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Winter 2016-17

The newsletter for Raven Housing Trust residents

New ONLINE service ‘My Raven’ coming soon! Raven is making a real effort to improve online services for residents and homeowners this year. Our priority has always been to use our resources more effectively, and focus on providing residents who need additional services, with the right level of support. Our aim is to provide services for residents 24/7 and 365 days a year as we launch our fully self-service online portal called “My Raven” which will make it easier to access information and make payments to us. In the second stage of the launch of “My Raven”, you will be able to view and change personal information, as well as look at your rent statements, pay your rent, raise concerns or enquiries, and raise then track repairs without picking up the phone. The self-service portal will be supported with a new website, which can be viewed on desktop, mobile and tablet devices. This will make viewing information,

making payments, and reporting repairs quicker and easier. Our focus is not only to improve our services online, as we are also enabling others who aren’t currently able to access the internet to have this choice. We have a team of digital champions who are on hand to provide assistance to ensure that support is provided for those who need help getting online.

What’s inside

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Raven Christmas events The Board visit Merrymeet

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You said, and we will... Taking control of your money

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Keeping you safe in your home


Estate Services Update

What is the Benefit Cap?


Raven Christmas events Court Lodge

Christmas at Court Lodge was well attended as always! Jonathan Higgs kicked things off with a few words followed by the fantastic Manorfield School choir who sang their hearts out. The children were rewarded with a visit from Santa, who gave out sweets and turned the Christmas light on. The children loved the snow machine!


There was a Christmas carol service organised by Raven, Redhill Baptist Church, and St Matthews Church followed by mince pies and hot drinks for all! The turnout was great, considering this was a first for Cromwell. Residents thoroughly enjoyed it, same again next year?

Manorfield School Choir


Graham Bick organised a Christmas breakfast karaoke extravaganza! We served 80 breakfasts to residents at Portland drive café, followed by karaoke next door to work off the calories. We received positive feedback from residents and a local councillor – Great fun had by all. We’re looking at funding for a similar event next year.

Marbles Way


There was a HUGE attendance at Marbles Way this Christmas! The event was organised by Merland Rise Church and Raven. There were craft stalls, face painters, and a visit from Santa who provided presents and turned on the lights. We gave out vouchers for chips, and posh hot chocolate – which went down a storm! The choir came down from Epsom Downs School to sing beautifully for everyone.

New job opportunities in Redhill Raven is working in partnership with Reigate & Banstead Council’s Regeneration team, East Surrey College, ESRA and Redhill Job Centre to support access to the new jobs created by the regeneration programme in Redhill. We’re offering training and support to help develop your skills to make you a stand out candidate for the upcoming vacancies. Current employers in the first stage we are working with are Sainsbury and Travelodge. Sainsbury will start recruiting locally around April 2017.

If you would like support to access these jobs when they come online please contact Julie Jacobs-Obodai – or call via customer services on 0300 123 3399.


My first week of work experience at Raven – by

Chloe Mandeville

During my first week of work experie nce at Raven, I’ve started to learn about how things work in the office. I’ve already lear nt so much about the company, social media, working in a team and important skills such as how to email and scan documents. Each task is a new experience! I’m benefiting from the independence and freedom of completing a task, as well as being taught everything I need to know along the way. Each day I’m doing somethi ng new, and expanding my range of skills in diff erent areas. Working in an office environment is very different to being at school, but it’s something I find interesting and I’m quickly gett ing used to it. I’m really enjoying my time so far at Raven and I hope to continue meeting new peo ple, as well as learning new skills to last me a lifet ime.

Raven Times | Winter 2016-17

0300 123 3399



Get involved and make a difference! We’re looking for volunteers to join two of our important resident groups. These groups provide us with feedback to help improve our services and make important business decisions. These roles could also help you gain important skills for employment. The first group we’re recruiting for is Falcon. Falcon is Raven’s strategic resident group, who work alongside The Board and senior management to focus on strategy, budget setting,

and decisions which affect Raven’s business plan. There are vacancies for one tenant and a homeowner (leaseholder or shared owner). The second group is Raven’s Scrutiny Panel, who are a group of residents that make sure Raven is providing the best services to its residents by reviewing these services on a regular basis. The Scrutiny Panel act as an honest group of friends to Raven, they investigate and scrutinise all services from an annual program and monitor

impact. The Panel also collects and examines evidence to make suggestions for improvements from a resident perspective. There are spaces for residents and homeowners to join. If you’re interested in joining Falcon or the Scrutiny Panel please contact the Resident Involvement Team on 0300 123 3399 or email

You said, and we will… The communities you live in are very important to you, and to us, which is why we are working hard to improve them. We carried out a project recently to investigate what the residents of Redhill and Merstham really think about where they live, and what issues they have in the community.

The issues residents have raised have been pulled together in a plan to deliver improvements in these areas. These improvements will be looked at again in 6 months, to see if they’ve made an impact.

You said…

We will…

Rubbish left in the area and general cleanliness of communal areas was poor.

Put up new signage and make improvements in Observatory Walk & Sincotts Road (Redhill West) to the bin areas. Improve the bin areas in Ketton Green, Hildenley, Radstock Way & Nailsworth Crescent (Merstham). Secure some bin areas with key codes in Nailsworth Crescent (Merstham) to prevent fly tipping. Improve signage on recycling for residents.

We need to improve the look of the communal areas.

Install new benches in Timperley Gardens & Colman Way (Redhill West). Propose work to improve communal garden and drying areas in Oxenbridge House (Redhill West). Install new benches in Malmstone Avenue/Mansfield Drive & Ketton Green/ Hidenley Close (Merstham). Plant hedgerow, trees or wildflower plots in (Merstham) & Colman Way/The Tannery (Redhill West).

There are problems with dog fouling.

Encourage residents to clear up after their dogs (Merstham).

We need play areas for children to use.

Consult with the residents on a proposal for a Multi Games Area in the Flowers Estate (Redhill West). Request further improvements for Radstock Way & the boundary with Merstham & Furzefield Wood with Surrey Wildlife Trust (Merstham). Investigate the potential of a Trim Trail in Radstock Way (Merstham).

We need to improve communication with residents.

Publish a Community newsletter for Redhill West & Merstham.

Improve parking.

Review the UKPC controlled parking areas and provide resident permits.

Do you have more thoughts or issues about these neighbourhoods? Please let us know by calling our Resident Involvement Team on 0300 123 3399 or emailing

Raven Times | Winter 2016-17



Living well – Raven’s homes and services for the elderly Raven is a provider of sheltered housing in Redhill, Reigate, Earlswood, Merstham, Banstead and Tadworth. We can provide mixed accommodation types for those over 55. This includes Bungalows, one bed and two bed flats. We have a wide range homes to suit your needs.

Sheltered Housing – what it’s not Sheltered Housing is definitely not the same as a nursing or care home. You don’t need to take advantage of all the services on offer if they aren’t right for you. We work with our residents to arrange and provide a wide range of social activities at schemes including: IT classes, darts, pool, breakfast clubs and live music events.

What if you don’t want to move? Try our ‘SOS’ service

We also provide a service called SOS (sheltered outreach support). We can arrange to call you or visit your home. You don’t need to be a Raven resident to apply! If you want to join in with any of the events going on at your local sheltered scheme, we can help you. The SOS service is not about moving you from your home to a care home.


For more information please call 0300 123 3399 or email

Keeping you safe in your home carry out a number of important tests, servicing We want to keep all residents safe in their homes, which is why we and inspections on a regular basis. All electrical systems are required to be tested and inspected every 5 years to make sure they are safe. Gas appliances in your home need to be serviced and inspected every year. Every 5 years we need to inspect the whole of your property, we call this a ‘Stock Condition Survey’. This includes kitchens, bathrooms, doors, windows and roofs. We treat our responsibilities very seriously, so it is vital that we gain access when we need to carry out these tests, before the anniversary of the date they were last tested. It is a legal requirement that this work is carried out, so the property is deemed safe. It also allows us to see the condition of boilers, in order to plan for a replacement. Booking an appointment is easy, as we are very flexible with resident appointments.

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We will make three attempts to book an gain access to your property. appointment with you, before we need to start the legal process to

Raven Times | Winter 2016-17

0300 123 3399


Estate Services Update Ground Maintenance

Burleys are working hard on our winter maintenance program. This includes: leaf clearing, edging borders between grass and paths, communal shrub beds, ensuring hedges are neat and tidy and making sure garage sites are up to standard.

Grass cutting coming soon

As it’s February, we’ll be recommencing grass cutting very soon; weather permitting. You will be able to view the schedule for your address by visiting Burleys Customer Zone at: Reminder: No grass will be collected; these will be left for all general need sites.

Nesting Season

The official nesting season is from 1st March – 31st July. During this period we will not be cutting any hedges.

Cleaning Team

Window Cleaning in Communal Areas

The Cleaning team is made up of 16 members of staff, who clean an amazing 368 stairwells every week. They’re always improving their cleaning services provided to residents and their homes. Recently they have made improvements in cost efficiency by using less fuel, reducing travel times, better usage of cleaning materials and equipment, and by demonstrating industry best practice.

Raven’s window cleaning contractor is ASF windows Ltd. They clean Raven’s communal windows every 3 months, including internal and external windows. The cleaning system they use is a reach pole system, with purified water which reduces streaks. Any information regarding window cleaning dates can be found on the communal notice boards.

Bins at Chavecroft Raven’s Neighbourhood Wardens are often requested to check on bins in communal areas which are overflowing or blocked because the council has failed to empty them. Whilst we are able to resolve this issue by removing items that the council won’t take away, we found out that the issue was often a broken bin. The cost to Raven to replace a large metal bin is £409, and a small plastic bin £359 from the council. The emptying of flats at Portland Drive left us with an opportunity to reuse the bins that were left. However, some needed new parts before they could go back into use. We partnered with Taylors to purchase

these new parts, and were able to restore these bins and bring them to Chavecroft. To date we’ve brought 28 bins back into service, making savings of £8525 and spending only £1636 for parts and servicing. This solution will result in £10,000 of savings over 6 months, and cleaner communities!

Raven Times | Winter 2016-17



The Board visit Merrymeet Sometimes, Raven’s Board members like to get out and about to see and understand the communities that we look after. Recently, members spent an afternoon finding out what different departments did at Raven, and they managed to squeeze in a whistle stop tour of Raven’s new local development sites. This included the Merrymeet site in Banstead, where the contactor W.Stirland are building 8 new homes for Shared Ownership sale. These homes are due to be finished in late spring, and will provide local people with an affordable way to get on the housing ladder. Prices range from £95,000 to £115,000 for a 25% share and most have already been reserved.

rien, Oshin Cassidy, David Gannicott, Left to right are: Board members Vic O’B resident board member Annelise Chair of Audit Committee Dawn Kenson, Tvergaard, and Julie Eade, Chair of Falcon

New homes for Horley and Horsham! We’re excited to announce that we have entered into a contract with National Housebuilder, Crest Nicholson to deliver 50 new high quality affordable homes at Kilnwood Vale, Horsham and Westvale Park, Horley. These homes are expected to be available from spring 2018. Kilnwood Vale will be Raven’s first scheme in Horsham and will provide 17 new apartments for Affordable Rent and a further 9 apartments for Shared Ownership sale. The 24 new homes at Westvale Park in Horley will be a mixture of 1 and 2 bed apartments with 2, 3, and 4 bedroom houses for social rent and Shared Ownership sale.

These schemes will provide much needed affordable housing to the local areas, whilst also offering an excellent opportunity for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder. We anticipate that demand for these homes will be high, if you’re interested you need be registered with Help to Buy For more information and to find out how to register your interest visit our website


The last sale at Tadorne in Tadworth January saw the final sale of our new Shared Ownership homes at Tadorne, Tadworth. Damien, Kerry and their young son Sidney took the keys to their new 2 bedroom home and are delighted to be the official new owners, having rented privately for over 3 years with very little opportunity to get a step on the property ladder. Raven have worked in partnership to deliver 33 new affordable homes with the housebuilder Croudace Homes which have been offered for both Shared Ownership and affordable rent. The new homes form part of the wider redevelopment of the former Merland Rise Recreation


Ground in Tadworth. The site has delivered new homes as well as the new Tadworth Leisure Centre.

Kerry told us “I love this house! It’s perfect for us”.

Raven Times | Winter 2016-17

0300 123 3399


Taking control of your money Changing Lives for the better is important for Raven. One of the ways we can do this is to support residents to be financially stronger. During the summer we worked with a small group of residents to help them receive housing benefit payments directly to their bank accounts, rather than having housing benefit being paid directly to us. This was really successful; residents gained greater control of their money and found it much easier to work out how much rent they needed to pay. Feedback was really positive and now we are planning to roll this out to everyone else. We appreciate that this may not be suitable for all our residents but it may be a true benefit to the majority. Your housing benefit will be paid directly to you from your Local Authority; all you need to do is pay your total rent and any arrears to us every 2 weeks to ensure you meet the terms of your contract with us, and avoid getting into arrears. We want to help you be financially stronger.

Payments in advance

Ways to Pay

Most of our residents pay in advance and it is important that all our residents do even if they receive housing benefit payments.

Did you know you can set up a direct debit for any day of the week? This can be weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

Without this income we’re unable to build more homes or provide services to you.

Just contact your Income Officer who can set this up with a quick phone call to them on 0300 123 3399.

Voluntary Right to Buy delayed With the first test of the voluntary Right to Buy complete, It was expected that the scheme would go live in April 2017. However, in the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that a further pilot would be undertaken to test the impact of the scheme on an entire region including portable discounts and replacement of properties - things that had not been tested in the first pilot. It is expected that the West Midlands will be the region selected. He announced that councils would not be expected to make any sales of high-value stock during 2017/18 – this is how the government plans to fund the discount on offer. This means the earliest Right to Buy scheme will go live is April 2018 but it could be later.

Raven Times | Winter 2016-17


If you want to keep up with the latest position, register for updates from the government:



What is the Benefit Cap? From December 2016, the cap on the weekly amount of benefit money that a single person can receive reduced from £350.00 per week to £257.69 (£296.35 in London). For couples (with or without children) and single people with children, the weekly amount of benefit that the household could receive reduced from £500.00 to £384.62 (or £442.31 in London). The Benefit Cap does not apply to households where the claimant or their partner is: • Over the pension age (65 for men and 62 ½ for women) • Entitled to disability allowance (DLA), personal independence payments (PIP) or the support component of the employment and support allowance (ESA) For those on Universal Credit (UC), the whole amount of their UC award will be reduced to make sure their benefits do not go over the relevant cap. For those receiving Housing Benefit (or any other means tested benefit), only their Housing Benefit will be reduced, even if their other benefits continue to exceed the cap. If you are affected by the cap and would like to talk to us about your options, you call 0300 123 2299 and speak to Raven’s Welfare Rights Adviser, Kim Farnes.


Raven online Follow us: @RavenHT RavenHousingTrust

• Working and entitled to working tax credit (or would be but for their earnings being too high or being entitled to Universal Credit as a worker instead) • Entitled to Carers Allowance or Guardian’s Allowance

£442 London

£442 London


£385 Rest of UK



Two parent family

Single parent family

Single person (no children)


Rest of UK

Rest of UK

New weekly benefit cap

Raven is recruiting... We’re recruiting! Find out more about working for Raven by visiting our careers page.

If you would like this newsletter reproduced in your own language, or in large print, Braille or as an audio CD, please tell us: Large Print: Call 0300 123 3399 Audio CD: Call 0300 123 3399 or email Português: Chamar +44 (0)300 123 3399 Español: Llamar + 44 (0)300 123 3399 Français: Appelez +44 (0)300 123 3399

Cantonese: +44 (0)300 123 3399 Arabic: +44 (0)300 123 3399 Hungarian: Magyar: hívja +44 (0)300 123 3399 számot

RavenTimes Winter 2016-17  

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