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Housing Services

You're invited to ference 2012 n o C ts n a en T l a u n n the First A nuary 2012

ay 26 Ja Rooms Thursd ly b em ss A h rt o es Tamw l Landlord Servic Borough Counci Tamworth

Winter 2011

It’s all about you and your home! Ne

12-1.30pm – Guest Speakers – Book your place now 1.30-2pm – Buffet lunch for those who attend from 12

In this issue:Page 2 Fire Safety when celebrating

Page 6 Christmas Rent Campaign

2-7pm Exhibitions and drop-in for everyone


Conference includes:

l Get to know our customers l Hear our guest speakers on latest developments l Have your say l Hear more about our services l Have your housing queries answered l Put questions to our guest panel l Comment on our business plan prospectus

l Entry into prize draw for everyone who attends l Information across landlord services l Information from our partner services l Lots of exhibition stands l Enjoy a fabulous buffet lunch while networking l Another great chance to voice your opinion and be heard l This is your opportunity to ask questions and put forward suggestions for improving the Housing Service l Free advice and lots of goodies

Who l All tenants and leaseholders are welcome

Page 7 Gas Safety

Page 8 Controlling Condensation in your home

w for 20 12

The conference is completely free to attend and free transport is available for those who need it. Childcare allowance can be payable if required. Places are limited so ic t Fantas to guarantee a seat, book your place/s today Prize or simply come along to Draw the drop-in between 2 and 7pm.


Invited l Chief Executive of new repairs contractor l Tenant Services Authority l TAROE – Tenants & Residents Organisations of England l Tenant Consultative Group

Come along and you will automatically be entered into a Free Prize Draw to win: l 32-inch HD television l 2 £100 decorating vouchers l Free days with our Caretaking Team l MANY MORE great prizes

Places are limited. Please let us know by 17th January to ensure your place is reserved. To book your place or for further information, contact the tenant involvement team on freephone 0800 1830454 or 01827 709260 or email: We look forward to seeing you on the day

Customer Dashboard Visit online for the latest performance indicators in housing:

Fire Safety when celebrating It’s that time of year again when we go to lots of parties, decorate our houses and invite round friends and family for some fun and festivities. Christmas is an important time of year for lots of us. Take a look at the 12 steps below to ensure you have a safer Christmas. Celebrate safely this year and have a safe and happy Christmas.


On the 1st day of Christmas


On the 2nd day of Christmas


On the 3rd day of Christmas


On the 4th day of Christmas

Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard. Always use a residual current device (safety device that can save lives by instantly switching off power) on outdoor electrical equipment.

Never place candles near your Christmas tree or furnishings.

Make sure your family and visitors staying for the festive period know what to do in an emergency. Make a fire escape plan

Decorations can burn easily – don’t attach them to lights or heaters.


On the 5th day of Christmas


On the 6th day of Christmas


On the 7th day of Christmas

Never overload electrical sockets. Take special care with Christmas lights. Always switch Christmas lights off and unplug them before you go to bed.

Celebrate Christmas and New Year safely. The risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen, is greater after alcohol is consumed

Most fires start in the kitchen – never leave a cooker unattended


On the 8th day of Christmas


On the 9th day of Christmas

If you are planning to celebrate with fireworks, store them in a metal box, read the instructions, never go back to a lit firework and keep a bucket of water nearby.

Make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished before going to bed.


On the 10th day of Christmas


On the 11th day of Christmas

Check the battery in your smoke alarm every week and use Christmas as a reminder to clean it and remove dust.

Keep candles, lighters and matches out of the reach of children. Never leave burning candles unattended.


On the 12th day of Christmas Take the time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours this Christmas – make sure they are fire safe.


Crown copyright Product code: FS022

Tamworth Welcome for Welbeing sheltered and supported accommodation.

An award-winning telecare provider has secured the contract to deliver the well known and highly valued Lifeline service in Tamworth. Welbeing is one of the fastest growing companies in the sector, supporting nearly 30,000 people across the UK and answering 600,000 calls a year. The Tamworth service includes 24hour, seven day a week contact centre support to customers in

Managing Director at Welbeing, Mark Bannister, said: “I’m very proud of the service Welbeing provides and pleased that local residents in Tamworth are benefiting from the experience, skills and dedication our staff bring to work every day. “We recently celebrated our 25th anniversary and are looking forward to many more years of providing round-the-clock support to our customers.” Having taken over the Lifeline service from Tamworth Borough Council, Welbeing is compliant with the Telecare Service Association

Code of Practice which requires 98.5% of calls to be answered within 60 seconds. Most recent tests show Welbeing answers 99% of calls within 60 seconds. Mark added: “I’d like to remind all our customers to keep Welbeing updated with any changes in their personal data, such as a change of doctor or key-holder. Customers just need to press their pendant to be connected to one of our operators who will be pleased to take down the new information.” If a customer is moving or no longer requires the service, they will need to telephone Welbeing on 0845 0766515 to make arrangements to collect the equipment.

Tamworth Information Centre l Visit, phone or e-mail the friendly, awardwinning team in the Philip Dix Centre l Get full details of where to stay, where to eat and what to do in the Tamworth area. l Get help with that special occasion, plan a day trip, book coach trips, buy tickets for theatre and Tamworth Castle events. l Wide variety of local souvenirs and gifts available Monday to Friday 9.00am - 7.00 pm Saturdays 9.00am - 5.00pm

01827 709581/709618


Pathway Project – Contact Us Your Way Pathway Project provides support, accommodation and services to people suffering domestic and sexual violence and abuse. In the last ten years, the way we communicate with each other has changed dramatically. For us, as a charity working to help people, this has meant trying to keep up with the changes. You can now speak to us in lots of different ways, at a time and in a way that suits you. You can visit us at You can also send us e-mail messages this way if you click on the ‘talk to eve’ button. You can contact our 24-hour helpline at any time, and will always get a response from a well-trained and very supportive team member who will be able to respond to your needs very quickly, with appropriate access to the services that you need, including emergency accommodation. If you want to ring and just talk, that is fine. We are here to listen on 01543 676800. If you prefer to speak face to face, you can do that too. We have a drop in centre, based in Lichfield, only a very short walk from the bus station. The Hope Centre is open 8.30am – 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. Please call on 01543 442610 for more details. And finally we can’t fail to mention Facebook and Twitter. We are available on both and you can look us up and follow us. On Facebook our group is called Pathway Project Turns Victims Into Survivors. On Twitter you can follow us on HayleyCliff@PathwayHayley. Whichever way you like to communicate, if you need our help please feel free to contact us. We will be delighted to do all that we can to help you.


Estate Management Team

ESTATE WALKABOUTS Estate walkabouts give residents and staff the chance to work together to make estates a better place to live.

We did

You said

The Estate’s Caretaking Team targeted areas where graffiti is a problem and have drawn up a graffiti removal schedule.

Graffiti was reported at all four Estate Walkabouts. Tenants reported that an overgrown area of shrubbery at Nemesia was a hot spot for ASB. Tenants would like to see shrubbery cut down to ground level. Complaints were received about communal areas being churned up by residents parking on the grass. Fly tipping reported around the estates.

Two days after the walkabout the shrubbery was cut back by the Community Payback Team. Letters were sent out to residents to remind them not to park on the grassed areas. Rubbish was removed within five working days of the walkabout.

If you would like to request an estate walkabout in your area, contact free phone 0800 183 0454 or 01827 709448

National non-emergency telephone number for the Police From Tuesday November 8, communities across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent now have access to 101, the national nonemergency telephone number for the police service in England and Wales. While 999 is a well-recognised number used to report emergencies, the 2010 British Crime Survey found that only 54% of the public know how to contact their local police if they want to talk to them about policing, crime or anti-social behaviour. The introduction of the 101 number will help communities to keep their neighbourhoods safe by giving them one easy way to contact their local police force to report non-emergency crime and disorder. Calls to 101 will cost 15p per call, no matter how long

you are on the phone. This applies to both landlines and mobile phones. In an emergency, the public should continue to call 999, such as when a crime is in progress, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.


The current number (0300 123 4455) will remain in place while our communities and partners become familiar with 101. Further information can be obtained by visiting Deputy Chief Constable Douglas Paxton


Repairs \ Investment and Gas Contracts The procurement of a responsive repairs and investment service directly contributes to the council's new strategic priorities. Investing in the local economy by encouraging local labour and providing a decent home helps lead to healthier, safer and better lives. The current contracts the council have for repairs and gas servicing come to an end in March 2012. Due to the size and value of these combined contracts the council is required to follow procurement regulations in relation to renewing these contracts.  The procurement process, which tenants have been involved in, is now well underway and we will shortly be evaluating the tenders which have been submitted. Once the tender process is fully completed we will be able to announce who are the successful contractors are for the repairs/investment and gas contracts.

nt Campaign Help is at hand with the Christmas 2011 Re The Borough Council is launching the Rent First campaign offering help and advice to people who may be facing difficulties paying their rent over the festive period. On Tuesday 29 November, Borough Council Housing staff will be running a stall on Tamworth’s Market. This will be packed full of useful information including how to make payments and where to get advice and information. Representatives from the Credit Union and Staffordshire Fire Service will also be on hand to offer advice on their services. There will be another market stall run by the Housing staff on Saturday 3rd December. The main aim of the campaign is to make sure everyone is aware of the payment options available. This can help reduce the likelihood of court action and evictions. Tenants who have concerns about paying their rent, or who want more information about how they can pay, can visit the market stall for an informal chat, or phone the Borough Council on 01827 709709.


Gas Safety

As your landlord, Tamworth Borough Council has a legal responsibility to make sure that all gas appliances, fittings and flues owned by us are safe. The law states that every 12 months we must arrange gas safety inspections to be carried out by Gas Saferegistered engineers. It is important that you allow access for gas inspections to take place so that we can ensure you and your neighbours are kept safe and our appliances continue to work properly.

What will happen if I don’t let you carry out the gas safety check? A minority of our residents do not give us reasonable access to check their gas appliances. We make every effort to arrange suitable appointments, but if we are not given access, we will take legal action to force these residents to give us access to check the gas appliances. Ensuring that our tenants’ homes are safe is critically important to us. If you fail to keep an appointment and the annual safety check and service is overdue, we will take legal action to gain access to your home and complete the service. If this happens, you will be charged for the costs incurred.

What do you check? All gas appliances will be checked, for example boilers, gas supplies and gas fires, whether installed by us or not. However, if an appliance installed or owned by you is found to be faulty, you will be responsible for making arrangements for the repair to be carried out at your expense.

Thank you for helping us to ensure your home is safe.

Our contractor will service our gas appliances to ensure they are working efficiently and will continue to work effectively over the next 12 months.


Controlling condensation and mould in your home What causes condensation? There are three main causes of condensation: l Too much moisture production in your home l Insufficient ventilation l Cool temperatures. Everyday activities such as bathing and showering, cooking, boiling the kettle, drying clothes indoors, topping up fish tanks etc add moisture to the air. Moisture is added to the air just by breathing. During the winter months (October – April) internal surface condensation may become more prevalent as the cold external temperatures have a knock-on effect on the external structure of the building, creating cold surfaces ideal for condensation and subsequent mould growth. Mould growth can be an all-year problem if air is not allowed to circulate within the property.

How much moisture can be produced in your home in a day? Two people active for one day

3 pints

Cooking and boiling a kettle

6 pints

Having a bath or shower

2 pints

Washing clothes

1 pint

Drying clothes

9 pints

Total amount of moisture produced in your home for one day

21 pints

Portable gas and paraffin heaters should not be used under any circumstances. Apart from being forbidden by your tenancy agreement, they are a health and safety hazard. If you would like any more information sent out to you either by post or email, please contact Jan Jones on 01827 709403 or email


A new national home swap scheme has been launched A new nationwide scheme was announced by the Housing Minister Grant Shapps this October. The new nationwide scheme `HomeSwap Direct` will allow social housing tenants to swap homes to be closer to new jobs or their families. The scheme will give online access to available properties across the UK. Tamworth Borough Council tenants that have already registered with our mutual exchange provider `HomeSwapper` will automatically benefit from the new nationwide home swap scheme `Homeswap Direct` - and you can too by joining today.

Do you want to Move Home? HomeSwapper is a service to help you swap your home with another council or housing association tenant anywhere throughout the UK. You can search for potential home swaps at or by viewing the `HomeSwappers Mutual Exchange List` available at Reception Area at Tamworth Borough Council, Marmion House, Lichfield Street, Tamworth B79 7BZ.

Don’t Forget! You must not exchange properties with anyone without first obtaining written permission from both landlords to exchange.


End of Tenancy Reward scheme When you move out of your Council home, you could qualify for a reward payment of £50.

This scheme will save us time and money in getting the property ready for the next tenant, which in turn offers greater value for money for our customers.

To receive your reward you must; l Give the appropriate notice to end your tenancy as stated in your tenancy agreement. The notice period is usually four weeks

l Have been a tenant for six months or more l Have a clear rent account when you hand the keys in l Have an approved property inspection carried out during your notice period

l Leave no outstanding repairs or damage caused which is your responsibility

l No rubbish or unwanted furniture is left in the property

l Hand in a full set of keys and door entry fobs (where expected) on time and

l Provide a forwarding address You do not have to apply for this reward scheme as all tenants who are leaving us will automatically be assessed to check if they are entitled to the reward payment. If you do we will send you a £50 cheque to your new address or make a credit to your bank account if you have given us your bank account details. We aim to do this within 28 days of you moving out. If you have any queries or would like a copy of the full terms and conditions of this scheme, please contact the Void and Allocation team. Telephone 01827 709520 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or email

Recruitment Drive During 2010/2011 the Tenant Involvement Team saw 30 new recruits wanting to get involved and have a say in the way their housing service is delivered. The majority came from the annual recruitment drive which saw the team out and about around the borough, at the four community hubs, at Tamworth market and in Marmion House reception.

Why get involved? Because we need you! You are important to how we deliver and develop our service. It’s up to you how much time you want to give. Please visit our website at for further information or telephone 0800 1830454.


What’s On Evening Tea Dance Friday 16th January. Tickets £6.50 Doors 7pm for a 7.30pm start Pre-booking essential Tamworth Pantomime Company- Aladdin 15th-22nd January. Tickets £12 and £8 concessions Group booking rates apply* Guitar Anthems Friday 27th January Tickets £16, £14 concessions Doors 7.30pm for 8pm start All Star 60s Show Thursday 2nd February Tickets £18.50, £16.50 Doors 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start Roy Orbison and Friends “75 special” tribute Saturday 4th February. Tickets £18 Doors 7pm for a 7.30pm start Gerry Cross the Mersey Friday 10th February. Tickets £17.50 Doors 7.00pm for a 7:30 start Marty Wilde & The Wildcats Saturday 18th February Tickets £18, £17 concessions Doors 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start Battle of the Bands Launch Thursday 23rd February Celtic Dream Monday 27th February Tickets £19.50 and £17.50 Doors 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start A Psychic Night Out Friday 2nd February Tickets £19, £17.50 concession s Doors 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start Those Were the Days Wednesday 7th February Ticket £12, £10 concessions Doors 2.00 for a 2.30pm start See website for more events and details:

Spot the difference to


Tamworth Borough Council is offering you the chance to win £20 if your spot the difference competition entry is selected from our prize draw. There are just two competition rules: l You have to be a tenant of Tamworth Borough Council. l You have to circle three differences between these two photographs. Once you think you’ve found all three differences, circle them clearly, fill in and cut out the entry form and then return it by Friday 27 January 2012 to: Diane Hughes, Tamworth Borough Council, Marmion House, Lichfield Street, Tamworth Staffordshire B79 7BZ. All correct entries will be entered into a prize draw and the winner notified soon after the deadline. The competition is open to Tamworth Borough Council tenants only. Good luck! Name: ________________________________________________________________ Address: ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Telephone No: __________________________________________________________

Spot the difference


Congratulations to Mrs Cowell of Leyfields who was the lucky winner of the Spot the Difference competition in the Summer 2011 issue of Open House. Enjoy your prize! Thanks to everybody who sent in competition entries!


Alternative Formats If you would like this document in a different form, for example audio CD, large print or Braille, please contact the Tenant Participation team on 0800 1830454.

If you would like to get involved then contact Tamworth Borough Council’s Tenant Participation team:

If you would find it easier to talk to us in your own language please ask an english-speaking friend or relative to contact 0800 183 0454. We can arrange for an interpreter to contact you to discuss any translation you need.

Leanne Allwood

Tenant Regulatory and Involvement Manager

01827 709448 Diane Hughes Tenant Participation Assistant

01827 709260 Helen Rich Customer Service Assistant

01827 709260 Ann Summers

Landlord Improvement and Project Officer

01827 709374 email us: tenantparticipation@tamworth. Other useful numbers: Tamworth Borough Council Customer Services (01827) 709709 Benefits (01827) 709540 Council Tax (01827) 709530 Housing Advice 01827) 709459 Housing Office Enquiries (01827) 709491 Tenant Participation (01827 709374) Rent Enquiries (Income team) (01827) 709514 Estate Management Team (01827) 709491 Allocations and Voids (01827) 709520 Designed and Produced by Tamworth Borough Council

Tamworth Borough Council 12

Marmion House, Lichfield Street, Tamworth, Staffordshire B79 7BZ. Enquiries: (01827) 709709 . Main Fax: (01827) 709271

Open House Winter 2011  

Tamworth Borough Council's Tenants Magazine

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