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Health & Safety | intouch | | 17

intouch ISSUE 76 | AUTUMN 2013 | FREE

The magazine for residents of Wales & West Housing

In this issue... Save on your energy bills Mental health – let’s talk about it Eco Warriors’ national win MAD Awards 2013 round up

switch on to cheaper energy… newidiwch i ynni rhatach . . .



Sign up today.

Collectively we can save more. You could save between £60 and £250 off the cost of your household energy bill. By coming together to buy our energy in Wales, we can negotiate better deals and pass on the savings to you! There’s no obligation to switch, we will tell you how much you can save before you decide.

Cofrestrwch heddiw.

Gyda’n gilydd gallwn arbed mwy.

Gallech arbed rhwng £60 a £250 oddi ar gost biliau ynni eich cartref Drwy ddod ynghyd i brynu ein hynni yng Nghymru, gallwn sicrhau gwell bargen a throsglwyddo’r arbedion i chi! Does dim rhaid i chi newid, byddwn yn rhoi gwybod i chi faint y gallwch ei arbed cyn i chi benderfynu.

0800 093 5902

News and General Information | intouch | | 03

Editor’s Hi everyone


The nights are drawing in, the temperatures are dropping – yes, autumn is well and truly upon us and welcome to your Autumn 2013 edition of In Touch. Keeping warm is vital for all of us if we are to stay as well as possible during the winter months, but who doesn’t worry about their energy bills? So, to help, we have lots of tips for how you can save on your energy bills and still stay safe and cosy (see Money Matters, pages 11-12). Did you know that one in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year? Mind, the mental health charity, is just one of the organisations working hard to break down the stigma that surrounds mental health problems. We talk to one man about his experiences – and how having a supportive employer has made all the difference (see Healthy Living – pages 26 - 27). We’ve also got a full round up of our annual Making a Difference Awards – what a fantastic night it was! And former MAD winners from Bridgend have gone a step further and won a top UK sustainable housing title (see Going Green page 34). I hope you enjoy our magazine – please tell us what you think of it and what you’d like to see in forthcoming editions, your comments are always very welcome. Take care and stay in touch.

Contact Us

Contents WWH News & Info Money Matters Planned Maintenance Neighbourhoods that work Quarterly Report Healthy Living Equality and Diversity Resident Participation Going Green Your News & Views Charity update Birthdays and Anniversaries Christmas Competition

4 10 16 18 21 26 28 31 37 39 42 45 47

Did you know that you can now get more news and updates online? Follow us on twitter @wwha

Other languages and formats If you would like a copy of this edition of In Touch in Welsh or in another language or format, for example in large print, please let us know and we will help you.

Wales & West Housing, 3 Alexandra Gate, Ffordd Pengam, Tremorfa, Cardiff CF24 2UD. Telephone: 0800 052 2526 | Text: 07788 310420 Email: | Website: You can also contact members of staff direct by their email. For example,

04 | | intouch | News and General Information

£1m investment in Caerau Residents at Caerau Court in Cardiff should soon be feeling a lot cosier in their own homes thanks to a £1m investment in the Caerau area.

Commercial Manager Robin Alldred said: “This project represents an approximate investment of almost £10,000 per property at Caerau Court and we are very pleased to be able to help our residents in this area through this scheme.

Using funding we have secured from the Welsh Government’s Arbed programme, and working together with Melin Homes, our contractors have been working hard to improve around 150 properties at the scheme in the West of Cardiff. Improvements we are making include: • External wall insulation • Installation of new central heating systems • Installation of dozens of energy efficient new condensing gas boilers • New and improved air ventilation systems • Installation of voltage phase optimisers which aim to cut electricity bills

“As well as making residents’ homes cosier, the improvements we are making should also help to make them cheaper to heat. And we hope the works will give a real facelift to the scheme too. For example, we’re removing all the individual wall mounted satellite dishes and instead providing a communal dish, and with the application of the external cladding this gives us the opportunity to tidy up all the external wires and pipes which will hopefully make the area look a lot smarter.” Residents have been able to discuss the progress of the project at two very successful consultation events, the first in July and the second in September. Rachel Williams, who is expecting her first child this Christmas, said; “I am so pleased that Wales & West are doing all this for us – I can’t tell you! I like my flat very much but it has felt damp at times and it’s not been cheap to heat. All this work is like an early Christmas present for us and has come at just the right time as my baby is due this Christmas.”

News and General Information | intouch | | 05

‘It’s just amazing’ Residents and relatives impressed with Llys Jasmine

Anne Hinchey, WWH Chief Executive (left) and Councillor Christine Jones with David Bloodworth

Llys Jasmine extra care/dementia care scheme has opened its doors to residents with excellent feedback. The £8.3m complex of 61 apartments and two extra care bungalows, based in Mold, has welcomed residents aged 65 and over with care and support needs. The state-of-the-art scheme has been developed in partnership with Flintshire County Council, and includes 15 purposebuilt apartments for people with dementia. It is believed to be the first of its kind in Wales to include such purpose-built apartments for those living with dementia. David Bloodworth, 82, was the first resident to move in. He said: “I’m bowled over. Everyone has made me feel very welcome and it’s just amazing. I like my

room and I love the food here. It is my home now!” Relatives have also been impressed. Tim Willan, 49, helped move his mother Nancy into the scheme. “I’m very pleased to see how well looked after my mother is here. She is very happy here and it’s reassuring to know she’s in good hands.” Anne Hinchey, Chief Executive of Wales & West Housing, said: “I’m delighted to welcome residents to this groundbreaking scheme and would like to thank our partners, Flintshire County Council, for helping to make this possible. The fantastic facilities and excellent support service will make a real difference to residents’ lives and it’s lovely to see them settling into their new homes. ”

06 | | intouch | News and General Information

Heart of the community wanting to hold their activities or meetings at a reasonable price.

Residents living in Hightown, Wrexham, are looking forward to the opening of their new state-of-the-art community resource centre which has been developed as part of a £15m redevelopment project. The centre, due to open in January, sits alongside a new medical centre and 127 good quality, affordable homes across two sites on Kingsmills Road and neighbouring Rivulet Road. The centre will be available for both Hightown residents and the wider community. With a large activity hall, meeting rooms and a fully-equipped kitchen the centre will be ideal for those

Local residents had a sneak preview of the centre as the painters moved in. Paula Hack, chair of the centre’s steering group, said: “When I first saw the centre I was very impressed with the size of it and how light and airy it seems. I love the colours and I can’t wait for it to open.” Anne Hinchey, WWH Chief Executive said: “We have worked in close partnership with Wrexham Council, as well as the Welsh Government, to make this development possible. The new centre is just one aspect of helping to make the community a better place in which to live.” If you’re interested in making a booking, please ring 0300 123 20 70. Please check out for regular updates, follow us on Twitter @wwha and keep an eye on our website

Calling Wrexham residents! Are you a Wales & West Housing resident living in Wrexham? Do you want advice on rent and housing issues, or need to talk to someone about something that is bothering you? Then pop down and see us – every Wednesday housing officers Donna Sutton, Tanya Bell and Jill Wilcox

as well as Property Services Assistant Jane Duckers and Housing Assistant Karen Boyce, are available from 10am to 1pm to have a chat with you. Simply visit Luke O’Connor House Resource Centre, Barter Court, Hightown, Wrexham LL13 8QT.

News and General Information | intouch | | 07

Major improvements to Cardiff scheme Major refurbishment works, including a huge window and door replacement programme, are currenty being undertaken at West Lee, a general needs scheme of 130 flats in Canton, Cardiff. Scaffolding has been erected all around the scheme, and so far repairs have been carried out to the roof, replacement timber fascias, soffit board and upvc gutters and downpipes, repointing and repairing masonry to include treating exposed concrete areas, topping up cavity wall insulation

and replacing expansion joints to prevent cracking. The outside of the scheme has also been decorated throughout –including the metal fire escape and balconies, stairwells, concrete columns and beams, car parking areas, mains gas pipes - and we have replaced the communal entrance doors and upgraded the door entry system. It is anticipated that works will be completed by the end of November 2013.

08 | | intouch | News and General Information

Scheme recognised for

being purrfect Residents living in Sydney Hall Court in Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, are delighted that their scheme has again been recognised as one of the top four pet-friendly retirement schemes in the 2013 Pet Friendly Awards, organised by the Cinnamon Trust. At an awards ceremony held at the Lanesborough Hotel in London, WWH scheme manager Rob Holmes collected a framed certificate and £250 to be spent on a pet-related project at the scheme, to be agreed with the residents. Currently eight dogs, a cat and a budgie live at the scheme. Rob said: “I’m delighted that Sydney Hall Court has been recognised again. Having a pet can make all the difference to a resident’s life. It gives them company, a responsibility for looking after their pet and a reason to go out, keeping them healthy. For those who aren’t well enough to look after pets, they enjoy having them around the scheme.

“The back gardens are fully enclosed so the pets are kept in a safe environment. Wales & West Housing welcomes pets to the scheme and they’re allowed into the communal lounge.” The Cinnamon Trust is an organisation based in Cornwall who specifically assist elderly people with pets.

News and General Information | intouch | | 09

Double success

for brothers Two brothers from Bagillt, North Wales, have been taken on as apprentices at Cambria Maintenance Services, based in Holywell. Coleg Cambria Deeside brickwork students Sam and Lewis Edwards are delighted with their new maintenance apprenticeships. Lewis, 20, said: “It’s great learning about different skills in maintenance.”Brother Sam, 18, agreed. “This apprenticeship is worth getting up for. I don’t mind working in all weathers, either. This opportunity will hopefully lead to full time employment.” The brothers will attend Coleg Cambria Deeside as day release students. They will study a 12 month Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Construction Maintenance Operations. This includes college-based training and work-based evidence in areas including masonry, woodwork, plumbing, plastering and decorating repairs. Nigel Parry, Head of Cambria Maintenance Services North, said: “I was looking for students who were keen to do a multiskilled maintenance apprenticeship, unique in North Wales. I was so impressed with Sam and Lewis that I had no choice but to offer them both an apprenticeship. Rather than specialise in one skill, this apprenticeship will give both Sam and Lewis a better chance in their careers.

It not only benefits them as well as Cambria, but also the local economy.” Dave Roberts, Deputy Director of Construction at Coleg Cambria Deeside said: “Getting students into work is our main goal. It is a testament to this collaboration working effectively that two of our learners have been taken on by one forward thinking and driven organisation.” Anne Hinchey, WWH Chief Executive, added: “Providing training and work opportunities for local people has become a core part of our business and I’m delighted to welcome Sam and Lewis to our organisation. Cambria Maintenance Services has only recently expanded to North Wales and I’ m really pleased that we have formed a strong partnership with Coleg Cambria.”

10 | | intouch | Money Matters

Simple ways to save on your energy bills Many households could save between £150 and £300 a year on their energy bills, says WWH’s Clare Elias, Repairs Co-ordinatator

Remember that the savings you can achieve will depend on what you’re currently doing, and how many changes you choose to make.

Turn all lights, appliances and chargers off when you’re not using them. Nearly all electrical and electronic appliances can safely be turned off at the plug– the only exceptions are satellite and digital TV recorders which should be left plugged in. You could save between £50 and £90 a year just by turning things off!

You could save up to £155 a year without spending on any additional gadgets – it is as simple as that. And here’s how…

You could save another £40 a year just by being careful how you use your kitchen appliances.

Many households have their central heating set higher than is needed. Try turning your room thermostats down by one degree.

Set your washing machine to wash at 30°C.

Every degree that you turn it down could save you around £65 a year on your heating bill!

Don’t fill your kettle to the maximum every time – just boil the amount of water you need.

Only use your tumble dryer when you’re unable to dry your clothes outside.

Money Matters | intouch | | 11

You could also invest in energy saving products and some measures will pay back very quickly: Invest in a water-efficient eco showerhead if you have a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank, and cut your hot water use without noticing hardly any difference when you take a shower. New water-efficient showerheads use technology that can produce a water flows that feels far higher than it actually is - an easy way to save both water and energy. However, you should not fit one to an electric shower as this could cause possible dangerous damage to your shower unit. An eco showerhead costs around £27 and a family of four could save around £75 a year on water heating, and another £90 on water bills if you have a water meter. If you have a hot water cylinder that isn’t insulated, you could start saving now by fitting a tank jacket and insulate

any exposed hot pipework around the cylinder and around the boiler. The materials for this will only cost around £25, and you’ll save around £60 a year. Low energy light bulbs - You can now get LED spotlights that are bright enough to replace halogens, as well as regular energy saving bulbs in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings for pretty much everything else. This could be a saving of around £60 a year.

Useful links wales/Take-action/Start-saving-money http://welshwater.faq-help. com/?search=water+meter#

“If you are a secondary school student and would like to share your skills to help people get online, talk to your teacher about the BT Digital Champions Programme. You will receive a certificate for taking part and your school could receive tickets for Rock Assembly 2014!�

Money Matters | intouch | | 13

Clubbing together to buy

cheaper energy

Residents are being encouraged to join forces to get a better deal on their gas and electricity through a scheme being launched across Wales.

“Experienced switchers can also try it but they might not make as much of a saving as those who have not switched for some time or who have never switched.”

By registering your interest, households effectively club together and an auction will be held by the organisers with energy suppliers to see which firm offers the lowest price. It is hoped the collective buying of energy will see household bills fall by hundreds of pounds a year.  A similar scheme set up in Cornwall a year ago saw average savings of £133.

How it works • Residents should register their interest providing as much detail about their energy use as possible. • Register through or by ringing 0800 0935902 • A collective will be formed after the registration period closes and all of the data will be collated and presented for an energy auction • An auction will then take place with a variety of energy companies offering their best prices • A personal offer will be made to those registered with projected savings • You can then decide to switch if you like the offer. If you decide not switch, you will get information about the next chance to switch.

Owen Jones, WWH Environment and Sustainability Officer, said: “The Welsh version, Cyd Cymru or Wales Together, has been developed by Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan councils with support from other local authorities and housing associations around Wales - including ourselves. The scheme hopes to change the way energy is bought, simplify a complex tariff system, and address the issue of rising fuel prices as winter approaches.” “Cyd Cymru is intended for those residents who have never switched their energy provider or tariff.  It’s a great way for these residents to switch their energy tariffs, and it should be really easy and straightforward with all of the burden taken by the organisers.

Register now through or by ringing 0800 0935902 and quote “Wales & West Housing”.

14 | | intouch | Money Matters

Looking after the pennies… The economy might be picking up, but money remains incredibly tight for most people. Our Housing staff and Tenancy Support Officers have been working flat out to help as many of our residents as possible not just to look after the pennies, but to make the most of every pound they have. Housing assistant Liz Daniels (pictured right) gives just a couple of examples of things our staff have been doing: • We have been giving out lots of information about the Welsh Water Assist scheme. Under this deal you can have your bill capped if you qualify – either due to suffering from certain medical conditions or if you have three or more children aged 19 and under living at home with you and for whom you claim child benefit. • We have been applying for “Save The Children” grants , open to qualifying parents with a child aged under three years old. If successful, applicants can use the money to buy an essential appliance, a high chair, and sometimes toys or books. • We are doing calculations with financial charity “Turn2us” and have had great results. One resident, for example, was completely unaware she was entitled to child tax credits until we worked with her. • We’ve helped residents to apply for discretionary housing payments which, if they are successful, can

provide a top up to their Housing Benefit for a limited time if they are affected by the bedroom tax. Working with local authorities throughout Wales we have been able to identify all those WWH households across Wales who will be affected by the Welfare Benefit changes and our seven specialist Tenancy Support Officers are working with them to help them deal with the impact of all forthcoming welfare reforms, including the introduction of Universal Credit, giving them the knowledge, choices, strength and hope to weather the forthcoming storm. To date our housing staff and Tenancy Support Officers have: 1. Supported 70% of our 750 underoccupying households to manage their finances to be able to pay the ‘bedroom tax’ 2. Helped residents gain £165,000 in additional income through successful applications for DHPS, switching energy tariffs, applications for grants and unclaimed benefits 3. Helped residents deal with over £100,000 of personal debt.

Money Matters | intouch | | 15 and our desire to avoid legal action as a matter of routine.

Liz Daniels, Housing Assistant

Feedback we have received tells us that our residents are more satisfied with their financial position and feel less worried about the reduction in their benefit. And our local authority partners have appreciated our supportive stance

Your chance to YOU too could be a WINNER if you choose to pay your rent by Direct Debit. Each quarter WWH electronically chooses a winner from all of our residents who pay their rent by Direct Debit, using random number selection, to win a prize of £100. This means that you automatically qualify for entry into the draw as long as you pay your rent by Direct Debit.

Sian Hope, a member of WWH’s Resident Participation Steering Group, who lives in Wrexham, recenlty praised a TSO working in the north of Wales for the financial advice that she was given, which resulted in a saving of 20% on future water bills. The TSO also managed to get the reduction in her water bills backdated. If you are struggling with your finances, don’t suffer in silence. Speak to your housing officer or Tenancy Support Officer who will be able to explain where you can get help. Or call us on freephone 0800 052 2526.

WIN £100 Our most recent WINNER is Dennis Dowle (67) from Cardiff who said “I was so surprised and over the moon, it’s brilliant because it will go towards my holiday.” To set up rent payment by Direct Debit, please contact your Housing Officer or call our Customer Service Centre on 0800 052 2526. Good Luck!

16 | | intouch | Planned Maintenance

Cupboard love Residents living in Maes y March, Mold, Flintshire, are looking forward to a cosy winter as their kitchens have been refitted by Cambria Maintenance Services, where needed. Maes y March is an attractive site of 42 properties which consist of 1 and 2 bedroomed flats and 2, 3 & 4 bedroomed houses. Julia Cunningham, 58, who lives in a two bedroom home, has had her kitchen refitted. She said: “I’ve lived here for 12 years with my dog Lucy and Wales & West Housing have been great. Before they started working on my kitchen, Cambria Maintenance told me what they’d do and gave me a choice of style for my new kitchen cupboards. “The maintenance men have been wonderful, working really well

together as a team. They always clean up after themselves as well, making it easier for me. My kitchen looks lovely.” Andy Richards, WWH’s Commercial Manager for Repairs, said: “The kitchen re-fit is part of our promise to achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. We have a commitment to replace kitchens every 15 years and bathrooms every 25 years, or more frequently if necessary.” Nigel Parry, Head of Cambria North, said: “We offer our residents a good choice of design and colour for their kitchen re-fit so that they are comfortable with the results. The design of any upgrade allows space for a washing machine and tumble dryer where required and we make sure there is adequate plumbing and ventilation, both in the kitchens and bathrooms.”

Planned Maintenance | intouch | | 17

Planned Maintenance Below are the schemes that we plan to upgrade for the remainder of 2013: Kitchens

Twyncarmel, Merthyr Tydfil Keystowe Place, Cardiff Llanrumney Avenue, Cardiff Maes Y March, Mold


Greyfriars Court, Bridgend Newent Road, Cardiff Bryn Y Barcut, Wrexham

Fuel Switch

Llys Hafren, Newton Queens Court, Newton

Window and Doors West Lee, Cardiff

WIN a cheque for £250, champagne and chocolates To qualify for the PRIZE DRAW you need to have your gas boiler serviced on the FIRST appointment, or give us at least 48 hours’ notice to postpone the visit. Mr & Mrs Jones from Cardiff were our lucky winners in the South. Mrs Jones has not

been well, so her husband is going to use the prize money to treat her when she is feeling better. Mr Lloyd of Brecon was our second winner from Mid/North Wales. He was very pleased as he is going to use it to go out for Christmas day lunch.

18| | intouch | Neighbourhoods that work

Cheese and crime

– a recipe for success

South Wales Police and Wales & West Housing joined forces for a second ‘cheese and crime’ event on 8th October. The night was a follow up to a very successful experiment by the same name which took place earlier in the year. The event showcased a number of departments within South Wales Police that work and operate in the Caerau area of Cardiff. Departments running stalls included Neighbourhood Watch, 101, Scenes of Crime, Neighbourhood Police Team, the Safer Capital Partnership, Safer Wales and the Public Protection Unit who specialise in crimes including honour based violence and domestic violence. The purpose of the evening was to highlight the resources available beyond the usual response police officers, most commonly in the public eye. Lots of useful leaflets were provided and officers demonstrated that they are trying to engage with adults and children alike. Sion Phillips, Tenancy Enforcement Officer, said: “Holding the event in Western Leisure Centre in Caerau was an important factor in making the event friendly and accessible to all. South Wales Police ran various activities for children including

fingerprinting, foot printing and scenes of crime stuff and provided lots of little momentos for the children to take away with them such as keyrings with their fingerprints on, plastic police helmets etc. This was a very successful event indeed and we were lucky enough to be the only housing provider invited to take part.”


Neighbourhoods that work | intouch | | 19

New ASB reporting system Over the past few issues of In Touch we have told you about our review of the way we deal with reports of nuisance and anti-social behaviour. We’ve listened to the things you’ve told us in the resident surveys and redesigned the system to provide a quicker response from us to your initial complaint and put the emphasis of our investigation into looking at the underlying reasons behind the incident, which will hopefully provide a longer lasting resolution, says Gareth Hughes, Systems Thinking Officer. We’ve changed the way we record reports of anti-social behaviour on our computer system because it was delaying Housing Officers speaking to you and then dealing with the issue, something which we could tell was frustrating for you. We have scrapped the old way of recording and will now try to put you through to your Housing

Officer straight away, so that you can discuss the issue with them as early as possible in the process. Through listening to what you have been saying to us, we’ve redesigned our system with ‘what matters’ to you at its core. We know: • You want to speak to the right person when you contact us • You want a speedy response • You want to be kept informed • You want us to do the right thing for you in your circumstances • You don’t want the nuisance to happen again You want to feel and be safe in your home and where you live

20 | | intouch | Neighbourhoods that work We will be trying to do these things whenever we investigate a case of anti-social behaviour. To help us to do this successfully, it’s important for us that: • We understand what you want us to do • That you play as big a part as you can in resolving the issue • That you know if we can resolve the issue or what can be done to make it more bearable We’re going to treat every incident on its merits and your Housing Officers will make a reasonable decision about how to proceed with any complaints of nuisance or anti-social behaviour when they speak to you at the beginning of the process.

Where we can resolve issues, we will. If we can’t help in the situation, or can’t fully resolve it, we will make this clear, rather than build up your expectations unnecessarily. We might ask you to contribute to the resolution of the problem, perhaps by ringing the Police or speaking to someone that may be involved but we won’t ask you to do anything that you are not capable of doing. In this way we hope to build up your confidence and knowledge of how to resolve issues for yourselves or as a community because experience tells us that where this happens, solutions are long lasting, which is what we all want.

And the winner is… Thank you to everyone who sent in their suggestions for ‘on hold music’ for our Customer Service Centre. The winner is Sarah Jones of Cefn y Nant in Wrexham who suggested a track by the Manic Street Preachers. Sarah got us thinking about using music performed by Welsh musicians, both classical and contemporary, so watch this space! Sarah will receive a £45 Argos voucher.

Quarterly report | intouch | | 21

What matters to you? Here’s the latest edition of our regular feature on performance across all areas of service delivery at Wales & West Housing. We update our performance information every three months, so we hope this will be as useful and relevant as possible for you. We are always interested in hearing what else you would like to know, are there any other areas you would like to know about and for us to focus on in

the future? Have you got a particular interest in an area of our work? Just let us know and we will happily tell you about it!

So how well are we doing across all areas of the business? (All information relates to January - Sept 2013)

2408 Number of Rented Accounts in Arrears




% of accounts where an agreed payment plan is in place


We continue to support our residents with the challenges faced due to Welfare Reform. The number of residents affected continues to decrease due to those looking to move finding suitable accommodation, family members moving back into the property or residents moving into work and no longer claiming Housing Benefit. For those who remain in their property the majority continue to pay the shortfall

22 | | intouch | Quarterly report and those who are struggling are offered assistance by our Tenancy Support Officers (TSOs). Assistance given ranges from help with managing debt to the completion of application forms, all with a view of maximizing residents’ disposable income. We have also seen those families affected by the benefit cap have their Housing benefit reduced. Our TSOs have visited all those affected to offer similar assistance to those affected by the bedroom tax and to date all families affected are currently coping with the decrease in their benefit. With further challenges on the horizon and the decrease in funding for advice agencies the work of our staff to support residents will continue to be crucial in helping them sustain their tenancies.



(12 remaining properties where a gas service is required)

Gas Safety Compliance



Resident satisfaction


Repairs completed in one visit

96.6% 14.5

Repairs that stayed fixed Average number of days to complete a repair

Cambria Maintenance Services is now an all Wales service that continues to maintain high levels of resident satisfaction, with ongoing strong performance in time taken to complete jobs and repairs staying fixed. Gas Servicing remains an important area for us to focus on and it is very pleasing to see that 99.8% of properties are compliant. We will continue to pursue access for the remaining 12 properties where a gas service is due.

Quarterly report | intouch | | 23

135 YTD (plus a further 106 units installed under the gas switch programme)

1003/1503 67% completed so far

Boiler renewals Bathrooms completed

Planned Maintenance



258/369 70% completed so far

Kitchens completed

Resident satisfaction

The 2013 planned maintenance programme continues to progress well. The delivery of new kitchens is on plan whilst bathrooms are running slightly behind reflecting the differing specifications required with these works. Overall residents continue to be happy with the choice being offered and the installation service. The overall satisfaction score remains 9.1 out of 10. The good period of weather during the summer period has allowed window renewals to gather momentum during the third quarter and it is particularly pleasing to see the large programme at West Lee being delivered as planned and to a high standard. This is one of many large projects being undertaking another of which is the external wall insulation and associated improvements at Caerau Court which have recently commenced and progress will be reported upon in the next update.

24 | | intouch | Quarterly report



Resident satisfaction

259 39

New properties


General needs






Lettings and building properties



Of the 136 new houses that that we acquired, 131 are newly built and 5 houses are through our mortgage rescue scheme where we helped people with financial difficulties to be able to remain in their own homes. As we have already told you we have a large number of schemes that are currently being built across Wales, so we will continue to keep you up to date with our progress. Resident satisfaction remains strong and we continue to learn from what residents are telling us. We rely on you giving us feedback so that we can improve on delivering our services to you.




Estate management (EM) issues affecting tenancies

anti-social behaviour (ASB) (serious, including criminal)





(trial system)

Resident satisfaction

Neighbourhoods that work


(days) ASB


(days) EM

Average time to investigate

139 Cases in the new trial system

Quarterly report | intouch | | 25 The number of cases we have dealt with in 2013 has reduced considerably since 2012 and the way and speed in which we have dealt with them has improved. Our average time to investigate anti-social behaviour (ASB) cases has reduced significantly in quarter 3 to 10 days. The review of how we deal with anti-social behaviour continued during quarter 3 and we expanded the number of housing officers who are trailing the new way of working to 7. We are pleased to report that due to the success of the trial system, we will roll this out into all areas of operation beginning in October 2013. The new way of working seeks to address the core reason for the ASB issue which was often overlooked in the past, leading to it reoccurring at a later date.

5 Seconds


Average answering time

Emergency Alarm

97.4% Number of calls answered within 30 secs

CSC / emergency alarm

196,407 Total number of calls answered

109,257 General calls

So what do you think about our performance and any aspects of our service? If you have any comments or feedback on anything we have told you please let us know. You can contact us about this or any other issue at any time. Feedback can be given in a variety of ways– online via our website, email, letter, phone, by text, or, in person to a member of staff or at our offices.

• We are always happy to hear from you whether you want to ask a question, tell us something, make a suggestion, pay a compliment or make a complaint.   • This feedback helps us to make decisions about our future plans and improvements to our services. Thank you!

26 | | intouch | Healthy Living


Nigel Parry, Head of Cambria Maintenance Services North, has provided full support for his employee to help him in difficult times

Depression is more common than you first think, but it isn’t easy admitting that you suffer from it. Yet that is exactly what you should do. Here is one employee’s story: “I’ve felt low before in my life, but never as bad as this. I started to hide myself away from other people and blocked those who were closest to me out of my life, including my wife and children.

It started in February. I wouldn’t speak to anyone and kept having nightmares. They were so bad that I dreaded going to sleep, dreaded nightfall. My nightmares were about horrible things happening to my adopted children,

Healthy Living | intouch | | 27 not by me but by other people. The children had a terrible start in life, which affected me. I knew that I needed help so I went to the doctors who gave me tablets. But I made it worse by drinking wine with them. I drank more heavily, a bottle each night, which stopped the tablets from working. I didn’t want to get up in the morning so stopped going to work. Then one day, I couldn’t take it any more and lined the tablets up ready to take. If my sister hadn’t called round, I don’t know if I’d still be here. I was admitted into Bangor Hospital for a week. My family were all supportive, including my dad who, in his 80’s, got public transport to the hospital every day to make sure I was OK. The hospital changed my medication as it wasn’t right and had contributed to me having nightmares. They also gave me counselling where I learnt a lot. It was good to talk to other patients. It made me realise there were others like me. Last November my niece died from cancer, at the young age of 27. She had been so supportive to me and my wife through the adoption process and the children loved her. I think her death had hit me really hard, but I just didn’t know it at the time. I started to talk more openly to my wife and spent more time with my

children. My wife came along to the counselling so she now has a better understanding and can spot the signs if I start to slip again. Nigel Parry, my boss, head of Cambria Maintenance Services North, was so supportive and gave me so much help. He got me out of a rut, and said I could come into work and do a few hours, whatever was best. It got me into a routine of getting up again in the mornings and the work kept me busy. I realised that by talking to him and sharing my experience, it was easier for me to control my life and try and get through the bad times. Everyone at Cambria has been so good to me. When I think of my niece, I say that she’s sitting on a star. My children then try to spot her in the sky. I’ve started to enjoy life again – I’ve taken up yoga and my children join in too! We’ve also moved to a bigger house which is closer to my family and I’m enjoying the decorating! As I look back over this year I know that I have moved on. I am looking forward to my future. My message to anyone feeling like I did is make sure you talk to people. If you can’t speak to those closest to you, then speak to someone at work or your doctor. I’m so glad I did. It has made a big difference to my life.”

28 | | intouch | Equality and Diversity

What’s best for you? Would you prefer your In Touch magazine in Welsh or via email, audio tape or CD? We can arrange this for you, no problem. Please either let your housing officer or scheme manager know or you can give us a call on our freephone number 0800 052 2526 and we can make a note of it on our computer system.

We already provide In Touch to many residents this way and we just wanted to refresh residents’ memories that you are most welcome to request the magazine in these formats! We hope that you continue to enjoy it in whatever format suits you best.

Gender This is the 8th in a series of articles which explain the Equality Act 2010 – in the last 7 editions we looked at age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, and religion or belief, writes Claire Bryant, Policy and Diversity Officer.

There are 9 ‘protected characteristics’ within the Act and the aim of these articles is to go some way to explain why the legislation is there. What are the 9 protected characteristics again? Age, disability, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marriage and civil

partnership, pregnancy and maternity, sex, ethnicity, and religion or belief. In this article we are looking at gender. As we know, determination of an embryo's sex is genetic, occurring at conception. This process involves chromosomes, which are the biological structures containing biological “blueprints,” or genes – making males (XY) and females (XX). Beginning at birth, most parents treat their children according to the child's gender. Children quickly develop a clear understanding that they are either female or male, adopting

Equality and Diversity | intouch | | 29

gender‐appropriate behaviors. In short, biology “sets the stage,” but children's interactions within society actually determines the nature of gender. Traditionally, the female stereotypical role is to marry and have children. She puts her family's welfare before her own; be loving, compassionate, caring, nurturing, and sympathetic. The male stereotypical role is to be the financial provider. He is also to be assertive, competitive, independent, courageous, career‐focused and to hold his emotions in check. However these sorts of stereotypes can sometimes prove harmful; they can stifle individual expression and creativity, as well as hinder personal and professional growth. Sexist attitudes are frequently based

on beliefs in traditional stereotypes. Factor into play other issues such as the gender based violence/abuse, sex discrimination at work and access to education, training and employment and this is why gender equality is the subject of much discussion and action around the world. Although no country in the world has yet achieved gender equality, the Nordic countries consistently stand out as closing the gap. Nordic countries consistently have excellent access to primary and secondary education and very high levels of enrolment for both women and men at university age. Nordic countries feature towards the top for economic participation and opportunity because of a combination of factors: high female labour force participation and salary gaps between

30 | | intouch | Equality and Diversity

women and men among the lowest in the world. These countries have made it possible for parents to combine work and family, resulting in more women in the workplace, more shared participation in childcare, more equitable distribution of labour at home, and a better work-life balance for both women and men. Policies in these countries include mandatory paternal leave in combination with maternity leave, and generous state-mandated parental leave benefits.

Although gender inequality is a global issue, when women and men do not have ‘equal’ access to resources or equal opportunities there are direct economic and social costs. These largely affect women but also have consequences for their children, communities and countries. Likewise, it is too easily forgotten amid calls for female equality that the gender debate is not necessarily just about women. A righting of opportunities could also affect men, too.

These countries also display equality by demonstrating success with policies aimed at promoting women's leadership. In Norway, publicly listed companies have been required to have 40 percent of each sex on their boards. Historically, the Nordic countries gained a head start by giving women the right to vote before others. Today, Sweden has among the highest percentages of women in parliament in the world.

For example, with social expectations that men must financially provide having left them trapped in the workplace by their financial responsibilities to their families, I’m sure under the ongoing shifts and change in working culture, it is likely to appeal to men to work differently - for example, spending more time at home or having more control of their time. In the final article in this series we will be looking at sexual orientation.

Resident Participation | intouch | | 31

Community spirit triumphs at MAD Awards yet again! We were thrilled once again to be able to celebrate the community spirit of residents from across Wales at our annual Making a Difference Awards. Now in their sixth year, 150 people attended the evening dinner and awards ceremony at the Mercure Holland House Hotel, Cardiff, on Friday October 11th. The winners for the seven categories came from across Wales: • Good Neighbour – Colin Nash, Cardiff • Fresh Start – David Williams, Rhondda • Eco Champion – Buxton Court Community Garden, Rhyl, Denbighshire • Green Fingers (Older Persons) – Denise Thorne, Rhondda • Green Fingers (General Needs) – Glenys Vandervolk, St Mellons Community Garden, Cardiff • Community Project – Hightown Intergenerational Play Plant Project, Wrexham • Local Hero – Joint winners Suresh Rajah, of Hightown, Wrexham / Mukesh Patel, of Pyle, Bridgend In addition, judges Kathy Smart, Chair of the Board of WWH, and Anne Hinchey, Chief Executive, awarded two discretionary Special Inspiration Awards.

Jemma Bere, of Cradoc Close, Brecon, won the first Special Inspiration Award, thanks to her efforts to keep her family together after the death of her mother in a car crash. Jemma, 30, who works for the Centre for Regeneration Excellence Wales, campaigned to bring home her younger siblings Alex and Billie from a Spanish orphanage, and has brought them up single-handedly for the past five years. Jemma said on the night: “I’m utterly surprised and bowled over to receive a Special Inspiration Award. I’m eternally grateful and just a tad emotional! Thank you!” Michael and Carol Down, of Kenfig Hill, Bridgend, also won a Special Inspiration Award, thanks to the courage they have shown after Michael, 63, was involved in a serious accident at the steelworks where he worked in Port Talbot. Carol, 60, a former mental health nurse, said: “Attending these awards was the first time that Michael and I have been

32 | | intouch | Resident Participation out like this since his accident and it was a huge psychological step for us to do so. “But the entire evening was just so uplifting and inspiring. Hearing everybody else’s stories of what they have done for their communities and how they have overcome adversity has really given Michael and I a lift. And when we found out that we had won a Special Inspiration Award our hearts just melted.” Anne Hinchey, Chief Executive of Wales & West Housing said: “Now in their sixth year, the MAD Awards are our way of recognising the strength, selflessness and community spirit of our residents and to hear their stories is always both humbling and inspiring. We are also very grateful indeed for the continued generosity of our contractor partners who sponsor this event. Without their marvellous support we would not be able to stage the awards.” Main event sponsor was Cambria Maintenance Services, of Tremorfa, Cardiff, and Holywell, Flint, and sponsors also included: • Anwyl Construction, of Rhyl, Denbighshire • CJS Electrical, of Lisvane, Cardiff • City Satellite, of Canton, Cardiff • Gibson Specialist Technical Services, Charnwood Park, Bridgend • GKR Maintenance, Bedwas, Caerphilly

• Denmans Electrical Wholesalers, Broad Plain, Bristol • Ian Williams Ltd, Sanatorium Road, Cardiff • Jewson, Coventry • Roca UK, London • Wall Lag Group, Mold, Flintshire • Simmons Services, Rhuddlan, Denbighshire • Solar Windows, Bedwas, Caerphilly • Washington Design Consultancy, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan You can read more about our MAD Awards on our website, and we will be posting a video of the night on our YouTube channel wwhahomesforwales very shortly.

Resident Participation | intouch | | 33

Kathy Smart, Chair of WWH, Colin Nash – Good Neighbour winner, and Mike Halbert of City Satellite

Kathy Smart, David Williams – Fresh Start winner, and Ceri Price of CJS Electrical

Kathy Smart and Paul Gibson of Gibson Specialist Technical Services with Buxton Court Eco Champion winners – Christine Bowden, Daisy Jones, Barbara Griffiths, David Waddington, Sue and Keith Owen, Shirley Scott and Patricia Coleman

(back) Kathy Smart, Chair of WWH Board, Tracy Coppack, Sharon Young of Roca UK, Sharon Menzies, Anne Hinchey, Chief Executive of WWH, (front) Lewis Williams, Megan Tynan and Eilidh Wiseman

34 | | intouch | Resident Participation

Kathy Smart, Dee Thorne – Green Fingers (retirement) winner and Jayne Rowland-Evans of GKR

Kathy Smart, Glenys Vandervolk – Green Fingers (general needs) winner and Steve Lenahan of Ian Williams

Kathy Smart, Alex Williams, Jemma Bere – Special Inspiration Award winner, Dan Hurt, Billie Williams, Tony Moss of Simmons Services and Anne Hinchey

L-R Kathy Smart, Chair of WWH Board, Suresh Rajah, joint Local Hero award winner with Mukesh Patel, Robert Jenkins of Solar Windows, Mukesh Patel, and Anne Hinchey, WWH Chief Executive









Kathy Smart, Tom Anwyl of Anwyl Construction, Michael and Carol Down – Special Inspiration Award winners, and Anne Hinchey








Resident Participation | intouch | | 35

The full list of MAD finalists were: Good Neighbour • Tony Williams, Hanover Court, Llandudno • Gary Probert, Maes y Ffynnon, Crickhowell • Colin Nash, Hope Court, Cardiff • Sandra Williams, Llys Nazareth, Pentre

Green Fingers (general needs) • Mr & Mrs Steel, The Green, Sarn • Mrs Greagsby, Bromley Drive, Ely • Mr & Mrs Down, Yr Hendre, Kenfig Hill • Glenys Vandervolk, St Mellons, Cardiff • Alfred Davies, Dan y Coed Rise, Brackla

Green Fingers (retirement) • Hope Court Gardeners, Cardiff • Hanover Court, Whitchurch, Cardiff • Dee Thorne, Ty Ddewi, Ton Pentre • Malcolm Aspland, Beddoes View, Presteigne

Local Hero • Mukesh Patel, Tegfryn Stores, Pyle • Emrys Phillips, St Catherine’s Court, Caerphilly • Suresh Rajah, Kingsmills Road, Wrexham • Inez White, Four Elms Court, Cardiff

Fresh Start • Kenneth Bartlett, Ogmore Vale • Jemma Bere, Brecon • David Williams, Llys Ben Bowen Thomas, Ystrad • Paul Clark, Oak Court, Penarth • Royston Hill, Cwrt Andrew Buchan, Rhymney • Freda Watkins, Danymynydd, Bridgend

Community Project • Ole Constantine and Jane Styles, Flintshire • Hightown Intergenerational Play Plant Project, Wrexham • Margaret Thomas, Llys Nazareth, Pentre • Jenny Finlayson, Bronrhiw Fach, Caerphilly

Eco Champion • Oak Court Gardening Club, Penarth • Buxton Court Communal Gardens, Rhyl • Jan Taylor, Clarendon, Cyncoed • Western Court Eco Warriors, Bridgend

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And finally, well done to all those who were nominated for the MAD Awards this year. Each and every one of you deserves recognition for the difference you are making in your communities: • Jean Morris, Ty Brynseion, Merthyr Tydfil • Rachel Samways, Bridgeman Court, Penarth • Malcolm Aspland, Beddoes View, Powys • Ann Jones, Bodalaw, Merthyr Tydfil • Shirley Wynne , Nant y Mor, Prestatyn • Geraint ap Dyfed, Four Elms Court, Cardiff • Mavis Coles, c/o Bridgeman Court, Penarth • Samantha Broom, Bridgeman Court, Penarth • Jo Foley, Ty Pontrhun, Merthyr Tydfil • Fran Parry, Ann Badcott, Sally Clayton, Ty Gwyn Jones, Abergele • Pat Lavercombe, Glan yr Afon, Maesteg • Penny Alford, Cwrt Anghorfa, Pyle • Tony & Sandra Slade (RSVP), Ty Ddewi, Ton Pentre • Francis Jenny Finlayson, Bronrhiw Fach, Caerphilly • BFTA Play and Plant intergenerational project, Hightown, Wrexham • Ole Constantine, Ystad Goffa Court, Flint • Margaret Thomas, Llys Nazareth, Pentre • St Catherine’s Puffers & Planters, Caerphilly • Beryl Cleaver, Doyle Court, Cardiff • Nan George, Trem y Mynydd, Treherbert • Buxton Court communal garden, Rhyl • Oak Court Gardening Club, Penarth • Mrs Jan Taylor, Clarendon, Cyncoed • Jane Styles, Cwrt Leighton, Connahs Quay • Freda Watkins, Danymynydd, Bridgend • Royston Hill, Cwrt Andrew Buchan, Rhymney • Jemma Bere, Cradoc Close, Brecon • Malcolm Aspland, Beddoes View, Powys • David Williams, Llys Ben Bowen Thomas, Ystrad Kenneth Bartlett, Bridge Street, Ogmore Vale • Paul Clark, Oak Court, Penarth Western Court Gardeners, Bridgend

• Charlie Adams & Eric Fitton, Nant y Môr, Prestatyn • Vanessa Brindley, Fusilier Way, Wrexham • Claire Grice, 12 Cefn y Nant, Wrexham • Alexander Foulds, Cil-y-Coed, Henllan • Sam Hough, Cil-y-Coed, Henllan • Josh Askins, Cil-y-Coed, Henllan Denise Thorne, Ty Ddewi, Ton Pentre • Lord Pontypridd Gardening Club, Canton, Cardiff • Sir David’s Court gardeners, Canton, Cardiff • Jeff Johnson, Bridgeman Court, Penarth • Hope Court Gardeners, Cardiff • Hanover Court, Whitchurch, Cardiff • Sureshkuma Rajah, Kingsmills Road, Wrexham • Mukesh Patel, Tegfryn Stores, Pyle, Bridgend • Resident Participation Steering Group Emrys Phillips, St Catherine’s Court, Caerphilly • Inez White, Four Elms Court, Cardiff • Mandi Watkins, Abermule, Powys • Mr & Mrs Downs, Yr Hendre, Kenfig Hill • Mr & Mrs Steel, The Green, Sarn • Glenys Vandervolk, St Mellons, Cardiff • Mrs Greagsby, Bromley Drive, Ely • Alfred Davies, Dan y Coed Rise, Brackla • Gary Probert, Maes Y Fynnon, Crickhowell • Colin Nash, Hope Court, Cardiff • Tony Williams, Hanover Court, Llandudno • Sandra Williams, Llys Nazareth, Pentre • Emrys Phillips, St Catherine’s Court, Caerphilly • Freda Watkins, Danymynydd, Bridgend • Malcolm Aspland, Beddoes View, Powys

Going green | intouch | | 37

And they’ve done it again!!! Our Eco Warriors at our Western Court retirement scheme in Bridgend are celebrating after scooping a top national sustainability award – their second major award this year. “We are still in shock,” said Jeff, grandfather of two. “When we saw the quality of the other entries we thought we had absolutely no chance. But then when they said we had won, well, we were just stunned.

Jeff Bunce, 65, and Derek Rose, 77, represented the Western Court Eco Warriors at a ceremony in London’s Lancaster Hotel, organised by Inside Housing magazine and its sisterpublication Sustainable Housing.

“We had an absolutely brilliant day in London and have already taken the award around the scheme and shown it to everyone, because it’s for all of us and what we do at Western Court, not just me and Derek.”

The group from the popular scheme on Oaklands Road beat off stiff competition from more than 100 entries from around the UK to win Sustainable Housing Green Tenants of the Year . They were presented with their trophy by stand-up comedian, TV and radio regular, Josie Long.

Western Court’s Eco Warriors impressed the judges with their commitment to growing their own fruit and veg, recycling whatever materials they can use to create features including decking, fencing, plant holders and bird feeders, doing what they can to encourage biodiversity in their gardens, and using the gardens and their produce as a whole as a healthy way to bring the community of Western Court together.

And it’s the second major award the group have won this year, having previously scooped the ‘Improving the Environment’ award in the 2013 Tenant Participation Advisory Service Cymru Awards this May.

Anne Hinchey, Chief Executive of Wales & West Housing, said: “I am thrilled that the Eco Warriors at Western Court have been recognised in this way, but I’m not surprised because we know what Jeff, Derek and their friends and

38 | | intouch | Going green neighbours have done, and continue to do, to improve their environment and support their community, and it is truly inspiring.” Using the communal gardens at the scheme, and supported by WWH Make It Happen and Environment Fund grants, Jeff, Derek and the team have nurtured one of the friendliest – and greenest - communities imaginable. Recent innovations include: • Building accessible decking around the communal shed • The conversion of a disused bin store into a greenhouse / hothouse • Planting ‘bee happy’ bulbs, lavender and wildflowers to encourage insects and expecially bees • Planting rare native Welsh fruit trees – Denbigh Plum, Cariad Cheery and Snowdon Queen Pear • Using recycled timber to build fencing, bird and bat boxes Produce from the scheme’s gardens is regularly cooked and eaten by all residents at shared meals, helping to combat loneliness and isolation.

“The veg we grow is good, getting together is good, the exercise is good and the gardens are something to look at no matter what time of the year it is,” said Jeff, a former bus driver. “We’ve had a lot of support and help from Wales & West, in fact without them we wouldn’t have been able to do all we have done. But we love doing it and I think at the end of the day, our gardens have helped to make us all that little bit healthier here.” Jess McCabe, the editor of Sustainable Housing, said: ‘Social landlords are still at the forefront of making sure that housing is sustainable. When you look at some of the most ambitious green, affordable projects in the country, you’ll find social landlords leading the way. Our annual awards recognise the best of the best.” If you are inspired by this article and would like to apply for a Make It Happen Grant please contact Claire Hammond on 0800 052 2526, or email

And if you would like to find out more about our Environment Fund grants, please contact Owen Jones, our Environment and Sustainability Officer, on 0800 0522526,

Your views and news | intouch | | 39

Residents get their feet tapping at Oldwell…

The Spring Chicken and Coffee club met together at Oldwell Court retirement scheme in Cardiff to enjoy a special performance from ‘Live

Music Now’ with soprano and harp musician, Joy Cornock and Bethan Semmens who performed a range of music from traditional Welsh songs to foot tapping jazz. Scheme Manager Sandy Houdmont said “The girls were wonderful and really encouraged residents to join in. A big thank you must go to Amy Thomas who came along to help and made beautiful cakes for the event.”

...give gifts to a new baby... When Kathy Torres, a cleaner at Oldwell Court, visited residents at the scheme recently with her mother and her new baby

girl, she was surprised and delighted to find that they had clubbed together and bought gift vouchers for her to spend on baby Naomi. Kathy is hoping to return to the scheme following her maternity leave.

...and Alfie’s a regular visitor Two year old Alfie is not only the grandson of Sandy Houdmont, Scheme Manager at Oldwell

Court, but his father Tony Thomas is also site super at the scheme. Alfie is a regular visitor and is very popular with everyone and raises a smile wherever he goes.

40 | | intouch | Your News and Views



Court’s winning streak enjoy a leisurely trip on continues

the Llangollen Canal

In August residents from Sylvester Court in Hightown, Wrexham, together with a few of their neighbours, enjoyed a leisurely 5 hour trip on a canal barge along the Llangollen canal, passing over the 125ft drop and dizzying heights of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct over the river Dee. They were lucky enough to have wonderful weather; even Mike the dog enjoyed an ice cream.

And Sylvester Court also held a ‘ladies only’ breakfast in September which brought residents and neighbours from Hightown together for a chat over their coffee and toast. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this start to their day and really dressed up for the occasion.

After 15 years of continuously coming first or second in Cardiff in Bloom, Scheme Manager Marilyn Berry and residents at Limebourne Court retirement scheme were thrilled once again to have won 1st prize in the ‘Best Residential Street’ category for 2013. The ceremony was held at City Hall in Cardiff on 8th October where Marilyn and residents were presented with a trophy by Cardiff in Bloom judges, Helen Smith and Pat Lewis. A big thank you must also go to Site Supers Nathan Cottle, Bryn Williams and Dean Bevan who make sure the scheme is kept in good order. Limebourne Court also took part in the ‘Cultivation Street’ gardening competition organised by the Sunday People newspaper. They made it through to the regional finals in the ‘Multiplication Street’ category which recognises the street with the most consecutive front gardens involved in the competition. They won £500 of National Garden Gift vouchers.

Your News and Views | intouch | | 41

Jenny’s our local hero! Residents at Bronrhiw Fach in Caerphilly are delighted with their new bus service, thanks to the efforts of fellow resident Jenny Finlayson, who was nominated for a Local Hero award in this year’s Making a Difference Awards.

Undaunted Jenny approached the new Connect 2 bus service and after a lot of hard work residents now have a bus service which calls at Bronrhiw every Monday morning to take residents to the local supermarket.

Bronrhiw Fach, the scheme where Jenny lives, is situated at the foot of Caerphilly Mountain, overlooking the lovely picturesque town of Caerphilly and the valleys beyond. Public transport to the scheme was nonexistent when Jenny moved in, so she set about campaigning for a bus service to serve the scheme.

Margaret Jones, Scheme Manager and fellow resident at the scheme, says “All the residents at Bronrhiw are absolutely delighted. Not only have they now got transport to and from the scheme to do their shopping but it is also a morning out for some, maybe the only place that they go from one week to the next. Thanks to her bus campaign, Jenny has changed the lives of so many people here at Bronrhiw. She is our local hero.”

People warned her that there had been many previous attempts to get a bus service to stop at the scheme, but they had always ended in failure.

42 | | intouch | Charity Update

Andrew’s run for

Stroke Association Wales WWH Housing Officer Andrew Pritchard is set to run the 2014 London Marathon, 26.2 gruelling miles, in aid of the Stroke Association. His touching story below shows us what motivated him to enter the race and to keep going through the difficult times. “I decided on the Stroke Association as my grandmother suffered several strokes before she eventually passed away, so as a family we have seen first-hand the effect it has on a family, especially my mother who tried for several months to look after her and work full-time but she eventually had to admit that she could not do it on her own so had to put my gran in a home. This decision still affects my mother today, 10 years after it happened. “I didn’t think about my own health until my son Harry was born and I realised I had a pretty unhealthy lifestyle.  My blood pressure and cholesterol were increasing. I didn’t want to risk my own health in years to come so I took up running.  “I started running in January 2012 and have now completed 3 half marathons and lost 3 stone in weight and my

blood pressure and cholesterol are now at healthy levels. “To complete a marathon would represent the end of my challenge and be a total transformation in my overall health and fitness. It will be very difficult challenge and in training I will have to run 40-45 miles per week which will be very gruelling and a major task especially in the cold winter nights.  I am doing it on my own which again makes the challenges of training difficult as you need to keep motivated to keep doing mile after mile in training.  I am looking to join a running club to help with the training. “My diet has totally changed since starting my training with lots of chicken, vegetables and brown rice - very boring but it’s only for 6 months.  During training I’ll burn up to 10,000 calories per week so the odd bar of chocolate won’t hurt.

Charity Update | intouch | | 43 “This is my first time going for it but as long as it goes well won’t be my last as I hope to run many more. My main motivation is my son and to be healthy for him when he is growing up as he loves being active and running about which is good to see. My wife Lesley puts up with a lot - so many hours are needed to train for a marathon, but she is very supportive when I’m out running 5 days a week and talking about running 24/7 (though I’m sure she isn’t really listening). “My inspiration is Mo Farah and as he hopes to break 2 hours for a marathon

I will be happy breaking 4 hours. Also my father has run several marathons and he managed 4 hours 11 but he was 50 when he did it so hopefully I can beat him. “It is a family trip now as most of my family are coming to London for the weekend to watch, which will be a massive help when I reach the final stages of the marathon” In the next edition we will tell you about the various ways you can donate to The Stroke Association and let you know how Andrew is getting on with his training.

World’s Biggest Coffee Morning During September a number of WWH retirement schemes across Wales joined in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event by holding their own coffee mornings in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, including: Hope Court, Cardiff – £135.20 Ty Gwynn Jones, Abergele – £363.19 Lord Pontypridd House, Cardiff – £280.00 Danymynydd, Bridgend – £400.00 Ty Gwaunfarren, Merthyr Tydfil – £283.00 Ystad Goffa, Flint – £226.50

L-R Ty Gwaunfarren - Charlotte Powles (volunteer), Scheme Manager David Morgan, Glenys Sullivan (volunteer) and Sylvia Rogers, Cleaner

44 | | intouch | Charity Update

Pat raises £124 for Stroke Association Pat Hill, who lives at Hanover Court in Bridgend recently knitted bundles of scarves to sell in aid of Stroke Association Wales, raising a fantastic £124. In 1983 Pat was the “Warden” for the then Hanover Housing and in 1997 she returned to the scheme to live. In 2009 when the present Scheme Manager retired, Pat studied and passed her food hygiene award in her spare time as she wanted the weekly coffee morning gatherings to continue. Pat also helps to organise and run other activities at Hanover Court.

Jeans for Genes WWH staff raised a total of £82.88 on Friday 20th September - Jeans for Genes Day 2013. Jeans for Genes is a charity that aims to change the world for children with genetic disorders.

WWH support Shelter bike ride

Wales & West Housing sponsored Mike Norman and Amanda Harris’s Copper Coast Bike Ride in the Republic of Ireland on 26th August in aid of Shelter Cymru. “After a lengthy ferry ride we arrived in Rosslare. There were some anxious faces the morning we started, knowing we had four days and 300 miles to go! “The 9 cyclists bonded very quickly, which allowed us to stay as a single unit. As well as rolling hills and getting lost around Cork, we were able to take in Kinsale and Dungarven, experiencing some excellent live Irish music and humour. We were lucky to see some amazing scenery and of course meet lovely people. We are very grateful to Wales & West for their ongoing support!”

Birthdays and Anniversaries | intouch | | 45

Jane enjoys her 99th Birthday party Jane Evans celebrated her birthday in style with residents and friends at Llys Nazareth in Pentre, Rhondda, on the 4th September. Having lived at Llys Nazareth for the past twenty two years, Jane has made many friends, whilst still living a very independent life. She still loves to be spoilt with homemade cakes. “Plans are afoot for her next big birthday. Her Majesty will of course be informed and invited to the party” said Pauline Gregory, Scheme Manager.

Jane centre front with friends and Pauline

Happy Birthday Maria Maria Deere celebrated her 90th birthday at Oldwell Court, Cardiff with residents on the 11th October. Maria’s close friend Carol arranged the party for her at the Spring Chicken and Coffee Club morning. Scheme Manager Sandy Houdmont said “Maria is liked by everyone here, she is a very special lady with a great sense of humour and we all wish her all the best.”

Peggy celebrates

100th birthday Morfydd Ison, known to her friends as Peggy, celebrated her 100th birthday on the 18th of October. Around 64 guests arrived for her grand party, including family who had travelled from as far away as California. A keen needlewoman, Peggy still enjoys crocheting and has made many blankets for charity over the years, which have been sent all over the world. “I love crochet”, says Peggy, “I have been doing it for years. It keeps my mind active.” Peggy has five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one greatgreat grandchild. Despite her age, Peggy remains independent and still cooks for herself. Her daughter and family are always near and are regular visitors at the scheme.

Peggy Ison with her birthday card from the Queen

46 | | intouch | Birthdays and Anniversaries

Catherine celebrates her 89th birthday

Love blossoms for Marie & John

Catherine Rees celebrated her 89th birthday on the 16th of October with a grand buffet in the communal lounge at Ty Pontrhun in Merthyr Tydfil, together with friends and family. Catherine has lived most of her life in Troedyrhiw, Merthyr Tydfil, except for six years when she moved to Tenby to work in a hotel and met the love of her life, William Rees. Catherine and William moved back to Troedyrhiw in the early 50's. They had three children, Mike who now lives in Ty Pontrhun, and Tyrone and Pauline who also live locally. Catherine also has seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren. “Catherine was much loved by her late husband and is loved by all her family. She enjoys a game of bingo and joins in everything on the scheme” said Karen Lewis, Scheme Manager at Ty Pontrhun.

Marie and John on their wedding day

Residents at Hanover Court in Whitchurch, Cardiff, gathered recently to celebrate Marie Mills’ hen party. The communal room was decked with balloons and streamers and residents made the celebration go with a bang by dressing up and taking along drinks and buffet party food. The following week Marie married John Hawkins at City Hall in Cardiff. We wish them a very happy future together.

Christmas Competition Can it really be that time of year again already?

Yes, it is! And after a somewhat soggy summer the nights are now beginning to draw in again and as you’re reading this it’s only a few weeks until Christmas!!! Every year we send out a corporate Christmas e-card and this year we’d again like you to provide us with a super seasonal picture for us to use on the card. To give you some ideas… pictured left is our 2012 Christmas card – featuring a photo taken by staff member Jayne Orchard, Customer Services Officer.

WIN AN M&S CHRISTMAS HAMPER! You can send us a photograph, drawing, painting or even a collage or computer graphic – but whatever it is it must be your own original work and must reflect the spirit of Christmas. Our Chief Executive Anne Hinchey and Chair of the Board Kathy Smart will judge the entries and the winner will receive an M&S Christmas Hamper worth over £50. The competition is open to WWH residents of all ages (children included), and the closing date is 13th December. Please email your entries to or post them to Editor – Christmas Card Comp, In Touch, Wales & West Housing, Ffordd Pengam, Tremorfa, Cardiff CF24 2UD. Usual competition rules apply and the Chief Executive’s decision will be final.

Are you, or someone you know, looking for somewhere to live in Powys? Our lists are open. For more information contact our Housing Options Team

0800 052 2526

Cradoc Close, Brecon @wwha

We have properties throughout Powys including: Brecon, Newtown, Builth Wells, Talgarth, Presteigne and Crickhowell

Cwrt Tarrell, Brecon

Affordable Housing Options in Powys

Llys Hafren, Newtown

Plough Court, Brecon

In touch autumn 2013  
In touch autumn 2013