service providers. I really enjoyed the training and found it very enlightening.” Claire Parry, a new resident from Hudsons View in Cotteridge, is the newest member of COS. She was thrown in at the deep end and attended the training after only one meeting. She explained: “I was a bit anxious about it. It all felt really new, but I was made to feel very welcome by the other residents. I found the training

Claire Parry and Andy McGregor

Value For Money Incentive Scheme for Residents our residents, to put forward any ideas you may have. To thank you we will give up to £100 for any successful ideas we use. The amount will depend on the size of the saving. Please pick up this leaflet from our office or go to Optima launched the Value for Money Resident Incentive Scheme the “Getting Involved” section of our at the Residents’ Day on 26th March. website to download the information and fill in our online application form. We are looking at ways to improve and make the best use of our money Winners and their ideas will be featured and we would like to encourage you, in future editions of Say Optima!

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very informative. It hasn’t put me off – in fact I want to do more.” With the launch of the local offers, COS members have the responsibility of checking and monitoring that these promises are being delivered. Their findings will be reported in Say Optima! If you would like to know more about Optima’s scrutiny group (COS) please contact Jess Allan on 0121 687 3131 or ri@optima.org.uk

Spotlight on:

Mystery Shoppers By the time you read this our first group of Mystery Shoppers will have completed their training. They will soon be carrying out mystery shops and helping us to improve the quality of our customer service. We will keep you informed of their findings and our progress in later issues of Say Optima! If you are interested in finding out more about Mystery Shoppers or joining the next group please contact Jess Allan on 0121 687 3131 email: ri@optima.org.uk


Residents’ Day

Residents turned out in force for the conference in March

The event was hosted by Nic Bliss who champions residents’ involvement in the running of their homes and estates across the country. Nic went through the main changes facing the housing sector and benefits system. Residents then had the opportunity to have their questions answered. One question was about the idea of “Being part of the group planning this Residents’ Day has made me feel that residents really do get involved in what Optima do.” – Paul Parry, Hudsons View

fixed term tenancies to suit different people’s needs: “Who will define the length of tenancy?” Tenant Board member, Nasser Mugisha explained that: “At Optima, we are very keen to encourage sustainable communities where people care about their homes so we are not planning on using short-term tenancies as an option at all.” The event also saw the launch of local offers, and a Value for Money scheme for residents. See page four for details. Every household will have had a copy of the local offers delivered to their door. A longer document detailing exactly what people wanted, how we responded with the offers and how we will monitor each one is available on request from the

Members of the Question Time panel made up of Tenant Board members Joy Gayle and Nasser Mugisha, Councillor Carl Rice, Independent Board member Margaret Howard and Optima Chief Executive Simon Kimberley

Resident Involvement team, or through our website under the local offers section of the Getting Involved pages. The full set of questions that were put to the panel and their answers can be found under the Resident Involvement section of our website. If you don’t have access to the internet, contact us and we’ll send a copy of any document to you.

The event was organised by residents with the help of the Resident Involvement team.

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Housing Benefit Overpayments – Optima Can Help You What is an overpayment? An overpayment is caused when you have been paid more Housing Benefit than you are entitled to. This is usually because of a change in your circumstances that changed your entitlement to benefits. For example: ## an increase in wages or other income ## a change in your benefits ## a change in the people living in your household ## a change of address or under certain circumstances being away from your home.

Because of this, it is very important that you let the Benefit Service know if you have any changes in your circumstances. If you tell the Rent Team at Optima they will help you with any forms and help with providing information about your change.

How can there be an overpayment? I’m still entitled to benefit? Sometimes a change in circumstances will cause an overpayment because the Benefit Service doesn’t know that you still have entitlement. This is usually because they were not told fully of the change of your circumstances and have not received proof that you still have entitlement. An example of this could be changing from Job Seekers Allowance to Employment Support Allowance. The Job Centre will automatically tell the Benefit Service that one benefit has ended. The Benefit Service would then stop your Housing Benefit until they receive proof of your new benefit. However, the Job Centre will not automatically do this and it is up to you to provide proof of your new benefit. If

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the Benefit Service does not receive this they will eventually cancel your Housing Benefit claim. Any Housing Benefit that was paid for the weeks after the change occurred would then become an overpayment. The thing to remember is that you always have to show your entitlement to Housing Benefit.

What can I do about an overpayment if I had entitlement? If you are told that you have an overpayment, the first thing to do is to check the dates of the overpayment and look at what income you had at that time. For example, were you on Job Seekers Allowance or another benefit? Were you working but on a low income? Did you have no income at all? Were you temporarily absent from the country or from your home? Once you have confirmed what your circumstances were, you can write a letter to the Benefit Service asking that they reconsider the overpayment on the basis that you had underlying entitlement or that you had no or a low income. You will have to provide proof of any benefits or wages and bank statements to show no income. The Rent Team can help you with this.

How will the Benefit Service take this money back? What if I Can’t Afford to Pay? The Benefit Service will write to tell you if they have overpaid Housing Benefit. If you have checked the dates of the overpayment and were not entitled to Housing Benefit for that period, the overpayment will stand. They have 3 ways of recovering the overpaid amount: 1. They may send an invoice to you asking for you to pay this back. If you can’t

afford to pay this you will be able to make an arrangement with the Benefit Service to pay in instalments. If you are having difficulties with this, Optima can refer you to our Money Advisor, Margaret Weekes who will be able to help. 2. They may take the full amount of the overpayment from Optima, which means you will have to pay this back to Optima instead of the Benefit Service. Optima will ask you to pay this but will also allow you to pay in instalments, depending upon your income. If you already have rent arrears, we will ask that you pay these first then continue to pay to clear the overpayment. 3. If you are still receiving Housing Benefit, they may take back the overpayment in instalments from your ongoing Housing Benefit payments. This will leave a shortfall in the Housing Benefit paid toward your rent. You will need to make payments to Optima to cover the shortfall in your rent. At the moment the instalment amount is £9.90 per week but this will increase to £10.20 a week from 1st April 2011. However, you can write to the Benefit Service and ask that they reduce this amount. Optima can help with this. It’s very important that you speak to the Rent Team about your overpayment as you will need to make an arrangement to pay to avoid arrears. Please remember – The most important thing about an overpayment of Housing Benefit is not to ignore it! Remember, you may have entitlement which means the overpayment could be cancelled, or you can make arrangements to clear it to avoid debts with the City Council or Optima. Either way, the Rent Team can help! You can call us on 0121 687 3132 or come into the office.


Changes to your Housing Benefit Non Dependent Deductions, Housing and Council Tax Benefits Under 25 on I/S (IB and people in receipt of Pension Credits 25 or over on I/S/JSA (IB)

Housing Benefit

Council Tax Benefit

NIL

NIL

£9.40

NIL

18 and over and in work with gross weekly income of: Over £387.00

£60.60

£8.60

£310.00 - £386.99

£55.20

£7.20

£234.00 - £309.99

£48.45

£7.20

£180.00 - £ 233.99

£29.60

£5.70

£122.00 - £179.99

£21.55

£2.85

£9.40

£2.85

Under £122.00

Free and independent money advice The Money Advice Service is a free, confidential and independent service that can help you with: ## Budgeting advice ## A full benefit check ## Dealing with people you owe

money to.

Recent changes to the benefits system mean that the amount of Housing and Council Tax Benefit you receive may be reduced. This is due to an increase in the ‘non-dependant’ charges. If you have any person living with you over the age of 18, and they are not your partner, this change will affect you. A person over the age of 18 who you are no longer responsible for is called a non-dependant. A non-dependant charge is applied to every household, as these adults should be contributing to the cost of the rent, and this will be deducted from your Housing Benefits. (Exceptions may apply). This increase to the charges took place on 1st April. The tenant is responsible for paying the extra amounts, as it would affect your Rent and Council Tax. For further information contact your Housing Officer.

with Margaret Weekes

For more information or to book an appointment at the Optima office, (Tuesdays only) contact Margaret Weekes on 0121 687 3144. There is also a drop in surgery Thursdays 10.00 am to 1.00 pm, St Luke’s Church Centre, Great Colmore St, Lee Bank B15 2AT.

Student finance survival guide Get a copy of our guide to help you chart the choppy financial seas of student life. The Student Finance Survival Guide provides valuable information about what benefits you can or can’t claim whilst studying.

Get the guide and see what shortfalls you may have to make up when you’re a student. If you need any help you can contact our Income Recovery Team or Margaret Weekes, our independent money advisor. Details are on the back page.

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Greening our neighbourhoods

March saw the arrival of two new parks at Woodview and Five Ways estates. Optima’s Regeneration team worked with artist Jayne Murray to encourage local people to come up with ideas for Birmingham City Council’s Landscape Practice Group for the design of the park. We are grateful to Birmingham City Council for the hard work and effort that has gone into making the new parks a reality. We’d also like to thank all the residents, adults and children, staff and pupils from Woodview Primary School

Miss Lily’s Flower Shop

who helped to design the parks.      A range of fun family activities will mark the official opening of the parks on Friday 3rd June between 1pm and 4pm. Look out for more publicity nearer the time. There are more pictures of the parks on Facebook and Flickr. See the front page of Optima’s website www.optima.org.uk for links.

New homes

a unique poem for a special day Let me put your feelings and the words you want to express into poetry. For weddings, departed loved ones, special birthdays, anniversaries or just to say thank you or I love you to someone special.

We at Miss Lily’s Flower Shop, offer a quality FLOWERS, GIFTS and BALLOONS service for all SPECIAL occasions including: Weddings, Funerals, Birthdays, Charity Events, etc. Why not visit us at 155/157 Dudley Road and complete an application form for your LOYALTY CARD which gives you a 5% discount of all Miss Lily’s Flowers, Gifts and Balloons.

0121 454 4455 or 0776 665 1942 8

misslilysflowershop.com b4balloons.co.uk

The former Firebird Pub has been transformed, from this…..

To contact me for a consultation please call, Colin Williams on 07907 816726.

Give to me your thoughts to share I’ll help show loved ones that you care With pen and paper, heart and mind Truth in rhyme together we’ll find. Tell me of a love so true Of how you met and how it grew Of how they lived and how they died Who now wait on the other side. Words to comfort you in sadness Words to lift your heart with gladness Swear vows to god as hand in hand You both exchange those golden bands.

….to this. 30 homes have been built on the once derelict site, made up of 14 houses, 5 of which are HomeBuy or shared ownership properties and 16 apartments. Over on Woodview, Oakley Court is now finished and home to 24 apartments, a mix of social rent and intermediate market rent.

L earn to drive with MnM Driving School BSc Degree and Btec in Driving Science DSA Approved ADI DSA Registered Fleet Trainer IAM grade 1 Advance Driver

FREE online video tutorials as well as practical lessons Discounts for block booking and a further 10% discount for Optima residents

Call Mr Faisal Shafiq 07830 112698 mnmdrivingschool.co.uk


Don’t dump it Most residents are proud of living in our well maintained neighbourhoods. We work hard to achieve this but we also find that we’re spending a lot of time and money literally picking up after the minority of residents who abandon their unwanted rubbish. It’s also known as fly-tipping.

What is fly-tipping? It’s leaving household waste, furniture and garden waste around communal areas and outside blocks of flats. Some of the items left out by Optima residents include fridges, washing machines, sofas, mattresses and black bags of rubbish. Any resident who fly-tips is breaking their Tenancy Conditions. Dumped rubbish is also a fire hazard. Optima closely monitors fly-tipping across its estates. In the past, residents dumping rubbish have been identified by CCTV and

Jayne’s Creations Jayne’s Creations can provide you with a variety of fresh homemade cakes for any celebration such as weddings, a special birthday, Christmas, Easter, and christenings. I also offer a large range of novelty cakes.

% 07947 842959

jaynescreations@ hotmail.co.uk www.jaynescreations.co.uk

Phone the council to collect bulky rubbish

invoiced for the cost of removing the items.

These are the right ways to deal with your rubbish.

Residents of high-rise blocks Put your rubbish down the hoppers located on each floor. Place items of rubbish in small plastic bags. Please do not force larger items down the chute. The cost of unblocking the chutes is passed on to residents through the service charge. For buildings without hoppers Put your rubbish bags inside the bins on the ground floor. Please do not leave rubbish on the floor. Recycle Cardboard, paper, plastic bottles, glass and steel cans can be put in the recycling centres on the ground floor of high-rise blocks. Please do not leave rubbish next to the recycling bins.

BADRA

Flat News 

Large items of rubbish, for example furniture, large electrical appliances, mattresses 1. Ring Birmingham City Council on 0121 303 1112. Arrange an appointment for collection (up to six items will be collected free of charge). 2. Only put your items outside your address on the morning of collection. 3. Place a sticker or label on the item to indicate your address, and the date that the item is due to be collected by the council. Do not leave any large items in bin rooms of apartment blocks. If you do not get rid of your rubbish and unwanted items in the right way, action will be taken by Optima that could end up in you losing your home. You can also be prosecuted by the council under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. From the 1st April, Benmore Play project / the community flat is now being run by the Balsall Heath Forum. We greatly appreciate the funding they have secured to allow us to remain open for another year and thank them for their support.

Spare Time? The only back to backs now left in Birmingham are in Hurst Street and run by the National Trust who are keen to find local people to act as volunteers and help to run the scheme. To find out more contact Anita Shervington, Community Ambassador, Birmingham Back to Backs, 55-63 Hurst Street Birmingham B5 4TW tel 079009 86663 or visit www. nationaltrust.org.uk/volunteering

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Abseil Photo by Nicola Shilton

in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital Cleveland Tower resident, Adam Yosef, joined four friends in April for a charity abseil down the Mailbox building to help raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s Heart Appeal. To sponsor the team visit: www.justgiving.com/teams/ mailboxabseilers

Birmingham Lives

History Fair

Free entry, Sunday June 12th, at the Girl Guide’s Headquarters, Trefoil House, Brownsea Drive (between Blucher Street and Ellis Street off Holloway Head), B1 1QL. There’s a link to an online map on our events calendar. See the What’s On section of our website.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) Do you need information, advice or support with health matters? PALS is free, confidential and discreet, dedicated to improving NHS services – GPs, Dentists, Pharmacy, Opticians and so on. You are welcome to contact us if you have comments, concerns, complaints or would even

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Lee Bank to Attwood Green A new book by Ted Rudge and Keith Clenton traces the remarkable transformation of this Birmingham inner city area. Once known as Holloway Head then Bath Row the previous Lee Bank area is now part of a new district called Attwood Green named after Thomas Attwood, Birmingham’s first MP. No district of Birmingham has had so many name changes and major redevelopments as Lee Bank. The area once housed thousands of families living in a congestion of substandard Victorian working-class back-to-back and terraced houses together with industries, pubs and shops. Between 1950 and 1970 Lee Bank underwent major regeneration that

cleared the old housing and replaced them with maisonettes and tower blocks. At the beginning of the twentyfirst century the district began another redevelopment scheme which involved replacing most of the 1970s rebuild with new modern homes, hotels and green areas within the new Attwood Green district. Signed copies are available direct from Ted Rudge. Please ring 0121 744 5939 to order. The book is also available at most book shops.

Nubian Rainbow a new Black LGBT Group

Nubian Rainbow is an exciting new black LGBT social group based in Birmingham that has been set up to support the black LGBT community in the West Midlands region. The group successfully launched during this year’s LGBT history month with a dynamic event held at the Angel Bar situated in the heart of the gay village.

Management Committee Members

The group welcomes new members 18+. To find out more contact: 0121 446 1086 m: 07923 424 797,

email: info_nubian.rainbow@yahoo. co.uk and Facebook: NubianRainbow West Midlands

like to pay a compliment to NHS staff or services. PALS will help you to get questions answered and provide practical help to resolve difficulties. PALS is normally available Monday– Friday, 9 am–5 pm on 0121 255 0707. Email: pals@ hobtpct.nhs.uk or write to us at Heart of Birmingham Teaching PCT, Freepost NAT8162, Birmingham B16 9PA www.hobtpct.nhs.uk/pals

Spring Bank Holiday Weekend Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 May Birmingham’s gay village, in and around Hurst Street. www.birminghampride.com


Residents’ Associations Woodview RA Meets on the last Thursday of every month at Latimer Gardens, Spring Road. If you have any concerns the Chair will invite the appropriate professional to attend, for example a police officer, your housing officer or the local councillor. You can contact the Chair through Optima on 0121 687 3143.

Central Lee Bank RA Meets every third Thursday in the month at St Luke’s Church in Great Colmore St. Chair, Carol Woolley. Secretary, Margaret Millard. You can contact them through Optima on 0121 687 3143.

Benmore and District RA Meetings are held in the Community Flat at 2 Montreal House, Benmore Avenue. Please see local notice boards for information about meeting times and dates or call Dot McKenzie on 0121 446 4673.

Sentinels Residents’ Association Clydesdale Tower The Sentinels Residents Association holds quarterly meetings in the community centre on the ground floor. Please see the notice boards for the next meeting date. Residents can contact us through our post box outside the community centre or by email clydesdaleresidents@hotmail.co.uk, or by phone 07719466555. 

TRACT Tenant and Resident Association of Cleveland Tower March’s TRACT meeting gave Cleveland Tower residents an opportunity to find out more about the recent Optima Residents Day, which was attended by TRACT committee members and residents. Resident Involvement Officer Jess Allan shared updates on new local offers and value for money schemes. There was also heated discussion about a persistent odour in the lobby area of

the building and what action was being taken to deal with this to ensure a more pleasant living environment for tenants and residents. Optima’s Senior Surveyor Alan Hunter explained the rat infestation problem was the cause of the problem and was being dealt with as a priority. Also attending the meeting was PCSO Mark Whiteman who came to listen to and address local crime concerns and share updates on policing progress. He was joined by fellow officers PC M Mohammed and PC O Davis. Optima Housing Officer Rebecca Lancaster introduced her temporary replacement Alison Gilhespy, who will be attending meetings while Rebecca is on maternity leave. The next TRACT meeting will take place in the building’s community room at 7pm on Thursday 19th May, 2011. ‘TRACT - Cleveland Tower’ is on Facebook and this month will have a Twitter and Flickr profile too so you can find out the latest on what affects you.

Neighbourhood Advice and Information Service

What’s Happening at 2 Montreal House Your Community Flat

We’re Here to Help

If there’s anything we can do for you, call Dot, Blossom or Lucy on 0121 446 4673 or 07825 318073.

Wednesday Mornings are Coffee Mornings Come and have coffee and a chat. Open to those aged 50 and over. 10am to 1pm. Socialise, enjoy activities and workshops.

Thursday is Alcohol Awareness Day If you think you have a problem with the amount you drink you can come and talk to trained people about it and see what they can do to help. 10am – 1pm fortnightly.

Thursday Night is Bingo Night Come and have a game of bingo and socialise with others, 7pm – 9pm.

Friday is Job Club Birmingham City Council Neighbourhood Advice staff are available each Wednesday at Lillian De Lissa Children’s Centre. Visitors are seen on a first come, first served basis. They can help you: ## make sure you’re getting the benefit you’re entitled to ## with any housing issues or questions ## with any concerns about debt or coping with debt. They are available 9am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4pm. Venue: Lillian de Lissa Children’s Centre, Bellevue (off Bristol Rd / Pershore Rd) Benmore estate, B5 7LX.

Free professional help available with CVs, job search or just advice about finding work.

Benmore Play Project Benmore Play Project has vacancies for children to attend the after school club.  Mondays - Fridays 3.15 pm - 6 pm. Children are collected from school.  Activities on offer include arts, crafts, dance, drama, video games, computers and sports. Contact Lucy Cadden on 0121 446 4673 to book a place.

Computer Access For job search, writing CVs, cover letters and so on. Available daily 1.30pm – 2.30pm Bookings must be made for this service.

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Competition time

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This issue’s competition has a royal wedding theme. Please get your completed forms back to us by using either our freepost address, handing it into a member of staff, your scheme manager or use a comments box if your block has one. If you’re able to scan the finished puzzle and turn it into an electronic document, email it to gw@optima.org.uk.

How to contact Optima St Thomas House, 80 Bell Barn Road, Lee Bank, Birmingham B15 2AF Email General info@optima.org.uk Resident Involvement ri@optima.org.uk  Income Recovery IncomeRecoveryTeam@optima.org.uk Housing Officers Housingteam@optima.org.uk

Freepost Plus RRBH-BAAK-XCZA, Optima Community Association, St Thomas House, 80 Bell Barn Rd, Birmingham B15 2AF G H C F L M U Y S O P

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P Q Y A A F Y A Y A E O

H W I W Z D R N A C R C Y U D

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B C D L D H C W Y L Y V L M H J E O C C E B U K A E F

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C H P S X G W M C E L Q W N H Z D M V K W A A N C N A Q S E I

V B W U B T G N M D T M T G

E C R O B H W F U V J W P E K B Z C E E R Y M F Q J N J R O U T Y R N Z A T P V P B V X J D P

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P L U P R

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P N K K D W G B R R P R W F V E W D H E H S S E C N

Wedding Catherine William Royal

If you need an emergency repair or cleaning when our office is closed, please call 0845 601 1869. From mobiles, call 0207 540 9834.

Thank you to all those who contributed to this edition of “Say Optima!” For the July edition, please get your articles or ideas to me by 23rd May. Georgette Wright email gw@optima.org.uk or tel 0121 687 3163.

Last issue’s competition winner is Mr Andrews from Cleveland Tower.

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Spring Bank Holiday 30th and 31st May Staff training Thursday 23rd June from 12 noon

Deadline for articles

Closing date for entries

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May & June

Westminster Prince Princess Holiday

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R P S

Party Abbey

Office Opening Hours Monday – Thursday: 9.00am - 5.00pm Friday: 9.00am - 4.00pm Telephone Numbers Resident Involvement 0121 687 3131 / 3126 Money Advisor 0121 687 3144 Community Regeneration 0121 687 3143 General Enquiries 0121 687 3111 Housing Officers 0121 687 3133 Rents / Service Charges 0121 687 3132 Repairs 0121 687 3134 Right to Buy / Right to Acquire 0121 687 3122 Say Optima! 0121 687 3163 Wardens 0121 622 5232 Emergency Repairs / Cleaning 0845 601 1869 or from mobiles 0207 540 9834 (calls to this service are recorded)

If you have problems reading this magazine version of Say Optima! you can see a PDF version on our website. Go to www.optima.org.uk. Alternatively we can send you each issue by email as a Word document. Please contact Georgette Wright on 0121 687 3163 or email gw@optima.org.uk.

Reg Charity No 1074648 Ltd Company No 3681553 Tenant Services Authority No L4228

Printed using vegetable based inks.


Say Optima May 2011