All of the articles you read in this newsletter can be found online at: www.orevalleyha.org.uk
SPRING 2018 ISSUE 68
Latest News Welcome Alan We would like to welcome Alan Ross to Ore Valley. Alan joined us in February 2018 and as our Cleaner/Caretaker will be responsible for keeping our offices clean & tidy and for maintaining our properties when they become void. We would like to wish Alan well in his new role. Rent First Our new Rent First campaign will be launching soon. The campaign aims to make all tenants aware of the extensive help and support available to them when it comes to paying their rent. It will also highlight that your home is at risk if you don't pay your rent, and that it's important that you talk to us if you are struggling to pay your rent as we can offer a range of support for tenants who are facing financial difficulties. For the launch of the campaign we will be producing Rent First information packs for our tenants. The packs will contain leaflets which detail what you need to know about paying your rent, what happens if you don't pay your rent and where to get help with paying your rent. Tenant Project Following on from the tenant's conference at the end of October 2017, we are excited to announce that plans to set up a tenant's project this year are well underway! This is a new idea for the Association and with tenants at the forefront of the project we can't wait to see how this project develops. What's next? Well, we need you! If you are interested in learning new skills, want to meet new people in your area, or simply want to find out more then get in touch. Call us on 01592 721 917 Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm, or drop us an email at email@example.com World Autism Awareness Week Each year, in the week leading up to World Autism Awareness Day, The National Autistic Society encourage the public to take part in World Autism Awareness Week â€“ a full seven days where schools, workplaces and individuals, their families and friends all over the UK are taking part in activities to raise money and awareness for The National Autistic Society. World Autism Awareness Week runs from 26 March â€“ 2 April 2018, during this week the Ore Valley team will be showing our support for the cause by wearing purple and pink and raising money through an office bake-off event. If you would like to find out more about World Autism Awareness and ideas on how you can get involved visit The National Autistic Society website at www.autism.org.uk
Contents Latest News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Improvements To Cardenden Office . . . . . . . . . . 4 Community Saving With Credit Unions . . . . . . . . . 5 Dysart MMR Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Our Power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Rent Increase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Universal Credit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Drop In To Auchterderran Hall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Community Growing Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Garden Maintenance Scheme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Improvements To Cardenden Office Work commenced at the start of the year to modify the reception and public space in our office in Cardenden. This will result in improved facilities for visitors to both Ore Valley and Fife Council. We expect the work to be finished in early March. The improved space will include better and additional confidential meeting spaces for use with our tenants. We will also be providing space for up to three public access internet points, which will be available during our normal office hours on a free to use basis. We intend to develop training events for those who struggle with access to digital services available through the internet. In addition we will be using our larger meeting room to run a range of more informal events for our tenants and others within the community, as well as making the room available to book by community groups and others who need a fairly flexible space to meet. The improvment works were almost complete as the Spring Newsletter went to print, below you can see some photos showing the work as it progressed and an artist impression of what it will look like when fully completed.
Above: Work in progress on the new reception area.
Below: What the finished area will look like.
Community Saving With Credit Unions Credit Unions are community based savings and loan providers. They are there to provide a financial community with all members sharing a common bond. Credit unions are owned by the people who use their services, and not by external shareholders or investors. So the emphasis is always on providing the best service to members – not maximising profits. All credit unions offer savings accounts and loans and some offer other services such as Christmas savings accounts, prepaid debit cards, cash ISAs and even mortgages. Credit unions encourage all their members to save and usually offer a variety of ways to pay money in to your account ranging from direct payroll deduction to cash payments at local offices. As the credit union’s only shareholders, a successful year for the credit union will see members receive a dividend on their savings. You don't need to worry about the security of the money you save in a credit union, all deposits in a credit union are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to the value of £85,000 per person – exactly the same level of protection as savings in a bank or building society. What is a credit union? A credit union is a financial co-operative owned and controlled by its members. Each credit union is run only to benefit its members, all of whom share a common bond. What is a common bond? Every member of a credit union must share something in common – this is known as a common bond. This bond varies for each credit union. The bond could, for example, be living or working in the same area or working for the same employer. What makes a credit union different? As credit unions are co-operatives, the people who use the credit union also own the credit union and each member has an equal say in the running of their credit union. How do credit unions work? Members make regular savings, these savings form a common pool of money from which loans are issued to members. The interest charged on loans is the credit union's main income. Once the operating costs of the credit union have been deducted, money is returned to members in the form of a dividend. Local Credit Unions: Kingdom Credit Union - www.kingdomcu.co.uk Common Bond: People who live or work in Fife 01592 758596 or 01592 714888 Benarty and Lochgelly Credit Union Limited Common Bond: People who live in Benarty or Lochgelly 01592 868800 Cardenden & Kinglassie Credit Union Limited Common Bond: People who live in Cardenden or Kinglassie 01592 722937 Capital Credit Union - www.capitalcreditunion.com Common bond: People who live or work in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Scottish Borders, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Fife, Angus and Dundee 0131 2259901
Dysart MMR Development Ore Valley Enterprises are now inviting applications for our exciting new Mid-Market Development at Quality Street, Dysart. This development is a mix of 6 x 1 bedroom and 15 x 2 bedroom flats. Carpets and vinyl floor coverings are provided together with a freestanding cooker. The development is due for handover soon and we are expecting tenancies to start mid April 2018. Applications for Quality Street and our other Mid Market Rent properties can be made via our online application form at www.orevalleyha.org.uk/find-a-mmr-home Pictured below: the Quality Street development as work nears completion.
Our Power’s new +IMPACT tariff is all about putting energy in the hands of our customers. The more customers we have, the lower our prices are – for you and for others living in fuel poverty. Help yourselves, help others. Why switch to +IMPACT? •
+IMPACT aims to help the 4 million British households that are fuel poor and have to choose whether to HEAT or EAT.
Our electricity is super green and is ethically sourced – we know exactly where it comes from.
+IMPACT is competitively priced – on average customers will benefit from annual savings of around £80*, compared with the big six standard variable tariffs.
All money raised through +IMPACT won’t be handed to shareholders but will be reinvested in communities that need it most.
+IMPACT customers will be directly supporting our mission to make energy fairer.
What is +IMPACT? Our Power is on a mission to bring equality to the UK energy market. As you read these words, around 4 million people in the UK will be living in fuel poverty and will regularly have to decide whether to HEAT or EAT. We don’t think this is fair, so we have introduced our +IMPACT tariff. As well as being super-green and cheaper than most Big 6 tariffs, +IMPACT will help keep the cost of energy down for families on low incomes or living in fuel poverty. We are putting the power in your hands For every customer that switches to +IMPACT, Our Power can offer an affordable tariff for a lower income or fuel-poor household to help them heat their home for an extra 54 days.**
*based on +IMPACT dual fuel rate with a consumption of 3100kwh electric and 12000kwh gas **based on the average saving in days that could be generated for direct debit and pre pay customers currently paying for gas on a big six standard variable tariff (54 days)
Rent Increase Following our Rent Consultation in December, and after careful consideration of our budget for 2018/19 the Board have decided to increase rents by 4%. Due to our ongoing rent restructure this represents an overall increase in our rental income of 3.45%. Providing good quality homes for ‘affordable rent’ is our core purpose. The rent you pay is our main source of income, and this allows us to maintain, repair and improve our existing homes and build new ones. We also deliver housing services for our tenants and housing applicants, repay loans, pay staff and maintain our offices. While most of our income comes from the rents we receive, we do recognise that for the majority of our tenants the rent you pay will be your main household cost. For this reason we need to be confident the rents we are charging are set at a level that allows us to continue to provide viable services, while at the same time making sure that our tenants’ who are on a ‘moderate income’ can afford to keep paying their full rent. Feedback from our Rent Consultation did highlight concerns about rent increasing by more than inflation while on average earnings continue to increase below inflation, and a small number of tenants (13) told us that they were opposed to any further increase. Traditionally we have tracked our increases to November RPI plus 1% which this year would have resulted in an overall increase of 4.9%, compared to the overall increase we will implement of 3.45%. When considering the options available to them the Board decided on an increase of 4%, taking account of the need for us to be able to continue operating as an effective and improving social landlord, while still providing our tenants with affordable rents. This year the majority of our rents will increase within a range of £2.00 - £3.50 per week and a cap has been applied to make sure that no ones rent will increase by more than £5.00 per week. We are aware that over the next year the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) will continue to have a strong focus on Rent Affordability, and with this in mind we will be working with our Estate Management Group to review our affordability and look at how we are performing in this area compared to other social landlords in Fife and across Scotland. If you have any questions about your rent increase, or if you would like to join our Estate Management Group, please call us on 01592 721 917 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly - or twice a month if you specifically request this. You can use the housing amount to help pay your rent and you need to pay rent directly to Ore Valley Housing Association. The amount you get may not cover all of your rent. You’ll usually get a lower amount for your housing costs if you: • have more bedrooms than you need for your household • have a non-dependant adult living with you. A non-dependant is someone like an adult son or daughter, or a relative. You can ask for your rent to paid direct to us, but in all cases your first payment will be paid to you, and you must contact us to confirm how you would prefer to make your rent payments. What you need to apply • • • • • • •
your bank, building society or credit union account details an email address your National Insurance number information about your housing, for example who is your landlord and how much rent you pay details of your income, for example payslips details of savings you may have details of how much you pay for childcare if you’re applying for help with childcare costs.
If you don’t provide the right information when you apply it might affect when you get paid or how much you get. Applications for Universal Credit must be done online. If you and your partner live together you have to apply as a couple. You don’t need to be married. After you apply, you must contact your local Jobcentre Plus within 7 days to make an appointment with a work coach. If you get into difficulty paying your rent Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) to have your rent paid directly to us. If you think this is the best option for you, please contact us as soon as you have made your application online. Get an advance on your first payment If you need help to pay your bills or cover other costs while you wait for your first Universal Credit payment, you can apply to get an advance. The amount you get could be some or all of your first estimated payment. You’ll still get some money on your first payment day. You pay the advance back from your Universal Credit payments over the following 12 months (or sooner). This means you’ll get less each month until it’s paid off. You won’t pay back more than the amount of your advance. Additional help with housing costs You may be able to get a reduction in your Council Tax. If you are in receipt of Universal Credit you must still make a separate application to Fife Council for Council Tax Reduction. The help you get depends on your circumstances, for example your income and if any children or adults live with you. You may also be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) if your Universal Credit payment isn’t enough to pay your rent. You will need to make an online claim to Fife Council for Discretionary Housing Payments if you are under-occupying your home.
Drop In To Auchterderran Hall A new weekly soup & sandwich drop in session is taking place at Auchterderran Church Hall. Hot Soup, a sandwich and tea/coffee is available every Tuesday from 11am - 1pm. The drop in sessions are available for all, whether you're looking for housing and benefit advice or just to have a chat and a catch up.
Community Growing Project Following on from initial discussions with council members, community groups and at recent events which Ore Valley Housing Association have held, it would seem that there is a great interest in 'mini growing sites' where members of the local community can grow and harvest fresh fruit and vegetables. The Ore Valley Community Growing Project aims to investigate this need further and look at the various options for community growing spaces. The next stage of the project is a small pilot in which some of our tenants will be given mini propogator kits to allow them to grow some vegetables from seed which will be planted out later in the year. If you are interested in becoming part of the project then contact Vicky Murdoch on: 01592 721 917 to discuss further.
Garden Maintenance Scheme Ore Valley Housing Association recognises that some tenants may not be able to maintain their garden or have family to help out. To assist tenants that are elderly or who have a disability in keeping their gardens tidy during the growing season we operate a garden maintenance scheme. Whilst the scheme is subsidised by the Association there is an annual cost to tenants wishing to participate in the garden maintenance programme which is currently £36, payable upon confirmation of acceptance to the scheme. Eligibility To participate in the garden maintenance scheme you should meet at least one of the following criteria: •
Be at least 60 years of age.
Have a disability that prevents you from maintaining your garden (supporting evidence will be required (e.g. entitlement to DLA, Attendance Allowance or other relevant benefit).
Have no other person within your household that can assist with maintaining your garden.
Applying for Assistance •
All tenants wishing to apply for assistance under the scheme will be required to complete an application form.
Where the application form indicates that the tenant is in receipt of a relevant benefit, supporting evidence will be required.
The application will be assessed and the tenant advised whether or not they have been accepted onto the scheme within two weeks of receipt of the application.
Once accepted onto the scheme, tenants will be expected to pay the full charge for the scheme. If they wish, they can pay by instalment; however the full amount must be paid within six weeks of their acceptance onto the scheme.
Where an application is being rejected, the reasons will be clearly explained to the tenant.
If you are interested in joining the garden maintenance scheme, please call us on 01592 721 917 or email email@example.com to request an application form.
The Useful Page FIFE COUNCIL Switchboard - 03451 55 00 00 Environmental Health - 03451 55 00 22 (rubbish collection, dog fouling etc.) Antisocial Behaviour - 03451 55 00 33 or call the police on 101 Fife Councilâ€™s Welfare Fund team - 0300 555 0265 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org ADVICE AND HELP National Grid - 0800 111 999 (if you smell gas) Scottish Water - 08000 778 778 (if you spot a water leak outside or for any issues with your water supply) NHS - 111 (for out-of-hours services including mental health services) Homeless Emergency Number (free) on 0800 028 6231 Samaritans - Call 116 123, email: email@example.com or visit www.samaritans.org Breathing Space - 0800 838587 Mental health & wellbeing helpline. Drinkline Scotland - 0800 7 314 314 Substance Misuse - 0800 587 5879 or www.knowthescore.info Adult Protection Phone Line - 01383 602200 Silverline (24hr helpline for older people) - 0800 4 70 80 90 Citizens Advice & Rights Fife - 0345 1400 095 (provides general advice) Step Change - 0800 138 1111 (debt advice charity providing impartial advice) Money Advice Scotland - 0141 572 0237 Fife Trading Standards - 01592 583141 Traveline Scotland - 0871 200 2233 or www.travelinescotland.com
ORE VALLEY ONLINE
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We will be closed on 30th March, 2nd April, 7th May, 1st & 4th June and 13th & 16th July 2018.
CONTACT DETAILS 114-116 Station Road Cardenden, Fife KY5 0BW Tel: 01592 721 917
If you need to report an emergency repair during this period, phone our office number on 01592 721 917 at any time, day or night, and follow the instructions given If you would like to see anything included in our newletters that isnâ€™t already you can phone us on 01592 721 917 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published on Mar 5, 2018