Page 1

intouch ISSUE 70 | SPRING 2012 | FREE

The magazine for residents of Wales & West Housing

These are just some our heroes from last year’s Making a Difference Awards...

...who are your heroes in 2012? See page 24 for details of our 2012 Making a Difference Awards, the categories and how to enter. Or contact Sharon Buckley on 0800 052 2526 or email her on

Editor’s Letter | intouch | | 03



Dear All

Welcome to our new look In Touch. In fact, welcome to our new-look Wales & West Housing as you’ll probably have noticed that we have a smart new logo! Turn to page 5 to read more about how and why we have rebranded. Did you know that there are changes in the pipeline for some state benefits? To find out if you are likely to be affected – and where you can get advice and help if you need it – see Money Matters on pages 17 to 20. We’ve some great Spring gardening prizes up for grabs on page 4. And when you’ve finished reading In Touch, why not take a look at our new website? Go to and tell us what you think of it! We’re always pleased to hear from you. Warm regards Sarah Manners PR & Marketing Manager

Contact Us

Contents Drake’s Den WWH News and General info Planned Maintenance Anti Social Behaviour Going Green Development Update Residents Participation Money Matters Your Views and News Healthy Living Making a Difference Awards Charity Fundraising Your Views and News Birthdays and Anniversaries Help For Heroes Update

4 5 10 12 13 14 15 17 21 23 24 25 26 28 30

Did you know that you can now get more news and updates online? Follow us on twitter


intouch in other languages and formats If you would like a copy of this edition of In Touch in Welsh or in another language or format, for example in large print, please let us know and we will help you.

Wales & West Housing, 3 Alexandra Gate, Ffordd Pengam, Tremorfa, Cardiff CF24 2UD. Telephone: 0800 052 2526 | Text: 07788 310420 Email: | Website: Minicom: 0800 052 5205. You can also contact members of staff direct by their email. For example,

04 | | intouch | Drake’s Den


Search Gardening Prizes

to be WON Spring is all around us so try this fab flower word search to WIN PRIZES. Three great gardening prizes up for grabs: Gardening holdall with gloves, trowel & fork and watering can, Paint your own bird house and Paint your own flower pots. Complete the wordsearch and colour in the flowers then send it to me together with your name, age, address and contact details: Keri Jones, Wales & West Housing , 3 Alexandra Gate, Ffordd Pengam, Tremorfa, Cardiff. CF24 2UD. Competition open to 11yrs old and under. GOOD LUCK.

The Winners of the Harry Potter Word Search in the Winter edition are: Lucas Roberts, 6, Wrexham - Harry Potter Cards. Dylan Jones, 7½, Wrexham - Calendar. Owen Vyse, 8½, Wrexham - Calendar. Charlie Brown, 9, Cardiff - Book of Stickers. Bethan Davies, 14, Buckley - Harry Potter Watch.

News and General Information | intouch | | 05

rebranded! We’ve

You’ve probably noticed that your copy of In Touch looks a bit different from the last one we sent you. In Touch is still In Touch – however our logo – which shows that the bearer is a part of Wales & West Housing Association, has completely changed. Where before we had our old dark blue oval with the words Wales & West Housing Association in it, now you’ll see very different logo, or badge. It’s now a smart new lighter blue badge of a quite different shape – a house with a very proud Welsh dragon within it. The words on our badge have changed a little too. Now rather than using our formal full name – Wales & West Housing Association we are calling ourselves Wales & West Housing (although just in case you are wondering, at the heart of our business we are very much still a housing association – your housing association and one of the oldest, biggest and most experienced in Wales). So why have we done this? Well while we are still your landlord, committed to doing the very best we can for you and thousands of other people like you across Wales, in the past couple of

years we have changed a lot as a business and we want our badge to reflect that change. We set up Cambria Maintenance Services in the winter of 2010, which saw us take on a group structure. In other words we’re not just a housing association any more, we’re more than that.

Log on today! We’ve also got a brand new website! It’s brighter, fresher and we hope much easier for you to use (see page 7). Log on at and take a look today. And don’t forget to let us know what you think – just go to the Contact Us page.

06 | | intouch | News and General Information

Connect24 – another part of us For a while our Cambria team were driving around in plain white vans, but we realised they needed a ‘look’ and identity of their own. This then made us think about our own look and identity and we realised that while we as an organisation had changed a lot in the past 10 or so years, our old blue badge (which was first designed 10 years ago) just wasn’t able to show this.

Hundreds of you already use our emergency alarms and we get such good feedback from you that we now want to be able to offer this opportunity to lots more people. We’ve called this part of our business Connect24 and it has its own logo too. But don’t worry if you already have an emergency alarm with us – you don’t need to do anything and you will still get the same great standard of service for the same price.

So now we think that our light blue house with our proud Welsh dragon within it does just that – shows us for who we are today, shows what we do, what we stand for and what we’re aiming to become. Cambria’s blue mountains share the same look and feel, showing that we are all part of the same business family. Because at the end of the day it’s not about us, it’s about you and us aiming to do our best, and be the best we possibly can, for you. We hope you like it too!

Concept50+ And we’re also branding the services we provide for older people - this will be called Concept 50+.

News and General Information | intouch | | 07

This is what the homepage of our new website looks like. Please log on and tell us what you think of it – Or you can email us at

Now you can text us too! Most of us have a mobile phone and texting is usually cheap and easy. So we’ve decided to try out a new texting service so that you can use this method to tell us what you think. Our number is 07788 310420 and the cost of a text to us will be the same as you pay for all other texts you send. We really value all your comments, suggestions, ideas, enquiries, complaints and compliments because it’s through this sort of information that we can learn and continually improve. But don’t worry, if you don’t have a mobile phone, because you can still contact us by freephone, letter, email or in person.


08 | | intouch | News and General Information

Resident Satisfaction

Survey 2012 It’s that time of year again! Our Resident Satisfaction Survey (RSS) will be dropping through many of your letterboxes within the next month. Our RSS now takes place every year, with one third of all our households (approximately 2,700 households) being surveyed each year rather than all our households every three years which is what we used to do. We want your feedback to be up-to-date and so a survey each year will help to ensure that we are in a better position to react to the things that matter to you. And by doing it this way no-one will be asked to complete one of these surveys more than once over a three year period. So why do we carry out our Resident Satisfaction Survey? Well because your views and thoughts are extremely important to us so we take this survey very seriously. It’s your chance to tell us what you think about our services and how you think we are doing. • Are we delivering what matters to you? • Are we doing things right? • What can we do to improve?

We’re also interested in future services. Is there anything you’d like to see us do that we currently don’t provide? The survey will be carried out by consultants ARP Research and you can be reassured that any comments you make will be kept confidential.

As a thank you, all completed and returned surveys will automatically be entered into our free prize draw. So 15 minutes of your time could win you Argos vouchers worth £100 (1st prize), £75 2nd prize) and £50 (3rd prize). Finally, if you didn’t receive a Resident Satisfaction Survey last year, and don’t get one this year – don’t despair. You’ll definitely be getting one next year. Watch this space!

News and General Information | intouch | | 09

We’re the top not-for-profit firm in Wales Did you know that The Sunday Times Best Companies 2012 has recognised us as the top not-for -profit organisation in Wales. We were ranked 8th out of the top 100 best not-for-profit organisations to work for in the whole of the UK. And we were the only Welsh housing association to be awarded the top three stars award by Best Companies. Anne Hinchey, Chief Executive, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that we’ve been recognised as the top not-for-profit organisation in Wales, and, that we’ve made the top ten NFP organisations to work for in the UK. “And to have been awarded the highest rating of three stars is fantastic. “We pride ourselves on being a values-driven company – to be fair, open, supportive, efficient and responsible – to our staff as well as everyone with whom, and for whom, we work. “Last year we were 14th on the Sunday Times list with two stars, so to have made such significant progress within a year is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our wonderful staff.”

Annual Report and Financial Statements Each year we produce a report which looks back at our work and performance over the previous year. You can read our Annual Report and Financial Statements 2011 on our website at Or if you would like a hard copy please call the Chief Executive’s office and we will be happy to send you one.

Financial Viability Judgement In March 2012 the Welsh Government reviewed our finances to make sure that we have enough money to do what we say we are going to do. They approved our finances giving us a “pass”. This is the best possible result we could have had and confirms we are well resourced to meet current and future business and financial commitments. To read the Welsh Government’s report in full go to

10 | | intouch | News and General Information

Planned Maintenance 2012 These are the schemes that we plan to upgrade during April to September 2012 as part of our ongoing programme to comply with the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. We will write to you to let you know when the consultation meetings are so that you can choose your preferred colour choices where appropriate. You’ll also have the chance to ask any questions you may have about this process. Kitchens St Donats Close, Llantwit Major Dol Glas, Brecon Fosseway, Bronllys Cwrt Y Castell, Builth Wells Hill Court, Wrexham Llys Rhedyn, Wrexham Rhes Thomas, Bagillt Maes Clwyd, Rhyl Bathrooms The Uplands, Brecon Cradoc Close, Brecon

Llys Yr Onnen, Mountain Ash Llys Ben Bowen Thomas, Rhondda St Peters Court, Pentre St Clements Court, Pentwyn Ty Brynseion, Merthyr Tydfil Powell Road, Buckley Benjamin Place, Wrexham Clerc Y Mendy, Wrexham Please contact our contracts team if you have any questions: Mike Wellock Sean Gough Simon Legg Kate Soloman Peter Jenkins Lucy Simms Gemma Coleman

Commercial Manager Contracts Manager Contracts Manager Contracts Manager Contracts Manager Property Services Assistant Property Services Assistant

£ ££

Win £250 if you have your boiler serviced 1st time around Miss Rae of Wrexham was the lucky winner of PH Jones’ prize of £250 for this quarter. All you have to do to WIN is have your gas boiler serviced on the FIRST appointment we make for you, or

if you can give us at least 48 hours’ notice to postpone the visit. You will then be automatically entered into the FREE DRAW. It’s so easy and you can WIN a cheque for £250.

News and General Information | intouch | | 11

Our contractor partner GKR Maintenance have recently upgraded bathrooms at 100 of our properties in Brackla, Bridgend. Works included a new bath with overbath mixer shower, wash hand basin, separate toilet, tiling around the shower and new flooring. Energy efficient innovations include the use of new-style fans to tackle condensation and mixer showers run off combination boilers, which are more efficient than electric showers.

My new bathroom

is beautiful

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more.” This was the reaction of Mrs Susan Mostyn of Pen Onnen in Brackla, Bridgend, after a team from our contractor partners GKR Maintenance carried out a bathroom upgrade for us. “The workmen were brilliant, always clean and tidy and the standard of workmanship was first class, nothing was too much trouble for them,” said Mrs Mostyn.

“We were kept informed on a daily basis by the team leader and operatives of what was happening.

“We also felt comfortable having them in our home which is important especially if you have to go out. I felt that I could trust them 100%.

“The shower has made such a difference to us as a family and is invaluable. It is more energy efficient and we know this because the money in our electric meter is lasting much longer than before we had the shower fitted. “I’m really pleased with the new bathroom, the whole family is. I cannot wait until we get our kitchen done.”

12 | | intouch | Anti Social Behaviour

When noise

becomes a

nuisance Sometimes we all do things which can affect our neighbours and our surroundings.

Whether we are playing music, having a barbeque or own a dog that constantly barks. Thinking about other people and being aware of the results of your own actions are key to making sure you don’t create problems for others. If you are fed up with a noisy neighbour, often the best way to deal with the problem is to go and speak politely to your neighbour. More often than not you may be able to resolve the problem amicably there and then. In many cases we find people are unaware that they are causing a problem, or that they wrongly believe it is acceptable to play very loud music during the day.

It is never acceptable to play music so loudly that it can be heard outside your own home, no matter what time of day it is. If it causes a nuisance and your neighbour has tried unsuccessfully to resolve it then it is likely that your housing officer or tenancy enforcement officer will pay you a visit to find out the extent of the problem and try to find a way to resolve it, as quickly as possible. In most cases the problem stops when the person making the noise is made aware that they are causing a problem. However if this doesn’t work, then you should report the problem to your local environmental health department and our Anti Social Behaviour Unit by calling 0800 052 2526.

Are you under 40? Want to tell us your views? We’re reviewing our Group 500 consultation group and want more of you aged 40 and under to take part.

You can give your views by email, post or phone and now text too. Interested? Then get in touch with me, Claire Hammond, Resident Participation Strategy Officer.

We’re also reviewing Group 500’s membership and have written to all our existing members to see if you still want to take part. We haven’t had a huge response so far, so if you missed the letter and still want to be a member of Group 500 please let us know.

Going Green | intouch | | 13


(literally) technology!

We have been installing ground source heat pumps into some of our properties in mid and north Wales. The heat pumps are probably the most sustainable heating and hot water solution widely available and we have been able to install them thanks to a grant from the Welsh Government’s Arbed programme.

As a result of these installations, our residents should benefit from reduced electricity consumption which in turn will help shield residents from future energy price increases. Originally these 32 properties had electric night storage heaters which left some residents paying more than £200 a month in energy bills. The photos show a 10 tonne drilling rig which had to drill down 161 meters in this case. As you would expect, it was a little messy! However on the right hand side you can see now that the work has been completed - in fact you probably wouldn’t even know it anything like this had happened!

Owen Jones, Environment and Sustainability Officer, Wales & West Housing said, “It’s my understanding that this project is probably the largest retrofit installation of this technology in social housing to date. “It has been quite challenging and has involved a great deal of hard work from staff and contractors alike. The residents involved have also been fantastic as the work has been quite disruptive. However now that it is complete we believe that the residents involved will reap the benefits over the coming years as they have a far more controllable heating solution for their home which should also help them to reduce their energy bills.”

14 | | intouch | News and General Information

Development update Second extra care scheme

Work has started to build our second extra care scheme. Llys Jasmine in Mold will provide 61 state-of-the-art apartments for people aged 60 and over who currently live in Flintshire and who have care and support needs. The £8.5m development which we are developing in partnership with Flintshire County Council will include 12 specially designed apartments for people with dementia and will be one of the first of its kind in the country. Rhyl-based Anwyl Construction is building Llys Jasmine for us and works are scheduled to be completed in June 2013.

In South Wales…

In South Wales, we have bought the former Coed Parc library HQ from Bridgend County Borough Council. The site includes a Grade II listed main house plus a large timber extension. Keep an eye on our website, or the next edition of In Touch, for more details about our plans for this site.

Minister to visit…

Housing Minister Huw Lewis (pictured above on a recent visit to our properties at Chapel Close in St Athan) is due to visit our site at Kingsmills Road, Wrexham, in May to officially mark the start of work to build 147 new homes in a £17.5m regeneration programme.

In partnership with Wrexham County Borough Council, Betsi Cadwaladr Local Health Board and Hightown Communities First, we are building 92 homes on the Kingsmills Road site. We are also building a new community centre, and, dedicated medical centre on Kingsmills Road, formerly the site of Hightown Flats. We are also building another 35 homes on nearby Rivulet Road and a further 20 homes are awaiting planning approval. Contractor Anwyl will start works proper in June and the project should be completed by the autumn of 2013. The developments should also result in a number of jobs and training opportunities being created for local people.

If you would like to find out more please go to our new website at or

Resident Participation | intouch | | 15

Fab time

for Brackla youngsters During February half term, Brackla Communities First took 10 young people from Brackla to the GAME ON football challenge cup event at Maesteg Comprehensive School. WWH helped the youngsters by arranging funding for the mini bus.

Pictured is PCSO Steve Bowen from the Brackla neighbourhood policing team with the youngsters.

Crug Consultation

at Brecon In February residents enjoyed an afternoon of children’s activities, advice and feedback at Brecon Youth Centre, organised by WWH, Powys CC and Brecon Town Councillors Robin Lewis and Matthew Dorrance. Tropical Inc were popular with both children and adults, with the room packed to capacity for both shows, which included a hedgehog, meerkat, skunk, snakes and spiders. Brecon Amateur Boxing Club were also popular, with children of all ages sparring with the trainers. Fran Packwood from Dogs Trust gave advice on dog welfare and offered

vouchers for £30 micro-chipping and neutering. Dyfodol Powys Futures, Brecon Women’s Aid, Computer Recyclers and PAVO were also represented. As a result many residents expressed an interest in running further events at the youth centre for children during school holidays and in forming a weekly Parent and Child group for 5 to 8 year olds. Further meetings will be arranged to take these ideas forward.

16 | | intouch | Resident Participation




at Rainbow’s End On a sunny St David’s Day in Connah’s Quay, Carl Sargeant, AM for Alyn & Deeside (pictured above right), opened Cwrt Leighton Residents’ Association’s newly renovated play area. Bunting, flags and balloons covered the railings and children waited excitedly to use their new equipment for the first time. They named their new playground ‘Rainbows End’ as the equipment was painted in bright colours with a rainbow mural on one side of the fence. Costco supplied a celebration cake and the Residents Association provided a buffet and goody bags. Wales & West Housing, Flintshire County Council,, Barclays, Keep Wales Tidy, Deeside College, North Wales Groundwork, Costco, local councillors and Mr Sargeant all helped with the refurbishment and were invited along to their special day. Vy Cochran, WWH Community Development Participation Officer said “A very big thank you to everyone involved, especially all our local partner organisations”


fresh produce will benefit everyone at Sylvester Court Pictured L – R : Shane Hughes of Keep Wales Tidy, Val Groves and Peter Whitaker of Sylvester Court, Raf of Wales Probation, Richard Purton of Wales Probation

A newly constituted residents’ group has been allotted a piece of land on the retirement housing scheme in Sylvester Court, Hightown, Wrexham where the residents already run a successful luncheon club. Their plan is to develop the land to grow fresh produce like vegetables, fruit, salad, herbs, plants and flowers for the lunch club and to sell to residents. Keep Wales Tidy (KWT) and volunteers from the probation service have been helping to clear the land and establish the garden. Wales & West Housing, Age Concern and Hightown Communities First are also supporting the project. The Sylvester Court Community Garden voluntary residents’ group has also obtained insurance through a Welsh Government scheme via KWT. Future plans include opening the garden when it is at its best to the local community and visitors.

Money Matters | intouch | | 17

Will benefit

changes affect you? This edition’s Money Matters focuses on changes to benefit that could affect residents. The Government recently passed the Welfare Reform Act which sees cuts across a wide range of benefits. We have focused on the changes that potentially have the biggest impact but if you want to see all the benefit changes in a concise timeline visit the Benefit page under Information and Resources on the Turn2us website (

Changes from April 2012 Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA(C)) If you receive Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA(C)) and are in the work related activity group, your claim is now going to be limited to 12 months (previously it wasn’t limited at all). If you have already received ESA(C) for 365 days or more the last day your benefit will be paid will be the 30th April 2012. You may be eligible for income related ESA but will have to be assessed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). The DWP should have written to you regarding this change but if you have not received a letter or have any queries you can call them on 0800 055 66 88

We will continue to provide updates in future issues of In Touch in order to keep you up to date, and on our website however if you have any queries or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us. Ask for Les Cooper or Mike Halloran, Money Advice Officers

Working Tax Credit (WTC) Couples with children must now work at least 24 hours a week between them, with one working at least 16 hours to qualify for WTC. However, there are some exceptions: Couples with children where one person works at least 16 hours and: • is entitled to the WTC disability element • or, is aged 60 or over • or, one member of the couple is incapacitated, an in-patient in hospital or in prison. will still qualify for WTC. If your WTC has stopped yet you satisfy one of the above exceptions contact HMRC immediately on 0345 300 3900

18 | | intouch | Money Matters

Summer 2012 (estimated end of June) New payment system will replace benefits cheques A new payment service will be introduced to replace the benefit cheques system for claimants who can’t be paid by direct payment because they are unable to open or manage bank or Post Office card accounts. Under the new system, claimants who previously received cheques will be issued with a reusable token so that they

can receive their benefits at ‘PayPoint’ outlets located in local newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets, garages and off licences. Arrangements will be put in place for people who need someone else, such as a partner or relative, to collect their benefit for them. If this affects you you should have already received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that you have time to prepare for the change.

From April 2013 Bedroom Tax The Government has said that it will introduce new size criteria for housing benefit claims in social housing. This will apply from April 2013 to tenants of working age (currently those between 16 and 64 years old). What do the changes mean? The size criteria will restrict housing benefit to allow for one bedroom for each of the following: • • • •

A single adult or couple Any other adult (16 years old or over) Children under 16 of the same gender Children under 10 regardless of gender • Disabled tenant or partner who needs a non resident overnight carer Who will be affected? All claimants who are deemed to have at

least one spare bedroom will be affected. This includes: • Separated parents who share the care of their children and who may have been allocated an extra bedroom to reflect this. Benefit rules mean that there must be a designated‘main carer’ for children (who receives the extra benefit) • Couples who use their ‘spare’ bedroom when recovering from an illness or operation • Foster carers because foster children are not counted as part of the household for benefit purposes • Parents whose children visit but are not part of the household • Families with disabled children • Disabled people including people living in adapted or specially designed properties.

Money Mone Matters | intouch | | 19

How much will people lose? The cut will be a fixed percentage of the Housing Benefit eligible rent. The Government has said that this will be set at 14% for one extra bedroom and 25% for two or more extra bedrooms.

What can you do? As your Landlord we will do whatever we can to help you move if you are affected by this. We will be contacting you in the near future to discuss your options but if you are worried about this change please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Benefit Cap The Welfare Reform Act gives the Government the power to cap the total benefits to which a single person or couple is entitled. How is the cap calculated? The cap will be set at the average net earnings for a working household, currently projected to be £500 per week for couples and lone parents, and £350 per week for single people without children. Who will be affected? The cap is targeted at out-of-work -families, regardless of their ability to take up work. If the total amount of benefits you receive is greater than the limits set your Housing Benefit will be reduced by the excess amount.

The cap will apply to the combined income from the main out-of-work benefits (Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, and Employment Support Allowance) and other benefits such as Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Carer’s Allowance (unless a member of the household is entitled to Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance). If you are entitled to Working Tax Credit you will be exempt from the cap. It is possible that if you are a single parent or a couple with 5 or more children you may be affected by the cap, contact us for further details.

20 | | intouch | Money Matters

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) ...but its not all bad news! The government has pledged to increase the amount of money available for DHPs. What are they? Every Local Authority (LA) has a pot of money that is available for residents struggling to pay the shortfall in their rent or Council Tax. Who is eligible? Anybody who claims Housing or Council Tax Benefit can apply but you usually need a good reason as to why you are struggling to pay, for example • You have an illness that increases normal expenses, i.e you need to use the heating more, pay for certain items that ease your suffering.

• The hospitalisation of you or one of your relatives increases your travel expenses • Your travel expenses have increased due to your job moving or if you have moved due to a decrease in Local Housing Allowance entitlement and it costs you more to travel to work • a non dependant charge is causing hardship This doesn’t mean there won’t be other valid reasons that the LA will consider and it is always worth applying if you feel the situation merits it. For more information contact your Housing Officer or contact your LA Housing Benefit department for an application form.

Bowled over in Merthyr Tydfil

We were thrilled to be the sponsors of the new Wales & West Housing Retirement Bowls Competition at Merthyr Tydfil International Bowls Centre. More than 60 people took part in the competition on April 4th. Dennis Owen, Club Chairman, said: “It was an excellent day. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and we are delighted that Wales & West will be sponsoring this competition next year.”

Your Views and News | intouch | | 21

Creative talents on show

at Nant y Môr

Residents at Nant y Môr, our Extra Care Scheme in Prestatyn have been showcasing their talents at an Art Exhibition at the scheme. Officially opened by the Mayor of Prestatyn, Councillor Alan Pennington, exhibits included canvas paintings, 3D art, textiles and creative writing pieces. They were produced by residents during a fifteen week ‘Creative Memories’ project run by Oriel Scala Artists’ Co-operative and sponsored by the Arts Council of Wales and Denbighshire County Council. Resident June Foster said “It was really amazing and we looked forward to each session. We created a ‘memory box’ which I found was a nice experience as it

allowed me to go back to my childhood days.” Jan Morris, a resident at Nant y Môr, added: “I wish we could have more of it, I just love it to bits.” The scheme, opened in November last year by the First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM, has already enjoyed success and widespread recognition for its residents’ choir. Residents are now looking forward to using their creative talents on further projects over the coming months. Pictured above - Brenda Simpson

22 | | intouch | Going Green

Caerau Potters benefit

from ‘Make it Happen’ Grant Three years ago Cardiff residents Debbie Phillips, Chris Bradbury, Stan Jones and John Oliver decided to get together to form the ‘Caerau Potters’ gardening group. They built flower borders with reclaimed timber, filled hanging baskets, wood chipped the front area and added window boxes to add colour and neaten the area. Stan said “This has been very therapeutic and enjoyable and I would like to thank all concerned for their help in showing us the way forward” Owen Jones, Environment and Sustainability Officer at WWH said “We were happy to support Caerau Potters. They have worked extremely hard,

building the raised beds and shifting tonnes of soil and now we look forward to seeing this year’s bumper crop! They also benefited from a new recycled plastic shed manufactured by a local Swansea company – Affresol. We are always looking for more sustainable products and materials. Everyone is very impressed!”

Healthy Living | intouch | | 23

The Equality Act 2010… so what does this mean for me?

In the last edition of In Touch we explained that this Act has replaced all previous anti-discrimination law with one single act to make the law simpler. It protects certain characteristics including: • • • • • • • • •

Age Disability Gender reassignment Pregnancy and maternity Marriage and civil partnership Race Religion or belief Sex Sexual orientation

In this edition we’re looking at disability.

What does disability really mean? Generally a ‘disability’ means “a person who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities”. It’s fair to say people with disabilities want to live life no differently than anyone else. Living with disability is difficult but can sting even more when people encountered are: • • • • • •

impatient rude insensitive inconsiderate pessimistic unhelpful

So what’s the best way to behave when around disabled people? People with disabilities are often wrongly perceived as helpless, needy victims. There are some people who, because of fear or discomfort, will avoid interacting with people with disabilities. Others fear they will ‘say the wrong thing’ while some forget that some disabilities are not immediately obvious. Most people with disabilities try to be as independent as possible and will only ask for help if they need it. If you think you could be of some help, offer, but don’t insist. But try not to draw unnecessary attention to yourself and don’t be embarrassed to admit that you don’t know what to do or how to help. The person you are helping will explain what they need. And remember disabilities aren’t always something you can see. These might include arthritis, kidney failure, MS, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and many more.

Remember - people with disabilities are basically no different from people without disabilities! See the person, not the disability.

24 | | intouch | News and General Information

Who’s Your Hero? Pictured are Cyfarthfa Fruit & Veg Co-op, winners of the Community Project Award in 2011

Who do you know who makes a real difference to your neighbourhood? Someone who goes the extra mile to help friends and neighbours? Perhaps they have started a youth or community group?

nominated them – will enjoy a top-notch three course dinner and entertainment at the Village Hotel, Coryton, Cardiff.

Maybe they tend a beautiful garden, or grow fruit and veg – or have started growing their own on an allotment?

You can see more for yourself on YouTube – search for Wales & West Housing Association’s Making A Difference Awards, where you can see short videos of the previous three year’s ceremonies.

Maybe they have overcome big problems to get back to work? Or entered college to get some new qualifications behind them? Whatever their story – we want to hear it.

The categories are: Good Neighbour, Fresh Start, Eco Champion, Green Fingers (Older Persons), Green Fingers (Younger Persons), Community Project and David Taylor Local Hero.

On Friday October 19th we will be holding our fifth annual Making A Difference Awards.

It’s free to enter – you’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain. So if you’d like a copy of the nomination form either go to our new website where you can download a copy. Or call Sarah, Sharon or Keri on 0800 052 2526 any time and we’ll be happy to send you a form, and help you with any questions you may have about the awards.

Now firmly established as a highlight of WWH’s year, the awards celebrate the great efforts of all our unsung heroes and heroines – as well as being a cracking night out. All shortlisted nominees and the people who

Charity Update | intouch | | 25

Open house

for charity

Candlelight service

in aid of Tenovus Cancer Charity On the last day in January a candlelight service was organised by the local Church and Mrs Hannah Lowe at Ty Pontrhun, Troedyrhiw, Merthyr Tydfil. It was a very moving afternoon with friends, residents and people from the village attending. The Vicar took the service. A very poignant moment was when a representative from Tenovus sold the candles and then laid them out in the sign of the cross to remember all those who had endured the illness. The proceeds from the afternoon totalled £116 and was handed over to Tenovus Cancer campaign for Wales. Residents had over time been placing their small change into jars and three full jars were also donated to Tenovus. Karen Lewis, Scheme Manager then welcomed everyone to a delicious afternoon tea.

After suffering a stroke Caerphilly born and bred Mrs Pam Cornish started working on tapestries which helped her recovery. Her daughter sent to France for a Last Supper tapestry kit which took Pam a year to complete. Pam and her husband Richard, who have been residents at St Catherine’s Court for eight years, held an exhibition of Pam’s work. A great many framed colourful tapestries were on show around the house with The Last Supper being the main attraction. All donations were given to the Gideon Bible Society a charity who distribute copies of The Bible throughout various countries around the world. As Pam said “Praying together you stay together”

26 | | intouch | Your Views and News

A successful musical evening

at Danymynydd in the Garw Valley

Danymynydd residents have been benefitting from singing lessons on a Monday morning, funded by Valley & Vale. The musical sessions have now come to an end but Bettws Community have benefited from this funding and have formed the Bettws choir. One evening in March the choir held a get together concert with residents singing along with the guitar, drums, tambourine and violin. Each group had their own songs to sing, and then they joined forces to sing a medley of tunes. The generation gap was well and truly

crossed, the youngest member being 7 yearse and the oldest resident 97. As Yvonne Humphreys, Scheme Manager said “Both communities came together to enjoy a musical feast , made possible by Valley & Vale and the excellent teaching skills and dedication of their teacher Laura. We can’t thank her enough for her constant encouragement and support. We wish her luck in the future. Thank you Laura from us all at Danymynydd.”

Your Views and News | intouch | | 27



a great success at Oldwell Court

Sandy Houdmont, Scheme Manager at Oldwell Court in Cardiff organised live music to entertain the residents. ‘Live Music Now’ trained entertainers, Jennifer Walker, soprano (pictured below), sang a variety of classical pieces while Rhiannon Pritchard played the piano. The residents‘ lounge was filled with applause. ‘Live Music Now’ is a registered charity and their work is dedicated to increasing awareness of and access to those who would otherwise be excluded through disability, ill health, poverty and other disadvantages. They are funded by donations, various local authorities, companies and the Arts Council of Wales. For more information go to: or Tel: 02920 554 040.

Easter Bonnets

on parade Residents brought their decorated hats to the lounge for the “Best Easter Bonnet” competition run by the Spring Chicken Club at Oldwell Court, Cardiff. These were decorated with chocolate eggs, ribbons, feathers, daffodils and butterflies.

It was very difficult to judge but after much thought the winner was Mrs Anne Webber who could hardly hold the large Easter egg prize and the runners up, Mrs Hilda Doubleday and Mrs Pauline Solsberg each won a chocolate bunny.

28 | | intouch | Birthdays and Anniversaries

A special gathering of birthday girls at Wentloog Court, Cardiff On the 23rd February residents gathered in the lounge at Wentloog Court, Cardiff to celebrate with five special residents who will all be holding their 90th birthdays during 2012. When asked the secret of their longevity, Joyce Hickey said “A very happy marriage and a wonderful family.” Dorothy Morgan said “Everything in moderation.” Sylvia Smith mentioned “My five children keep me young and happy”, Glenys Solomon’s easy answer of “Just Living” and Cath Baker said “A daily fix of Countdown and a glass of sherry.”

L-R –Dorothy, Glenys, Joyce, Cath and Sylvia.

As well as tea and cakes Cllr Jacqueline Parry arrived and presented each with a carnation buttonhole and a certificate signed by the Mayor.

10 days of celebration for Birthday girl May Everywhere she went May Mckay was given cards and presents from all the friends she has made over the last 26 years while living at Plas Gorffwysfa. Her 90th birthday celebrations carried over for 10 whole days before her big day of the 9th February. “Her social life is a whirl” exclaimed her daughter Wendy. “I have to call her sometimes to see if she’s in before I visit.” May has two sons and three daughters and numerous grandchildren. Last year

Happy 80th

Birthday Brian

she travelled down to London with a friend to see the Royal Wedding and thoroughly enjoyed the visit, she wasn’t going to miss the special day. Brian Edward Adams from Oak Court, Penarth celebrated his birthday on February 2nd with a buffet lunch, birthday cake and loads of presents. His family all arrived and joined in the fun.

Birthdays and Anniversaries | intouch | | 29

Congratulations card from The Queen

on their special Sapphire Wedding Anniversary of Mr & Mrs Khambhaita of Wilfred Brook House, Cardiff Love blossomed after their marriage... an arranged marriage meant that they had never met before their wedding day but this marriage is still strong 65 years later. After working and staying in various countries around the world they are now happily living in Cardiff. They have three married sons and two married daughters with grandchildren and great grandchildren. “We spent our whole married life lovingly and happily, by the Grace of God” said Mr Khambhaita.

L-R: Kamtagauri and Vithalbhai Khambhaita

Direct Debit

Winner WIN by paying your rent with Direct Debit.

Congratulations to Mrs Games Mrs Games of Western Court, a Home Ownership retirement Scheme in Cardiff was the lucky winner of £100 for the last quarterly direct debit draw of 2011. The cheque was presented by Pat Green the Scheme Manager. For your chance to WIN you need to pay your rent by Direct Debit. Please contact your Housing Officer who will

help with any queries you may have or our Customer Service Centre on 0800 052 2526.

Paying by Direct Debit takes out all the hassle of remembering to pay on time and it is so easy to set up.

30 | | intouch | Charity Update

Help for Heroes

charity going from strength to strength As well as WWH Dress down days in the Flint and Cardiff offices, residents and scheme managers at various schemes have contributed enormously to the grand total for Help the Heroes charity of £16,191.53 (as of the beginning of April). To achieve this amazing total has not been an easy feat but hard work and a dedicated commitment from everyone concerned has really made a difference. Events such as raffles, bingo evenings, jewellery sale, quizzes, rugby sweeps, cake sales, donations, table top sales and the St David’s Day Run in Cardiff, with runners from WWH - Sion Phillips, Lyndon Griffiths, Robin Alldred, Dorrett Evans and Paul Wyatt - contributing

£650, helped to reach the grand total. The Charity Team at WWH would like to say a ‘Big Thank You’ to all at Oldwell Court, Wilfred Brook House and Four Elms Court in Cardiff as well as Danymynydd in the Garw Valley, Ty Pontrhun, Ty Gwaunfarren in Merthyr Tydfil, Llys yr Onnen in Mountain Ash and St Catherine’s Court in Caerphilly who have held various events from the beginning of 2012. Christmas was a very busy time and we are unable to name all those who donated so much of their time and hard work as it would fill the whole page, but YOU know who YOU are…your generosity is never ending.

Want to save money?

take ctrl

Want to get cheaper deals?

Like to know more about your family history?

Or how about getting to grips with Facebook or Skype?

If you answered ‘yes͛ƚŽĂŶLJŽĨƚŚĞƐĞƋƵĞƐƟŽŶƐ͕ƚŚĞŶtake ctrl is for you. Take ctrl is a project which is helping to raise awareness of, and provide free training in, a whole range of digital technologies. It aims to provide people with the skills and knowledge they need to make informed ĐŚŽŝĐĞƐĂŶĚŵĂŶĂŐĞƚŚĞŝƌĮŶĂŶĐĞƐďĞƩĞƌŽŶůŝŶĞ͘

take ctrl will be coming to your neighbourhood soon...

Jen Bailey

For more info contact me on: Tel: 07972 225358 Email: Web: Facebook: TakeCtrlNorthWales dǁŝƩĞƌ͗ΛƚĂŬĞͺĐƚƌů

We are also looking for volunteers and mentors who can pass their skills on to others

Personal alarms and telecare

Reliable, aordable and installed at your convenience We all value our independence but sometimes we can all do with a little extra help. Connect24 personal alarms bring you help and support at the touch of a button.

Call freephone 0800 052 2526 or email: or write to: Connect24 Personal Alarms Wales & West Housing Association Ltd., FREEPOST CF3588 3 Alexandra Gate, Ffordd Pengam Tremorfa, Cardi, CF10 1YZ

In Touch Spring 2012  

The magazine for residents of Wales & West Housing