ISSUE 16 autumn 2015


The topics that matter to you

Growing our



See page 21

Blooming lovely

in Harlow

Page 7


resident in job


Page 9





In the previous edition, we incorrectly

stated that Bishops Stortford was in Essex.

It is, of course, in Hertfordshire.

We apologise for this error.


from Neil Hadden

Chief Executive

Hello and welcome to the Autumn

edition of Spotlight

The days may be starting to get

shorter now, but at Genesis we’re certainly

not planning on putting in fewer hours any

time soon, and certainly not while there

are so many changes happening in the

housing sector right now. The Government

has introduced new initiatives that could

see more Genesis residents opting to buy

their homes (see pages 3 and 17), while

the Welfare Reform and Work Bill that

is currently going through Parliament

will mean changes to housing and other

benefits. To find out how you may be

affected, see page 13.

On pages 9 and 11, read about two

formerly homeless residents who have

turned their lives around, one through his

prize-winning cookery and the other by

securing a job with Kier. Well done to both

of them.

If you’re looking for work, we may be

able to help. There are training and work

experience opportunities on pages 14 and

15, while on page 21 read about how we

are recruiting volunteers from among our

care and support staff and customers.

Finally, as part of our 50th birthday

celebrations, our search continues for

Genesis couples who will celebrate their

50th wedding anniversary between now

and September 2016. Turn to page 8 to

meet a couple who have exceeded this and

are celebrating their diamond anniversary

this year.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition.

Suzanne Godfrey

Communities Communications Advisor











Community news

Fun in the sun

Resident awarded

Spotlight on Zahra

You said, we did



Care and Support

It’s blooming lovely


Diamond couple

Homeless resident

lands job with Kier

Recognising dementia

Fun for all in Great


Thumbs up to Genesis


World Elder Abuse

Awareness Day

Residents cookery

competition success

Welfare Reform


Employment and


Got an idea for


Supporting female

residents into work



Home Life


Reader's corner


It seems incredible that it’s time for the Autumn edition of

Spotlight already. The year really does flies by!

The last few months have been extraordinary. The result of

the General Election was not predicted by so many ‘expert’

pundits and the new Government has not been slow in

introducing policies which will present both opportunities

and challenges for us as an organisation.

Extending the Right to Buy to housing association tenants

is a big move – and one which Genesis does not oppose. We

believe that if our residents wish to acquire their own homes,

that is a decision for them and we will help as much as we

can. So far, there has been little detail about what the policy

will look like, so at the moment, there is not much we can say

other than: wait and see. Once the Housing Bill goes through

Parliament, you can be sure that we will provide information

about Right to Buy.

The second big change has been the one per cent rent

reduction for social housing residents. This is good news

for our customers, but it means that Genesis will have to

make some tough decisions on expenditure and find cost

savings, as the policy reduces our income very significantly

over the next four years. We are clear though that we will not

lose our determination to provide affordable housing, or our

commitment to improving our customer service standards:

something you have told us we need to continue to get

better at.

I am proud to lead a housing association that has a social

purpose at its heart. There has been much debate in the

housing world over the last couple of months following the

recent policy changes by Government about what housing

associations need to do to survive. I am sure that we will

continue to maintain and deliver homes for people that need

them most, as well as build new homes which meet different

household situations. We have to have the supply of new

homes at the core of what we do. People need homes now

more than ever. At Genesis we will continue to play our part in

meeting that demand.

Enjoy the magazine!

Neil Hadden

2 Spotlight | Autumn 2015 | Issue 16 3

Genesis resident

awarded for



A big congratulations to Sandra Kim

Eadie, a resident from Brent, who won

a Westminster Adult Education Service

Learner Award for outstanding progress

and achievement.

After a period of unemployment while

bringing up her daughter as a single

parent, Sandra decided to re-engage in

education and training and she enrolled

on some courses run by Genesis and

Westminster Adult Education Services.

“I found that the courses gave me

the opportunity to meet people as well

as achieve qualifications in the areas I

wanted to work in.” she said.

Sandra’s success encouraged her to

enrol on the Genesis Connect Head Start

in Social Work Programme, linking her to

relevant volunteering and employment

opportunities at Genesis and gaining

relevant work experience as a Support

Worker that will hopefully lead her to

paid work. It was Sandra’s effort and

dedication that led to her winning the

Westminster Adult Learner Award.

Lauren Picton, Volunteer Programme

Manager at Genesis, said: “Sandra

has demonstrated consistency and

dedication throughout her training, and

we’re really proud that her hard work has

been recognised by Westminster Adult

Education Service. It is never easy to go

back to education as an adult and we run

the Head Start training programme within

our community centres rather than

formal college settings so that we reach

residents in the heart of their community.

“Sandra has now joined our volunteer

programme and will be placed as a

volunteer support worker where she can

gain further relevant work experience and

apply for paid roles within Genesis.”

To find out more about Employment,

Volunteering and Training

opportunities with Genesis, contact

the Connect Team on 0207 563 0166

or at:

Spotlight: "Volunteering helped to

increase my confidence and got me used

to a professional environment again"

Zahra Alaeibakhsh

Planting activities at Woodberry Down

Fun in the sun at

Barnet and Hackney

Autumn may now be upon us but the

Summer is not yet forgotten and saw over

1,000 residents across two of our major

regeneration schemes enjoying a day of

fun and games in June.

At Woodberry Down in Hackney,

the theme was ‘street market’ and a

range of delicious foods from around

the world were provided by residents

and volunteers. Genesis worked with a

number of partners, including Manor

House Development Trust, Berkeley

Homes and Hackney Council, and

activities on the day included a Bird Box

Building Session with London Wildlife

Trust, cycling lessons for young children

and gardening and planting. The funday

was also a chance for residents to learn

more about local community events and

activities, as well as volunteering, training

and employment opportunities.

Meanwhile, the eleventh annual

Grahame Park funday in Barnet saw

residents getting involved in a wide range

of fun activities and entertainment for all

the family. Councillor Wendy Prentice and

Barnet FC Footballer Mauro Vilhete took

to the stage to officially open the funday,

and highlights included a barbecue, rodeo

bull, inflatable sumo wrestling, fairground

rides and dance stage.

The event also featured an information

tent where festival-goers could find out

more about the work of the residents

association and Colindale Communities

Trust, and chat to representatives from

the police, fire brigade, RAF Museum and

London Plus Credit Union.

Woodberry Down will see the

completion of around 4,600 new homes

as well as community facilities, schools

and business units in the next 20 years.

Grahame Park will offer 3,000 new

homes when the 18 year project is

complete in 2028.

For more information, see www.


Here are just some of the

areas of work that residents

have been involved with over

the last few months


garden at

Acre Lane,




at Tabron



Care and

support in



at Tabron



You said

The garden is

messy and the

grass is being

worn out by

the kids.

Children are

playing outside

until really late

at night which

is disturbing


Customers at

some of our



schemes have

requested that

more activities

be arranged for


Bicycles keep

being left

chained to


which are



We did

We introduced a

new gardening

service in August

and are exploring

the option of

replacing the grass

with astroturf.

We put up signs

and have written

to all residents

requesting that

noise be kept to a

minimum during

certain hours.

The reduction in

activities was due

to a loss of funding.

We have now

recruited a new

intern to assist with

taking activities


We have issued

notices asking

residents not to

store bicycles this

way and we will

remove and store

any bicycles that are



Zahra Alaeibakhsh

Prior to volunteering at Genesis, Zahra

(pictured above left with Connect staff

member, Salma Khan) was unemployed for 7

years and had really struggled to even get an

interview let alone a job in spite of her having

a Level 4 qualification in Accountancy. Zahra

longed to work in Finance but felt that her

lack of work experience was holding her


Our Volunteering, Employment, Enterprise

and Training support service – Genesis

Connect – helped Zahra become a volunteer,

first within Genesis Connect and then

working with our Finance Team. In this role,

Zahra learned a lot about Genesis and was

able to access internal training courses, as

well as receive on-the-job support from a

staff mentor.

When a paid position came up in the Team,

Zahra applied and was supported by Genesis

Connect to write her CV and covering letter

and given coaching for her interview. She

was successful and has been working as a

Finance Assistant for Genesis since July this


Zahra said: “Volunteering helped to

increase my confidence and got me used to

a professional environment again. I would

definitely recommend it as a way to get back

into work.”

Congratulations Zahra on your success.

Community News

4 Spotlight | Autumn 2015 | Issue 16 5

New Developments


New River

‘new’ again

Traffic cones, a gym bench and a

pink bike were among the many

items retrieved from the bottom

of the New River during an annual

clean up in July.

Over 25 volunteers came out

to help clear litter from the river

that runs through Haringey

(Finsbury Park end) to Seven

Sisters and Woodberry Down,

ably assisted by a tipper truck

to collect the rubbish and a

small boat to unearth the more

substantial items from under the


By the end of the day, over

20 bags of rubbish had been

collected, creating a cleaner,

clearer New River pathway for

everyone to enjoy.

One of the volunteers, Stewart

Maxwell, had this to say: “I was

part of the clean up last year

and came along again as I really

enjoyed cleaning the rivers. It

helps to get rid of pollution and

keeps the area tidy. Being able

to walk by the river, seeing the

wildlife and no clutter is a very

rewarding feeling after putting in

the long hours to make the area

look tidy. Meeting new people

was an even more positive

experience and the activity was

great for the well-being of the


For more information about

similar community activities

at Woodberry Down, see the

Manor House Development Trust

website at:

Mildmay, Tower Hamlets, London E2 7DZ

Located close to the City and with excellent transport links, Mildmay is

a new regeneration scheme in Shoreditch. With its selection of social

homes, mixture of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments for shared ownership,

private sale and market rent, Mildmay will bring much-needed housing

provision to one of London’s most vibrant, creative and diverse


Work commenced in 2011 to turn the

derelict site in Tower Hamlets into

a hive of new homes, community

facilities, commercial units, children’s

play area and public open space,

as well as shiny new buildings for

Shoreditch Baptist Tabernacle Church

and Mildmay Hospital- all while still

complementing the site’s listed

community centre building which

will continue to play a central role.

31% of the units will be purpose built

for social housing needs and there

have also been a lot of jobs created

for those living around Mildmay, not

just in construction but in the church,

hospital and commercial units.

The first phase, which was

completed in 2014, saw the building of

the new Mildmay Hospital, a specialist

HIV treatment facility which takes its

name from the Mildmay charity that

provides support to those living with


Once complete (in late 2016, early

2017), Mildmay will consist of seven

buildings up to nine storeys in height


• 31 social properties

• 69 private rent properties

• 14 shared ownership 1, 2 and 3

bedroom flats

• 25 for open market sale

• 44% of the affordable homes which

will be three bed and above in size

• A new Church

• The reprovision of a new specialist


• Public and managed space

• A 70 sq.m. commercial unit on

Hackney Road

For more information about Mildmay,



Safeguarding is everyone’s business

Abuse can take many forms:

Physical abuse – assault, hitting,

slapping, punching, pushing,

misuse of medication, restraint or

inappropriate physical sanctions.

Sexual abuse – rape, indecent

exposure, sexual harassment, sexual

exploitation, inappropriate looking or

touching, sexual teasing or innuendo,

sexual photography, being made

to watch pornography or witness

sexual acts, indecent exposure and

sexual assault or sexual acts to which

the adult has not consented or was

pressured into consenting to.

Psychological abuse – emotional

abuse, threats of harm or

abandonment, deprivation of contact,

humiliation, blaming, controlling,

intimidation, coercion, harassment,

verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation

or unreasonable and unjustified

withdrawal of services or supportive


Financial or material abuse –

theft, fraud, internet scamming,

coercion in relation to an adult’s

finances including in connection

with wills, property, inheritance or

financial transactions, or the misuse

or misappropriation of property,

possessions or benefits.

Discriminatory abuse – harassment,

slurs or similar treatment because

of race, gender and gender identity,

age, disability, sexual orientation or


It’s blooming lovely in Harlow

A resident in Harlow has won £100 in a local

competition for his beautiful garden.

Harry Hickman, who lives with his wife at

Fitzwilliam Court - a supported care scheme

- scooped the ‘Best garden with the smallest

space’ prize in the annual ‘Northgate In Bloom’

awards, having won a similar prize the previous


“I’m delighted to have won. We’ve lived here

Organisational abuse – neglect

and poor care practice within an

institution or specific care setting

(such as a hospital or care home), or in

relation to care provided in one’s own

home. This can be a one off incident

or can happen many times.

Neglect and acts of omission–

ignoring medical, emotional or

physical care needs, failure to provide

access to appropriate health, care and

support or educational services, not

providing the necessities of life, such

as medication, adequate nutrition and


Restraint – Unlawful or inappropriate

use of restraint or physical

interventions and/or deprivation

of liberty is physical abuse. There is

a distinction to be drawn between

restraint, restriction and deprivation

of liberty.

Modern Slavery – slavery, human

trafficking, forced labour or domestic


Domestic Abuse – controlling,

coercive or threatening behaviour,

violence or abuse by the (ex) partner

or other family member regardless

of their gender or sexuality. Includes

psychological, physical, sexual,

financial, emotional abuse, ‘honour’

based violence, female genital

mutilation or forced marriage.

Self-Neglect – not taking care of

health, personal hygiene or the home,

for example hoarding.

for a few years and I planted the garden myself,

including the flower beds along the wall – there

was just grass before. The pots and hanging

baskets look particularly good.”

The six judges obviously agreed.

When asked if he would enter next year,

surprisingly Mr Hickman said no:

“I’ve won two years in a row now. I think I

should give someone else a chance!”

What should I do?

If you see something you are worried

about, don’t ignore it, report it by

doing one of the following things:

• Call 999 if you or someone else is

in immediate danger and you think

a crime is being committed.

• Contact Genesis on 033 3000

3000 or leave a private message

on Facebook:


How to keep safe?

These organisations can support

you or someone else who is at risk of

abuse or neglect:














Care & Support

6 Spotlight | Autumn 2015 | Issue 16 7

We have introduced new Twitter and Facebook pages

for residents at and www.

Diamond couple has us beat

To help us celebrate our 50th birthday,

we’ve been on the lookout for couples

who will have their golden wedding

anniversary in 2015/2016. Instead, we

were delighted to be contacted by a

couple who are celebrating 60 years

together this year!

Residents Ronald and Pamela Clayton

from Colchester first met at a coffee bar

where Pamela worked.

Ronald recalled: “My friend asked her

for a date and she said ‘Ron’s already

asked me’. Well, I hadn’t and was very


“I wanted to make sure I got him.” said

Pamela with a smile.

At the time, Ronald was in the National

Service while Pamela was a nurse in the

medical corps. The couple married on

17th September at their local church.

“There was no time for a honeymoon

and it was a very small affair by today’s

standards,” said Pamela. “The reception

was at the village hall and we did the

catering ourselves.”

The couple went on to have two

daughters and a son but sadly their

son passed away a few years ago. Both

daughters live nearby and Ronald and

Pamela also have grandchildren. They

will celebrate their diamond anniversary

with a garden party surrounded by

their family along with Ronald’s large

collection of garden gnomes and other


“I started collecting them after I

retired, having spent 34 years working

for Network Rail as a plumber and

maintenance person while Pam

worked as a canteen manageress and

a barmaid.” said Ronald. “I worked long

hours and some weekends so it was

important to spend quality time with

the family. I think that’s the secret to our

relationship - making time for each other

and Pam and I have always done that.”

Are you a golden couple?

Pamela agrees. “We’ve always

worked hard and the same applies to

relationships – they take work.”

So what do Ronald and Pamela make

of the changing face of marriage and

relationships today?

“If you ask me it wasn’t so different.

When I was a lad, my friends and I would

walk round and round the park and the

girls would walk one way and we’d walk

the other. You’d try and catch their eye

and if you got a look, the next time round

you’d ask them for a date. That’s not so

different to meeting someone through

Facebook or an online dating site. The

park: that was our Facebook.”

We’re still looking for golden – or even diamond! - anniversary couples. If you

and your partner are one of those then please do contact me, Suzanne Godfrey,

on 020 7563 0040 or at: and tell me:

• Your names and where you live

• The date of your anniversary

• How you will be marking the occasion

Formerly homeless resident is ‘over

the moon’ after landing job with Kier

We’re really proud of John Forster,

a resident at Woburn House,

one of our homeless schemes in

Great Yarmouth who gained work

experience with Kier which led to

permanent employment. Before he

became a resident, John had been

sleeping in his car for three weeks

following a relationship breakdown

which left him depressed and


We caught up with John to ask him

about his experience:

1. How did you hear about the

work experience placement?

I had worked continuously for 23

years and I thought I would never

work again. My Key Worker Vanda

James suggested work experience

with a local builder but when I

emailed I didn't get a reply. Vanda

then contacted Genesis Connect

which was finding residents

work placements with Kier. I was

always interested in what the Kier

technicians were doing when they

came to Woburn House and it was

a chance to do the type of work

that I know and love.

2. How do you feel now you have

a job?

I’m over the moon! I can do the

Staff and


taught to



signs of


things that I never thought I'd

be able to do again. I can have

a family life again with my two

daughters – I’m taking them

on holiday! – and be able to live


3. What are your hopes for the


I want to do the best job I can with

Kier and gain further qualifications

and training.

I would like to say a big 'Thank You'

to Genesis and the staff at Woburn

House, particularly Vanda James

and Dawn Hanratty, for helping to

make this happen!

Vanda said: “When I met John, I

immediately saw his passion for

building work. I saw him a few

Earlier this year, the Alzheimer’s

Society gave a presentation at one

of our supported schemes in East

London about the importance of early

diagnosis of dementia.

Kina House in East Ham received

the awareness training as part

of Dementia Awareness Week

which promotes understanding of


The training (which included

signing for deaf or hard of hearing

residents) focused on how to

recognise the early signs and

explained that many people

days after he'd started his work

experience and he was transformed!

In all my years, I have never seen

anyone become so confident and

self-assured in such a short space

of time – he positively glowed! I am

touched by the support of everyone

who helped to give John this


Andy Eagle, Area Supervisor at

Kier, said: “We were very impressed

with John and when a position came

available, we thought of him straight

away. We are proud to have him on


Lauren Picton, Volunteer

Programme Manager said: “It’s

fantastic to hear about John. The

team is working closely with Kier to

place a further nine residents into


with dementia continue to lead

healthy, active lives, hold down

jobs and maintain relationships and


Around 28 residents from Kina

House and nearby St Barts attended

and everyone found it a very

informative experience.

Christine Temple, Business Manager

for East London, said: “Knowing some

of the basic and less obvious signs of

dementia will help us to support and

signpost individuals earlier in their


Care & Support

8 Spotlight | Autumn 2015 | Issue 16 9

Care and Support: “It was an

excellent day involving lots of

laughs and screams.”

One of the residents said after their visit to Pleasurewood Hills,

Great Yarmouth

Care & Support

Fun for all in Great Yarmouth

Roller coasters, boats, dodgems and a pirate

ship were the order of the day when a large

group of Genesis residents and staff from

Felixstowe and Lowestoft joined with the

Level Two youth project in the summer for

a day out at Pleasurewood Hills - a theme

park at Great Yarmouth. The Genesis places

were possible due to an extremely generous

donation from a local charity.

Despite rain, the day was packed with fun.

People opted for their type of ride, from

the tame, to the watery, to the downright

gravity-defying! There was also a parrot

show, sea lion show and the haunted Hobs

Pit, featuring hostile zombie actors, while a

bird’s eye view of the park could be had by

going on the chair lifts.

One of the residents said: “It was an

excellent day involving lots of laughs and


Former residents give thumbs-up to Genesis support

‘Going purple’ for World

Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Purple ribbons, balloons, food and

drink were the order of the day when

a scheme in Essex went ‘all out’ in

their support of World Elder Abuse

Awareness Day.

Staff and residents at Fivefields

Court - a supported scheme for

older people in Colchester – dressed

the walls (and themselves!) to raise

awareness and promote a better

understanding of abuse and neglect of

older persons.

Activities included a coffee morning,

complete with blackcurrant tea and a

special lunch that consisted of purple

potatoes that retain their colour

when cooked and mashed, as well red

cabbage. In the afternoon residents

split into teams to play a related

quiz which was followed by tea and

homemade Purple Yam Cakes .

Sue Ireland, Essex Homelessness

and OP Services Manager said: ‘While

the day was enjoyed by all, there was

a serious message that elder abuse

is unacceptable and understanding

the different forms it can take was

tackled with notice boards, articles and


Established by the United Nations,

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

happens in June each year and is

about bringing greater recognition of

the mistreatment of older adults and

highlighting the need for appropriate

action. For more details, see: www.


You can find out more about the

nature of abuse and how to report it

on page 7.

Resident helps turn his life around

with cookery competition success

A group of former residents from two

of Genesis’ schemes in Norfolk have

praised the support and services they

received which enabled them to live


The 13 ex-residents from College

Road and Cannell Court – which provide

supported living to single homeless

or unsuitably housed adults – were

asked questions on subjects such as

accommodation and support with the

intention of gaining feedback which

could be used to improve services for

future residents.

All of the former residents interviewed

said they were happy with their

accommodation and with the support

they received, with all praising the

supportive and knowledgeable staff and

giving a rating of between 8 and 10 out

of 10.

And while 80% of all of those

interviewed said they felt they could

have benefitted from continued support

on leaving the schemes, 71% from

College Road and 100% from Cannell

Court are now living independently and

maintaining tenancies – a great result!

When the participants were asked if

they would like to add anything further,

comments included ‘All staff were

brilliant, they helped me change my life

and turn it around’, ‘the service could

not be improved’ and ‘long may it carry


Andy Moulton, Service Manager for

Norwich, said:

“Staff at College

Road and Cannell

Court do a great

job supporting

customers and

ensuring that their expectations are

met. It is a boost to everyone to learn

that the work they put in is appreciated.”

Anything to add?

We’re always pleased to hear from

residents about their experiences

– good or bad – with Genesis. If you

have any feedback you would like to

share with us, please contact 033

3000 3000.

A resident from Great Yarmouth had

a chance to reflect on how far he’d

come after a cake he’d baked won

third prize in a cookery contest.

Chris Denham had been living on

the streets while battling alcohol

addiction. He had previous convictions

for alcohol-related criminal offences

and in his own words had ‘hit rock

bottom’ when he came to live at

Woburn House, a Genesis supported


Over the next 12 months, Chris

overcame his substance misuse issues

and re-discovered his old passion for

cookery by gaining his Food Hygiene

Certificate. To celebrate, he entered

a local community Carrot Cake

competition and came third out of 11

entries. As part of the competition,

Chris got to name his cake and he

chose ‘Carrot Cake Cascade’ after the

interesting combination of ingredients.

Chris said: “My life has been turned

around more than I thought possible

and there’s no stopping me now!”

Chris is continuing to go from

success to success, having

just secured voluntary

work with a local animal

rescue centre. Very

well done Chris!

10 Spotlight | Autumn 2015 | Issue 16 11

Get up to £140 off

your energy bill

this winter

Home Life: Turn

to page 17 for more


Housing Benefit rules are changing.

Welfare Reform

With the average annual fuel bill around

£1,264*, heating the home is easier said

than done.

If you are worried about keeping warm

this winter, it is worth finding out from

your energy company if you are entitled

to any help towards your energy bills. If

you are on a low income (usually a total

annual household income of £16,190 or

less) or are in receipt of certain welfare

benefits, and have a young child, you

may be able to claim the Warm Homes

Discount, which gives you £140 off your

electricity bills this winter. The money

isn’t paid directly to you; it’s a one-off

discount on your electricity bill, or a

voucher if you use a pre-payment meter.

People in receipt of the guaranteed

element of Pension Credit qualify for the

Warm Homes Discount automatically.

For broader groups, each energy

company has their own eligibility criteria

so contact your provider if you think you

could benefit.

It’s important to sign up early, as

availability is limited and suppliers are

likely to stop taking applications before

the final deadline of 29 January 2016.

For more advice on energy payment

schemes and benefits, call the Home

Heat Helpline for free on 0800 33 66

99 or if calling from a mobile: 0333

300 33 66 (calls are then charged at

local rates).

* Source: BBC NEWS 'Energy bills:

where does my money go' (27 March



From April 2016, new claims for

Housing Benefit can only be

backdated for a maximum of 28 days

or 4 weeks.

This means that if your

circumstances change and you need

to make a new claim for Housing

Benefit, you must do this as quickly as

possible. Equally, if you are claiming

Housing Benefit and have any change

in circumstances which would

increase your entitlement, you must

tell your local authority straight away.

If you leave it for longer than 28

days to apply, unless you can show

the local authority that there was

a good reason for this delay, you

may only be able to be able to start

claiming from the date you made the

application. If you need your claim

backdated further, you need to give

the local authority a good reason why

you did not tell them of the change


Even if you are affected by the

reduction in the backdating period

for changes to any benefits you claim,

you are still responsible for making

sure your rent is paid.

For more information, speak to

your local Housing Benefit office.

Important changes to Welfare

Reform and Work Bill 2015

The Welfare Reform and Work Bill

2015 is currently going through

Parliament and will implement some

of the changes the Government

proposed to Benefits and Social

Housing in the Budget in July.

Until the Bill becomes law in

October 2015, we cannot say for

certain what the changes will be but

the proposals that could affect you

are as follows:

• The Benefit Cap will be cut: For

out of work households made up

of couples, couples with children

and single parents, the Benefit Cap

will be reduced from £26,000 per

year to £23,000 within London

and £20,000 for elsewhere. For

out of work households with single

occupants, the Benefit Cap will be

cut from £18,200 to £15,400 inside

London and £13,400 elsewhere.

• Housing Benefit backdates will

be limited to 28 days: From April

2016, if you make a new claim for

Housing Benefit you must tell your

local authority as soon as possible

as you will only be able to claim

for up to 28 days prior to your

application (for more information,

see page X)

• Most working age benefits will be

frozen for four years from April


• Earnings Disregards for Tax Credits

will be reduced significantly

• Welfare support will be limited to

two children from April 2017. Any

children born after April 2017 will

not be eligible for further support.

• Social Sector rents for existing

tenants will be reduced by 1% for

the next four years

• ‘Pay to Stay’ will be introduced:

Social renting tenants earning

more than £40,000 if they live

in London (£30,000 if they live

elsewhere) will be required to pay

either full market rent or nearly full

market rent if they wish to stay in

their property.

A further update will be in the next

edition of Spotlight published in

December so look out for that.

You can watch the passage

of the Bill through Parliament

online at: http://services.


12 Spotlight | Autumn 2015 | Issue 16 13

Free training



Become a Bike Mechanic

Gain a qualification in the bike

industry. You will get:

• City & Guilds Level 1 & 2


• A free bike

• Interviews and employment

opportunities with retail chains

such as Halfords and Evans

Become a Railway Engineer

• 16 weeks level 1&2

qualification in track

maintenance and track renewal

• Venues: The Vale Community

Centre, Brent and Lawrence

Hall Annex, Canning Town, East


• Course Start date: September

2015 (2 days a week, 10am to


• Eligibility: You must be in

receipt of Benefits e.g. HB, JSA,

Income Support

For more information or to

register your interest, please

email or

call 020 7563 0166

Got an idea for

a business?

We want to help individuals and groups start their own business or social enterprise.

To this end, we have partnerships with a range of organisations including Enterprise

Cube and Beyond Business that offer 1-2-1 support and advice to help you develop

your ideas or business.

Are you looking to start your own


Working in partnership with Enterprise Cube,

we are running STRIVE a 12 week training

course. The course will give you the skills to

develop your business idea and start you on

your journey.

Date of course: 8th October 2015

Interested? Email Jade.christie@ or call 07738 458 600.

Enterprise Graduation Day

Friday 17 July 2015 saw the Graduation

of our business start-up programme


After 12 weeks of business start-up

training and support delivered by Enterprise

Cube, our start-ups were ready to present

to a panel of experts, consisting of Genesis

Housing’s Enterprise Employment and

Training Manager Sarah Connelly, Social and

Economic Regeneration Officer Kenneth

Rose and Amicus Horizons Project Officer

Tom Arkle.

The participants wrote business plans,

prepared cash flow forecasts and delivered

presentations in order to demonstrate to

the panel their business idea and passion for

enterprise. They received valuable feedback

and advice and the panel was impressed by

the variety and quality of the presentations.

The business concepts ranged from a

Community Café to a manufacturing agent

importing handmade silk and authentic

clothing and accessories.

The entrepreneurs were given a

graduation certificate and will receive

ongoing support and assistance from

Enterprise Cube.

To find out more about how we can support

you to develop your business idea or social

enterprise please contact jade.christie@ or kenneth.rose@

Looking for work experience?

We have a number of work experience

placements available with Kier in

maintenance, admin and call centre

roles. We have already successfully

placed 3 customers into placements and

23 customers into employment with Kier.

We also have 2 apprenticeships still

available for customers aged 16-18 years


For more information or to apply, contact

Lauren Picton on 0207 563 0166 or email




back into


come to our event!

thursday 22 october 2015


Are you a female parent or carer?

Would you like advice on how

to balance work with family


We are having a one-off free

event at our office in Willesden on

Thursday 22 October 2015 to help

female residents understand the

employment choices and options

available to them. The event will

be run by Women Like Us, an

organisation that champions the

interests of women struggling to

return to work after having children

and offers careers advice and


Women Like Us will use case

studies of women who have moved

into employment and at the same

time managed to balance their

caring responsibilities. The case

studies will provide examples that

will help build confidence and

motivate people attending the

session to think about taking steps

towards work, particularly part

time or flexible roles that can fit

comfortably into their existing life.

The workshop will include case

studies of women who have moved

into employment while balancing

their caring responsibilities, and

answer the following questions:

• What difference would finding

paid work mean to me and my


• What are my skills?

• What options are available to me?

• How/where can I find a part-time

or flexible role that can fit into my

existing life

• How would it affect me


• How can I take positive steps


The event will take place from

12-2pm at Utopia House, 192-196

High Road, Willesden, London NW10

2PB. Refreshments and lunch will

be provided and childcare provision

is available (please request in


For more information or to book a

place, call 020 7563 0166 or email Booking is

on a first-come, first-served basis

and is essential if you require


We look forward to hearing from


Enterprise, Employment and Training

14 Spotlight | Autumn 2015 | Issue 16 15

Leaseholders Corner

Volunteering: "I would very much like to work with

residents to understand how we are meeting the needs of

older customers. The voice of older residents is vital and will

lead to much positive and practical work going forward."

David Short – Diversity Age Champion

Buildings insurance certificate

If you are a leaseholder or shared

owner, you are required to insure

your home. Where Genesis is the

freeholder or has an insurance

responsibility, your insurance is

provided through our block policy

arranged with Genesis’ insurer Zurich


The buildings insurance covers:

• the fabric and structure of the

building e.g. roof, walls, fixtures and

fittings; and

• damage caused by fire, escape of

water, storm, flood etc.

At Genesis we aim to deliver services

Stay gas safe

digitally, which means you will be able

to download to your computer or

smartphone your buildings insurance

certificate from our website in the

near future.

If you require a paper copy of the

certificate, please make your request

to the Insurance Team at the email

address at the foot of this article.

The current insurance policy placed

with Zurich Municipal (policy number

JHA-22S173-0013) is due to expire 30

September 2015. The new certificate

for the policy period of 1 October

2015 and 30 September 2016 will be

available for download at least one

week prior to expiry of the 2014-15

certificate. Should you be affected

by this change, you will receive a

letter from the Insurance Team with

your service charge statement in

September advising you what to do.

Lastly, as this is block policy, we do

not undertake the noting of individual

properties. This means we are unable

display your individual property

address on the buildings insurance


Should you wish to discuss any

of this, please contact the Genesis

Insurance Team by emailing

Gas Safety Week is 14-20 September 2015 and is an annual event to raise awareness of gas safety across the UK. It is

coordinated by the Gas Safe Register with support from the gas industry and retailers.

If you are a shared owner or leaseholder, you are required by law to fix and service the gas appliances in your home.

Stay safe with these top tips:

1. Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix

and service gas appliances – it’s the law and will help

keep you safe. To find a Gas Safe registered engineer

in your area, call 0800 408 5500

2. Safety check all your gas appliances - including

boilers, gas cookers and gas fires - every year.

3. Unsafe gas appliances can put you at risk of carbon

monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill. Recognise

the symptoms – headaches, dizziness, nausea,

breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.

Buy an audible carbon monoxide alarm for your home

(refer to manufacturer’s instructions for how to use).

4. Check gas appliances for signs that they are not

working properly e.g. lazy yellow flames instead of

crisp blue ones, black marks or stains on or around

the appliance and too much condensation in the


5. Only use gas appliances for their intended purpose

e.g. don’t use a gas oven to heat a room or a gas

barbeque inside the house.

6. Ensure there is enough ventilation for your gas

appliances to allow them to burn correctly and make

sure you are not blocking any air vents that provide an

air supply to the gas appliance.

For further information visit

Right to Buy

Following May’s General Election,

the Government has announced

the extension of the ‘Right to Buy’

for housing association residents.

At the moment, full details of

the scheme are not known but

ministers will set out their exact

proposals soon as part of debate

around a new Housing Bill which

the Government will be steering

through Parliament.

Right now, Genesis is not in

a position to take any requests

for right to buy until the policy is

made clear but we are currently

discussing this with Government.

While some housing

associations oppose the extension

of the right to buy, our view is that

if residents wish to exercise that

right, then landlords should not

stand in their way.

Q: Is this similar to the right to

buy of council housing?

A: Yes, very.

Q: I rent from Genesis. Am I


A: Currently, you would need to

have been a resident of Genesis or

another social landlord for three

years. If you are in a house, the

discount from the market price

will be 35%, rising to 50% if you

occupy a flat.

Q: Would there be a discount

or would I have to pay market


A: There is a discount. Currently, a

potential buyer in London would

get up to £103,000 contribution

to buy their home. If you live in

England but outside London, a

potential buyer would be entitled

to a discount of £77,000.

Q: What are the differences

between ownership and


A: As a tenant, you are entitled

to assistance with housing

costs (housing benefit). As

your landlord, Genesis is also

responsible for routine repairs

and maintenance of the property.

As a homeowner, you would

be responsible for all costs

associated with maintaining your

home and no longer be eligible for

housing benefit. In addition, as a

homeowner, you would become

liable for all costs associated with

major works should you buy a

leasehold property.

Q: How likely is it that this policy

will be introduced?

A: As there is a Conservative a

majority of 12 in the House of

Commons, it is very probable this

legislative proposal will become


Q: I want to buy my home off

Genesis. What should I do?

A: There is a ‘right to acquire’

already in place if you live in

a property built or acquired

by Genesis before 1997 but

the discounts are very small

compared to this proposal. Please

check our website for details on

eligibility as a Genesis tenant.

For impartial, confidential

information, call the Money

Advice Service on 0300 500 5000.

Movers and


Some of you have

requested information

about staff who have

recently joined or left

Genesis. To this end, we

have introduced a regular

‘movers and shakers’

column for customerfacing

roles so that you

can see this at a glance.

Hello and welcome to:

Salema Khanom

Genesis Connect Administrator

Rita Pickering

Cleaner/Caretaker (Region 1 – East

London and East of England)

Cleuber Martins

Concierge (Stratford Halo)

Lorraine Forbes

Housing Benefit Overpayment Officer

(Tenancy Services)

Goodbye and thank you to:

Ray Currey

Voids and Lettings Manager

William Pringle

Welfare Benefits Advisor

Home Life

16 Spotlight | Autumn 2015 | Issue 16 17

New developments:

Turn to page 6 for more


Home Life



Lesbian, Gay,

Bisexual and


(LGBT) forum

Were you at Pride?

Meet Andrea.

Andrea is a Genesis resident from

Westminster and has been in the LGBT

Customer Forum since it started. He

came on Pride for the second year

running in July and marched along with

the Genesis Staff group along with

thousands of other LGBT people and

their supporters, friends and families.

Pride is an Annual Event in London

and other cities across the UK that

celebrates and shows off the massive

diversity of the LGBT community.

Genesis has been proudly marching

for four years now, and has led the

way for Housing Associations to join

and demonstrate their commitment

to celebrating their LGBT staff and


We’re on


and Twitter

What’s on

The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and

Transgender) Customer Forum has

a packed line up for the autumn,

including befriending of other LGBT

Residents, a speaker session with

Genesis Maintenance Managers and a

presentation on polyamory.

There will also be two workshops

on Transgender people held in

conjunction with the Genesis staff

network group GForce and Gendered


Most exciting of all, a new branch of

the Forum will meet in East London,

with the first meeting confirmed

for Tuesday October 18th. All LGBT

customers are welcome to attend.

Meetings are a great chance to

socialise and ‘put the world to rights’

with other LGBT residents. When

meetings are in the evening we even

provide some tasty free food!

If you’d like to come along to the

Forum please email tanya.lillis@ (if you’d like to come

to the Forum in the East London please

mention this), and if you’d like to be

‘befriended’ by another LGBT resident

then please contact miles.lanham@ We will always

treat your emails and calls with the

utmost confidence. If you’d prefer to

telephone, then please call the contact

centre and leave a message for Tanya

or Miles and we will call you back.

We’re always looking at new ways to make it easier for you to get – and stay - in

touch with us. During the past year, we have introduced new Twitter and Facebook

pages for residents at and


Our Facebook and Twitter pages are an easy way for you to keep in touch about

opportunities available through Genesis, share your experiences and chat with

fellow residents. We regularly post to the page details about upcoming events,

training, volunteering, jobs and ways you can get involved with Genesis.

You can also use Facebook and Twitter to speak to our contact centre Monday-

Friday during office hours (9am to 5pm).

If you have any questions or feedback about our social media channels, please


Update from


Disability Forum

Our Customer Disability Forum has had a busy few months!

From assisting the policy team with a review of the Aids &

Adaptations policy, and receiving training from mental health

charity MIND on mental health awareness, the forum has gained

skills and knowledge to help ensure Genesis acknowledges

disability issues in all aspects of service delivery.

The group also assisted the Volunteering, Employment,

Enterprise and Training team with a gardening project delivered

by community charity ‘Groundwork’ to help disabled residents

clear their gardens. The Disability Forum has been referring

residents to this programme as well as becoming ‘Green Team’

volunteers themselves.

Finally, we’d like to welcome new members Claire Meade and

Ranjan Fisher who attended their first meeting in July and are

already getting involved with a number of projects. The group

are still keen to welcome new members so please get in touch if

you’re interested in joining.

For more information, email

uk or call 033 3000 3000 and ask to speak to the Customer

Involvement Team.

Suspect tenancy fraud?

Tell us

We recently recovered a one bedroom property

in Westminster which was being illegally sublet.

Our records showed that the tenancy had been

awarded to a single male but when we called at

the property, we found a mother and her two

children living there with no sign of the legal

tenant. Further enquiries revealed that the tenant

had been living elsewhere with his wife and

four children.

Illegally subletting a property is a criminal

offence under the Prevention of Social Housing

Fraud Act 2013. It can incur a prison sentence

of up to two years or a fine of up to £50,000 in

addition to a criminal record.

When presented with the evidence and the

prospect of a criminal conviction, the tenant

quickly returned the property to us which

meant we could allocate it to someone in genuine

and desperate need of an affordable social

housing property.

With so many people and families on the

waiting list for social housing, it really is not fair

when someone abuses the system in this way.

We all contribute to the system, and one day it

could be one of us that needs genuine assistance.

If you suspect someone is committing

tenancy fraud, such as subletting or lying

to quality for social housing, you can report

this anonymously to the Genesis Tenancy

Fraud Team on 020 7563 0064 or at: fraud.

18 Spotlight | Autumn 2015 | Issue 16 19

Don’t miss our upcoming

diversity events:

Meet our



At Genesis, we are committed to promoting a culture where

everyone is valued regardless of their background, faith, sexual

orientation, gender, disability or any other characteristic.

To help us in this endeavour, we have recruited Diversity

Champions from among our staff and customers to help us ensure

that diversity and inclusiveness is part of everything we do.

17 september 2015

Sign Language training

Time: 10am – 1pm

Venue: Atelier House, 64 Pratt Street,

Camden NW1 0DL

23 september 2015

Dyslexia Awareness

Time: 1pm – 2pm

Venue: Atelier House, 64 Pratt Street,

Camden NW1 0DL

24 september 2015

Age Awareness training

Time: 10am – 4pm

Venue: Westminster, London (venue TBC)

1 october 2015

Enterprise, Employment

and Training: Turn to page

14 for more information.


Mental Health Awareness training

Time: 10am – 1pm

Venue: Granta House, 15-19 Broadway,

London E15 4BQ

9 october 2015

From left to right: David Short, Leona Menville, Anthony Were, Tara Hennigan. Inset: Mik Scarlet

Leona Menville and Anthony Were –

Race Champions

Leona and Anthony both work in

the Neighbourhoods Teams. They

are committed to Black and Minority

Ethnic (BME) issues that are of concern

to residents, including employment,

training and further educational


Anthony and Leona said: “As Diversity

Champions, we have a real opportunity

to influence the experience of BME

people and hopefully make a real

difference to their day-to-day lives”.

David Short – Age Champion

David is a Financial Inclusion Officer for


“I would very much like to work with

residents to understand how we are

meeting the needs of older customers.

The voice of older residents is vital and

will lead to much positive and practical

work going forward.”

Tara Hennigan – Disability Champion

Tara works in the Genesis Tenancy

Support Team.

”I am very excited about being a

Diversity Champion and my specialism

is sign language for customers with

hearing loss. There are 10 million people

in the UK with some form of hearing

loss - that’s one in six of the population.

I studied level 1 and 2 in British Sign

Language and I run sign language

training for staff and customers.”

“The next sign language training

session is 17 September (more details

below) and it will be great to see

residents there.”

Mik Scarlet - Disability Champion

“I am a disabled Genesis resident. As

well as a trainer, I work closely with the

Diversity Champions to see how Genesis

can better meet the needs of customers

and staff. We want to involve as many

people as possible and the role of the

Champions is very flexible and all help,

good ideas and enthusiasm are always


Want to be a Diversity Champion yourself?

If so, we’d love to hear from you. Full training is provided and no particular

skills are required other than a strong desire to improve the quality of life

for residents and promote diversity and inclusion.

Contact Richard Sharp, Head of Diversity and Inclusion on 020 8900

4775 or at:

Workplace Adjustments For People

With Disabilities

Time: 1pm – 2pm

Venue: Atelier House, 64 Pratt Street,

Camden NW1 0DL

10 october 2015

Mental Health Social (World Mental

Health Day)

Time: 12pm – 2pm

Venue: 19 Warton Road, Stratford E15 2GG

20 october 2015

Dyslexia Awareness

Time: 10am – 1pm

Venue: Atelier House, 64 Pratt Street,

Camden NW1 0DL

22 october 2015

Women Like Us:

Supporting women to return to work after

having children

Time: 12pm – 2pm

Venue: Utopia House, 192-196 High Road,

Willesden, NW10 2PB

15 december 2015

Dyslexia Awareness

Time: 10am – 1pm

Venue: Malthouse, 8 Elsey’s Yard,

Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds IP33


For more information or to book

your place on any of the events

above, call 020 7563 0166 or email

Gardening is a piece of cake

thanks to volunteers in Stratford

To mark Volunteers Week, an

annual celebration of the fantastic

contribution millions of volunteers

make across the UK, Genesis held a

special event at a care and support

scheme in Stratford in June.

Amber Court in Warton Road saw

guests, including service users,

staff and local residents, trying their

hands (or should that be their green

fingers) at creating a kitchen garden

with plants and materials donated

by B&Q during a speed volunteering

challenge. This was followed by tea

and cake, during which guests found

out more about the benefits of

getting involved in the community.

Genesis runs a highly successful

programme which offers care and

support and general needs residents

support with accessing a diverse

range of employment, training and

volunteering opportunities, and the

Amber Court event also showcased

volunteering, employment and

training opportunities for residents

with disabilities.

Amber Court resident Rabia Khan

said: “I had a good time. It’s a really

good idea to grow plants as it’s quite

empty out there. I’d love it if we could

grow some other fruits – maybe even

some aloe vera!”

Richard Sharp, Head of Diversity

and Inclusion at Genesis, said: "We are

delighted that our Care and Support

customers were able to get involved.

We look forward to seeing many more

customers accessing the Genesis

volunteer programme during this

exciting year.”

Amber Court forms part of Genesis’

flagship Stratford Halo development,

and offers 65 self-contained flats and

specialist care for older people and

people with disabilities.

To find out more about

volunteering opportunities with

Genesis, contact the Connect

Team on 020 7563 0166 or at: EET@ . Spotlight | Autumn 2015 | Issue 16 21



What did you think?





















Key : Heads of Region & their areas

1 Nazir


2Pippa Read


East London & East of


North London and Herts

What did you think?

Let us know your thoughts on the W issue of Genesis Magazine

Please tick the appropriate


I like the design of this issue




What did you think?




3 Debbie


4 John


Join a Regional Committee!

West London and the


Brent and Barnet

We have four Regional Committees (RC) (one each) for the four regions where we operate.

The RCs will focus on the following areas for the next year:

Complete the

survey and

send to:

I like the articles in this issue

I have visited the Genesis website in the last month

I follow Genesis on Twitter or Facebook

What was your favourite article in this issue?

Readers' Corner

Region 1 (East London and East of England): Repairs and recruiting new members

Region 2 (North London and Herts): Neighbourhood engagement and empty property


Region 3 (West and South London): Repairs

Region 4 (Brent and Barnet): Digital Inclusion (interactive customer portal to enable you

to pay your rent and report repairs online) and Street Properties.

The RCs help ensure that residents are at the heart of everything we do and work with

their relevant Head of Region to scrutinise our performance and improve services.

We want to hear what you think about our plans, our services and our performance in

your area. If you would like to join a Regional Committee and have your say, go to www. or contact the Customer Involvement

Team on 033 3000 3000 or at:

Update from Anti-Social

Behaviour (ASB) Forum

The ASB forum meets four times a year to

look at how services can be improved to help

tackle anti-social behaviour.

Forum member Eric Witchell, had this to say

after the meeting in June:

“The ASB forum has been going for at least

2 years and during that time remarkable

progress has been made and some

spectacular results achieved in dealing with

ASB issues.

Recent activity by the Forum has included

helping to develop content for a new

Domestic Noise Nuisance policy to assist us

with dealing with noise nuisance complaints.

If you would like to be part of the ASB

forum, contact Rabea Begum on 020

8451 8224 or at: mygenesis@genesisha.

Spotlight Magazine,

Genesis Housing


Atelier House,

64 Pratt Street,



If you prefer, you can

email your feedback to




What would you like to see more of?

How do you get the most useful information from Genesis?

Your Property Manager


Letters in the post

Genesis website


Would you prefer to receive Spotlight by email?

Yes ( please supply us with your email address below)


Contact details




22 Spotlight | Winter Autumn 2013 2014 2015 | | Issue 1012 16 23

If you need any part of this information in large print,

Braille, on audio tape or explained in your own

language please contact us on the number below.








033 3000 3000

Genesis Housing Association, Atelier House, 64 Pratt Street, London, NW1 0DL

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