Your new WDC Housing Magazine - Formerly Home News
Summer 2013 Issue 02
w e n r u o g n i Introduc
Contents Keeping You Informed
04 06 07
Tenants Together Open Day 2013
Tenant Panel Latest News
10 11 12 13 Safety First
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 456447. The virgin fibre used in the paper for this product has been derived from sustainably managed forests. This product is fully recyclable.
Our New Housing Partnership Reporting Repairs
Spot the Van Success for Tenant Panel Estate Walkabouts Tenant Participation - Drop-ins Leaseholders News
LEP Training Programme How Safe is your home? Operation X Facebook & Twitter
Contact Housing & Property Services: www.warwickdc.gov.uk/housing firstname.lastname@example.org 01926 412828 Designed by The Media Room, Warwick District Council.
Welcome to the Summer issue of Tenants Together
We are promoting our housing event in this issue
16 19 20
so make sure you put the date in your diary (7 September, 11am – 3pm) and come along. Last year’s event was a great success and we want
Letters to Lisa
to see more of you there this year. Not only does
Are you covered? Direct Debit
contractors and other tenants, but we are also all
Budgeting & Employment Advice Take Up Project
it give you the opportunity to meet the team, the there to answer your questions and point you in the right direction for more information. Plus you get the chance to win some great prizes! You will find out about our new Housing Partnership – they are our key contractors and you can find out how we are all working more closely together to deliver an excellent service.
You can pull out and keep our annual report which will demonstrate what the housing team has achieved over the past year. This issue includes a round up from our tenant panel who are always looking for volunteers – you can hear about what they’ve been up to and what they are planning for the forthcoming year. Also, for those with time to fill over the school
21 22 23 24 26 27 28
What’s On! A Day in the Life of... Don’s Gardening Tips Spotlight on The Sydni Centre
summer holidays, we’ve found the best of our events for you to choose from across the district – most of them are free entry, so should help you and your families to get out and about. I look forward to seeing you all at our Tenants Together event in September!
Recipes Wordsearch Housing Directory
Jameel Malik Head of Housing
Open Day 20
We want to invite you and your families to the Tenants Together 2013 Open Day. Tenants Together is all about Housing and Propery Services and Tenants coming together to talk; understanding issues and looking for ways to improve things.
along! e m o c ld u o h s u Why yo • Meet with Housing Services staff for advice and information • Find out more about Welfare Reforms • Meet the Tenant Panel Members and local contractors • We can help you with any money worries • Find out about local recycling • Free light refreshments and children’s entertainment; magician and face painting • Free Henna tattoos • Win prizes!
Date for your diary... The Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa
Saturday 7 September 11am - 3pm
TPANELPARTNERS& OUTMORETENAN ND FUNFORTHEKIDSFI
NDOUTM FUNFORTHEKIDSFI PRIZESGIVEAWAYS
ington Spa p Rooms, Leam The Royal Pum – 3pm tember, 11am Saturday 7 Sep us! Come and join ce en Making a differ
Open Day 2013
lly invited to... a n o rs e p re a You
Simply fill the enc out lo form an sed d in the p pop ost by 31 July 2013
! n o w e b o t s e iz r Amazing p
Decorating vouchers & a handyman for the day
fabulous Christmas hampers, to be delivered by Santa himself!
Make a date for the 7 September and help us shape our Housing Services. Your views count!
Contact Tenants Panel: www.warwickdc.gov.uk/tenants email@example.com 01926 456451
We have formed a new housing partnership with the contractors that carry out work in your homes, on behalf of Warwick District Council.
The companies involved in this partnership are those
Each completed survey will be entered
you are already familiar with, but you will have the
into a prize draw with the opportunity to
reassurance that they are one of our partners by
win £100. Winners will be announced
recognising the new logo on all publicity.
in each issue of Tenants Together.
The partnership will be for five years initially and we
There are also other contractors who are not
hope this will provide some stability and continuity in the
in the Housing Partnership, but still carry out work on
contracts and enable our contractors to gain knowledge
and experience of working with our tenants.
of Warwick District Council. They are;
Why a partnership?
EM&I – electric contractor
Our aim is to make sure our contractors are providing us with a cost effective, good quality service.
PTL – asbestos contractor
We will be able to work with the Tenant Panel to monitor whether they are delivering a good service, that they turn up when they say they do and that they deal with emergencies as we have agreed. The new satisfaction survey, which you will be given after each repair is completed, is your opportunity to tell us what you think and let us know how the contractors are performing! Please take the time to complete it and have your say.
Tim Eden, Cllr V
Top row (l-r) - Karl French (D&K), Wayne Jones (G.P.), Russell Mcangus (Lovell), Carl Horton (Lovell). Bottom row - Sandra Venables, Alison Coles (Lovell), Teresa Gray (D&K), Margaret Allen.
pa Reporting Re Use our handy hints to make it easier! Repairs line •
The repairs line is 01926 412828. Please call this number to report repairs. There are a number of options for you to choose from once you get through.
Our contractors and what they do
The repairs line is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Our busiest time is between 9am and 12pm, so if possible, please report any non-emergency repairs outside of these times.
When reporting a repair • Repairs, voids, painting
Before calling to report a repair, ask yourself - is it something you can deal with yourself? Just check in your tenant’s handbook for details of which repairs are classed as tenants’ own responsibility.
Adaptations, windows, doors, kitchens & bathrooms
For emergency repairs, please make sure that you, or an adult over 18, will be in the property for the four hours after the call. If you are not going to be there, your repair cannot be reported until there will be someone in the property to allow the contractor access.
Please make sure you have any relevant information to hand, such as letters or correspondence you have received – this will enable the advisor to answer your enquiry faster and more efficiently.
Please be prepared to answer some questions and to give as much information as possible. This will enable the advisor to send the correct tradesperson out to attend the repair.
Please provide the advisor with an up to date telephone number – this will enable us to contact you if there is a problem or if we need additional information.
Please remember that the advisors and contractors are there to help you, so please be patient when you call. They do not tolerate any abusive behaviour in the course of their work.
Vincett, Hugh Raven
Matt Jones, Dave Farmer (Ian Williams
Latest news and updates
We are pleased to report that we have recently had volunteers and new members join the Tenant Panel, but we always need more to make sure we are including the opinions of as many of you as possible and, of course sharing the workload. Please think about joining our team - we would love to have you on board to help improve services. In the last issue of Tenants Together we reported that we wanted to carry out formal “Estate Walkabouts” and the first was held at The Packmores in Warwick on Wednesday 29 May 2013. Invitations were sent out to all tenants in the area inviting them to raise their concerns, repair queries or any issues which affected them either personally, or the area as a whole. A return visit was carried out on Wednesday 3 July 2013 and a report will be given in the next issue of Tenants Together. Walkabouts will be repeated at other sites throughout the year and invitations will be sent out once the details are finalised. Woodloes Estate had a Walkabout on Monday 24 June 2013 and the follow up will be on Monday 5 August 2013. See page 10 for a full list of planned walkabouts. The aim of Tenant Panel inspections is to improve your area; you will not be classed as a troublesome tenant! SERVICE IMPROVEMENT is the only aim. This is exactly why the Tenant Panel was formed and why we are asking for your input.
Another way to report problems is to watch out for Margaret Allen - our Tenant Participation Officer - in her “SPOT THE VAN” visits round the area. Margaret would love to see you and discuss any issue – good or bad – and again, the Tenant Panel needs the input as part of our monitoring process. Elsewhere in this magazine you will see the article on the new Building Repairs Contracts and the contractors now being used. Some original contractors have been successful and are continuing to work for us and some are new. We welcome all contractors and look forward to a successful working arrangement. They will now be grouped under their new logo The Housing Partnership, so that you know who they are. Have a look at the article on page 6 for more details.
More good news is, our main contractor - Ian Williams - won the new contract and we already have a good working arrangement with them and look forward to working together to a successful future, where service improvement is our aim.
Spot the Van!
We are looking forward to the opportunity this new partnership
Come and chat to your Tenant Participation Officer, Margaret, who will be doing morning visits in her van on the following days. Tuesday 16 July
Brome Hall Lane & Harborough Cottages
Monday 22 July
Starmer Close & Aylesbury Road
Tuesday 30 July
Bostock Crescent & St Michaels Close
Wednesday 14 August
Edinburgh Villas, Bromley Villas, Rowley Road, Hall Close & Dudley Terrace
Tuesday 20 August
Wasperton Lane, Wellesbourne Road, Sandy Way
Monday 26 August
Slade Hill & Ryder Close
Monday 2 September
Tuesday 3 September
offers the Tenant Panel to demonstrate the purpose of our existence, which is Service Improvement and Inclusion, and will be monitoring the new proposals and working arrangements to ensure that they proceed to our mutual satisfaction and the benefit of all tenants. You can monitor the work of the Tenant Panel, our meeting minutes are available to view online at www. warwickdc.gov.uk/tenant. If you do not have access to the internet, we can send you a copy of the latest minutes. Give Margaret Allen a call on 01926 456451 and she will arrange it. Finally we say goodbye to Emma
Success for Tenant Panel
Baylis who has just stepped down as our Secretary. We
If you join our tenant panel
would like to thank Emma for
there is training available for
her hard work and commitment
you to keep up to speed
and wish her well for the future.
with the latest developments. Congratulations to Rob Harris,
Cyrus Clarke (photo) and Hazel Stephens who completed the ECDL computer course.
Estate Walkabouts Monks Way
anti climb paint to some fences and installing a new gate with combination lock to make the rear garden more secure and provide extra security to the ground
Monks Way and a few other housing areas in Warwick
floor residents. There was also involvement from our
West were recently visited by WDC and local residents
Waste management team who helped housing to
to do a litter pick and big tidy up of the area. After this
change the refuse and recycling arrangements, Housing
tidy up, the residents of Monks way and the Warwick
bought new communal refuse bins and new recycling
West Residentsâ€™ Association set to clearing and tidying
bins to help residents dispose of their waste in the most
the garden with help from the Community Payback
environmentally friendly way possible. Also provided
team who went in and did some of the heavier work and
to supplement this were 2 compost starter kits so that
got them to a position where they could start planting
residents could make their own compost from waste
the areas in readiness for Warwick in Bloom. Ian
food. It is a brilliant example of residents and WDC
Williams also helped the residents out by providing
working together to help people love where they live!
ig ay, The B Monks W
the parking areas, bringing the drying areas back up to standard and making them safe, generally tidying up the vegetation of the gardens and communal areas
Clothes drying areas at Woodloes were in a very poor
and other general site repairs such as missing lead
state of repair, so much so that some drying areas had
flashings, new signage for some blocks etc. WDC
actually disappeared and wildlife had taken over. After
arranged for one of the drying areas to be constructed
Councillors raised concerns on behalf of residents,
so that residents could see how we were going to re-
WDC arranged for a consultation of the residents to
instate these and feedback was sought from residents.
find out what their priorities were in the area. It was
Once we had feedback one of housing engineers then
decided that the most important things were relining of
arranged for Allworks construction to set about building
Timetable for Estate Walkabou Estate
Monday 24 June
Monday 5 August
Tuesday 9 July
Tuesday 13 August
Tuesday 23 July
Tuesday 27 August
Wednesday 31 July
Wednesday 4 Sept
Drop-ins Come and drop in for a coffee with your housing team, weâ€™ll be more than happy to discuss your housing needs.
All residents in the area will be notified and invited to come along to these inspections.
All follow up inspections to take place within 5-6 weeks.
All findings to be reported back to the Tenant Panel, Tenant Participation Officer and to the residents.
All works to be given to repairs to be logged as jobs.
July the drying areas to the specification that we agreed. The area was also visited by a company who does lining of parking bays so that the bays were more visible and therefore improving parking in this busy area. The work is now complete and the residents agree they look much more appealing as well as being easier to access and use.
Thursday 4 Packmores
10am - 12noon
Wednesday 10 Beauchamp Court
10am - 12noon
Thursday 11 The Gap
2pm - 4pm
August es Woodlo
Thursday 1 Packmores
10am - 12noon
Wednesday 7 Beauchamp Court
10am - 12noon
Thursday 8 The Gap
2pm - 4pm
September Contact Housing & Property Services: www.warwickdc.gov.uk/housing firstname.lastname@example.org 01926 456451
Thursday 5 Packmores
10am - 12noon
Wednesday 11 Beauchamp Court
10am - 12noon
Thursday 12 The Gap
2pm - 4pm
Leaseholders News The Leaseholder Action Group, together with Warwick District
The Leaseholders Action Group has
Council, has now completed
been discussing a review of the way it
the production of the New
communicates with Leaseholders. This issue
has been mentioned a few times in “The Leaseholder” publication sent periodically to
This provides Leaseholders with
updated information about the services undertaken by WDC
One important issue is that there have
that are relevant to Leaseholders.
been four General Meetings each year. The
It also provides all the information
numbers attending have been declining for
about responsibilities of
some time, and we have decided to have
only two meetings per year, one in May (which is also the Annual General Meeting),
This new publication will be published on the Leaseholder
and one in November.
section of the WDC website www.warwickdc.gov.uk/ leaseholder. For people who do not have access to the internet, we will be printing a few copies. To obtain a copy please call 01926 412828 to ask for a copy to be sent.
We would like to move towards communicating with you by email when possible. If you are happy for us to communicate with you via email, please could you send an email to: email@example.com Please include your name, address and contact number in the email. You can call us on 01926 456450 if you need to discuss it or to tell us that you do not have access to email.
We intend to use emails to distribute “The Leaseholder” and other LAG communications as soon as a very large majority can use this system. However, don’t worry if you do not have access to email, we can continue to post you a copy. Just ring 01926 456450 and let us know.
LEP is pleased to announce its
Training for Tenants LEP is pleased to announce its 2013/14 training programme. The programme continues to meet the needs of tenants and staff of social housing providers. The programme seeks to address the challenges facing social housing tenants and providers:
Our new courses include ones about social care and
the impact of welfare benefits reforms,
housing for the elderly, financial exclusion and planning
increasing demand for affordable housing
reforms and building new housing. In response to
and the Homes & Communities Agency’s
requests from tenants we will again run courses about
focus on registered housing providers’
housing allocations and how people are matched to
ability to achieve value for money and self-
properties, and about new technology and involvement.
financing for local authority landlords. The programme also delivers courses
We are also once again running our courses on Housing
about ‘bread and butter’ issues such as,
Law (which include issues related to dealing with
repairs and maintenance and dealing with
housing fraud) and Tenant inspectors and performance
monitoring, as these are very popular with both staff and residents.
In the continuing financial climate and period of policy change we have decided to deliver two courses about the impact of welfare
To book a place on any of these courses contact your Tenant Participation Officer:
benefits reforms: one, to be delivered before
Universal Credit goes live in October and
the other after.
Host and Location
Social care and housing of the elderly
30 July 2013
Aspects of repairs & maintenance
17 September 2013
Planning reforms & building new housing
16 October 2013
12 November 2013
New technology as an involvement tool
28 November 2013
Impact of welfare and housing benefits reform 2
21 January 2014
Warwick District Council (Leamington Spa)
19 February 2014
Housing: the bigger picture (anticipating new developments and challenges)
18 March 2014
Warwick District Council (Leamington Spa)
? e m o h r u o y is e f a s w o H Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents to take up its offer of a Free Home Fire Safety Check in a bid to increase the safety of homes across Warwickshire. In the last few years, firefighters have carried out thousands of checks, which offer key fire safety advice on escape route planning, kitchen and electrical fire safety, and smoke detection. Guidance is also given on the safe use of
Fi Home eck Ch Safety
candles, portable heaters and electric blankets. Each check takes around 30-40 minutes and can be arranged for a time to suit you. Where necessary smoke detectors are also fitted to ensure that residents get the early warning they need should there be a fire in their home. Statistically, certain groups of people in the community are at greater risk from fire. Priority will be given to these groups in order to maximise the Fire Service’s efforts to reduce avoidable fires and injuries. These groups are as follows:
Station Manager for Leamington Fire Station, Jon Dixon said: “No one can afford to underestimate how important a working smoke alarm can be. Our checks are targeted at the most vulnerable and in areas where we know there
Families with young children
Single parent families
People on low incomes
People with a disability
People with a drug or alcohol dependency
Victims of dwelling fires
If you think you may be at risk or have a
People living in Houses in Multiple Occupation
vulnerable family member or friend who you feel
is a high risk of fire. This has been really effective in protecting the most vulnerable members of our community and I would like to ensure that the excellent work continues.”
would benefit from this free service, then please call our helpline today on 01926 466282.
Contact Ellie Phillips for more information: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/firesafetycheck firstname.lastname@example.org 01926 456067
Alternatively you can complete an application form via our website at; www.warwickshire.gov.uk/firesafetycheck
Welcome We are delighted to present to you the 2012/13 Annual Report to Tenants. This report will show you how your
housing service has been doing over the last financial year. It has been a busy 12 months and in the autumn of 2012 we sent all of our Tenants and Leaseholders a survey to
find the level of satisfaction of the overall Housing Service and on various areas within the service. We were thrilled to see a fantastic 36% responded. This was one of the largest consultations we have done in the past few years and we
Housing and Property Services
will use this feedback to make improvements to the service.
performance during financial
The report shows we have also been continuing with our programme of maintaining and improving your homes,
year 2012 / 2013
as well as ensuring your homes are safe and sound! You will also see that we have been trying to increase and improve the ways you can contact us and have introduced Facebook and Twitter so follow us if you can. We also have had lots of people visiting the website and calling the customer service centre.
Welcome by Councillor Norman Vincett,
We hope you find this report useful and interesting. If you
Portfolio Holder for Housing & Property Services
have any comments or suggestions please let us know.
Jameel Malik, Head of Housing & Property Services & Rob Harris, Chair of the Tenants Panel
Communication and Contact In Autumn 2012, Housing and Property Services sent out a satisfaction
Visits to our website 1 April 2012 - 31 March 2013
survey called the â€˜STAR Surveyâ€™ to all tenants and leaseholders in
Warwick District. The satisfaction of the following tenant types was:
Visits to Housing pages on the WDC website
Older People Housing
49% Leaseholder Housing
318,000 Visits to HomeChoice
4,600 Rent Statements checked online
The types of phone calls handled by
The Customer Service Centre is open:
our Customer Service Team are:
Mon - Thu 8am - 7pm | Fri 8am - 6pm | Sat 9am - 1pm
52% Repairs We answer 31% Housing Officers 17% HomeChoice
to answer repairs call
an average of
Communication and Contact
Complaints were received
continued During this year the following service
areas received this many complaints:
were upheld 30 Housing Management
13 Rents & Finance
partially upheld 121 Repairs & Maintenance
22 Housing Strategy
Moving In & Moving Out HOMECHOICE
Breakdown of bedroom types in WDC properties:
At the end of March 2013
1,463 1 Bedroom
of people registered with
2,002 2 Bedrooms
1,985 3 Bedrooms 58 4 Bedrooms
4 5 Bedrooms
It took an average of
On average there were
properties were let
days to re-let a property
offers per letting
In 2012 lettings took place in these months: 36
The top 5 reasons to refuse a property were:
1 2 40 people
Did not like
32 people Gave no response to offer
27 people Said property was too small
26 people Said property in wrong area
5 Withdrew offer
Looking After Your Home We have a continual program of maintaining properties. In 2012/13 we have replaced:
In addition to this, most properties had these checks and services:
Of properties have had a gas
Of properties have an
Of properties have had an
service within the last 12 months
up to date electricity test
asbestos management survey
We also carry out adaptations to properties to make them more suited to tenants needs. These are the types of adaptation requests we have received and the amount we have competed in 2012/13: Application Received
Level Access Showers
Level Access Showers & Stairlift
Level Access Showers & Other Work
4 5 1 12
In 2012/13 our contractors attended:
83 jobs were
The average time between reporting
could not access
and repair was
Communities & Participation
71 Affordable Homes were completed
Monthly Tenant Panel meetings give
The Tenant Panel is now
members the chance to understand and
challenge the performance of the service.
people registered with HomeChoice
The average weekly rent is
is the amount of rent to be
of that rent is
is the amount of rent lost
collected over 2012/13 (net)
due to empty properties
tenants pay their rent
by Direct Debit
487 tenants have WDC Home Contents Insurance
2nd partial 14th
83% pay on the 14th 17% pay on the 2nd
evicted in 2012
67% full Housing Benefit 33% partial Housing Benefit 2,072 no Housing Benefit
The value of former tenants arrears is
The rent collected by Warwick District Council is spent in these ways: 14% Put aside to meet future expenditure 16% Management & Tenant Services 21% Interest on loans
49% Maintaining Homes
Facebook &Twitter This is a new initiative from Warwickshire Police that goes the extra mile when it comes to protecting communities and catching those people who commit the most crime. The campaign focuses on the main Policing Areas in
Do you ‘like’ us?
Leamington, Nuneaton and Rugby, but police officers from Operation X’s specialised teams are able to quickly respond to incidents throughout the county as the following case study shows.
eviction Partnership working results in
You can now keep in touch with your housing team by social media! You can
A joint operation last December between Operation X police officers and
“Like” us on Facebook
Warwick District Council’s housing enforcement team led to the eviction
and you can follow us
of one Lillington resident who was making other tenants’ lives a misery.
on Twitter. These are
A string of anti-social behaviour incidents had been occurring throughout 2012 at Eden Court with many residents living in fear for their own safety. By October it had become regular weekend house parties, often ending in public disorder. Operation X police teams worked closely with Warwick District Council to enforce a closure order that led to magistrates banning the resident from entering the whole of Eden Court for three months. A full eviction then came into effect with the resident no longer allowed to live in Warwick district and/or enter certain accommodation within Lillington.
both great ways of sharing information, commenting on something you’ve seen or read about housing, or asking us a question. Tenantstogether @tenantstog
“This is just one example of the excellent partnership we have with Warwick District Council and Warwickshire County Council” said Safer Neighbourhood Team Sergeant, Paul Calver, who was
Don’t worry if you aren’t
involved in this operation. “Many of the Eden Court residents
using social media – we
were relieved at the positive action that was taken.”
are still available by the usual channels; website, email and phone!
Where can I find out more about Operation X: @WarksPolice_OpX
or find us on Facebook
Her ans wers might h elp you if you ha ve any similar c oncerns
Our Income Recovery Officer, Lisa Crossland, takes us through some of the letters and emails she has received from tenants. I have been suffering with depression Q
“I have been suffering with
Overpayments for Tax Credits
losing my job, I have really
do fall into the ‘priority debt
depression, and part of that has
struggled to pay and lately have
category’ because repayment
been not being able to open my
just tried to ignore them. I am not
deductions can be made from
post, not answering the door,
sure which debts are most important
ongoing tax credits, and from certain
and most recently starting
(priority) and I know I have a Tax
benefits, by reducing the tax code
to ignore phone calls.
or through the same enforcement
I have some debts, that since
Can you advise on this?”
methods as income tax.
I have been struggling with my Gas & Electricity bills lately. Q
You could also look for a mutual
free and completely impartial.
Gas & Electricity bills lately. I live
exchange via Home Swapper.
If you have any arrears, your
in a 3 bedroom house and have
With regard to your Gas and
current supplier may
two children under 7, I don’t really
Electricity, if you have a clear
not allow you
want to move but I am affected
account and no arrears you could
to move supply,
by the Under Occupation and
switch supplier. If you have access to
and suggest a re-
would consider downsizing to a
the internet, look up ‘energyhelpline.
payment plan that
2 bedroom property. Also I am
com’, or phone them on 0800 074
is not affordable,
struggling with the bills living off
0745. They only require a few pieces
so you may
benefits, what are my options?”
of simple information to switch
have to opt
to a new gas/electricity supplier.
When you compare suppliers,
with our lettings department, and
you will be asked for some basic
explain you are in a 3 bedroom
details, like your postcode. If you
house and would like to downsize.
have an energy bill handy, then
They have a scheme, which could
you can input your exact energy
help you but only for people living
usage. Otherwise, you can specify
in 3 + bedroom properties. You can
whether you are a low, medium
contact them on 01926 456424.
or high level user. Their service is
“I have been struggling with my
Your first option is to speak
Contact Lisa with your questions: email@example.com
Housing Services, PO Box 2175, Warwick District Council,
Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 5QE
I am really struggling to meet the shortfall out of my JSA Q
“I have got a reduction in my Housing Benefit since these
new rules about Under Occupation came in, and I am really struggling to meet the shortfall out of my Jobseekers Allowance. I am trying hard to look for a job but it is taking time. Are there any options to help me financially until I find work?”
You could apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment – you can
request an application form from the benefits team. This is a temporary payment and not a long term solution to your problem. Once they have received your application it will be assessed and they will write to you to let you know the outcome.To request a form or for further advice contact 01926 412466.
Universal Credit Q
“I am confused as to when
Tax Credit or Housing
Universal Credit begins. Can you
Benefit previously, not just
give me some information on the
The DWP expect around There are currently around
500,000 people will make a
12.5 million claims in place for the
new claim for Universal Credit
benefits that will be replaced by
during this time.
Universal Credit. Because of the
The DWP also estimate that
number of people affected the
around 500,000 existing benefit
introduction of UC will be phased in
claimants will move off their
between 2013 and 2017.
old benefit and on to Universal Credit when they have a
From 29 April 2013 newly
significant change of circumstances,
to identify 3.5 million existing benefit
unemployed people in one of the
such as starting a new job or when
claimants ‘who will benefit most
Pathfinder pilot areas, Ashton-
a child is born. This is known as
under-Lyne, will claim Universal
‘natural migration’. From the end of 2015 -
Credit (UC) rather than Jobseeker’s From April 2014 - late 2015
From April 2014 the DWP intend
Around 3 million households
October 2013 - April 2014
that all new claims from working age
receiving Housing Benefit will be
From October 2013 a ‘phased roll
people, everywhere in Great Britain,
transferred to Universal Credit on a
out’ will begin, with one district per
will be for UC instead of the benefits
local authority boundary basis under
region taking on new UC claims.
it replaces. Pensioners will still be
‘managed migration’ as the old
It is expected that this roll out will
able to claim Housing Benefit until
benefit system winds down. New
include claims from people in work,
claims for UC and ‘natural migration’
who would have claimed Working
During this period the DWP also aim
on to UC will continue as well.
I have received a letter, and it says I am in arrears? Q
“I have received a letter from
Warwick DC Income Recovery Team,
One room for the tenant and their partner
and it says I am in arrears? I have
One room for each person or couple
never been in arrears and don’t know why this could have happened, it
over 16 •
mentioned something about a charge for Under Occupying? I don’t know
A child under 16 is expected to share with another of the same gender
A child under 10 is expected to
about this or understand why my
share with another, regardless of
housing benefit has been reduced?”
From 1 April the government
disabled tenant or partner who
brought into force new rules for people who under occupy their homes.
One spare room allowed for a needs a non-resident
Foster children are not counted as
Under Occupation means you have
part of the household for benefit
bedroom/s in excess of your need.
upying contact: 01926 456454
For more information or examples about Under Occ
I have fallen into rent arrears due to losing my job Q
“I have fallen into rent arrears due to losing my job two months ago. I am
married with two small children, and have never claimed any benefits in my
When is the Benefit Cap being introduced?
life. I have been advised we are at risk of losing our home unless we pay the arrears or claim benefits. Can you advise what benefits I need to claim and
any other options available to us while I am out of work?”
times in different areas?”
Firstly you need to see if you can claim Housing Benefit and that your
“I have heard it’s different
From 15 April 2013, the
entitlement is accurate. Providing up to date information will ensure your
benefit cap is being applied in
claim is correctly assessed.
four London boroughs.
You can consider making an application
The Government intends that
for a discretionary housing payment,
the cap will be introduced
if all of your rent is not covered by
in all other council areas
housing benefit. You can request
between 15 July and 30
your arrears repayments are taken straight from your benefit via direct deductions.
Are you covered? Home Contents Insurance
For some considerable time the maximum amount of cover offered to tenants by the WDC Contents New e Insurance scheme hur c o r b was £25,000 at a able l i a v a weekly cost of £3. pleased to announce that they have agreed to increase the maximum amount of cover to £35,000 at a weekly cost of £4.20.
Only available to people over 65
For a new brochure or to take out contents insurance with us please contact us:
Switch your payments to Direct Debit and relax! Direct Debit is a simple, convenient way to make sure your payments are made on a of money is taken from your bank account automatically on 2nd, or 14th of each month.
Weekly Cost Sum Insured
regular basis. An agreed amount
We have been speaking to our brokers about this and are
Pay your bills by
So you don’t have to worry about falling behind with your important bills.
For further information about paying by Direct Debit or if you have any questions, please contact our Rents Team on:
www.warwickdc.gov.uk under insurance.
01926 456445 or 01926 456408
Budgeting & Employment Advice Residents living in the Warwick District are invited to take advantage of a service that aims to help them take control of their financial situation and also get back to work.
She can also help with employment advice exploring career choices: preparing a CV;
Coventry and Warwickshire Co-operative Development
online job searches and applications; interview
Agency is a not-for-profit organisation that provides advice
techniques and information on training courses.
on employment and finances. Drop in and see Leah at Warwick District Council, Budgeting Assistant Leah Hutchby, can offer help with
Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington
budgeting advice, changing to cheaper utility providers
Spa CV32 5RU every Thursday between 10am and
and general budgeting tips to make household budgets go
4pm, or you can contact her on 07925352672 or email
further and also help people with their debts and get them
firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment or
access to free advice.
for more information.
Take Up Project Warwickshire Welfare Rights Advice Service is a charity that has been providing free, independent and confidential advice on welfare benefits to Warwickshire residents for the past twenty seven years.
Are you claiming your full benefit entitlement? When did you last have your benefit entitlement assessed? How will the welfare reform changes affect you? If you need help or advice on any of these things then WWRAS may be able to help you?
The Benefits Take Up Project is funded by Warwick District Council and we work in partnership with
In 2012/13 through our Benefits Take Up work for
the local Citizens Advice Bureau and Coventry &
Warwick District residents, we secured financial gains
Warwickshire Co-Operative Development Agency to
for residents of ÂŁ232,561. Following our advice and
tackle financial inclusion issues in the District.
assistance these residents were better off by just under
Our particular project focuses on raising awareness
ÂŁ55 per week.
and increasing the take up of Social Security benefits by carrying out benefit checks, establishing benefit
If you would like to have your benefit entitlement
entitlement, completing claim forms and monitoring the
assessed, please contact the business support team at
progress of claims submitted to ensure that you receive
email@example.com or call 02476 372069 and ask for a
your full entitlement.
call back quoting the reference WDC/TTU.
What’s on! Looking for places to go over the summer? Then look no further than the district – here are just some of the events on for you to enjoy and all of them are free entry for you and your family. July Warwick Lions Beer Festival
19 – 20 July
Retro Warwick Classic Car Show
Leamington BID Food & Drink Festival
Warwick Racecourse, Warwick
7 – 8 September
Market Place, Warwick
Pump Room Gardens, Leamington
Leamington & Warwick Mela Cultural Festival
Bowls England Top Club Championships
14 – 15 September
Pump Room Gardens, Leamington
Victoria Park, Leamington
Visually Impaired Bowls England Nationals
Leamington 100 Car & Bike Show
18 – 23 August
Victoria Park, Leamington Spa
Pump Room Gardens, Leamington
Warwick Horticultural Society Annual Show
Stroke Association Fundraising Event
24 – 26 August
St Nicholas Park, Warwick
Barkers Fun Fair 25 July – 4 August Pump Room Gardens, Leamington
Lillington Community Fun Day 27 July The Holt, Lillington
Bowls England Women’s National Championships 27 July – 11 August Victoria Park, Leamington
27 July Pump Rooms, Leamington
Warwick Folk Festival 27 – 28 July Warwick Town Centre
Markets Every Thursday: Traditional Market – Abbey End, Kenilworth
Every Sat: Traditional Market – Market Place, Warwick
Every Sun until 11 August Craft & Vintage Market, Market Place, Warwick
A Day in the Life... of Michael Woodfield, Assistant Area Engineer 12:00 pm
7:45 am Michael is one of the first in the office.
Around lunchtime Michael is back in
It is important he is in early to check
the office and he uses this time to run
emails and respond to any queries
new jobs through the Bill of Quantity
that may have come in overnight.
Framework. A job will be entered into the system and three pre-approved
contractors will provide quotes. This framework is in place to achieve
Michael starts dealing with queries
the best possible value for money for
and if a job is due to start then he will
arrange a site visit that day to advise the contractors and explain how he wants the job to be done.
12:30 pm Lunch!
10:00 am Site visits â€“ Michael will go out
and visit any current jobs that are
Michael checks his emails again
starting or that he has had a request
and takes any calls that come in.
to visit from the contractors. Often
An important part of his role is to
contractors will request a visit if they
prioritise jobs and public safety is
hit a problem such as a tree being
always the main priority. Today he
in the way and Michael will go out
has had a call from a gentleman to
and advise on a solution. Michael
say there is no street name plate
was actually a contractor himself
for Rugby Road on the Cubbington
for 22 years before becoming an
Island. A colleague from another
engineer for the council and he
department has also called to
says that this really helps him relate
report that part of a foot bridge has
to the contractors and understand
collapsed at Warwick Racecourse
how they work which, gets the job
(part that is in public land). The
done! Michael will visit numerous
damaged foot bridge is obviously a
different sites across the district
priority and Michael arranges a site
although he admits his favourite
visit this afternoon.
sites to visit are the care homes. He says the welcome and appreciation he gets from the elderly when a job
is complete, no matter how small,
Michael goes out on site visits again.
makes his day!
Although engineers can carry out
This issue we visit one of our Housing Engineers, Michael, who is responsible for organising the repair and maintenance of alleyways, benches, street signs, all tarmac and slabbed areas, car parks and multi-storey car parks as well as the parks and public spaces of Leamington Spa.
Gardening Tips Our Tenant, Don, has very kindly sent us his gardening tips, we hope you will find useful. July and August the two months
site visits any time of the day he
when slugs and snails abound and
prefers to do a morning slot and
are hard to control.
a late afternoon visit to give the contractors a chance to get on with
Two plants you can grow in your
their work during the day. Michael
garden that will control the slugs
heads out to Warwick Racecourse
are Sapracenia Purpurea and
to see that part of the bridge has
Venosa, but they are expensive
fallen into the water. His priority
approximately ÂŁ8 each but they
is to secure the site and get a job
do control slugs.
booked in ASAP. He is finishing
A packet of slug and snail powder
his day onsite where some tree pit
from any good gardening centre will
removals are taking place. Michael
do the trick (some garden
is keen to ensure the site is left
centres will sell on the
safe and all barriers, cones and
basis of buy 2 and get one
signs are in the correct place as
free for both plants and powders).
the street is on a school route and
Do not buy snail
children will be walking by.
traps, when used by snails a very bad
After a busy day Michael is finished.
After work and during most of his
Clean flower beds of
spare time Michael has quite an
dead plants and turn
interesting hobby. He collects Zulu
the soil between the
war weaponry including; shields,
plants for aeration
spears, axes, clubs and knobkerrie
and then give feed.
(you can Google that one!) Michael has built up quite an impressive collection over the past 15 years with around 400/500 pieces in his collection!
The Sydni Centre The Sydni Centre sits at the heart of the community, and as well running many activities that take place every day, it also has a café open daily for snacks and lunches. Here are some of the Sydni Centre’s wide range of activities and events; you can see our full schedule at www.sydni.org.uk. Tuesdays
vegetables. There’s always a recipe card to help you with your cooking!
10am – 12noon Online basics Learn about the web, surfing and all things computing.
1pm – 4.45pm IT Drop-in
Police Drop-in Session
Drop-in and ask us about any
Come along with any questions or
computer or IT issues you
concerns you might have about the
1.45pm – 3.30pm Bingo! This needs no explanation, but is a
9.30am – 12noon
great way to come and meet people
and have a fun few hours on a
For those whose first language is
not English, you can sign up for lessons to help you improve your understanding of the basics.
Thursdays From 12 noon Food Co-op
Every day 9am – 2pm every day. The café There’s a range of drinks and snacks or you can have a cooked meal all at very reasonable prices!
Place your order the week before and then call in with your carrier bag and your payment (£3 small or £4.50 large). The Food bags are usually around 50% cheaper than you’d buy the same fruit and vegetables for in the supermarkets and it’s a great way to get your 5 a day, but also to try new and different
Holiday Activities Check out our fun activities for youngsters over the school holidays. There will be something for them to do every week! For ages 5 – 16 years, just use the contacts opposite for more information.
The Sydni Centre, located on the Sydenham Estate in Leamington Spa is a community centre that provides local residents with facilities for information, recreation, sport, education and leisure. The Centre was created to bring a diverse group of residents, from many different cultures, together offering community opportunities and support in a warm and welcoming environment.
Based at the Sydni Centre, is a support service for adults in the community with learning difficulties.
We have lots of volunteering opportunities at the Sydni Centre, in the office and also outside in the garden, so do get in touch if
A few hours to spare?
you are interested in helping out â€“ it can be very rewarding.
It provides a structured timetable of events, in a calm and friendly environment, but with the opportunity to
Get in touch with The Sydni Ce
access the Sydni Centre facilities if they want to. Activities run throughout the week and these include; Cake baking Cake decorating The great outdoors Keep fit Drama And much more! You can drop in and find out more, or you could be referred by your doctor or social service team.
You can keep up to date with news, events and activities on Twitter and on the website. Or you can just drop in for a coffee and a chat if you prefer. Twitter @SYDNIcentre www.sydni.org
Activities need to be booked and paid for. Contact People in Action: firstname.lastname@example.org Alex Howell 07825 720111
Meet the cafĂŠ staff...
Macaroni Bolognese e Kitchen Garden Cak
Try out this quick and easy recipe which has been sent in by one of our tenants. Ingredients
If you like a slice of cake with your cup of tea, here’s a recipe from one
To make •
of our tenants, Lilian Brocklehurst of Fallow Hill.
cooking, brown the mince •
500g lean minced beef
1 chopped onion
1 crushed clove of garlic
1 small chopped chilli or a
Add the onion and garlic
teaspoon of chilli powder
and cook for another 5 minutes
and cook for 1 minute •
Add the tomatoes and
180g soft margarine
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Half teaspoon ground nutmeg
Splash of Worcestershire
120g grated carrot
120g grated eating apple
Salt and pepper to taste
180g caster sugar
Add a knob of butter and
225g self-raising flour
100g cheddar cheese
return to the heat and melt
Zest and juice of 1 orange
slowly, then take off heat
Salt and pepper to taste
Cream together the margarine and sugar and beat in the eggs
Sieve together the flour and nutmeg and fold mixture along with the carrot, parsnip, potato and apple
Stir in zest and juice
Turn into a 20cm cake tin and bake for 50-60 minutes until the skewer comes out clean
Turn onto wire rack to cool
Add the thickening and remove from the heat
cornflour to thicken slightly
salt and pepper to taste •
Add the cheese and
Put the mince mixture into a heat proof dish and cover with
All you need to do is, heat the oven to gas mark 4/180c/350f
Whilst the pasta is
macaroni and finally sprinkle
h wit d e v Ser c brea li d gar d sala an
with a bit more cheese and then brown under the grill.
h c r a e s d Wor
RetroWarwick WIN You can enjoy a variety of retro and vintage cars at the RetroWarwick Classic Car Show on 11 August in Warwick’s Market Place – it’s free!
a £40 ASDA Gift card or one of the four runners-up prizes of a £5 ASDA Gift Card! One word from the word bank opposite is not in the puzzle. If you
N W P B L G X C J R
V W G C A W E
R W Y Z L
E O F S Y U T Y Q Z M
R E T
L R T O O B C R E E
E C C S
K P E
N P D H S V C K C U E E T R O L D P K N A T L X A J D K N M P T B
O H Z S S D E T W S B
T F I
T Q D B U T E R
R Y H Y R
R R O R J Q
U H B
can find it, complete the form below
and post it to us before 30 August 2013. In the event of a tie, first out of the hat wins. Name ...........................................................................................
The missing word is ...........................................................................................
Send your entries to: Fiona Walsh Housing & Property Services PO Box 2175 Warwick District Council Riverside House, Milverton Hill Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 5QE
Wordsearch Winners Congratulations to Mrs Richards from Warwick, she wins a £40 TESCO Gift Card. for finding the missing word SPONGE. Why not have a go, it could be you next time!
Housing Directory Repairs
Council Housing Estates Supervisors
email@example.com Pay your rent by phone
Housing Advice, HomeChoice and Homelessness
T: 01926 456427/428/359
Managing Your finances
Christine Ledger Square T: 07866 609655 John Lamb, Fallow Hill/Stamford Gardens/Binswood Street (grounds maintenance only) T: 07866 609674 Andy Smith, Kennedy/St Paul’s Square T: 07866 609657
HomeChoice T: 01926 412828 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Crossland T: 01926 456454 E: email@example.com
T: 01926 412828
Supporting People Services
T: 01926 456406
Housing Enquiries T: 01926 412828 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ant Collins, New Brook Street/ Radcliffe Gardens/
Westbrook House/Dell House/
44 Clarendon Square
T: 01926 456450
(grounds maintenance only)
T: FREEPHONE 0800 028 3377
Tenants’ Contents Insurance Scheme Satnam Sangha T: 01926 456408
Tenancy Enforcement T: 01926 456419
Lettings & Moving Home
Overdue Gas Servicing
T: 07979 486617 / 01926 456444
T: 01926 456035
Tenant Involvement Tenant Panel & Residents Groups Margaret Allen
Refuse & Recycling
T: 01926 456451
T: 01926 412464
T: 07866 609656 James Baker, Senior
T: 01926 456430
Fiona Walsh T: 01926 456447
Rents Problems with paying your home rent
T: 01926 456447
T: 01926 456438/457/435
T: 24 hour number 01926 339577
Problems with paying your garage rent
T: 01926 456405
T: 01926 456239
Garages Applying for a garage
Rent Direct Debit
If you prefer to write, our address is:
Housing and Property Services,
Mrs Darlison/Mrs Leech
T: 01926 456409
Warwick District Council, P.O. Box
T: 01926 456424/5
Garage Repairs T: 01926 412828
Rent Allpay Cards T: 01926 456408
2175, Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 5QE