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Top 40 spot for Swan

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Get involved with Swan

SPRING 2017

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Shortlisted for Housing Heroes

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Improved appointment times

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How are we doing?

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THE COMMUNICATOR PAGES 01/02

Welcome Welcome to the Spring edition of your Communicator.

We are thrilled to invite you to this year’s Swanfest! After the great success of last year's event where over 300 of you joined us, this year we invite you back to Barleylands Farm for a ‘digital’ themed event.

With Swanfest’s new dedicated website, you can register your place online at www.swanfest.org.uk. Find out more on page 6.

In this issue we have lots of exciting updates including our annual performance figures which you can read on page 11, the fabulous news about our approved plans for the Laindon Shopping Centre in Essex, as well as the improvements made to our repairs appointment times to make the process easier for you.

Your next Communicator will be delivered in Autumn 2017, so if you have any comments or suggestions, please do email us via swancomms@swan.org.uk or call 01277 844770.

Jennifer Spencer Charles, Editor

Contributors

Sandra Fawcett Executive Director – Operations

Ian Haworth Assistant Director Neighbourhood Services

Andrea O’Callaghan Head of Business Improvement and Allocations

Dena Greenland Service Improvement Co-Ordinator

Anna Williams Housing Diversity Manager

Caroline Richardson Head of Resident Involvement and Community Development

If you’d like to learn more about getting involved at any time, please call the Resident Involvement and Community Development Team on 01277 844242 or email involvement@ swan.org.uk

Or Text INVOLVE to 07860 021752 @swaninspires


Find out more on page 6


THE COMMUNICATOR PAGES 03/04

Top 40 spot for Swan!

Swan moves into top 40 not for profit companies to work for

Swan is celebrating after being named by the Sunday Times as one of the best not for profit companies to work for in the UK. It is widely acknowledged that staff who enjoy their work provide a better experience for customers, so this award is good for residents too! This year we were ranked at number 34, up 29 places from last year.

To mark our success, we held simultaneous events at our offices across Essex and East London, using Swan TV to reveal Swan’s score and also to launch Swan’s new corporate strategy.

“We are proud to be recognised as one of the best companies to work for in the UK – and to come in at number 34 is a fantastic achievement. We are particularly delighted that we have moved up 29 places on last year, which is testament to the hard work of our management teams to improve employee engagement and satisfaction and the enthusiasm with which our staff have responded.” John Synnuck, Swan’s Chief Executive


Swan-Axis Partnership achieves 100% compliance with Gas Servicing We are delighted to announce that for the fourth year running, the Swan-Axis Partnership has achieved 100% compliance with Gas Servicing.

This in itself is a major achievement and demonstrates exactly what hard work, commitment and dedication can deliver when working in partnership through our mantra of ‘Working Together’ with you our residents and Axis our repairs partner. Thank you to all our residents who helped us achieve this by working with us to complete the annual gas service!

100% compliance with Gas Servicing

Help us keep you Gas Safe

Can you help Estate Services be more efficient?

Each year we are required to carry out a gas safety check for all our rented properties. In the vast majority of cases these go to plan and we have no problems accessing and carrying out the service. However, we have a few properties where residents refuse to allow us access for their annual service.

Over the last year, we have been undertaking a review of our Estate Services team and the service they offer. As part of this review, the team have been challenged to work more efficiently, so that no extra staff would have to be recruited despite the team now covering more areas.

Your annual safety check is needed to keep you and your neighbours safe. We are therefore going to be taking a tougher line on the minority of residents who cause problems allowing access. This will include reducing the time for second appointments and considering possession action against those residents who continuously miss their gas appointments. Thank you to all those residents who allow us access. Don’t forget, if in doubt, give the gas servicing team a call on 0800 783 2768.

The review has produced a number of improvements that have now been implemented across our estates. The team now want to hear from any residents who have ideas how we can be more efficient.

The team intend to run a number of workshops over the summer period and will also be at Swanfest. They want to hear your thoughts!

If you have any feedback about the cleaning in your block please make sure you contact Jorgen Dyer, Head of Estate Services by emailing jdyer@swan.org.uk or by calling 0300 3032500.


THE COMMUNICATOR PAGES 05/06

Get involved with Swan this Season

Swan’s Resident Involvement and Community Development Team have been working hard alongside our residents to pull together a programme of exciting projects and initiatives for residents this year.

We’re keen to ensure residents have an opportunity to shape and engage with our services and we will continue to offer a range of engagement activities including the Scrutiny Panel, Resident Associations and our Resident Consultative Committees. We want to reach more of our residents in innovative ways, so this year we’ll be talking to you to understand just how you’d like to engage with our team and what we can do to support this.

We have also developed a wider range of partners to deliver some exciting projects for residents, these include; Essex Youth Build and construction taster sessions, the London College of Fashion and their design project and We Are Digital, who continue to deliver I.T support and training for residents. If you’re interested in any of the above, or would like more information, please contact the Resident Involvement and Community Development Team on 01277 844242.

Scrutiny Panel The Scrutiny Panel completed its report for the review they carried out on the Grounds Maintenance Contract. Recommendations were put forward to the Estate Services team and an action plan devised to monitor progress going forward. The members are now working towards their next review and are keen to engage with more residents.

If you are interested in joining the Scrutiny Panel and helping scope and influence Swan's services, please get in touch with the Resident Involvement team on 01277 844242.

Training Programme The Resident Involvement and Community Development programme has been relaunched and so far, we have delivered training on Health & Safety, Equality & Diversity and Repairs & Maintenance. Sessions have been scheduled every month and you can find full details in our new training brochure available on www.web4residents.org.uk We are also offering e-learning training to our formally involved residents, so if you would like to find out more about getting involved, please contact the Resident Involvement team on 01277 844242.


SwanFest 2017

Join us at this year's SwanFest

It is that time again‌ SwanFest is coming! Join us for our annual residents’ event at Barleylands Farm in Billericay on Saturday 8 July 2017 between 10am and 2pm.

We will have lots of fun activities happening throughout the day with information stalls, interactive games and opportunities to learn more about Swan and help us to improve our services for

you! It’s a great opportunity to meet Swan staff and other Swan residents, all whilst spending quality time with your family, friends and neighbours.

There is plenty of free parking available for residents who would like to drive themselves and like last year, Swan will also be providing coaches for residents and their families travelling from London and Essex.

To register all you have to do is go to www.swanfest.org.uk or alternatively you can call us on 01277 844242 Please remember that this event is for Swan residents so you should only book tickets for those who live in your property with you.

Please note: This year Swan will be providing light refreshments. Please ensure you bring a packed lunch, or means to purchase one from Barlylands.


THE COMMUNICATOR PAGES 07/08

Laindon’s long wait is over

Our plans for the Laindon Centre approved by Basildon Council We are delighted to announce that our plans to deliver the longawaited retail-led regeneration of the Laindon Shopping Centre in Essex will become a reality, after Basildon Council’s Planning Committee voted to approve our planning application.

Local residents surrounding the centre backed the plans with almost 300 local people signing letters of support and over 300 local residents signing up to support the plans online at www.laindonfutures.co.uk.

At the heart of our plans for the redevelopment of the shopping centre is a brand new high street with shops, landscaped space, a new Swan office, a modern health centre and homes. You can also see our film showing how the regeneration will look at www.laindonfutures.co.uk

Now that we have the go ahead from the Council, enabling works will start on site later this year. We will also be progressing with detailed design work and anticipate that the main construction works will start on the site in early 2018.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the Council’s decision to give us the green light to start delivering the retail-led regeneration that Laindon deserves. This is wonderful for Laindon and the future is looking bright for the local area.

We’ve worked tirelessly to produce plans that really can be delivered and we’re excited to get the redevelopment work underway, hopefully by the end of this year. Our plans for Laindon are part of our continued commitment to Basildon and we’re looking forward to investing further in the Borough in the future.”

Geoff Pearce, Executive Director of Regeneration and Development at Swan

Swan passes its Customer Service Assessment In April Swan had its annual Customer Service Excellence (CSE) assessment carried out by Government officers.

As part of the assessment their officer visited Swan Head Office in Billericay, our London office at Blackwall Reach, as well as visiting homes on Beechwood in Basildon, Old Church in Romford, Repton Court in Ilford and Bow Cross and Blackwall Reach in East London. He met with a number of staff, partners

and residents to gather information and opinions as part of his assesment.

Swan were assessed against 19 of the 57 elements and we are delighted to announce that we have passed the assessment, with two of the elements rated as compliant plus!

The two elements rated as compliance plus are: • Service improvement through consultation • Customer insight to inform policy and strategy

We would like to thank all residents that participated in the assessment. We will continue to put our customers at the heart of everything we do, listening to any thoughts or ideas you have that could help us improve our services. Turn to page 10 to find out how you can share your ideas.


Swan has been shortlisted for three Housing Heroes Awards We are thrilled and very proud to announce that three of our teams at Swan have been shortlisted for The Housing Heroes Awards!

These awards recognise the hard work they all carry out daily, celebrating the ‘unsung heroes’ of the housing world. This year we entered three categories; Support and Care Team of the Year, Maintenance Team of the Year and Communications Team of the Year. Each team put forward - Our Foyer team, Estate Services team and Communications team - all made the shortlist!

The Foyer Team: Our Foyer team deliver support 24/7 to over 60 young people (many of whom have children of their own), across three supported housing schemes. They provide a safe place in which the young people can transition to independent adulthood.

Estate Services: The 46 strong Estates Services team is the heartbeat of Swan Housing Association. Their exceptional work covers all aspects of caretaking across our housing stock; from cleaning and reporting repairs to safeguarding issues and crossestate CCTV operation.

Swancomms: With almost 400 staff members, residents in over 11,000 properties and a secured development pipeline of over 3,500 homes, the Swan Communications team provide a strategic programme of communications for employees, residents, stakeholders and the media that delivers results! The judges will make their final decision and the winners will be announced in June. In the meantime we wish all the teams the best of luck!

Keeping the grass green across our Estates As the clouds part and the sun shines through, Spring also brings with it the opportunity to get out in the garden and make use of green space. As more people go outside, unfortunately this can mean that sometimes people leave more rubbish behind.

Our Estate Services team are always out and about making sure your estates look clean and tidy and the green areas are clear of mess and weeds... please help them out by clearing up after your dogs, putting litter in the bin and making sure any area you use is left clean and tidy.

If you are a resident in a home with a garden, as part of your tenancy, you are required to keep your garden neat and tidy. Why not take the opportunity to get a little green fingered? Cut your grass or plant some flowers; not only does it make your garden look good, it gets you outside in the sunshine and can burn up to 400 calories an hour!

Did you know that 20 bee species have become extinct in the UK since 1900 and a further 35 are on the threatened species list?

Bees pollinate flowers, plants and crops that support other species (including humans). Without bees, our economy and the future wellbeing of our children and grandchildren would be at risk.

Right now, people are working together to help create bee-friendly spaces all over the country - and you can too. Why not visit foe.co.uk/page/bee-cause to find out how you can help save our Bees.


THE COMMUNICATOR PAGES 09/10

New Improved Repairs Appointment Times

Following a service review, our repairs appointment slots have been changed to: : Morning Afternoon Miss the school run

g n i n r Mo m p 1 8am

8am - 1pm 1pm - 6pm 10am - 2pm

Please be aware these are attendance times, not when the repair will be completed by.

These categories are recognised as best practice for repair appointments as they offer a time frame that is both flexible and convenient to you as our customer.

Where we have the correct mobile number for you, you will receive a text to confirm your appointment slot and an order number for non-immediate (4hr) repairs and a further text on the day of the appointment to advise you the operative is on their way.

e h t s s i M n u r l o o sch m p 2 m 10a

Aft ern oon 1pm -6 pm

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IRS Do We we h wa will ave y t ne y... so ext y our m wa o we pp , to m u wh obile h o Ca ave intm ake en w num ask ll the you ent the b e are ber? the team r cor time est o o no r s m to on 0 ect m , ma f the ur ch ec 800 obile ke su se ky 7 ou 83 2 num re rd 7 eta 68 a ber! i ls. nd


Celebrate Diversity with Swan During February (LGBT History Month lgbthistorymonth.org.uk) representatives from SwanProud (our LGBT+ employee network) put on a fantastic event at The Reach Community Hub in London. The event was organised in partnership with the Metropolitan Police LGBT Network and advertised via social media and local forums. Swan representatives also attended a fantastic Basildon Council event.

This summer Swan will be proudly supporting the LGBT+ community by once again participating in Essex Pride and London Pride.

We will be at Essex Pride (Saturday 24 June 7017, Central Park, Chelmsford), the annual celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) life in Essex and beyond for the whole community that inspires everyone to embrace equality and celebrate diversity. For information and tickets: www.essexpride.org

My BIG idea...

Swan is always on the lookout for comments from residents suggesting how we can make our services better. Residents’ suggestions help us to improve our business.

Your Big Idea may also be useful for us to share with other residents and help us to deliver the services you really want.

If you have any suggestions or ideas don't delay - send them to us today!

Tell us your Big Idea! We will award £50 in Argos vouchers for any ideas that we can use.

So, tell us what you think about how we can:

• Improve services.

• Offer new services.

• Save money or reduce waste.

All suggestions are considered by our Resident Consultative Committees. Any we implement will be published in The Communicator.

We will also be in the London Pride Parade – The Pride in London festival takes place from Saturday 24 June to Sunday 9 July with the parade and main events on Saturday 8 July. For more information and tickets: www.prideinlondon.org This year Basildon Council are inviting members of the Basildon & Thurrock LGBTIQ+ community to join them on a coach trip to London Pride.

For more information and tickets: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/basildon-doespride-2017-tickets-32683345767 Other useful links: Tower Hamlets thLGBTvoices.wordpress.com Havering haveringlgbtforum.co.uk Redbridge redbridgerainbowcommunity.org.uk

Send us your idea by post using this form or online at web4residents.org.uk or swan.org.uk or by emailing Improvement@swan.org.uk My Big Idea is...

..................................................................................................................................... .....................................................................................................................................

Your name .....................................................................................................................................

Address ..................................................................................................................................... ..................................................................................................................................... .....................................................................................................................................

Return your suggestion slip to: The Customer Relations Officer, Swan Housing Association, FREEPOST ANG10361, Billericay CM12 9ZZ

What equality, diversity and inclusion issues matter most to you? At Swan equality is about improving real outcomes for the people living in the communities we serve and for our staff. The promotion of equality is part of the day job and an essential part of providing excellent customer service.

Two years ago, we published our Equality Scheme 2015-2018 demonstrating a corporate commitment to equality and diversity. We are now reviewing and updating our Equality and Diversity Policy and our Equality Scheme to reflect our new Corporate Strategy. To help us do this, we want to hear about the issues that matter to you. If you would like to tell us about the equality, diversity and inclusion issues that matter to you please contact Anna Williams, Housing Diversity Manager on 01277 314960 or email awilliams@ swan.org.uk


THE COMMUNICATOR PAGE 11/12

How did we do? April 2016 to March 2017

STAGE #1

84%

84%

234

100%

77%

Satisfied with overall service (Target 85%)

Satisfied with quality of home (Target 86%)

we received 234 complaints in this period

Stage 1 complaints responded to within 6 working days (Target 98%)

People satisfied with the complaints procedure (Target 78%)

99%

98%

98%

100%

13.6

Repairs completed in target (Target 99%)

Repair appointments made and kept (Target 96%)

People satisfied with their last repair (Target 91%)

Properties with a valid gas safety certificate (Target 100%)

91%

2.4%

72%

170

Satisfaction with our letting service (Target 88%)

Current arrears as a % of rent due (general needs) (Target 2.6%)

People satisfied with how their repair was dealt with (Target 74%)

We have had 170 compliments during this period

Average number of days taken to re-let an empty home (Target 16)


Swan Rewards

Our way of saying thank you

Philips 32inch hd TV

Here is your chance to win some fabulous prizes as part of the Swan Reward Scheme. Please check that you qualify by visiting web4residents.org.uk and then just choose which of these great prizes you would like to win. The closing date for entries is 12 June 2017.

Ipad mini

Spring bank holiday is on which date in May?

What is James Bond’s secret agent number?

Name ................................................................................

Name ................................................................................

................................................................................................

................................................................................................

n 29th n 30th n 31st

Address..........................................................................

Nintendo 2ds console

In which Disney film would you find a rabbit named Thumper?

n 001 n 003 n 007

n Bambi n Peter Pan n Frozen

Address..........................................................................

Address..........................................................................

Name ................................................................................ ................................................................................................

Phone no......................................................................

Phone no......................................................................

Phone no......................................................................

Bush washing machine

Henry vacuum cleaner

2 x £50 Argos Vouchers

What number house does the British Prime Minister live in?

Which is the longest river on the earth?

Name ................................................................................

Name ................................................................................

................................................................................................

................................................................................................

n 1 n 10 n 100

Address..........................................................................

Phone no......................................................................

In what country would you find the cities Glasgow and Edinburgh?

n Thames n Hudson n Nile

n Ireland n Scotland n Wales

Address..........................................................................

Address..........................................................................

Phone no......................................................................

Name ................................................................................ ................................................................................................

Phone no......................................................................

If you qualify just answer the questions and cut out the coupon for each prize you wish to be entered for. Then post all entries in ONE envelope to: Swan Housing Association, FREEPOST ANG10361, Billericay, CM12 9ZZ or email us at improvement@swan.org.uk quoting 'Swan Reward Scheme competition’ with your answers, name and address. Winners may be asked to appear in the next edition of The Communicator. Images are for illustrative purposes only and prizes may vary


THE COMMUNICATOR PAGES 13/14

Cat in the Hat visits London residents!

Approximately 350 children were treated to interactive storytelling sessions at our east London sites, as ‘The Fantastic World of Dr Seuss’ mobile storytelling “car”, from the much loved children’s classic Cat in the Hat, came to the Woolmoore School, The Reach Community hub and Bow Cross Estate. The Cat in the Hat literacy outreach programme, which the Swan Foundation funded with a £5,000 grant, was presented by the Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford. Discover is an award-winning interactive literature venue providing creative, play and learning opportunities for children aged 0-11 years and their parents/carers.

The aim of the programme is to establish a creative environment in which children are actively engaged through interactive story-telling by using props, actors, characters and their families, to make the whole reading process more enjoyable. They were accompanied by a mobile book point and also provided a treasure hunt for the children and their families to enjoy. After the event Discover Children’s Story Centre kindly donated 100 day

passes to be distributed to the children of Woolmore Primary School.

A great day was had by all, with many parents stating that they would read more with their children from now on.

Swan achieves national recognition at UKHA Awards! We are delighted to let you now that Swan was announced as “Highly Commended” in the Outstanding Regeneration Programme category at UKHA awards!

These national awards, run by Inside Housing and the Chartered Institute of Housing, are highly prestigious with only a quarter of the 400+ entries across all the categories actually managing to be shortlisted. Our Executive Director of Regeneration & Development Geoff Pearce and Samantha Wait, our Communications Director, were invited to give a presentation and take part in a Q&A in front of a panel of judges. The judges were clear that just making the shortlist meant we could call ourselves “the best of the best”.

We were delighted that, although we didn’t win, the judges awarded us a special “Highly Commended” award, to recognise the ambition, innovation and impact of our development programme. Congratulations and thank you to all the staff at Swan who made this possible and to residents who inspire us daily to build exceptional homes and communities.


The funny zone!

Q: What did one wall say to the other wall? I’ll meet you at the corner!

Q: What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear! Q: What do you call cheese that isn’t yours? Nacho cheese! Q: Where do cows go for entertainment? To the moo-vies! Q: How do you know if there’s an elephant under your bed? Your head hits the ceiling! Q: Why are elephants so wrinkled? Because they take too long to iron! Q: How do you keep an elephant from charging? Take away her credit card!

Last issues Word Search winners Winner £25 Argos Voucher Mohammad, London

Runners up Swan colouring book

Maddy, Essex

Kayleigh, Essex

KIDS’ ZONE

Spring is in the air and all the creatures are coming out to play There are ten hidden creatures to find; Ant, snail, mayfly, butterfly, caterpillar, spider, wasp, dragonfly, beetle and ladybird Find all ten and you could win a £25 Argos Voucher. The two runners up will win a Kids’ Zone Activity Book.

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When you have found all ten, cut out your entry and return with your name, age and address to Jennifer Spencer Charles, Swan Housing Association, FREEPOST ANG 1036 Entries will be drawn on 26 June 2017. This competition is only open to Swan residents aged 16 or under.

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Your Name ....................................................................................................................................

Your age ....................................................................................................................................

Address .................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................................................


T S E F N A W S R U ! O Y W O K N O O E B C A L P

W O N

In your language

Please call 0300 303 2500 if you would like someone to explain any of these articles to you. Polish

Somali

Punjabi

Swan Housing Association Head Office: Pilgrim House Billericay Essex CM12 9XY

All our offices are open Monday - Thursday 9.00am - 5.15pm

Friday 9.00am - 5.00pm

Tel: 0300 303 2500

Swan HA www.swan.org.uk @swanhousing

Hera Management Services www.heramanagementservices.co.uk @heramanagement

Repairs: 0800 783 2768 or 020 3597 2067 from a mobile (24 hrs a day)

Email: info@swan.org.uk

Online: www.swan.org.uk For details of other ways to report a repair, make a complaint or compliment and how to contact us by text please visit the Swan website

NU living www.nuliving.co.uk @nulivinghomes

Bengali

Arabic

Urdu

Swan Foundation www.swanfoundation.org.uk @swanfoundation

The Communicator (Spring 2017 Edition)  

The newsletter for residents of Swan Housing Association.

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