Page 1

Autumn 2013

30th Birthday celebrations continue in Stockbridge Village

Food Bank now open for Fitton Hill Garden Competition Winners

Stories for Both page 1-15

In this issue‌

Stories for Stockbridge Village page 16-20

Stories for Fitton Hill page 21-26

More than just a Landlord

Staff News We have a few new faces here at Villages and we would like to welcome them to the team.

Welcome to our Autumn edition of Our Times... Following a fantastic summer we have lots of news to share with you along with some great pictures from both Gala Days in Fitton Hill and Stockbridge Village which were a huge success and attracted record crowds. Thank you to everyone who took part or attended. Over the summer we launched our new look website and a Villages app which can be downloaded via the App Store or iTunes for iPhones or the Google Play Store for Android phones. The app allows you to access our services easier and more directly. You can use the app to pay rent, check your rent balance and report any repairs. In September there were changes to the VHA board with Chris Wood and Brian Ricketts retiring, I would like to thank them both for their hard work and commitment. I am pleased to welcome five new board members; Jill Albertina, Fred Jones, Mike Sale, Julie Hallows and Judith Neilson who bring with them a wide range of skills and knowledge. We have included our annual report for 2012/13 in this edition to let you know how we performed over the year. The report is also available on the Villages website. On page 2 we have information about how you can save money in your home through energy saving measures which you may find useful as the colder weather sets in. I hope you enjoy reading and all have a wonderful autumn. Vernon Jackson, Chief Executive, Villages Housing Association


Megan Hazlett who will already be a familiar face to many of you has joined the Stockbridge Village Customer Service team until December. Phil Corran joined us as our new Estate Management Officer in Stockbridge Village. Phil is already enjoying his role at Villages, “The Stockbridge Village community are really friendly and I am looking forward to meeting more of the residents over the next few weeks.” We have also welcomed the return of Barbara Watson who will be working at Roughsedge House and Jayne Roberts who will be working with Sarah Bevan on new initiatives. During the summer we said goodbye to Anne Porter and Colin Lafferty, we wish them the best of luck for the future.

“I am looking forward to meeting more of the residents over the next few weeks.”

Well done Sue Sue Grimmet, Anti-Social Behaviour Officer for Stockbridge Village completed Professional Diploma in Housing and Sustainable Communities. Sue later received a letter from the Regional Chair of CIH congratulating her on winning the 2013 North West CIH distance learning prize for achievement.

Our Times has been approved by a Tenant Readers Group. We would like to thank them for kindly giving up their time to offer their input into the look and content of this newsletter. If you would like to get involved in future publications then please get in touch with Alexandra Kinsella, our Marketing and Communications Officer on 0151 949 5032 or email

As the cold weather sets in it’s important to keep your home warm and follow a healthy lifestyle to avoid the winter flu here are a few helpful tips to keep warm this winter…. • Wrap up warm, inside and out. Remember that several thin layers of clothes are better than one thick layer and having hot meals and drinks help you to stay warm too. • Keep your home warm - your main living room should be between 18-21C and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C. • Get active – it helps to keep you warm and is good for your general fitness and wellbeing too. You can also take part in activities at your local Neighbourhood Centre - contact 0151 443 2200 (Stockbridge Village) or 0161 770 8840 (Fitton Hill) for more information.

Good Luck Jed!

Could you save £135 on your heating bills? The Warm Home Discount is a support programme aimed at households who are living in, or are at risk of, fuel poverty. Your electricity supplier will help qualifying customers by providing rebates on electricity accounts to help when bills may be higher over the winter period.

Jed Pearson, Deputy Chief Executive has been shortlisted in the 'Green Social Housing Champion' category of The Sustainable Housing Awards 2013, organised by Inside Housing magazine. The awards put the spotlight on the best green social housing projects constructed in the UK, and the organisations responsible for them. It is a brilliant achievement for not only Jed but also for Villages. Jed said “I am delighted to have been shortlisted, it’s a huge honour. I am very proud of the work Villages has been doing to make our properties more energy efficient and deliver real savings for our tenants. It’s wonderful to have all our hard work recognised.”

Some customers will qualify automatically for a rebate and will receive a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions telling them this. Others can apply for the rebate if they meet certain eligibility criteria. You qualify for the discount if on the ‘qualifying day’ (20 July 2013) your supplier was part of the scheme, your name (or your partner’s) was on the bill and you were either: • 75 or over and getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit) • under 75 and only getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (you won’t qualify if you also get Savings Credit) To find out more you can visit or contact your energy supplier directly.

Did you know that Villages has a community budget? Donations are made to groups and individuals to provide equipment, help fund events and enable residents to participate in various activities. Applications are considered by each relevant Estate Management Committee. If you would like to apply for a community budget, the deadline is approaching fast so make sure you apply soon. Stockbridge Village deadline is 22nd November • Fitton Hill deadline is 18th November 02


Keeping Warm as Winter Approaches

New Apprenticeship Programme

“I am delighted to be working at Villages, it’s a great opportunity and I am learning new skills to help me in the future.”

Villages are committed to providing work and training opportunities to local residents and together with Knowsley Council have created three new apprenticeship opportunities. In September we welcomed Michael Beckett, Jason Noon and Jessica Balmer to Stockbridge Village, who are all learning valuable skills to help them with their future careers. Michael who will be working within the finance team said “I am delighted to be working at Villages, it’s a great opportunity and I am learning new skills to help me in the future.” Later this year we will be welcoming a new apprentice to our Fitton Hill office.

Everybody Needs Good Neighbours… Everyone enjoys having a party or two, however not many people enjoying hearing them late into the evening. Over the summer we have received an increase in the reporting of noise complaints. We would just like to remind you to think of your neighbours and keep noise to a minimum. Your neighbour may work un-social hours, have young children or may be studying for an important exam. Dogs barking, noisy parties, or loud TV’s can disturb them. A sense of community is what Stockbridge Village and Fitton Hill residents pride themselves on so please ensure that the level of noise is not excessive. Whilst listening to music or the TV, your hearing could be affected and the noise will not appear to be as loud to you as it is to others. Close windows where noise may escape and affect neighbours. Remember if you live in a flat, noise travels so think of your neighbours and keep it down.



Housing Benefits - THE FACTS Are you are thinking about leaving us for a private landlord?

Case Example:

If you are in receipt of housing benefit, as a private landlord tenant you would receive ‘local housing allowance’, which is paid based upon your family size. So if you decide to rent a larger property than you need you will have to pay the difference in the rent.

Mr and Mrs Smith have two daughters and live in a 3 bedroom Villages property. They qualify for housing benefit but due to the welfare reform changes their ‘bedroom tax’ shortfall is now £12 a week. They believe they would be financially better off by renting a 3 bedroom house privately. However they will only receive housing allowance for a 2 bedroom property, so if their rent is £130 per week rent and they receive £109.62 housing benefit that would leave Mr and Mrs Smith paying the £20.38 difference between what they receive through housing allowance and their total rent.

Remember Villages are more than just a landlord and there are more benefits renting a Villages property than there would be with a private landlord.

This is a higher amount than the £12per week ‘bedroom tax’ they are currently paying as a Villages tenant.

The grass may not be as green as you think. Following the Governments welfare reform changes, some residents have told us that they think moving to a private landlord would mean that they would be financially better off or exempt from the ‘bedroom tax’. This isn’t necessary the case.

• Security of tenure • Annual gas safety check • Regular repairs and maintenance to your home

If you are thinking of moving, speak to a member of the Villages team first as they will be happy to discuss your options with you. Stockbridge Village: 0151 480 1313 Fitton Hill: 0161 633 4060

• Anti-Social Behaviour measures • Free community events/training

Did you know that a private landlord can give you 2months notice to leave without telling you why. You would have to leave your home even if you had been a perfect tenant. Can you really risk losing your family home? Remember you will always have security and a home with Villages (provided you comply with your tenancy agreement).

Local Welfare Provision The provision of Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans for living expenses ended on 31 March 2013. A new scheme called Local Welfare Provision (LWP) is now in place. Local Welfare Provision will meet short term emergency/immediate support needs of vulnerable

people or assist vulnerable people to establish or maintain a home in the community. You can find more information about this by calling Oldham Council on 0161 770 5468 or Knowsley Council on 0151 443 4042. 04

Thank You Villages Kevin Milne has recently moved to Spruce Grove, and is thrilled with his new home “I am absolutely delighted with my home and can’t thank Villages enough for all of their help. It has been so easy to settle into the area and the community is so welcoming and friendly I am looking forward to many happy years here”.

Are you following Villages on Facebook and twitter? You can keep up to date with everything going on in Stockbridge Village and Fitton Hill from job opportunities to events… Don’t delay follow us today!

“...the community is so welcoming and friendly I am looking forward to many happy years here”.

/villageshousing @villageshousing

$ Have you Been Thinking about Moving? We understand that the Governments recent welfare reform changes have had an impact on our community and that many families are now finding it difficult if they are living alone in a large property. So together with KHT, Villages are organising an exchange event in order to help those residents who would like to stay in the area but need a smaller/larger home. The event will be held on Tuesday 12th November, 2 – 6pm at River Alt Resource Centre. If you would like to register your interest for a mutual exchange with Villages you can do so by speaking to a member of staff at Villages or simply tear of the form below and return it your local Villages office. Name Current Address: Telephone Number: Property I would like?


Number of bedrooms I would like? Signed: Date: 05

Apartment 1

Bungalow 2

Sheltered Accommodation 3



Secret Gardens… Our prize winning gardens looked more spectacular than ever this year thanks to the glorious sunshine. John Underwood was the joint winner of best garden in Stockbridge Village. John, a former youth programme landscape gardener and employment trainer for local solutions moved to the area with his wife Yvonne a year ago following a heart attack. John saw their new home as a way to get back to his gardening and started early spring in creating a garden that he could tend without causing too much physical strain. John’s garden is unusual as it doesn’t have the traditional lawn; instead it has raised planters and baskets allowing John to work on planting without bending down. Congratulations to everyone who took part in the annual competition, Barbara Murray, Community Development Officer said “This year’s winning gardens were very special; there was such a variety that it made judging very difficult. It’s wonderful to see so many of our residents enjoying their gardens and making the estates look so beautiful”. The winners of the Fitton Hill competition will be announced later this month.

Villages in Bloom The Northwest in Bloom judges have visited both Stockbridge Village and Fitton Hill. We are now waiting patiently to hear the results. Village’s community development officers, Lisa Fowles and Barbara Murray will be attending the awards presentation on 23rd and 24th October along with many of the residents who worked tirelessly for this year’s entry. We will keep you updated throughout the day on Facebook and Twitter and will reveal how both estates did in our next issue of Our Times. 06

Stay safe this Bonfire Night As we head into autumn we also approach one of the busiest times of the year for the Fire Service. Bonfire Night means an increase in people letting fireworks of which although are fun to watch can be very dangerous. When not handled correctly they can injure people and animals. Throughout the autumn, Villages will also be working in partnership with the fire service to avoid any buildup of wood that may be used for bonfires. If any unauthorized wood bundles appear a member of the Villages environmental team will be removing it. You can report the buildup of any wood by calling your local Villages office.

Stockbridge Village: 0151 480 1313 Fitton Hill: 0161 633 4060 One of the safest ways of joining in bonfire night celebrations is to attend one of the many organised public displays. Here are a few we would suggest in your area.


Greater Manchester

Whitakers Garden Centre, Prescot Saturday 2nd of November 5.30pm Tickets are required.

Fitton Hill Halloween and Firework Spectacular

Sefton Park, Liverpool Tuesday 5th November 7.30pm Free entry. Newsham Park, Liverpool Tuesday 5th November 7.30pm Free entry. Sherdley Park, St Helens Tuesday 5th November. 6-9pm Free entry.

With fancy dress, hotpot supper pumpkin carving and a spectacular firework display, not to mention the chance to learn Michael Jacksons ‘Thriller’ routine. Fitton Hill Neighborhood Centre Saturday 2nd November 4-7pm Contact Lisa Fowles for more information on 0161 633 4060 Heaton Park, Manchester Tuesday 5th November 5pm Free Entry. Oldham Council Civic Bonfire Oldham Edge Tuesday 5th November 6.30pm Free Entry. Wythenshaw Park, Manchester Tuesday 5th November 5pm Free Entry.

Did you know that sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil? Sparklers are not toys and should never be given to a child under the age of five. Make sure everyone handling sparklers wears gloves and holds the sparklers at arm’s length while they are alight. 07

Tenants Annual Report 2012 - 2013

A year of change

More than just a Landlord

Tenants Annual Report 2012 - 2013


A year of change

Welcome to our 2013 Annual Report We are delighted to report that we have continued to improve our performance in many key service areas since 2011, obtained a green light for governance and financial viability from our regulator ‘The Homes and Community Agency’ (HCA) and also been recognised for the regeneration works in Stockbridge Village. We hope that you agree that we got the basics right and have continued to improve our services across the association and ensure that we deliver value for money. Feedback from an independent survey in March 2013 indicates that you do. Much of 2012/13 was focussed on supporting tenants prepare for the impact of the welfare reform changes being introduced by the Government. It was the theme for our tenants conference and whilst we feel that our preparation for the changes and delivering the message to our tenants has been done well, it is essential that we continue to work together as further changes are introduced over the coming years and to ensure those residents

Vernon Jackson, Chief Executive

Andrew Greenhill,

Chair of Villages Housing Association

affected speak to us about any difficulties they are experiencing. We increased the number of properties we own when we successfully completed the transfer of 37 properties in Fitton Hill from Places for People. Also Villages Community Housing Association (VCHA) celebrated the handover of its second specialist dementia scheme, Carter House, in St Helens. We are proud of the work we have delivered in our communities over the past 12months and both Villages staff and members of the Board are now focused on the on-going challenges we and our communities face. The focus for 2013/14 will be to concentrate on Value for Money and performance delivery. We are aware of the challenging times for our tenants and their finances in the next 12 months and we will continue to work in partnership to increase opportunities for our residents to access work and training initiatives and increase community participation.

David Shortall,

Chair of Villages Community Housing Association


Tenants Annual Report 2012 - 2013

Your Tenancy Customer Experience


Improving our customer experience is important to us, which is why we continue to seek your views on an on-going basis and would welcome your suggestions on how we can improve our services while still ensuring value for money.

Collecting rent efficiently is vital to ensure that we have enough money to maintain homes and land in our ownership and deliver services to our tenants. We continue to work with our tenants to raise awareness of the importance of regular rent payments in order to help reduce rent arrears. Rent arrears improved in 2012/13 with current rent arrears as a percentage of debits at 8.5% (VHA) and 0.8% (VHCA). We will be monitoring the impact of the welfare reform changes as they are introduced and continue to offer support and advice to residents affected.

In 2012 we introduced a new telephone answering system with the aim to improve how we answer your calls, this included a new answer phone message service enabling callers to leave a message if they are in telephone queue and a member of the customer service team will return the call within the hour. We also continue to offer the facility for residents to call into the area offices to pay their rent, report repairs and make appointments.

In 2012/13 we achieved a rent collection rate of 100% for VHA and 101.8% for VHCA.

“I find visiting the Villages Office really accessible as they are local. I can call in to speak to a member of staff about any issues I have and they are always willing to help me� Tenancies


of tenants asked said that they were satisfied that their rent provides value for money

Complaints and Suggestions In 2012/13 we took an average of 11 days to respond to complaints; against our target of 12 days. We review complaints received on a monthly basis to ensure we reaffirm our commitment to listen to our residents and learn from our mistakes.

In Knowsley a new scheme for allocating properties, called Property Pool Plus, was introduced in July 2012. Unfortunately, this did not have an impact on our targets for re-letting properties and we will be closely monitoring the efficiency of the service over the next year. In 2012/13 our average re-let time was 31 days, against our target of 25 days. A total of 248 new lettings were completed in 2012/13. There were 32 evictions - an increase from the 11 evictions that were made in 2011/12. The majority of evictions were for rent arrears.


Tenants Annual Report 2012 - 2013

Repairs and Maintenance

During 2012/13 we carried out 10,589 responsive day to day repairs to your homes. We also installed 81 new kitchens, 22 new bathrooms and 481 properties received planned external repairs and painting.

Over the year we spent ÂŁ56,000 on major adaptations, such as installing level access showers, to help tenants manage their homes. We work closely with our local authority partners to deliver this service and ensure value for money.



Emergency Repairs completed on time



Urgent repairs completed on time



Routine Repairs completed on time



All properties are required to have an annual gas safety check and we achieved our target of 100% of Villages properties having a valid gas safety certificate. We now need to improve the service by gaining access to the properties on the first visit – so please help us with this target for this year. Villages were awarded the Judge's Award for Regeneration for The Stockbridge Village Regeneration Programme at the Knowsley Business and Regeneration Awards 2012.


of you were satisfied with the repairs service you received.


Tenants Annual Report 2012 - 2013

Energy Improvement Works

Work to improve the energy efficiency of £1,730 homes - known as the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) - was completed in December 2012. The work was funded through a mix of funding from Villages Housing, public grant (European Regional Development Fund) and CESP funding. The programme included external cladding, new heating systems, loft insulation and energy advice. We estimate that the works residents have received will save them an average of £320 per year. In Stockbridge we delivered an extensive community awareness and involvement programme which included training for ‘energy champions’ and the development of a new energy game and leaflet. We also assisted 136 residents apply for grants to help with their energy bills this amounted to a total additional income for residents of over £18,000. The project demonstrated and delivered added value in terms of training and job opportunities. Six apprentices were taken on for 12 months by the contractor, and a further 2 within the supply chain. Over 100 operatives received training in external wall insulation product installation which should help their future job prospects as this is seen a future growth area.

Siobhan Coleman, a Villages Energy Champion said: “I’m really impressed with the work which has been carried out to both my own home and others on the estate - they look much better from the outside and I’m already seeing what money savings I am making on energy bills.”


Tenants Annual Report 2012 - 2013

Value for Money We constantly review our services to see whether they deliver value for money, which is not just about cost but also about quality and efficiency.

2012-13 VHA & VCHA Income - Where each £1 came from in 2012-13 From reserves - 1p

Bank loans - 18p Bank interest - 0p Rent - 40p

Grants - stock addition - 2p

Grants refurbishment (CESP) - 32p Service charge - 3p Sale of properties - 0p

Support - 1p Commercial - 1p

Sundry - 0p

3rd party contracts - 2p

2012-13 VHA & VCHA Costs - Where each £1 was spent in 2012-13 Bank loan repayments - 5p

Bank loan interest - 5p

3rd party contracts - 2p Commercial - 0p Sundry - 0p Build or purchase of properties - 12p

Working balance - 0p Management - 8p Service charge - 3p Support costs - 1p Community development - 1p Properties and estate maintenance and CESP - 63p

What does that all mean? Bank Loans – Money we borrow from banks to enable us to 1) refurbish and improve existing homes and 2) build or acquire new homes. Support income – Money we receive from local authorities to support older and vulnerable tenants. Third party contracts (income & expenditure) – Includes 1) our Tenant Extra Support Scheme (TESS) to provide support to vulnerable tenants in Knowsley to allow them to retain their tenancies, 2) landscape services provided to another Housing Association, 3) a Local Authority contract to provide furniture packages to vulnerable tenants.

Management costs – Include staff costs, office running costs, insurance cost of properties, arrears pursuance costs and costs of combating anti-social behaviour. Service charge – The cost of providing communal services. Support costs – The cost of providing support services to older and vulnerable tenants. Properties & estate maintenance – This is what we spend on maintenance and improvement of homes and on estate cleaning and maintenance (including landscaping).

Commercial (income & expenditure) – Villages owns a number of shops across both estates.

Community development – Includes staff costs of Community Development Officers, donations to local groups, tenants scrutiny panel and community activities.

Grants – Money we receive to help build new homes, improve existing homes.

Working balance – The balance of cash that was unspent this year, to be used in future years.


Tenants Annual Report 2012 - 2013

Your community We continue to demonstrate our commitment to our neighbourhoods by investing in the environment and sustainable community projects such as providing digital inclusion sessions, loan shark awareness events and jobs and training opportunities. We also hold an annual community awards which are a great opportunity to unite the wider community and celebrate the extraordinary achievements of so many of our residents.

Anti-Social Behaviour We successfully resolved 97% of anti-social behaviour cases reported to us, an increase from 93% in 2011/12. Villages continue to work closely with the Police and other partners in relation to any anti-social behaviour from residents.

Neighbourhoods We have an extensive calendar of events taking place throughout the year. Christmas parties at our sheltered schemes, carol concerts, coach trips, fun days and work clubs to name but a few. In 2012 Villages took part in the North West in Bloom resulting with a silver award for Stockbridge Village and bronze in Fitton Hill both in the urban regeneration category. 17 projects from Stockbridge Village and 7 projects from Fitton Hill also won awards in the Neighbourhood category.

We sponsored sports teams in both Fitton Hill and Stockbridge Village.

Landscaping Our estates continue to look well maintained, green and healthy thanks to the hard work of our landscaping teams and local community projects. The team have also been successful in obtaining external contracts to provide services to other housing associations. We were delighted to receive the following feedback from a tenant at Sanctuary Housing...


worth of community grants were awarded from our community budget in 2012/13 to over 49 groups. A further £10,000 was granted to projects from funding donated by British Gas, connected to the CESP programme in Stockbridge Village.

...”Can you please pass on my thanks to Richie, I really appreciated the information and service that he has provided for me. He really delivered customer care at its very best with honesty and forthrightness.”


Tenants Annual Report 2012 - 2013

Your community


of residents asked said that their views are being taken into account

Tenants’ involvement Involving residents is central to how we determine and deliver services and we offer a variety of ways for residents to work with us: The Tenants Forum allows residents to get involved in influencing service provisions and community development activities. The Tenant Scrutiny Panel reviewed our income management service in 2012/13. Their recommendations resulted in more information now being available on our website. Estate Management Committees meet quarterly and monitor Villages operational activities and performance. In 2012/13 we welcomed 4 new residents to the committee.

We have consulted with our readers’ panel and board members to make sure that this report is clearly written, and includes information that is important to you. We have published the Annual Report online and in your tenant newsletter in order to ensure that all of our tenants receive the information efficiently.


of residents asked were satisfied with their neighbourhood as a place to live. Contact Information

In 2012/13 Our Tenants Extra Support Service achieved a Grade A Service Award.

Stockbridge Village 16 The Croft Stockbridge Village Knowsley Merseyside, L28 1NR

Fitton Hill 2 Fircroft Road Fitton Hill Oldham OL8 2QN

(T) 0151 480 1313

(T) 0161 633 4060



Villages Housing App

If you are interested in getting involved, visit Estate management vacancies are also advertised in your tenant newsletter.


Gala Day Celebrates 30 Years of Villages The Stockbridge Village annual Gala day proved popular with visitors in August with over 1200 people flocking to the Village Piazza to enjoy a day of family fun to celebrate Villages 30th Birthday. The festivities were opened by the Mayor and Mayoress of Knowsley along with former EFC player George Telfer. With face painting, a bouncy castle, giant party slide, donkey rides, climbing wall Older Peoples Olympics, soccer skills and a free BBQ there really was something for everyone. Plus the 30th Birthday quiz which included questions about the past 30 years in Stockbridge Village proved very popular. Congratulations to all of our winners who know the area so well that they could answer the questions set by our Stockbridge Village expert Sharon McGrail! Jed Pearson, Deputy Chief Executive said "This year's Gala day was our best ever; it was a wonderful opportunity for the residents of Stockbridge Village to celebrate Villages 30th birthday with us and enjoy a free fun day out for the whole family."

Fab afternoon at the fun day!!! Plenty to do for the kids, didn't get a chance to be bored, there was always something else to do from making bracelets to a donkey ride!! Well done Villages, 3 happy grandkids and a happy (though tired, Nan)!!! X @EFCTelfer “Great day at Stockbridge, The event was really well organised, it was nice community event, enjoyed chatting to people. Well done village housing.� 16

The New Voice of Stockbridge

“When my family and I moved to Stockbridge Village we were made so welcome. It’s a great place to live with so many things for young people like me to get involved in. I am proud to have been part of the campaign”. Have you been listening to Juice FM? If so you may have heard the fantastic new radio advert for Villages. Together with local radio station ‘Juice FM’ we have been in the studio creating a great new sound called “It’s where I live, It’s where I love”. Stockbridge Village has a number of famous voices that have emerged over the years and the next rising

star from the area is Judith Guobadia. Judith, a member of local music group Enchord, has been singing about how much she loves living in Stockbridge Village on a new track aimed at encouraging residents of Merseyside to move to the area.

Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour Over the summer we held our first Restorative Practise conference to deal with anti-social behaviour. The approach provides a chance for those affected by the anti-social behaviour to tell their side of the story and for the opportunity to put things right. The first conference was set up following a group of local young people who had caused a disturbance to local businesses in the area. The young people were invited to attend the conference with their parents in order to meet the people who had been hurt by their actions. The conference had a really positive outcome with the young people agreeing to repair the damage they had caused. It didn’t end there; one of the young people has chosen to continue his involvement in the community activities. Anti-Social Behaviour Officer, Sue Grimm, said “We have been working on restorative practise to be used with low level anti-social behaviour. It does rely on the support of all those involved so it was great to see such a positive outcome to our first conference”. 17


Villages support Tour of Britain The Tour of Britain rode into Knowsley in September and Villages staff were there to support the time trial stage at Knowsley Safari Park. We took the opportunity to showcase some of the local home grown and handmade items from Stockbridge Village with L28 honey proving very popular with visitors. Draft excluders made by the SCIP knitting club were also on display as were some beautiful handmade soaps, decorations and chutneys made by the Village Farm Orchard. None other than Sir Bradley Wiggins won the time trial, later saying what a fantastic day he had.

Award Winning Campaign Villages Housing together with Knowsley Council and Knowsley Housing Trust have been commended for the outstanding work raising awareness of the dangers of loan sharks as regional winners of the ‘Stop Loan Sharks Award’. The England ‘Illegal Money Lending Team’ elected the Knowsley campaign as the North West winner, for our outstanding partnership work and the campaign later came second in the national awards. Did you know? Every Thursday at Villages Housing Office Knowsley Citizens Advice Bureau hold a drop in session from 1-4pm to help you with any money matters you may have. From debt, housing, benefits, Insurance, tax, pension’s advice - just drop in for a FREE confidential chat.

Changes to Recycling Knowsley council is changing the way your household waste is collected. ‘Week in, Week out’ is Knowsley’s new waste and recycling service and the changes will mean that one week your recycling waste (grey bin) will be collected and the next week your waste which cannot be recycled (maroon bin) will be collected. For more information about the changes visit or call 0151 443 2400. 18

Liverpool Pride Thank you to the Villages residents who helped support Homes for Everyone at this year’s Liverpool Pride. 65,000 people attended the festival with an estimated 6000 people marching through the city centre. Community Development Officer Barbara Murray said “This year’s Liverpool Pride was a wonderful day, helped very much by the wonderful weather Villages are proud to sponsor (as part of Homes for Everyone) the event”.

Roughsedge House

“I have never known community spirit like this before...” 19

Residents of Roughsedge House have had a busy few weeks; they celebrated Older Peoples Day on 1st October, welcomed Merseyside Police Mounted section during the weekly coffee morning and also raised £145 for Macmillan Cancer following the coffee morning in September. The dedicated scheme managers at Roughsedge House have been organising more weekly events and activities for the residents, from card games to coffee mornings and they are definitely proving to be a huge hit with residents and helping to improve their health and wellbeing, Resident, Bill Blade said, “I have never known community spirit like this before, I enjoy the many events that the scheme managers organise for us here. My neighbours are all really caring and compassionate and I am very grateful to the team for everything they do for me.”


As the darker nights draw in don’t close the doors and hibernate… Why not take part in the many fantastic events and activities right here on your doorstep.

Everton in the Community Free football coaching sessions at the Stockbridge Village Neighbourhood Centre, for girls & boys aged 8 and over. Tuesday and Friday 5 - 7pm

The Village Farm Orchard There is a lot to get excited about at the Hub this autumn with new craft courses each Thursday. 10am - 12.00noon To book your place email:

Sewing Café The group meet weekly at the Neighbourhood Centre and cover sewing, knitting, crochet and rag rugging, it’s a great way to get out and meet new friends, all ages are welcome. Thursday 10am - 12noon

Men's boxing and circuit classes The classes held at the Pavilion, Poolhey are for men of all ages with the oldest member being 65 and the youngest 18! Tuesday and Thursday 6pm

13th Knowsley Open Art Exhibition Knowsley Council presents '13th Knowsley Open Art Exhibition 2013' which showcases visual art created by people over 18 years who live, work or study in the borough of Knowsley. The ‘Young Artists Open’ exhibition will also be on display, to celebrate the work of young and emerging artists of all ages up to 17 years.

RNODE Art Class The visual arts classes will be delivered by local artist Martin Garnett at the Neighbourhood Centre. Friday 2 - 4pm

Christmas Market Do you fancy a trip to Bury Market? The Craig’s community centre are organising a visit to the traditional market on Wednesday 4th December. It’s a great opportunity to pick up some Christmas gifts. Places are limited so book your place early. Contact Bernadine Wileman, Community Centre Co-ordinator on 0151 480 7994.

Huyton Gallery/Library, Civic Way, L36 9GD To find out more museum.aspx 20

The Change

“We had a lovely day at St Martins Park yesterday. The kids really enjoyed it as did the adults as it didn't dent our pockets. Thank you to all Villages staff it was great.”

Festival Music and laughter filled St Martins Park at this year’s Change Festival. The sun was shining, the BBQ was on and the families in Fitton Hill enjoyed a fun free day out. There was a wide range of festivities including street dance taster sessions from Earl Dance Centre, community games organised by Fusion Youth. Face painting, a bouncy castle, giant party slide, assault course, and even a surfboard experience. Lisa Fowles, Community Development Officer at Villages Housing said "The Change Festival was a wonderful opportunity for the residents of Fitton Hill to come together and enjoy a free fun day out for the whole family. We were delighted with residents' feedback and the wonderful weather helped make the event such a success." Fitton Hill has seen a vast amount of change recently which is why the name 'Change Festival' was fitting for the event. Oldham Play Action group created a visual collage on the day with residents adding things to it throughout the day, this will be in the Neighbourhood Centre as a lasting reminder of the event. 21

“Well done on the festival today at St Martins Park me & my sis & all the kids had a fun day.”


Schools Out

‘Schools out Oldham’ is a great way to keep the children busy throughout the school holidays. During the summer they ran a series of events and activities for young people in Fitton Hill including, cooking, Thai boxing and arts and craft sessions and the activities will be back for October half term. You can find out what will be taking place by visiting the website

Community Clean up To celebrate the first anniversary of Villages acquiring Walters Drive, McDonough Close and McKie Close staff from Villages and Oldham Council held a community clear up of the area with the help of many residents. The aim was to keep the area clean and tidy and the initiative was a great opportunity for residents to get involved and take care of their community. The project was used as a pilot with the hope to deliver the activity to the wider estate in the future. Thank you to everyone who took part. 22

Changes to Choice Based Lettings If you are looking for a new home Choice Based Lettings is a new way of allocating homes in Oldham. It gives people more choice about where they would like to live. Properties are advertised on the website every Thursday from 9am, and end the following Wednesday at 4.30pm. If you do not have access to the internet at home, call into the Villages offices were you can use the computer in reception. Our friendly staff will also be on hand if you need any help with using the service just ask at reception and they will be happy to help.

Fitton Hill Residents Learn Some Valuable Skills When Fitton Hill resident Carly Hadfield heard about the Millie’s Trust, a charity set up by Joanne and Dan Thompson following the death of their daughter caused by choking, she decided to do something to not only help the charity but to also help the residents of Fitton Hill and raise people’s awareness and ability to deal with situations were CPR may be needed. Together with Villages she organised a CPR training course at Fitton Hill Neighbourhood Centre. The two hour course covered CPR, choking and burns on all ages. A coffee morning was held after the session which raised £29.50 for Millie’s Trust. Lisa Fowles, Community Development Officer at Villages Housing said “The sessions are a great opportunity for residents to learn really important skills. Villages were proud to be part of the sessions and would like to thank Carly for working tirelessly to provide residents of Fitton Hill with such a useful experience”. The neighbourhood team funded the first CPR session, and the next session will be funded by Villages and Oldham Council. If you would like to register your interest in the next session please contact Carly by calling 07867124943 sessions are at a reduced fee of £5 in order to raise funds to pay for future classes.

Do you find it hard to look after your garden? Wildbrook community Gardens operate a gardening service, to arrange a visit and a quote please contact 0161 770 5017 23

Fitton Hill

Community Choir

Youth Club

Christmas Party

The recently formed choir are looking for new members so why not join them in the community room of the Hilltop Surgery.

Held at the Fitton Hill youth club for young peoples aged between 10 and 13 years.

This years Over 55’s Christmas Party will be held on Thursday 12th December 10.30am - 3pm at The Ace. It’s set to be a great day with live entertainment a raffle and bingo.

Monday 7pm and 7.30pm Contact Keith Neilson on 07557910125

Thursday 3 - 4.45pm

Halloween Fireworks event 2nd November

Monday 9.30 - 10.30am

TNT are organising a fantastic firework spectacular at the neighbourhood centre with a chance to learn the full Thriller Dance. Fancy Dress pumpkin carving and Potato hotpot.

Skills football

Online Basics

Baby Boogies For Preschool children at the Fitton Hill Neighborhood Centre

Coaching sessions for children aged 5-8years at St Martins Muga pitch Monday 5.30 - 6.30pm


This Autumn Fitton Hill has lots of events and activities taking place right here on your doorstep. Here are a few that we thought you may be interested in.

Need help to get online? Visit Fitton Hill Library and enjoy an introduction to computers and websites.

Tickets are £4 contact Lisa Fowles on 0161 633 4060 to book your ticket.

Festival of Light 2013 Experience Christmas, Diwali, Hajj, Chanukah Carols, Nasheeds, Dance, Music & more on 4th December St Oasis Academy, Hollins Rd, Oldham. If you would like to attend please call Lisa Fowles on 0161 622 6894.

15th November 2.30-4pm


Foodbank now open in Fitton Hill Oldham Foodbank has just opened and Villages will be supporting the scheme in any way we can. The food bank, which is based in Clegg Street is available to help support vulnerable people who are facing hardship and do not have enough food to eat. Those who make use of this new facility can be referred by Villages Housing, and can go along to collect a food bundle containing a selection of dried and tinned goods, which is enough to last them for three days. If you feel your circumstances qualify you for a referral to the food bank, please contact Villages Office on 0161 633 4060. To donate goods to the food bank, please call into the Villages Office between 9-5pm weekdays, tins and non-perishable items are welcome.

Fitton Hill Juniors look like a winning team in their brand new kits thanks to sponsorship from Villages.

“THANK YOU so much for our new kits. Love Fitton Hill Juniors xxxx”

Men in Sheds Age UK Oldham’s Men in Sheds aims to reduce isolation among men over 55 and improve their health and wellbeing. The initiative involves providing a workshop (shed), tools and equipment to men where they can develop existing skills, learn new ones whilst enjoying the benefits of working in a social group. If you or someone you know would like to take part in the Men in Sheds project, you can contact Dave Freear, Project Co-ordinator on 0161 682 4747 or email 25

Residents Enjoy Celebrating Older Peoples Day... On 1st October Villages celebrated Older Peoples day with events taking place in both Fitton Hill and Stockbridge Village. The day is a national celebration of the achievements and contributions that older people make to our society and the events across both estates proved very popular with residents. In Fitton Hill’s Neighborhood Centre residents were treated to a day of pampering by the beauty students from Oldham College, with head and hand massages along with ladies also enjoying manicures. There was dancing through the age’s , line dancing and even Zumba. Plus there was the opportunity to learn how to create beautiful floral displays. The event also raised £30 for Macmillan from the sale of delicious homemade cupcakes. Over in Stockbridge Village Roughesedge House residents were entertained throughout the day with a live musical performance from Geoff Owen. Some of the residents couldn’t resist getting up and demonstrating a few dance moves! It was also a great opportunity for new residents to meet their neighbours. Annie Bishop a resident of Roughesedge House said, “We all thoroughly enjoyed the event, the singer was great and it was a great opportunity for us all to get together and socialise.”

Ray goes the extra mile. We know how much the residents of Stockbridge Village and Fitton Hill care about their community and we would like to say thank you to one of our residents, Ray White who demonstrated this recently. Ray, a driver for First Bus Manchester who provides the bus through Fitton Hill, very kindly organised for a motorised scooter, for one of his Fitton Hill passengers who had difficulty using a wheelchair. Ray presented the scooter to the gentleman who was absolutely delighted. It’s wonderful to hear about how kind and thoughtful our residents are… Do you know someone who has done something to help members of the community? If so let Villages know about it. Did you know that if you are 75 or older you are eligible to apply for a free over 75 TV Licence? If you have already paid you could also apply for a refund. Simply contact TV Licensing on 0300 790 6131. 26

Do you need to get rid of unwanted rubbish? Skips will be available to residents from early morning until 12 noon...or whenever they are full. The skip service cannot be used for fridges, freezers, gas bottles or tyres and cannot be used for commercial waste. To remove these items, please contact Knowsley Council on 0151 443 2400 or Oldham Council on 0161 770 6644; however there may be a charge for this service. Fitton Hill 17th Oct

Dowry Street car park

24th Oct

St Cuthberts Church, tanners Fold (in the grounds of the Church)

31st Oct

Sportsmans Drive (in the parking bay on the left)

7th Nov

Reins Lee Avenue

14th Nov

Southcroft (on central grassed area)

21st Nov

Wildbrook (car park at the front of number 59-85)

28th Nov

Rosary Road (opposite 66 on central grassed area)

5th Dec


12th Dec

Fold View (on the grass across from the Ace)

19th Dec

Snide Road (by grassed area at the junction)

Stockbridge Village 17th Oct

The Grove, Dannette Hey (Car park adjacent to 11)

24th Oct

Barley Mow (car park to rear)

31st Oct

Plumtree Close

7th Nov

Rosewood Close

14th Nov

Cliff’s car park

21st Nov

Boodecroft (car park to rear 328)

28th Nov

Boodecroft (car park adjacent to 135)

5th Dec

Hollowcroft (car park opposite cul-de-sac)

12th Dec

93 Custley Hey/64 Woodfarm Hey (car park opposite)

19th Dec

Marled Hey (car park adjacent to open land)

How to contact us Stockbridge Village 16 The Croft Stockbridge Village Knowsley Merseyside, L28 1NR

Fitton Hill 2 Fircroft Road Fitton Hill Oldham OL8 2QN

(T) 0151 480 1313

(T) 0161 633 4060

/villageshousing Villages Housing App


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