Your WDC Housing Newspaper
Issue 57 – Winter 20008/09
CREDIT CRUNCH CHRISTMAS Christmas this year is going to be a bit of a challenge. Blowing the budget might not be an option for many of us; instead we will have to enjoy the festivities on a tighter budget. Never has the phrase “it’s the thought that counts” been more appropriate, but it is surely something to live by this year. As you plan your festivities, here are a few money saving suggestions that might help; 1.
Share your Christmas Lunch with friends and neighbours – ask them to bring along some of the food and drink so that you can share the cost.
Take advantage of the 3 for 2 offers in the shops and hold out for those last minute sales.
Visit one of the many craft fayres held at Churches and Community Centres across the district, you will be able to find unusual gifts at a fraction of the shop cost.
Make your own cards and presents – perhaps using photographs or other materials you already have at home.
Shop around for your party outfits. In some retailers that “little black dress” can cost as little as £12.
Go to a Carol Service, these are a lovely Christmas night out and usually free! Cont on page 2...
Opening Hours Council Offices, Riverside House Tuesday 23 December Normal Opening Hours Wed 24 - Fri 26 December Closed Mon 29 - Wed 31 December Normal Opening Hours Thursday 1 January 2009 Closed Friday 2 January 2009 Normal Opening Hours
Free Gas Service FREE
family swim! Kick start your new year’s keep fit resolution with this prize draw! We have ten family swim passes to give away. All you have to do is send your name, address and telephone number to Fiona Walsh, Family swim, Housing Services, Warwick District Council, Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Leamington Spa CV32 5QE. Closing date for entries 31 December 2008.
As your landlord we want to make sure you are safe in your homes and it is in fact our statutory duty to ensure your gas appliances are in good working order and safe for you to use. Once again it is that time of year when they need to be serviced. It only takes our corgi-registered contractor, Magna Heating about 20 minutes to do this for you and it’s free of charge. It is of course in your interest to provide access for the service and if you fail to do so, you may be in breach of your Conditions of Tenancy. This would result in the Council taking enforcement action to enable access to your property. If you have not had your gas appliances serviced yet, then you need to ring Magna Heating now on 01926 419922 ext 28 or the Tenancy Enforcement Officers on 01926 456419.
....Cont from page 1 7. Contact your local Children’s Centre and find out what events they have for the under 5s, most will be holding Christmas parties and activities and all of them will be free. Contact 01926 337506 for more information. 8. Visit the art gallery, your local park, skate park, BMX track or follow a nature trail – all of these are fun, free activities to take part in around the district. Call 450000 for more details. 9.
Think about volunteer work – many people have no-one at all at Christmas and perhaps it will help you take the focus off your own situation to get out there and help others. The Volunteer Centre Warwick District is a great place to find out what you can do, just call them on 0845 051 1172.
10. Finally, give yourself a break. If you are struggling this year, don’t give in to the pressure of continuous spending, just accept that this year will be different, this year the thought will count!
Getting to know your fuse box It could save you the cost of a call out fee! Your fuse box links the electricity meter and all the electrical circuits in your home. The modern replacement for a fuse is an MCB (miniature circuit breaker) and its aim is to protect the wiring from excessive electrical current due to an overload or a short circuit. In the event of an overload or short circuit then the MCB will trip, the switch goes to OFF and all you need to do is switch it back to ON to reconnect. And with all the extras plugged in at Christmas – tree lights, window lights, singing Santas etc – this is a real possibility. Now if the MCB will not re-set then it normally means that a faulty device is connected. This is either plugged in and could be your kettle, an iron, a radio for instance, or it is switched on, such as a room light, your cooker or shower. To try and identify which one is causing the MCB to trip you will need to unplug everything from the sockets and switch off all the appliances and lights at their individual switches and then try again to re-set the MCB. If the MCB stays in the ON position you will then need to go through the process of plugging in individual items one by one to see if they will trip the MCB. Common sense can help here, for example if you see that a bulb has blown, or your kettle is faulty, perhaps you’ve just bought a new appliance and used it for the first time – it’s best to try these first and save time going through everything else. Once you have discovered which appliance it was, unplug or switch it off and reset the MCB to ON again, without it. One more thing to remember. If your system trips, but your MCB hasn’t moved, then it could be your RCD (Residual Current Device). This is the switch that trips when water is mixed with electricity perhaps from your kettle, fridge or iron and stops you from getting electrocuted! If all is well then the RCD will readily re set from the down to up position. If not, you will need to check your appliances one at a time, as described above. There is a test button marked “T” on the RCD and it is a good idea to get into the habit of pressing it from time to time to see the unit trip. This is the simplest way to check that it is working as it should. If one of our Contractors has to attend your home because your faulty appliance has caused the MCB to trip, you will be charged for this call out. Please ensure you check each appliance before calling us.
Applying for a Transfer To apply for a transfer from your Council property you will need to register on the Council’s Common Housing register by completing a HomeChoice application form. Once received the Council will assess you and band you accordingly and when you have been advised of which band you are in, you will be able to begin bidding. However, there are a number of reasons that will prevent a transfer from going ahead as follows; • You owe rent or have other Housing related debts • Legal action has been taken because you have broken your tenancy conditions • Your property is in poor condition • Your property is in poor decorative condition When applying for a transfer you need to ensure that you are prepared to move quickly, and will need to budget for additional costs; • Paying for removal costs, • Re-laying of carpets • Installation of appliances, for example a cooker. For more information on transfers please call 01926 456430.
Recycling Update Below are new collection dates for your refuse and recycling over the Christmas period. Green/grey bin, grey refuse sacks, red box/ bag collection is due on: Thurs 25th December 2008
Holiday collection date: Sat 27th December 2008
Fri 26th December 2008
Mon 29th December 2008
Mon 29th December 2008
Tues 30th December 2008
Tues 30th December 2008
Wed 31st December 2008
Wed 31st December 2008
Thurs 1st January 2009
Thurs 1st January 2009
Fri 2nd January 2009
Fri 2nd January 2009
Sat 3rd January 2009
Normal collections resume from Monday 5th January 2009, please refer to your collection calendar
Don’t forget that you can recycle your real Christmas tree once you have finished with it by either putting it out next to your green wheeled bin, or taking it to one of the following places between Monday 5 January and Sunday 18 January 2009: • Barn Close Nurseries, Old Warwick Road, Shrewley CV35 7AX • Hintons Nursery, Coventry Road, Warwick CV34 5YL • Smith’s Nurseries, Stoneleigh Road, Bagington CV8 3BA Alternatively you can take it to either of the household waste and recycling centres at Princes Drive, Leamington or Cherry Orchard, Kenilworth.
Warwickshire Direct Don’t forget that there is no need to brave the winter weather and struggle to Riverside House over the Christmas period. Just call into your nearest Warwickshire Direct with your housing queries - they will all be open on Christmas Eve, when Riverside House will be closed. Whether you need to talk about Housing, Benefits or recycling, street lighting or road works, Warwickshire Direct will have someone available to deal with your query right up until 4pm on Christmas Eve. The opening hours over the Christmas period are as follow; Wednesday 24th December: 8am-4pm Christmas Day: closed Boxing Day: closed Saturday 27th December: 9am-4pm (normal hours) - Warwick only Monday 29th December: 9am-4pm – Warwick only Tuesday 30th December: 8am-5.30pm Wednesday 31st December: 8am-4pm Thursday 1st January: closed Friday 2nd January: 8am-5pm (normal hours) Good news for Lillington residents, a Warwickshire Direct will be opening up in the library in the New Year. You will be able to drop in and discuss your housing queries right on your doorstep! More details to follow in the next issue.
Diwali Celebration Families with children under 5 enjoyed a Diwali celebration at the Sydenham Children’s centre. With music, dancing and games and even the staff dressed up in saris for the occasion. Naresh Jain (left) Suki Sidhu and baby Pritam celebrate Diwali.
Crafty Coffee Mornings Fallow Hill from 9.30am – 11.30am every Thursday. The Craft Club has been set up for local residents to spend a few hours together learning how to knit and crochet so that they can help out making items to sell at Christmas Craft Fayres, or work on something for themselves. One member who had never picked up a knitting needle has learnt how to crochet and is in the process of making herself a beautiful green mohair jumper, another is attempting a colourful long scarf and Asda has Lillian Brocklehurst, Pam Knight and Linda Bailey with their Christmas Creation. commissioned one of the residents to knit this year’s “Pudsey” bear for Do you have a few hours to spare each week? Then why not pop along to the Craft Club at Fallow their Children in Need display. Other members are knitting baby blankets, Christmas stockings and Hill? It’s held in the small office near the park in
Eat drink and be merry The festive season is upon us and it is a hectic time of year. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it – plus it can put a real strain on your finances. There are countless presents to buy, all that extra food and drink – not to mention party outfits, trips to the Pantomime and Santa’s Grotto!
countless other items which will be sold for charity. If you would like to get involved, all you need to do is turn up. You will be helped to get started with needles, patterns and wool and then supported in your chosen project along the way. It’s not just about the knitting, it’s a real social event for some, who rarely have the time to get out and do anything for themselves, being full time carers and spending much of their time looking after others. This is a real break for them to enjoy a couple of hours of gossip and laughter, endless cups of tea and biscuits and they also get to know their neighbours. Why not drop in? You will enjoy yourself and learn a new skill! Or perhaps you have a skill or pastime of your own that you would like to share with others, card making, jewellery making or sewing perhaps? The room is available to use most of the week, with space for ten people and a kitchen. There’s nothing to stop you!
Do you need a garage?
But don’t let Christmas cost you your home. Housing and Property services understand all too well how difficult it can be at this time of year, but your priority must be to pay your rent. Otherwise it will not be a Happy New Year and you could find yourself in real danger of losing your home. If you are having difficulties paying your rent, then please speak to someone as soon as you can – call the Citizens Advice Bureau on 01926 457900 or call the Housing Advice Team on 01926 456239, 456438, 456457 or 456411.
Then look no further! We have a number of sites across the district where garages and parking spaces are available to rent for motor vehicle use only. Garages and parking sites will be issued on a first come first served basis, with preference given to District Council tenants. If there are rent arrears on your Housing rent account then you will not be able to sign up for a garage or a parking site. We do hold a waiting list, so if at the time of your application there are no vacancies in your specified area, your name will be retained on the list until such a vacancy is available. If you are interested and would like more information then contact Nicola Leech on 01926 456425.
Housing Surgeries Your Housing Officers like to get out and about meeting up with tenants and keeping up to date with the issues and concerns you might have with your tenancy or the place you live. To do this we hold regular “Housing Surgeries” at a number of places across the district; Packmores - every Wednesday 11am to 12 noon, Packmores Centre, Surrey Court Lyttleton Road, Warwick The Chain - every Thursday 10am to 12noon, Crown Way, Lillington The Crest - every Friday 2.30pm to 3.30pm. Southorn Court, The Crest, Lillington Residents are welcome to drop into any of the
sessions to talk through your concerns with your Housing Officer, who will be able to direct you to other agencies for support in helping you to reach a solution. The Housing Surgery at Southorn Court with Housing Officer, Terry Taylor takes place every Friday afternoon. The local Police work alongside Terry which means they are on-hand to deal with any issues you might have, or provide help and support if you need it. There is a room available if you Housing’s Terry Taylor hosts her Housing Surgery at Southam Court. need a little more privacy. Otherwise you can call in and pick up information and leaflets anything else that’s on your mind. about insurance, benefits, council tax and discuss We look forward to seeing you there!
Council Housing Estates Supervisors Christine Ledger Square – Eileen McKeogh Fallow Hill – John Lamb Kennedy/St Paul's Square – Andy Smith New Brook Street – Roy Mingaye Radcliffe Gardens – Ant Collins Stamford Gardens – Ernie Oliver
07866 609 655 07866 609 674 07866 609 657 07866 609 654 07866 609 656 07866 609 675
Garages Applying for a garage – Mrs Darlison/Mrs Leech Garage Repairs
(01926) 456 424/5 (01926) 456 456
(01926) 456 427/428/429/359
Home News Fiona Walsh
(01926) 456 447
Housing Complaints, Comments, Compliments Fiona Walsh
(01926) 456 447
(01926) 456 421
Refuse & Recycling
(01926) 456 339
Rents Problems with paying your home rent Guy Greenland/Mike Tierney/Abigail Hay (01926) 456 438/457/239 Problems with paying your garage rent Yusaf Ramzan Rent Direct Debit Jo Whitby Rent Allpay Cards Satnam Sangha
(01926) 456 408
Tenant Involvement (Area Panels & Residents Groups)
(01926) 456 445
(01926) 456 435 (01926) 456 409
Tenants’ Contents Insurance Scheme Satnam Sangha
(01926) 456 408/409
Warwick Response (Lifeline Service) 24 hour number Supporting People Services Manager Joan Hicks
(01926) 339 577 (01926) 456 405
YOUR DIRECT DIAL DIRECTORY
COMPETITION Win a £40 Tesco voucher with four £5 runners up vouchers. No alternatives to published prizes are available. ONE word from the word bank is not in the puzzle. If you can find it, complete the form below and post it to us. In the event of a tie, first out of the hat wins. Send your entries to: Fiona Walsh, Housing Services, PO Box 2175, Warwick District Council, Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 5QE to arrive by 31 December, 2008.
Name: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Address: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .............................. .............................. .............................. Tel: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The missing word is: ..............................
T G D W C S N O W L S L
K K O E H N O A R P A T
T P I L R I A S I E E S
R N T L I E L M C N T O
L I O I S S I E W N F R
N B F N T C E N E O A F
D O C G M A A S D H N T
A R T T A N E R Y E I S
Goodbye from Acorn Court
If you prefer to write, our address is: Housing Warwick District Council, P.O. Box 2175 Riverside House, Milverton Hill Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 5QE If you prefer to email: Housing Register & Homelessnesss email@example.com Repairs Queries – not for reporting repairs firstname.lastname@example.org Reporting Repairs email@example.com Housing Officers & Estate Management firstname.lastname@example.org Rent Arrears Team email@example.com Lettings & Moving Home firstname.lastname@example.org Housing Complaints email@example.com Lifeline Control Centre firstname.lastname@example.org
Need information? Want to request a service? Need to report a problem?
Opening hours of the Customer Service Centre Monday to Thursday 8am - 7pm, Friday 8am - 6pm, Saturday 9am - 1pm
(01926) 456 837
Housing Management Your Tenancy and your estate
(01926) 456 437
Moving Home Applying For a Transfer HomeChoice (Bidding for advertised properties)
(01926) 456 430 (01926) 456 430
Repairs Reporting Repairs The Repairs Hotline – to report repairs during office hours Emergency Repairs – outside office hours
(01926) 456 456 (01926) 456 456
Housing Advice Applying to join the Housing Register
(01926) 456 430
For general information about your housing service and Home News highlights, visit our website at www.warwickdc.gov.uk
Where possible, information can be made available in other formats, including large print, cassette tape, CD and other languages if required. To obtain one of these alternatives, please contact 01926 456 338.
O F S O S R T D F N E L
P T N N P G L O V E S R
H H C S E L C I C I O N
E S N O W B A L L I V P
Word Bank Christmas Frost Gloves Icicles Presents Reindeer Robin Santa Scarf Snow Snowman Wellingtons
Wordsearch Winner Rose Goddard is the winner of our Wordsearch Competition and will receive £40 Asda Vouchers. “That’s great timing” said Rose, “I can use it to buy turkey and all the trimmings for my Christmas dinner!” Enjoy!
Congratulations Gillian Southam (centre), retires from Acorn Court after 22½ years and is given a great send off by Chair of the Council, Cllr Judy Falp and her work colleagues and friends.
Mrs Rawlings of Warwick is our £100 Repair Satisfaction Card winner.
Gardening News Continuing our series by tenant and Home News Editorial Panel member Helen Scott The cold snap in October with snow, was a shock, but fortunately I had enough ‘fleece’ to cover my more tender tubs and plants. I think it is something we should all have at the ready. Garden Centres and other outlets supply it at a very reasonable cost and it is surprisingly effective. Our tools will benefit from cleaning and wiping with a little oil, something we sometimes neglect. They will remain easier to use and more efficient for longer. Pyracantha and Berberis shrubs planted around your boundaries will deter intruders with their vicious thorns – sadly it’s a thought to keep in mind. The berries will brighten up the garden and the birds will love them. Any help we can give them will be much appreciated! As we leave the garden to take care of itself, may Christmas be a peaceful and happy one for all of us and we can then look forward to seeing the winter and spring bulbs emerging. That, for me, is a very exciting time. Whatever has gone before, Nature doesn’t give up and your garden can be a source of delight, wonder and happiness.
Published by Housing, Warwick District Council (WDC), Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington Spa CV32 5QE. Tel: 01926 450000. Designed and printed by The Printroom, WDC - 01926 456108. Managing Editor (WDC) Fiona Walsh (01926 456447). Editor Helen Ashbourne, Factotum (01926 813656).