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of the matter Find out what is happening in your community | Summer 2018

Your Home Summer is here 1

Tai Calon News Want to win ÂŁ50 of LOVE2SHOP Vouchers?

In The Community Upcycling shop opens its doors



Your Home Cost Of A No-Access Visit


Summer Is Here


Weather Can Change


Contents Insurance


New Vale Recycling Centre


Tai Calon News

In this edition, we introduce the new Community Housing Officer teams. We have made these changes to these teams to improve the way we deliver our services, to improve our accessibility, and visibility, and to enable the teams to work with more residents across our estates on improving services and the environment. The teams will have more manageable ‘patch’ sizes, so will be able to do more development work. It is another example of how helpful your feedback is. We listen to you and we learn how we can make things better, and then we go ahead and make the changes. We hope and believe you will see the benefit of these staffing changes in the coming months and years. I hope you find the newsletter helpful, and that you have a lovely summer. Thank you and best wishes Diolch a dymuniadau gorau Joe Logan Chief Executive

How We Are Doing


Your Community Housing Officer


Neighbourhood Inspections


Who are the Lifft Team?


Privacy Notice


Star Survey 2018


Tenant Board Member Recruitment


In The Community Pen-Y-Cwm School Project


Employee Recoginition Scheme


Get On Track Program Is Back!


Upcycling Shop Opens Its Doors


Be Like Bob


£50 Prize Draw For Emails


Universal Credit Training With Tenants 19 Colouring Competition Winner

DO YOU NEED A DIFFERENT FORMAT? If you would like this newsletter in a different format (e.g. large print, audio or braille) or in a different language please contact Sarah Freeman on: Telephone: 01495 294 865 Email: Text: taicalon to 60030, followed by your message

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Summer Is Here For many of us, our attention turns to tidying the garden or carrying out home improvements, ready for summer. We actively encourage residents to keep their homes and gardens up to a good standard so they can be enjoyed safely. Below are some useful points to think of before you start that dream project:

• Do I have the right equipment? o Make sure you have the right tools and protective equipment and you know how to use them.

• Do I need permission to make improvements? o Check with us; we will support where we can and point you in the right direction if you need extra permissions from the Local Authority

Where an improvement is done well with permission it will be there for you to enjoy for a long time. Where an improvement is done without permission we may have to ask you to undo all your hard work and put it back to how it was.

• Will my project affect my neighbours? o Putting up a shed, new fencing or planting can occasionally cause friction between neighbours. Speak to them in advance about your plans as communicating can often stop misunderstandings arising.

Enjoy the summer and stay safe! Ian Harris - Head of Property Services

• Do I have the right skill set? o If you are planning any electrical work you must get permission from us and use a qualified tradesperson!

Cost Of A No-Access Visit Did you know Tai Calon Repairs staff have an average of eight no ‘access’ appointments a day? This is the equivalent of one of our members of staff driving around and knocking at doors all day every day. These wasted appointment slots mean that we can’t help someone else who is in need of our services.

So if you can’t make your appointment please let us know, so that we can rearrange a better time to suit you and this will allow us to carry out a repair for someone else with your old appointment slot.


SAFETY IN YOUR HOME Contents Insurance Part of our job during last winter was to help people who experienced leaks and burst pipes as a result of the very cold weather. Damage can be quite extensive following a leak; typically floor coverings, curtains, furniture and electrical goods can be affected. How would you replace these without insurance? Contents insurance can be relatively cheap and, unfortunately, although we will restore the building elements after a leak, we do not replace you personal items.


Checking and servicing your homes heating system on an annual basis is something we have been doing for a long time. It is important that we do these gas and solid fuel checks for the safety of you and your family. But did you know that it’s just as important that we also test the electrics in your home? We appreciate that you want to look after and improve your home and this sometimes means that you may want to put up different light fittings or make other minor changes. If you want to make changes to your home please ask us before you go ahead, we will be able to guide you on the use of safe and approved contractors. We are now doing electrical testing every 5-years and we will be carrying out checks on around 1200 homes this year. Dangerous electrics can lead to electric shocks or fires, by carrying out these checks we will be able to identify any risk and put it right.

When you receive an appointment letter from us, you will be given an allocated date and time for one of our team to visit your home and carry out an electrical safety check. If you are happy with the appointment you have been given then you don’t need to do anything but if it does not suit you then please call the team on 0300 303 1717 to arrange a more convenient date and time. The test takes a little while and we will need access to every room, this is so we can be sure that everything is ok.


How We Are Doing Here’s some of our performance measures We measure our performance against targets to ensure that we are delivering the best possible service to tenants. For more information about our performance please visit:


tenant satisfaction with CUSTOMER SERVICES


of GAS servicing completed on TIME


of calls are answered by CUSTOMER SERVICESS


REPAIRS were completed on TIME


Tenants were HAPPY overall with the REPAIRS PROCESS


REPAIRS completed right first TIME


Thank you for your help in answering surveys we carry out, to measure how we are doing.


Complaints We had FIFTEEN formal and SEVEN informal complaints, from 1st January 2018 to 31st March 2018. SEVEN complaints were upheld, FOUR Partially upheld and ELEVEN not upheld.

A formal complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction or concern about Tai Calon’s action or lack of action, or is about the standard of service provided.

Upheld is where we got it wrong. We say we got it wrong, we apologise and we see if we can avoid a similar complaint in the future. Partially upheld is where we apologised for getting something wrong, however, we don’t agree that everything was our fault.


An Informal complaint is where we will deal with complaints immediately. If you are unhappy or have a concern, it should be raised with the person who is dealing with the matter. We will resolve the problem quickly, in an informal way. We aim to resolve the complaint within two working days. If it is taking longer we will keep you informed of progress.

of complaints were responded to within our 15 DAY TARGET.

The average response time for a complaint was SEVEN days.


of complaints were about REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE


compliments/letters of ‘thank you’ were received during this period


Who Is Your Community Housing Officer? You may have noticed recently that your Neighbourhood Managers are now known as Community Housing Officers. This is part of changes Tai Calon has made to give tenants a more efficient service and focus our efforts on local communities. Although progress has been made in levels of satisfaction within your neighbourhoods, we know from tenant feedback that further improvement is required. Ebbw Fach Name


Housing Manager

Email Address

Ebbw Fach Valley

01495 294781

Tracey Mickeli

Brynithel, Swyffryd, Llanhilleth and Six Bells

01495 294796

Helen Megraw

Abertillery, Cwmtillery and Roseheyworth

01495 294809

Chloe Williams

Blaina and Cwmcelyn

01495 294851

Tracey Meyrick

Nantyglo, Coed Cae and Winchestown

01495 294796

Peter Seymour


01495 294859

Phillip Hackling


Direct Line

Your Community Housing Officer will be your main point of contact with Tai Calon and you will still receive support and advice when required. The Community Housing Officer will be far more visible and will improve local service delivery through better estate inspections, increasing personal contact, local surgeries and events.


Ebbw Fawr Name


Direct Line Email Address

Ebbw Fawr Valley

01495 294812

Natalie Bayliss

Rassau, Briery Hill

01495 294876

Simon Deneen


01495 294884

Steve Wetten

Glyncoed, Beaufort, Cwm

01495 294928

Briony Harris

Newtown, Garnlydan, Gwaun Helyg, Council Street, Alfred Street

01495 294713


Direct Line

Housing Manager

Rachel Rees

Tredegar Name Housing Manager

Ceri Owen

Tredegar Valley

01495 294721

Email Address

Rhian Mann

Tafarnaubach Ashvale Dukestown

01495 294783

Wayne Davies

Sihowy and Tredegar Town Centre

01495 294861

Darrell Dewar

Cefn Golau Peacehaven St James Way

01495 294750


Neighbourhood Inspections All Neighbourhood Inspections start at 10am and should last about 2 hours. Ebbw Fawr Schedule Date


Meeting Point


Glyncoed B

Glyncoed Fish shop



Cwm Primary School


Upper Rassau

By the community centre


Lower Hilltop

Hilltop shops



Elizabeth Way


Briery Hill

RTB Club


Lower Rassau

By the Ty-Bryn-club

Aug 2018

Sept 2018

Ebbw Fach Schedule Date


Meeting Point


Arael View

Lower Carpark


Valley View

Main Carpark



Outside Main Shops



Outside Zephania Way



Main Entrance to the Estate



Outside Shop



Flats on Entrance to Gurnos Estate

Aug 2018

Tredegar Schedule Date


Meeting Point



Outside TARA House



Outside top shop



Griffiths Square



Dukestown Club


Cefn Golau

Outside TARA House


St Georges Court

Main Entrance



Peacehaven Court


Gwent Way

Outside Deighton Primary School


Cwm Glas/Cefn Glas

Bus Stop by Cwm Glas Bungalows


St James Way

Top Carpark by the Playground

Sep 2018



Who Are The Lifft Team? The Lifft team has been in place for a year now and are our team of support workers. They can help anyone aged 18+ with all sorts of issues.

How can they help? Budgeting and benefit claims, accessing grants, support to set up in a new home, tenancy advice, arranging access to health services with you, help with managing your home, life skills, referral & signposting to other agencies and connecting people in your community. They can do a lot! If you want to have a chat about the Lifft service, please ring us on 01495 294726 and speak to Kayleigh Gulliford or you can email, Come and talk to us! Kayleigh Gulliford Supporting Housing Assistant

Privacy Notice The data protection law changed on 25th May and is now called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). There have been some changes to the law and, to reflect these GDPR changes, we have updated our privacy notice which is available to view on the website. The privacy notice explains what personal data we collect about you and how we use it. Your privacy is important to us and we will comply with the legal requirements set out by GDPR in relation to the collection, holding and processing of your personal information.


COMING IN SEPTEMBER STAR Survey 2018 Did you know last year 77% of tenants were satisfied with Tai Calon (up 13% on 2016) and 78% thought their rent was good value for money (up 5% on 2016). Each year independent researchers ask around 2,000 tenants their opinion on Tai Calon, how we deal with repairs, the condition of your neighbourhood and lots more in the annual Tai Calon STAR survey. We use the information to plan services for the following year and to compare how well we are doing with other Housing Associations. If you are included in this years STAR survey we will ask you to complete the survey either online, by post or a telephone call in September or early October. Let us know your views and help us to make Tai Calon better for all our tenants.



Complete the STAR survey and enter into a draw to win ÂŁ150 in shopping vouchers



Have You Considered Being A Tenant Board Member? The Board of Tai Calon has a vacancy for a Tenant Board member. Board members take part in making major decisions about Tai Calon’s homes and neighbourhoods and how they are managed. Board membership is unpaid but reasonable out of pocket expenses are reimbursed. The Board consists of three tenant members, three local authority representatives and six independent members. The Board is the decision making body for Tai Calon and members are responsible for: •

Setting objectives and agreeing the plans to achieve the objectives

Approving budgets and accounts

Monitoring the performance of the organisation against budgets, plans and targets

Managing risks and ensuring strong internal controls are in place



NOW ? Look natura out for yo ur l ga sniff c s scratch a ards f nd r Gas T om our eam

Tenant Board members are elected by tenants and have varied backgrounds, skills and experiences. We believe the Board is significantly strengthened by the tenant members, who can bring their own experience of Tai Calon to the Board. To express an interest or for an informal discussion about the role of Tenant Board Member please contact Jayne Lewis, Governance Officer on: 01495 294793 Details of current Board members and the minutes of recent meetings can be found on our website. at: board-members

“I’m really enjoying being a Tenant Board Member. I’ve learnt lots of new skills and have a greater understanding about how Tai Calon operates. I also feel valued by the other Board Members and that they listen to my opinion on issues”. Vicki Browning, Tenant Board Member


Pen-y-Cwm School Project Careers Wales Education Business Exchange and Tai Calon delivered employability training at Pen-Y-Cwm School, part of the Ebbw Fawr Learning Community. Pen-y-Cwm Special School was established in 1976 and caters for pupils with learning difficulties. Some of the pupils have additional needs such as autistic spectrum disorders and physical or sensory difficulties. This was the first occasion that a business had been requested to deliver training to an SEN (Special Educational Needs) School as part of the Education Business Exchange Programme so it was an honour to be asked. The day included interview preparation and ‘real life’ mock interviews for job roles that exist at Tai Calon for eight students aged 17 and 18.

“Please accept my thanks for today! What a fantastic team you all are!”

The delivery team comprised of Phil Meek and Alun Harries from our Employment & Skills Team, Ashleigh Davies from HR and Ross Watts from Communities.

As a result we are now planning to host some of the pupils on work awareness sessions within Tai Calon.

The delivery team learned a massive amount from the day regarding the methods and styles needed to deliver training to such a diverse group.

Phillip Meek Employment & Skills Programme Manager

Excellent feedback was received from students and staff with Nerys Lloyd - teacher at Pen-y-Cwm school saying:

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Tai Calon are very pleased to receive a bronze award from The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.


In the Community SUMMER EDITION

programme is back! Young people in Blaenau Gwent to be mentored by world class athletes. Tai Calon Community Housing is working in partnership with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust by supporting the Get on Track programme throughout April, May and June this year. The programme is led by former Welsh 15’s Rugby International and mentor, Philippa Tuttiett, who recently captained the Welsh 7’s rugby team at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, Liz Johnson, a Paralympian, World and European gold medallist swimmer and Tai Calon’s very own Employment & Skills Team. With the help of the mentors, local young people are learning to develop the high performing attitudes of confidence, resilience, determination, focus and motivation from the course. Get on Track is designed to inspire confidence and trust, build team skills, personal awareness and engage young people in a series of high energy sessions. Top athletes act as mentors for 16 to 25-yearolds to help them reach their potential.

Double Gold Olympian and President of Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, Dame Kelly Holmes said: “We are delighted to be in Blaenau Gwent running our flagship programme Get on Track, which will help transform the lives of so many people across the borough. World-class athletes have a set of attitudes and capabilities which has led them to reach the top of their sport. We use them to transform the lives of young people and equip them with the skills needed to lead positive lives.” Ross Watts, Head of Communities at Tai Calon said: “We are extremely excited to work with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. We know that many young people in the area just need a positive role model and a chance to kick start their journey back to employment and/or education. Blaenau Gwent has a rich sporting history and using the positive attributes of elite level sportsmen and sportswomen in unlocking young people’s potential is truly innovative.”


Upcycling Shop Opens Its Doors Looking to do some home decorating on a tight budget? Well, a new shop has opened its doors in Brynmawr town that might be able to help!

We in Tai Calon have partnered up with Growing Space and opened a new shop selling upcycled furniture from Tai Calon empty homes and paint via the Community RePaint network. The shop is based on Beaufort Street, Brynmawr and opened its doors to the public on 27th April. The shop and upcycling workshop gives opportunities for accredited training or work placement opportunities in retail or a workshop environment. For Tai Calon, the project was led by Alun Harries of the Employment & Skills Team and Pete Lewis of Voids with the support of their teams. A special mention also goes to Chris Smith and Rob Jones who pulled out all the stops to get some necessary repairs to the property completed in time for the official launch. Growing Space is a registered mental health charity providing real work skills and support to help adults with mental health issues. Why not pop in and have a look? 16

For more information visit the Growing Space or contact Alun Harries via email Alun. or 01495 294 757.

In the Community SUMMER EDITION

BOB Is Ready For Universal Credit. Be Like BOB. When BOB heard his benefits were changing to become a single monthly Universal Credit payment, he got ready

Banking Universal Credit can be paid into a bank or credit union account. Set one up or use the one you have

Online All claims are managed online, so you need to know where you can access the internet and you need the skills to go online

What is Universal Credit? Universal Credit is a single monthly payment of benefit for people in or out of work. Some single people are already claiming Universal Credit.

It’s different because: •

You will only get one monthly payment for your household Universal Credit will be paid into your bank account

If you’re entitled to help with your rent this will be included in the monthly payment and you will have to pay the rent to Tai Calon yourself

You will have to apply for and manage your Universal Credit claim online

• You

DID YOU KNOW? Our job vacancies can be found on our website

will still need to claim some benefits separately, like Council Tax Reduction and Personal Independence Payment.

Budgeting You need to plan your budget. Universal Credit is paid monthly rather than weekly or fortnightly

What benefits will be affected? •

Housing Benefit

Child Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit

Income Support

Employment Support Allowance (income related)

Job Seekers Allowance (income based)

Don’t forget to make a claim for help with your council tax.

If you’re worried about anything Universal Credit-related contact our Customer Services team on 0300 303 1717, we are happy to help


Want to win £50 of Love To Shop vouchers? Just tell us what your email address is and you’ll be in with a chance to win. We are running a competition for people who would like to communicate with us via email. Be the first to know what is going on, have confirmation of your repair appointment, get quicker responses to your queries and questions and lots more. We can do all this via your email address! Let our teams know what your email address is and £50 of Love To Shop vouchers could be yours. You can also sign up via our Facebook page and website. For more information about setting up an email address or getting online contact: Rachael Davies Digital Inclusion Support Officer at Get Blaenau Gwent Online Tel:01495 355147 Email:

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You can also drop in to see Rachael at the following: • Monday 10.00 - 16.00 Ebbw Vale Library • Tuesday Morning 09:15 -12:15 Ebbw Vale Job Centre (30-minute appointments to be booked via work coach. Contact JCP) • Tuesday Afternoon 14:30 – 16:30 Tredegar Library • Thursday Afternoon 14:30-16:30 Cwm Library • Friday Morning 10:00-13:00 Ebbw Vale Library

In the Community SUMMER EDITION

Communities Come Together to Deliver Universal Credit Advice With Universal Credit being introduced in July, we decided it is important for community members to understand what changes are going to happen and how they will be affected. We invited Nick Beddows, a Community Engagement Specialist from Shared Future, to give training to people from Sirhowy, Newtown, Cefn Golau, Waundeg, Rassau, Hilltop and Blaina. Community members came into Tai Calon for four sessions to equip them with the knowledge and skills to share within their communities on issues related to Universal Credit. Pennie Walker, our Better Together Lead, said, “It is great to see people coming in from different communities who are interested in helping other people. Universal Credit is going to be a change for many people. Being able to offer advice and support in your own community will be of great benefit.�

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Congratulations to: Leo Jones from Tredegar who is the winner of the colouring competition in the last newsletter.

Tai Calon Heart of the Matter Newsletter (Summer 2018)  

In this edition, we introduce the new Community Housing Officer teams. We have made these changes to these teams to improve the way we deliv...

Tai Calon Heart of the Matter Newsletter (Summer 2018)  

In this edition, we introduce the new Community Housing Officer teams. We have made these changes to these teams to improve the way we deliv...