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ISSUE 61 – WINTER 2009

YOUR WDC HOUSING NEWSPAPER

KEEPING YOU INFORMED

www.warwickdc.gov.uk/homenews

PREVENTING WINTER SLIPS AND FALLS

DELICIOUS CHRISTMAS CAKE RECIPE

tenant Participation update COUPLE CELEBRATE 70 YEARS TOGETHER

www.warwickdc.gov.uk


HOME NEWS

contents

1 VISIT santa CARBON MONOXIDE 2 & his sleigh cOMMUNITY pAYBACK 3 money matters C CHRISTMAS RECYCLING 4 winter slips and falls celebrating 70 years 5 sWITCH TO ROK tenant 6 participation garages for renT 7 christmas cake recipe tENANCY ENFORCEMENT 8 thinking about stair lifts? visit santa christmas opening KNOW THE SYMPTOMS

ome and visit Santa and his sleigh at the Royal Priors Shopping Centre this weekend. It will be your last chance to let him know what you would like for Christmas this year! Saturday 19th December 10am – 4pm Sunday 20th December 11am – 3pm The Rotary Club have arranged for Santa’s visit and all they ask is for a small donation which will go to their chosen charities.

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winter wordsearch nEW HEATING SYSTEM

Published by Housing, Warwick District Council (WDC), Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington Spa CV32 5QE. Tel: 01926 410410. Designed by The Printroom, WDC – 01926 456108. Managing Editor (WDC) Fiona Walsh (01926 456447). Editor Nicki Hughes (01926 456119).

You can also visit Santa at the Chain in Lillington on Saturday 19th December from 10am – 12 noon. All local families are welcome to come along and join in the fun. Any children who would like to have their photograph taken with Santa can do so for £1, which is being donated to local animal charities.


HOME NEWS

cHRISTMAS

OPENING HOURS As you know, Warwick District Council’s main switchboard number has changed to 01926 410410. Some of your Housing contact numbers have also changed which you will see in the Direct Dial Directory. Our Customer Service Centre and Warwickshire Direct offices will be open during the festive season. Please see below for the opening hours.

Customer Service Centre Wed 23 Dec Thurs 24-28 Dec Tuesday 29 Dec Wed 30 Dec Thurs 31 Dec Friday 1 Jan Saturday 2 Jan Monday 4 Jan

8am -7pm Closed 8am - 7pm 8am - 7pm 8am - 5.15pm Closed Closed 8am – 7pm

Warwickshire Direct, Whitnash Library, Whitnash Thurs 24 Dec Fri 25 – 29 Dec Wed 30 Dec Thurs 31 Dec Fri 1 January Sat 2 January

9.30am - 4pm Closed 10.30am - 5.30pm 9.30am - 4pm Closed 9.30am - 12.30pm

Warwickshire Direct, Warwickshire Direct, Shire Hall, Warwick Kenilworth Library, Kenilworth Thurs 24 Dec 8am – 4pm Thurs 24 Dec Fri 25-29 Dec Wed 30 Dec Thurs 31 Dec Fri 1st Jan Sat 2nd Jan

9am - 4pm Closed 10.30am - 5.30pm 9am - 4pm Closed 9am - 4pm

Fri 25 – 28 Dec Tues 29 Dec Wed 30 Dec Thurs 31 Dec Fri 1 January Sat 2 January

Closed 9am – 4pm 8am – 5.30pm 8am – 4pm Closed 9am – 4pm

Warwickshire Direct, Lillington Library, Lillington For 24 hour Emergency Thurs 24 Dec Fri 25 – 30 Dec Thurs 31 Dec Fri 1 January Sat 2 January

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9.30am - 4pm Closed 9.30am - 4pm Closed 9.30am - 4pm

Housing Repairs reporting between 24 - 28 December, please call 01926 412828 www.warwickdc.gov.uk


HOME NEWS

carbon monoxide

poisoning

Know the Symptoms

Did you know that unsafe gas appliances produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide? This can cause serious long term health problems such as brain damage, even death. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it, but it can kill very quickly and with no warning. According to figures from the Health & Safety Executive, 14 people in the UK have died from carbon monoxide poisoning in the last year and 234 have suffered health problems. If your gas appliances are badly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained, or if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked, then it will result in carbon monoxide being produced. If you have ever wondered why we service your boilers once a year then now you know! In addition Warwick District Council provides carbon monoxide monitors as an extra safety measure, but it helps to be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning so that you can do something about it before it’s too late.

What you should do; • • • •

Get fresh air immediately, open doors and windows, turn off the gas supply and leave the house. See your doctor immediately who can do a blood or breath test. Get a Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances and flues to see if there is a dangerous problem. Please can you ensure that if you have received a notification that your boiler needs servicing, but have not arranged for the works to be completed, that you do so as a matter of urgency.

the main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning There are six main symptoms to look out for; • Headaches • Dizziness • Nausea • Breathlessness • Collapse • Loss of

consciousness If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, seek medical advice immediately and turn off your applicances until a Gas Safe registered engineer has carried out a full inspection.

There are other signs that might help you confirm that it’s not something else, such as flu or food poisoning. • • •

If your symptoms only occur when you are at home. Your symptoms disappear when you leave home and re-appear when you return. If anyone else in your household is experiencing the same symptoms, including your pets.

www.warwickdc.gov.uk

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HOME NEWS

Community Payback Partnership We are pleased to annouce that Warwick District Council Housing and Property Services have gone into partnership with The Probation Service Payback Team to carry out grounds maintenance work at various housing sites across the district. It is not always possible for regular work to be undertaken within your grounds, but this partnership will give us the flexibility to enhance the service to you all and with the team working seven days a week they may even be on your site at the weekend. The team will complete a one off clean up of various grounds and then return on a regular basis to ensure that everything is kept in order. Superving the team at all times, the supervisor will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Money matters

Make your money work better for you by planning and budgeting Good household budgeting is all about setting money aside for payments you must make – your rent, bills, loans and credit card payments. Not making payments on time can affect your credit history, which in turn can affect your ability to get a bank overdraft or a mobile phone contract for example. Budgeting can also help you to live within your means. You’ll have more control over your money and greater peace of mind. Good Budgeting – 3 step plan Once you get into the habit of budgeting, it will only take you a few minutes each week and then occasions like Christmas and Weddings or Birthdays won’t be quite so scary!

WDC supervisor will also be paying visits to monitor work progress. It may not always be possible for the team to dispose of the garden waste during the actual visit, so it will be left safely and arrangements made to have it collected on completion of the work.

1. Calculate your money coming in List what comes in – your pay, any benefits or tax credits. Your pay may vary from month to month, especially if you sometimes do overtime.

If work is done in your area, a questionnaire will be given to you to return to Warwick District Council. This feedback is important to us so please return your form as soon as possible. The returned forms will go into a prize draw at the end of March 2010.

Remember that you might have money coming in from other sources, such as from relatives, or people living with you or you may receive money in chunks such as student loans. If so, work out what your average income is for each month.

For further information contact: Pat Taylor Senior Estates Supervisor Sean McCabrey Repairs Manager 01926 456644 or 01926 410410 ext. 6444

2. Calculate money going out Don’t worry if you can’t account for every penny – it just helps to know roughly where you stand – keeping a spending diary can help. Remember that some payments will be occasional such as Christmas, Birthdays, days out, car tax and insurance for instance. You can

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put in a monthly amount for these, perhaps by estimating and dividing up the average that you might spend throughout the year. 3. Keep track of your budget Keep a regular eye on your budget so that you are keeping up with any changes such as a pay rise or bills going up. Household budgeting is all about understanding how much money you earn and spend over a period of time, it is a plan for spending and saving money. It’s all about saying to yourself, “I have this much money coming in, so I can only spend this much.” It’s easy when you know how!

Some key points zz Check your pay slip to make sure you’re paying the right tax zz Claim any benefits or tax credits you may be eligible for zz Keep a spending diary so you know exactly where your money is going each month zz Don’t forget to allow for special occasions, such as Birthdays.

www.warwickdc.gov.uk


HOME NEWS

There will be NO recycling and refuse collections on Friday 25th December 2009 (Christmas Day). Your normal refuse/recycling day will be one working day later than normal. Please ensure your boxes and bins are out at the edge of your property as usual by 7am. Normal collection dates will resume from Monday 4th January 2010.

Usual collection dates

Christmas collection dates

Friday 25th Dec 2009

Monday 28th Dec 2009

Monday 28th Dec 2009

Tuesday 29th Dec 2009

Tuesday 29th Dec 2009

Weds 30th Dec 2009

Weds 30th Dec 2009

Thursday 31st Dec 2009

Thursday 31st Dec 2009

Friday 1st Jan 2010

Friday 1st Jan 2010

Saturday 2nd Jan 2010

www.warwickdc.gov.uk

winter slips and falls How to avoid them

It’s that time of year again, when there are an increasing amount of us slipping, tripping and falling whilst we’re out. It can of course, have great comedy value, but did you realise how much damage can be done when you slip, trip and fall? You could lose as much as 70 days off work with a broken leg and that’s not so funny is it?

If you have no choice and have to walk across the ice, try and do the following;

Obvious dangers are when it’s been snowing or it’s icy, but wet weather and wet leaves can be just as hazardous, so be aware of your surroundings when you are out and about and take a look at the advice below before you go! • Plan ahead and give yourself sufficient time to get there • Avoid plastic and leather soles on your shoes and go for rubber or materials that don’t slip • Use special care when getting in and out of your car • Walk on walkways whenever you can and look ahead so you can see where the tricky areas might be • When entering buildings, remove snow and water from footwear to prevent creating wet and slippery conditions indoors • Test potentially slippery areas by tapping your foot onto them • Don’t carry loads of shopping when it’s slippery

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Take short steps or shuffle Bend slightly Be prepared to fall and keep your hands free, not in your pockets! Bend your back and head forward so that you don’t crash your head on the pavement if your feet slip out in front of you Drop your shopping if you fall, so that you can protect yourself

• • • • •

Use floor mats to remove moisture from your shoes Don’t allow wet onto indoor floor surfaces Select appropriate footwear – avoid leather and plastic soles, or high heels during wet weather Use a handrail wherever possible Always report a slip or fall hazard on 01926 412828

And a few suggestions to help reduce your chances of being injured from a slip and fall;

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HOME NEWS

celebrating

70 years Congratulations to Olive and Bob Meddoms who celebrated their Platinum Wedding Anniversary in November. They live at James Court and cite never going to bed on an argument and their loving and supportive family as the secret to their long and happy marriage.

We

switch

to rok for electrical repair The plumbing, heating and electrical division of Rok will now be responsible for the day to day maintenance of your electrical supply. Mr & Mrs Meddoms show their card from the Queen Childhood sweethearts, they met in Warwick in 1934 when Bob’s parents ran Meddoms Confectionary in the Market Square and Olive and her friend called in for an ice cream. Having walked her home and met Olive’s parents, Bob was a big hit with his in-laws who declared “he was all right!” They planned to marry in 1940, but as they were unsure about the war they brought it forward to 1939 and sure enough after only 4 months of wedded bliss Bob went off to war. He spent the next 6 years away from Olive in Northern Ireland, France and then Germany. They did however keep their romance alive with daily letters which would

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arrive every so often in a big bundle and the occasional phonecall. Their son Ian was born in 1944 and this was a great highlight in their life. Ian is now married with two children of his own and two grand children. The whole family live locally and frequently visit Bob and Olive with cards, pictures and food deliveries “We’re very lucky to have such a caring family who can come and visit us regularly” said Olive. “We were in love when we first met and we’re still in love now!” Olive said and at 95, with Bob being 93, they are still a very happy couple after all these years. Congratulations and every happiness for the future!

Whether it’s a broken switch or a circuit trip, they will be available to come out to your home to carry out the repair, or talk you through what needs to be done over the phone. Rok will take calls directly from tenants in a bid to speed up the process and help you to get your repairs sorted more quickly. To report faults call 01926 412828 from 8am - 5pm Outside of those hours in an emergency call 01926 412828

www.warwickdc.gov.uk


HOME NEWS

Tenant

Participation

– update

WINNER

It’s been a busy time for Margaret Allen, she has been organising coffee mornings and afternoon teas across the district to encourage tenants to come along and meet the housing team and discuss any queries they might have over a cup of tea. You have been able to discuss repairs, your rent account, housing benefit and council tax issues with our officers. A colouring competition was organised, with Abigail Dix age 2 ½ winning with her beautiful colouring in! As part of the Council’s review of the repairs service, those who attended our events completed a questionnaire “improving your housing repair services” and were entered into a prize draw. The winners were; Mrs B Rennel, Cubbington £75 Mr P Halliwell, Bagington £50 Mrs P Javadi-Babreh, Hockley Heath £25

Our winner, Abigail with her mum

There are more coffee mornings and afternoon teas planned for the New Year, so keep a look out for dates at a venue near you and you too could be a lucky cash prize winner! Check out the Tenant Participation web page www.warwickdc.gov.uk/tp for the latest tenant participation events in your local area. There is a new residents group at Stamford Gardens, Rugby Road and they are planning regular meetings. It’s a great way of

getting to know your neighbours and joining together to get things done and making sure your opinion is heard. Our Tenant Participation Officer, Margaret Allen is able to give you advice about funding available to you. So if you are thinking of organising a residents group in your area, just give her a call.

Free Training for Tenants There are some really interesting courses coming up in the New Year that any of our tenants can take part in. They are all free, and if there is any travel involved it will be paid for you. It is a great way of learning more about your local council and the services they provide and also about ways in which you might be able to get more involved. Give Margaret a call if you would like any more information on this.

If you would like to talk to Margaret about setting up a residents group, contact her on: tel – 01926 456451 mobile – 07810 654669 email – margaret.allen@warwickdc.gov.uk web – www.warwickdc.gov.uk/tp

www.warwickdc.gov.uk

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HOME NEWS

garages for rent It’s that time of year when you start thinking about getting your car under cover, away from frost and snow. You can rent a garage from the council and you don’t have to be a housing tenant to do so. There are over a hundred garages across the district available and the average rent for tenants is £4.61 per week and £5.30 a week for non-tenants. You can rent weekly, so you have the garage for as long as you need it. Just provide the council with a week’s notice to terminate your agreement. Contact your Housing Officer for an application form, or you can download a form from our website. Please note that if you have rent arrears on your housing tenancy, you will not be eligible to apply for a garage, as the payments on your home must take priority.

our christmas cake it’s quick, easy and cheap

Decorate your cake how you prefer

To make the cake just place all of the ingredients below into a large saucepan. zz 100g (4oz) margarine zz 100g (4oz) sugar or 50g (2oz) muscovado sugar and 50g (2oz) treacle zz 6 fluid oz water zz 300g (12oz) mixed dried fruit zz 1 teaspoon mixed spice

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Impress your friends and family this Christmas with your cooking skills and make your own Christmas cake! We have got a special easy to make, budget recipe for you to try. Our Home News panel member and local resident, Joy Coop, always uses this recipe and tells us that anyone can make a success of it. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then add one egg, 200g (8oz) self raising flour and a pinch of salt, you can also add some chopped-up cherries, dates or nuts if you would like and stir well. Grease and flour an 18-20cm (7-8inch) deep tin and then pour the mixture in.

Pre-heat your oven to 300°F, 150°C, or gas mark 2 and bake on the middle shelf for 1 hour, then for a further 45 minutes on 275°F, 140°C or gas mark 1. After this time you can test the cake with a metal skewer to check it is cooked. Once cooled, decorate and place in a tin, ready to enjoy over Christmas! www.warwickdc.gov.uk


HOME NEWS

tenancy enforcement update We work hard to deal with anti-social behaviour and recently obtained injunctions against tenants in Leamington and Warwick preventing the tenants concerned from using or threatening violence against others, using abusive or insulting language, playing loud music, urinating in communal areas and in one case, keeping a dog in a flat, contravening their Tenancy Agreement.

thinking about

stair lifts?

If you have a stairlift please ensure you notify the council if you are no longer using it. This ensures our records are up to date when we are planning our maintenance schedule. batteries (if these are normal household type) and try again. If the fault persists, then report it to the council. If you do not have a stairlift, but would like to know if you are eligible for one, please contact Social Services on 01926 859221 who will carry out an assessment.

In a further case, the Council has obtained a Possession Order in the County Court against a tenant in Whitnash because of persistent anti-social behaviour caused at the property. That tenant has now been evicted. A Possession Order has been obtained against a family with three children in South Leamington because of their anti-social behaviour. Possession proceedings have been taken against a tenant in Warwick because of the condition of the property and their repeated failure to address the problem, despite the offer of support. A Possession Order has now been obtained and the tenant evicted. The Tenancy Enforcement Officers dealing with these cases ensure that all possible solutions are sought before recourse to legal proceedings, but Housing and Property Services Department will continue to take appropriate action against those tenants whose activities impact on the lives and well-being of others. If you want to report anti-social behaviour, then please contact your Housing Officer.

www.warwickdc.gov.uk

For your information Breakdown and fault repairs are carried out by Deltron Lifts Ltd.

Routine servicing is carried out twice a year. If the servicing has lapsed due to non use of the stairlift, then you should request a service before it can be reused. Please contact the council to arrange for this. If you have a battery operated remote control for the stairlift and there is an operating fault with the lift, please replace the

Insurance inspections are carried out by Zurich Insurance Reporting of breakdown & faults: Warwick District Repairs - Telephone 01926 412828 Stairlift servicing: Andrew Dyke – Telephone 01926 456036

Accommodation for our older residents

In the last issue of Home news, we told you about the Tenant Incentive Scheme, which provides a fund for downsizing from a family home to smaller, more suitable accommodation. So far some eight families have been re-housed on the scheme with 24 more on the list waiting for suitable properties to come up. There are still funds available to help with the costs of moving, so if you have been thinking about participating in this scheme, please contact our Lettings Officers on 01926 456424/456425.

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HOME NEWS

winter WORDSEARCH competition e s a e i p

New heating system promises WIN a £40 Asda Voucher or one of four runners-up prizes of a £5 Asda Voucher to slash r e h y s e n t o emissions & Word e c n i m l s s e Bank fuel bills

l e s n i t n s b r o e e p o r w c t p u n r r l e u t e n l n a s f t

t t c p e n a n b n s d b f i s a u b l e o t h r e e d n i e r l w u g m r l e s e n t s b r i p i n l e l o o h a k e i h d l s s r n t l e l m i s t l e t o e l y s

bauble bells cranberry frost mincepie mistletoe presents reindeer sleigh snowball tinsel tree turkey

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.

Name: ..............................................

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 15 January 2010.

Address: ..........................................

Tel: . .................................................. The missing word is: ...........................................................

Competition Winner

Congratulations to Mrs Tarver of Leamington who won our Autumn wordsearch. She wins £40 of Asda vouchers and said “They are gratefully received and will help towards Christmas.”

A satisfied winner

Warwick District Council is constantly looking for ways to reduce its own emissions and those of others within the district. One way it is looking at, already successfully trialled in our corporate buildings is “Biomass Heating”, which uses scrap wood as fuel in place of traditional energy sources such as gas and electricity. With Biomass technology now proven and widely accepted, a pilot scheme is underway in Giffard Terrace, Lowsonford. This property is being heated by a “FireWIN” which combines the roles of a central heating boiler and a fire in one single, stylish unit. These units burn wood pellets and aside from the reduced emissions, the high efficiency of the new boiler will deliver reduced fuel bills for the tenant. This system also features roof mounted solar thermal panels that will use sunlight to heat the domestic hot water even more cheaply than the wood pellets, when possible. The pilot scheme will be closely monitored over the coming months and it is hoped that this system will perform well enough to become the preferred choice in areas that are off the mains-gas supply grid. We’ll keep you updated with progress in future issues of Home News.

Thank you to everyone who returned their Repair Satisfaction Card to us with your comments. Your feedback helps us to improve the service we provide for you. As you know they are entered into a prize draw every quarter and this quarter’s winner is Jackie Clark, from Warwick – she wins £100 to spend. Congratulations!

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www.warwickdc.gov.uk


Housing REPAIRS 01926 412 828 HomeChoice and Housing Officer enquiries 01926 412828 Council Housing Estates Supervisors

Christine Ledger Square – Eileen McKeogh............... 07866 609 655 Fallow Hill – John Lamb. 07866 609 674 Kennedy/St Paul’s Square – Andy Smith...................... 07866 609 657 New Brook Street/Clarendon Suare – Roy Mingaye.................... 07866 609 654 Radcliffe Gardens – Ant Collins........................ 07866 609 656 Stamford Gardens – Ernie Oliver...................... 07866 609 675

Disabled Adaptations................ (01926) 456405 Garages

Applying for a garage – Mrs Darlison/ Mrs Leech ..................(01926) 456 424/5 Garage Repairs.............. (01926) 412 828

Homelessness

..................(01926) 456 427/428/429/359

Home News

Fiona Walsh................... (01926) 456 447

Unhappy with the service you receive from Housing?

Fiona Walsh .................. (01926) 456 447

Leaseholder Enquiries.................... (01926) 456 421 Refuse & Recycling

....................................... (01926) 412 464

Rents

Problems with paying your home rent. Guy Greenland/Yusaf Ramzan/ Abigail Hay . ....(01926) 456 438/435/239 Problems with paying your garage rent . ....... (01926) 456 457. Rent Direct Debit, Eva Nicholls................... (01926) 456 409 Rent Allpay Cards, Satnam Sangha............. (01926) 456 408

Tenant Involvement (Area Panels & Residents Groups)....................... (01926) 456 445 Tenants’ Contents Insurance Scheme

Satnam Sangha......(01926) 456 408/409

Warwick Response (Lifeline Service)

24 hour number ............ (01926) 339 577 Supporting People Services Manager Joan Hicks.................... (01926) 456 405

If you prefer to write, our address is:

Housing and Property Services Warwick District Council, P.O. Box 2175, Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 5QE

If you prefer to email:

Housing Register & Homelessness hadvice@warwickdc.gov.uk Repairs Queries – not for reporting repairs hsgrep@warwickdc.gov.uk Reporting Repairs contactus@warwickdc.gov.uk Housing Officers & Estate Management hsgem@warwickdc.gov.uk Rent Arrears Team hsgra@warwickdc.gov.uk Lettings & Moving Home hsglet@warwickdc.gov.uk Housing Complaints hsgcr@warwickdc.gov.uk Lifeline Control Centre ccms@warwickdc.gov.uk Leaseholders wdcleasehold@warwickdc.gov.uk

Where possible, information can be made available in other formats, including large print, CD and other languages if required. To obtain one of these alternatives, please contact 01926 456 108.


Home News Winter 2009  

Residents Magazine featuring all you need to know about whats going on in Warwick District this winter.

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