Get Connected Autumn/Winter edition 2015

Our tenant newsletter for Autumn/Winter edition 2015

Our tenant newsletter for Autumn/Winter edition 2015


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<strong>Get</strong> <strong>Connected</strong> A<br />

charitable Housing Association<br />

Residents’ Newsletter <strong>Autumn</strong>/<strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong><br />

There was music, dance and storytelling to set your heart racing at our<br />

recent Connect the Dots pop-up festival. Find out more inside this issue >>

Your shout<br />

Seen something in <strong>Get</strong> <strong>Connected</strong> that you’d like to give us feedback on? Got a story<br />

you’d like to share? Things happening in your community that you’d like to celebrate?<br />

Then we’d like to hear from you!<br />

You can send ‘Your shout’ submissions to us by email on<br />

communications@connecthousing.org.uk or by post to:<br />

<strong>Get</strong> <strong>Connected</strong>, Connect Housing Association<br />

205 Roundhay Road, Leeds LS8 4HS<br />

Notice Bo<br />

Christmas closure times<br />

Our offices will close at 1pm on Thursday<br />

24 December. We will open again at 9am on<br />

Monday 4 January 2016. During this time you<br />

can still call 0300 5000 600<br />

and speak to our out-of-hours<br />

service to report an emergency<br />

repair or anti-social behaviour.<br />

Bolt<br />

Freya<br />

Pet Parade<br />

Thanks again to everyone who sent in<br />

photos of their furry friends. We’ve got two<br />

canine cuties to share with you.<br />

This issue includes:<br />

YOUR HOME 4<br />


It’s a hard life being a pampered pooch.<br />

Beautiful (and relaxed) Freya is 13 years old<br />

and belongs to Debra Black in Leeds.<br />

Thanks Richard Lamb in Leeds for sending<br />

in this fantastic photo of Bolt. He is a one<br />

year old Jack Russell Terrier and he loves<br />

playing with other dogs, kids and sometimes<br />

even cats!<br />


(special pull-out and keep guide) 7<br />

If you’d like your pet to feature in the next<br />

issue of <strong>Get</strong> <strong>Connected</strong> please send a photo<br />

to communications@connecthousing.org.uk<br />




Front cover stars<br />

The photograph on the front cover features<br />

The Sharp Steppers – a Lindy Hop dance group<br />

from Leeds who put the swing into our recent<br />

Connect the Dots festival. Read more on page 12.<br />


ard<br />

All change for housing<br />

associations!<br />

The new Conservative Government has strong ideas about housing associations<br />

and is already bringing in sweeping changes. These will have a significant effect<br />

on Connect and you may soon be seeing changes in our services.<br />

You will be glad to hear that the Government has unexpectedly required housing associations to<br />

reduce the rent for most tenants by 1% each year for the next four years, starting in April next<br />

year. Keeping rents truly affordable is one of Connect’s aims and we are pleased that this<br />

reduction will help many people.<br />

This will also mean a big drop in income for Connect. Inevitably that will affect the services we can provide<br />

and the staff we employ, and will affect our future development plans too. In the current economic climate<br />

we know that our services are especially welcome, so we are truly sorry that some will now be lost. We will<br />

bring you more details of changes at Connect in the next newsletter.<br />

As you may have heard, the Government is planning to give housing association tenants the<br />

Right to Buy their homes. We know that many tenants would love to become home owners and<br />

will be pleased to hear this.<br />

It will be very difficult though for Connect to replace any homes that we sell, with similar homes to rent.<br />

This means that the number of homes available at affordable rents for those who cannot afford to buy or rent<br />

privately will reduce. This is a huge concern for Connect as our rented housing is sometimes the only way that<br />

people can find decent, secure homes they can afford. More Government changes are on the way. We will<br />

keep you up to date in <strong>Get</strong> <strong>Connected</strong> as we get to know the details.<br />

I’d welcome hearing YOUR views on these changes – you can contact me on<br />

hello@connecthousing.org.uk<br />

Jenny Brierley, Chief Executive<br />

Read more thoughts about recent policies and<br />

their impact on social housing on our new blog<br />

site: www.connectthedots.org.uk >>><br />

A helping hand onto the<br />

housing ladder<br />

Connect will soon be offering a range of brand new homes<br />

across Kirklees for people wanting to buy. Our new shared<br />

ownership properties will help people who might otherwise<br />

be priced out of home-ownership.<br />

There are two and three<br />

bedroom houses on offer<br />

around Dewsbury and<br />

Huddersfield, with prices<br />

starting at £31,250 for a 25%<br />

share. Larger shares can be<br />

purchased and homeowners<br />

have the option to purchase<br />

additional shares as their<br />

financial circumstances<br />

change over time.<br />

Connect is able to offer these<br />

great deals because private<br />

house builders are obliged<br />

under planning rules to offer<br />

a proportion of the new<br />

homes they build to housing<br />

associations at a discounted<br />

price. You may have read<br />

about the Government’s plan<br />

to change these rules, so that<br />

developers can instead sell<br />

those homes direct to first<br />

time buyers at 80% of their<br />

market value.<br />

We believe shared ownership<br />

is a much lower cost way to<br />

get onto the housing ladder<br />

than a 20% one-off discount.<br />

These changes to the<br />

planning rules will mean less<br />

affordable homes being<br />

developed and less homeownership<br />

opportunities like<br />

this will be available through<br />

Connect and other housing<br />

associations.<br />

Martyn Broadest,<br />

Director of Regeneration<br />



Dealing with<br />

condensation<br />

Condensation is more common between the months of October and<br />

March when the weather is cooler. It is normal for everyone to<br />

experience condensation in their home, but how it’s dealt with is<br />

what the makes difference between just having condensation on your<br />

windows in the morning or having black mould build up on the walls.<br />

Here’s some information and guidance to help you this winter.<br />

What is condensation?<br />

Checklist for reducing condensation<br />

There is always some moisture in<br />

the air. If the air gets cold, it<br />

can’t hold all of the moisture<br />

and appears as droplets of water<br />

on cold surfaces such as windows<br />

and walls – this is condensation.<br />

If you leave condensation and<br />

don’t wipe it away when you see<br />

it forming, this can lead to black<br />

mould growth.<br />

More information<br />

Visit our website<br />

www.connecthousing.org.uk/condensation<br />

to download a copy of our full<br />

information leaflet. If you would<br />

like to receive a printed copy of our<br />

leaflet please call 0300 5000 600.<br />

Cooking:<br />

Extractor fan on<br />

Lids on saucepans<br />

Kitchen window open<br />

Kitchen door shut<br />

General:<br />

Open window trickle vents<br />

Open windows in the morning if<br />

there is condensation<br />

Wipe condensation off windows<br />

in the morning<br />

Heating on for at least several<br />

hours a day<br />

Furniture not pushed up against<br />

external walls<br />

Black mould cleaned using an<br />

anti-mould spray cleaner as<br />

soon as it appears<br />

Lid on fish tanks<br />

Bathing:<br />

Extractor fan on<br />

Bathroom window open<br />

Bathroom door shut<br />

Clothes washing/drying:<br />

Tumble dryer vented outside<br />

Clothes hung up outside<br />

If this is not possible…<br />

Clothes hung on a dryer in the<br />

bathroom with the window open<br />

and door shut<br />

Clothes not hung on radiators<br />


Paying for repairs<br />

We recently celebrated the first anniversary of our<br />

in-house repairs team taking over the service across<br />

all Connect’s homes. We have made a lot of progress in<br />

improving the value for money of the service, but there<br />

are still some things we have yet to bring in.<br />

One of these is charging tenants for repairs that are their responsibility.<br />

Tenants who took part in our research told us this was important to them.<br />

We want to make sure that our approach to repairs is consistent,<br />

that any charges we make are fair, and that there is a system in<br />

place to collect the money effectively. We have been trialling<br />

approaches to chargeable repairs over recent weeks and we will<br />

be rolling out the new system in the next couple of months.<br />

In the meantime, please be reassured that if you report a repair<br />

that is your responsibility, we will tell you this before carrying<br />

out any work and we will give you the option to make your own<br />

arrangements (except where the problem is an emergency or<br />

needs making safe).<br />

Of course, you will not be charged for repairs that are<br />

Connect’s responsibility.<br />

Sure success<br />

Our gas service and maintenance<br />

contractor Sure Maintenance is<br />

continuing to achieve high levels<br />

of customer satisfaction and<br />

completion of jobs on first visit.<br />

Since the start of the contract,<br />

8,086 repairs and 6,361 annual gas<br />

service visits have been successfully<br />

completed, achieving 100%<br />

compliance of safety certificates.<br />

In addition, 611 high efficiency<br />

boilers have been installed<br />

improving energy efficiency and<br />

reducing fuel bills for each tenant<br />

by approximately £145* a year.<br />

*Savings taken from Energy<br />

Savings Trust<br />

Is Connect<br />

providing<br />

value for money?<br />

Every year we produce a value<br />

for money assessment, which is<br />

sent to our regulator and also<br />

published on our website so it<br />

is transparent and available to<br />

all tenants and stakeholders.<br />

F o r<br />

Delivering Value<br />

Delivering Value<br />

F o r<br />

M o n e y<br />

M o n e y<br />

You can view a copy at<br />

www.connecthousing.org.uk/<br />

valueformoney<br />

If you would like to receive a<br />

paper copy please call us on<br />

0300 5000 600.<br />


Care about<br />

where you<br />

live?<br />

Want to work<br />

with Connect to<br />

improve things?<br />

We need you!<br />

We are looking for volunteers to<br />

complete an annual Well Managed<br />

Estate checklist about the<br />

estate/scheme where they live.<br />

The process is easy and we keep your time<br />

commitment to a minimum. You can make a<br />

difference to where you live in three simple steps:<br />

1. Attend a half-day training session about how<br />

to complete your checklist<br />

2. Complete the checklist on your estate/scheme<br />

once a year (in Spring)<br />

3. Attend a half-day meeting to discuss your<br />

findings and feedback to Connect<br />

Interested in getting involved?<br />

If you’d like to become a Well Managed Estate<br />

volunteer or want to find out more please call<br />

Lisa Longbottom on 0300 5000 600 or email<br />

lisa.longbottom@connecthousing.org.uk<br />

BRING<br />

YOUR<br />

IDEAS<br />

TO LIFE<br />

Do you have<br />

an idea that<br />

will benefit your<br />

local community?<br />

The CRF Community Priority Fund<br />

could provide the money you need to<br />

make it a reality. The CRF Committee<br />

can approve small bids (under £1,500) all<br />

year round, for as long as the year’s<br />

budget lasts. If you would like to apply just<br />

call 0300 5000 600 and ask for a CRF<br />

Community Priority Fund form – if you<br />

need any advice or help to fill it in please<br />

ask for Lisa Longbottom.<br />

2016<br />


9 February 2016, 1-3pm,<br />

Haw thorn Mill, Leeds<br />

12 April 2016, 6-8pm,<br />

Haw thorn Mill, Leeds<br />

RSVP: if you would like to<br />

attend a CRF meeting please<br />

call Lisa Longbottom on<br />

0300 5000 600<br />

Come<br />

and join in<br />

the fun<br />

Discounted theatre tickets for Connect tenants<br />

The West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds is offering Connect tenants<br />

and their families seats to its festive performances for just £10!<br />

Shows for this season include The Night Before Christmas and<br />

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.<br />

Demand is very high at the box office, so if you’d like to book tickets<br />

please email the CRF Treasurer and Secretary, Maureen Kershaw on<br />

mokershaw@gmail.com or call Lisa Longbottom at Connect on 0300 5000 600.<br />


Stay warm and<br />

safe this winter<br />

As the weather gets colder and winter sets in, we<br />

wanted to share with you some practical tips and<br />

advice to help you stay warm and safe in your home.<br />

Be prepared<br />

PULL-OUT<br />

AND KEEP<br />

We have included specific advice for older people who may struggle in the<br />

winter months with isolation, illness and increased risk of injury. If you have<br />

older neighbours or relatives make sure they’re safe and well – if you’re<br />

worried about anyone you can call the Age UK helpline on 0800 009966.<br />

Weather forecasts<br />

Keep up to date with local<br />

and national weather<br />

forecasts or visit the<br />

Met Office website at<br />

www.metoffice.gov.uk<br />

Insurance<br />

We insure the structure and<br />

fittings of the building, but<br />

not your belongings. Home<br />

contents insurance may be<br />

the last thing on your mind<br />

when there are so many<br />

other outgoings, but if the<br />

unexpected happens can you<br />

afford not to have insurance?<br />

Emergencies<br />

Make sure you have the<br />

correct telephone numbers<br />

for people you may need<br />

to contact in an emergency.<br />

Supplies<br />

Keep your cupboards and<br />

freezer well stocked with<br />

food and essentials in case<br />

you are unable to get to<br />

the shops.<br />

Care alarms<br />

If you have a care alarm<br />

installed make sure you test<br />

it. Remember to keep the<br />

call centre informed of any<br />

changes to your emergency<br />

contacts details or telephone<br />

numbers.<br />

Peace of mind<br />

The National Housing Federation offers ‘My Home’, a contents<br />

insurance policy for all social housing tenants with low<br />

premiums and flexible payment schemes.<br />

For more information visit www.thistlemyhome.co.uk<br />

or call them on 0345 450 7288.<br />

Help is at hand<br />

Care Ring (Telecare) is an alarm call service provided by Leeds<br />

City Council, which allows older people to continue living<br />

independently at home with the knowledge that help is at hand<br />

at the press of a button.<br />

If you would like more information about this or similar services<br />

in the area you live, please contact Simon Calland at Connect on<br />

0300 5000 600.<br />


Stay warm and safe this winter<br />

<strong>Get</strong> your home winter ready<br />

Heating and lighting<br />

Make sure your heating is<br />

working properly. For any gas,<br />

heating or hot water<br />

breakdowns you can contact<br />

Connect on 0300 5000 600.<br />

Check your lights are working,<br />

remember it gets dark quickly<br />

in winter and poor<br />

lighting can<br />

increase<br />

the risk of<br />

accidents.<br />

Frozen pipes<br />

If your water pipes have frozen<br />

and you're without water<br />

follow the simple guidance<br />

provided by Yorkshire Water.<br />

1.Turn off your stop tap – in<br />

most homes you'll find the<br />

stop tap under the kitchen<br />

sink, but it could be located<br />

in a cellar, garage or<br />

outbuilding.<br />

2.Feel the pipework around<br />

your stop tap to see if it's<br />

extremely cold. If it is, try<br />

heating the pipe with a fan<br />

heater or hair dryer. Don't<br />

use a naked flame.<br />

3.Turn your stop tap back on.<br />

4.Insulate your pipes with<br />

waterproof foam lagging,<br />

available from DIY outlets or<br />

plumbing merchants.<br />

Emergency repairs<br />

If you have an emergency repair please call us on<br />

0300 5000 600<br />

Be warm<br />

Heating your home<br />

If you set your heating to the<br />

right temperature (between<br />

18-21ºC) you can keep your<br />

home warm and lower your<br />

bills. Set your heating to come<br />

on just before you get up and<br />

switch off when you go to bed.<br />

If it is very cold, set it to come<br />

on earlier and go off later<br />

rather than turning the<br />

thermostat up. Visit<br />

www.connecthousing.org.uk/<br />

heatingprogrammers to find<br />

your user instructions.<br />

Food and drink<br />

Heat up from the inside by<br />

eating hot foods such as soups<br />

and casseroles. Drink hot<br />

drinks – if you struggle to carry<br />

hot drinks why not make up a<br />

flask and keep it by your chair.<br />

Could you<br />

save £150*<br />

per year?<br />

Switch<br />

and Save<br />

Switching supplier is one of the<br />

key ways you can reduce your<br />

household energy bills.<br />

My Home Energy Switch is a<br />

free and impartial service.<br />

*On average those who use the<br />

service save around £150 on<br />

their energy bills per year.<br />

The service is available online at<br />

www.myhomeenergyswitch.org.uk<br />

or you can call the freephone<br />

number on 0800 0014 706.<br />

Clothing<br />

Wrap up in<br />

several layers of<br />

clothing, this will keep you<br />

warmer than one thick layer.<br />

Wear a hat; we lose most of<br />

our body heat through our<br />

head. Wear sensible footwear<br />

something warm with a thick<br />

sole and a good grip.<br />

Exercise<br />

Keeping active, especially if<br />

your mobility is restricted, will<br />

keep your circulation flowing,<br />

which will help to keep you<br />

warm. Contact Connect Older<br />

People’s Strategists (COPS) on<br />

0113 2311561 to request the<br />

booklet ‘Gentle Exercise in the<br />

Chair for the Elderly’<br />

(remember to consult your GP<br />

before starting any exercise).<br />


Be healthy<br />

Illness<br />

Don’t put off seeing your GP<br />

if you feel unwell, early<br />

intervention reduces recovery<br />

time and the risk of further<br />

complications. You can also<br />

call 111 if you need medical<br />

help fast but it’s not a 999<br />

emergency. NHS 111 is<br />

available 24 hours a day, 365<br />

days a year. Calls are free from<br />

landlines and mobile phones.<br />

Flu jab<br />

Keeping warm over the winter<br />

months can help prevent colds,<br />

flu or more serious health<br />

conditions such as<br />

pneumonia. Ask<br />

your GP or visit<br />

www.nhs.uk to<br />

see if you are<br />

eligible for a<br />

free flu jab.<br />

Prescriptions<br />

If you have repeat<br />

prescriptions delivered make<br />

sure you order them in plenty<br />

of time, especially if severe<br />

weather is forecast.<br />

Financial support<br />

<strong>Winter</strong> Fuel Payment<br />

You could get between £100<br />

and £300 tax-free to pay your<br />

heating bills if you were born<br />

on or before 5 January 1953.<br />

You usually get this paid<br />

automatically if you get the<br />

State Pension. If you qualify<br />

but don’t get paid<br />

automatically, you’ll need to<br />

make a claim. Visit<br />

www.gov.uk/winter-fuelpayment<br />

Cold Weather Payment<br />

You may get a payment if<br />

you receive certain benefits.<br />

Payments are made when your<br />

local temperature is either<br />

recorded as, or forecast to be,<br />

an average of 0°C or below<br />

over seven consecutive days.<br />

You'll get a payment of £25<br />

for each seven-day period of<br />

very cold weather between<br />

1 November <strong>2015</strong> and 31 March<br />

2016. Visit www.gov.uk/<br />

cold-weather-payment<br />

Money Matters<br />

Our Money Matters team can<br />

help you look at your budget,<br />

access debt advice, lower your<br />

energy bills and pay off fuel<br />

debts. You can call the team<br />

on 0300 5000 600 or email<br />

moneymatters@<br />

connecthousing.org.uk<br />

Christmas crime prevention<br />

Presents<br />

Keep presents out of sight –<br />

piles of gifts under the tree<br />

that are visible through a door<br />

or window are tempting to<br />

thieves. Don’t leave empty<br />

boxes outside – it advertises<br />

all the new goods you have.<br />

Be wary of anyone offering<br />

you high price goods at a cut<br />

down price. Your bargain<br />

could be someone else's<br />

Christmas present and<br />

handling stolen goods could<br />

carry a prison sentence.<br />

Plan ahead<br />

Make it look like someone is at<br />

home when you’re going out<br />

for the<br />

evening<br />

– leave<br />

lights on<br />

and close<br />

the curtains. If you’re going on<br />

holiday over the festive period,<br />

ask a friend, relative or<br />

neighbour to keep an eye on<br />

your house.<br />


Stay warm and safe this winter<br />

Gritting and snow clearing policy<br />

Priorities<br />

Low priority: If there is no grit<br />

bin on your estate your scheme<br />

is low priority. However, you<br />

can still collect grit for your<br />

estate during prolonged periods<br />

of bad weather. We will provide<br />

self-help bags that can be<br />

collected from our offices.<br />

Medium priority: We will deliver<br />

grit and place it within the<br />

designated grit bins. During<br />

severe or long lasting winter<br />

conditions we will replenish grit<br />

bin stocks every two weeks.<br />

However, we cannot spread the<br />

grit or clear footpaths.<br />

High priority: Our schemes for<br />

older people and designated<br />

supported housing schemes are<br />

categorised as high priority and<br />

we will top up grit supplies and<br />

clear footpaths in accordance<br />

with the policy.<br />

Using grit<br />

• Grit is provided for use on<br />

key footpaths and communal<br />

areas required for access<br />

only. Please don’t use the<br />

communal grit for your own<br />

drive, non-essential footpaths<br />

and car parking areas.<br />

• Grit is quite corrosive – when<br />

used excessively it can damage<br />

plants and hard surfaces.<br />

What you can expect<br />

• We will grit priority estates<br />

when the five-day forecast<br />

indicates that temperatures<br />

will not rise above 0°C for<br />

three days continuously or<br />

when ice is forecast to form<br />

on footways and the condition<br />

continues after midday on any<br />

individual day, as published<br />

on the BBC Weather website.<br />

• Our staff and contractors will<br />

try to visit priority schemes<br />

every three working days<br />

providing weather conditions<br />

allow and grit stocks and staff<br />

are available.<br />

• If access by car is directly to<br />

the tenant’s front gate, the<br />

surrounding footpath will not<br />

be gritted.<br />

Please take care<br />

We want to help you stay safe<br />

this winter and we’re sorry that<br />

it is not possible for us to grit all<br />

areas. If you would like more<br />

information on the detail of our<br />

gritting policy, please call us on<br />

0300 5000 600.<br />


You are at least four times more likely to die in a<br />

fire in your home if you have no working smoke alarm<br />

Test your smoke alarms on the first of every month, then you know<br />

that they’re working. Don’t take risks with your family when a simple<br />

action is all that’s needed. It’s your life, take extra care of it.<br />

These simple steps can reduce the risk of fire<br />

and keep everyone safer:<br />

Fit smoke alarms on every level of your home<br />

Test them on the 1st of every month and<br />

never take out the batteries<br />

Plan your escape route and make sure<br />

everyone knows it<br />

In England over 200 people die each year in fires in their homes.<br />

These are often caused by smoking materials, cooking accidents,<br />

candles and faulty electrical wiring or appliances – especially heaters.<br />

Put cigarettes out – right out – and never smoke in bed<br />

Take extra care in the kitchen and never leave cooking<br />

unattended<br />

Make a bedtime check last thing at night to reduce fire risks<br />

– eg unplug heaters<br />

Never try to tackle a fire yourself<br />

If a fire breaks out in your home. <strong>Get</strong> out, stay out and call 999<br />

www.gov.uk/firekills<br />



Time to<br />

change<br />

Connect is proud to have signed<br />

the ‘Time to Change’ pledge<br />

This is a pledge to all employees, tenants, service users and the public that we as an<br />

organisation will take action to tackle the stigma and discrimination around mental health.<br />

David Wolverson, the Chair of our Board, signed the pledge on behalf of Connect at our<br />

community space in Dewsbury. Staff and members of the Survivors Group joined in and<br />

raised a cup of tea, enjoyed a slice of cake and made personal pledges.<br />

Liz Power (Mental Health<br />

Services Manager) with David<br />

Wolverson (Chair of the Board)<br />

and the pledge<br />

Giving their all<br />

A huge well done to Lisa Sanderson,<br />

Supported Housing Officer at our<br />

Swan Lane project, for taking on the<br />

Great North Run for the first time.<br />

Lisa ran 13.1 miles in memory of<br />

her Dad and raised over £700 for<br />

Kirkwood Hospice.<br />

September’s<br />

‘Chill and Chat’<br />

coffee morning<br />

at Pennwell<br />

Garth was held<br />

in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.<br />

As part of the World’s Biggest Coffee<br />

Morning, tenants got together over<br />

coffee and cake, raising an amazing<br />

£280 for people affected by cancer.<br />

Hidden Memories Café<br />

Run in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, our Hidden<br />

Memories Café serves more than just hot drinks. Visitors can make<br />

new friends and join in activities to spark memories.<br />

The next café is on Thursday 3 December, from 1pm to 3pm, at<br />

Hawthorn Mill Sheltered Housing, Lower Wortley, LS12 5HQ. We look<br />

forward to welcoming community librarians from Leeds City Council,<br />

who will be running Christmas craft activities during the afternoon.<br />

To book your place please call Sandra Clibbens on 0113 2311561.<br />

An Olympic effort<br />

from everyone<br />

involved<br />

To celebrate the International Day of<br />

Older People, on Friday 9 October<br />

Hawthorn Mill Sheltered Housing<br />

staged its own Olympics event.<br />

“The flags were flying, hearts were<br />

beating and fingers were itching to<br />

take one of the prized medals. The day<br />

started with gentle chair exercises to<br />

limber up those long forgotten (but<br />

soon remembered) muscles. A group<br />

sing-a-long ensured quality breathing.<br />

The games began: beetle drive,<br />

dominoes and hoopla. It was a fierce<br />

battle, but those who stood their<br />

ground were victorious. As the<br />

Hawthorn Mill March (composed by<br />

resident Eddie Ogden) echoed through<br />

the lounge, Connect’s Chief Executive,<br />

Jenny Brierley, presented the medals to<br />

the winners. A special thank you to<br />

Leeds Older Peoples Forum for their<br />

support – the theme of the day<br />

‘keeping healthy and active’ was<br />

certainly achieved!”<br />

Sue Hendry, Senior Scheme Manager<br />


In 2016, we will be opening a new community space at Bond Street<br />

in Dewsbury town centre. On Tuesday 22 September <strong>2015</strong> we held<br />

Connect the Dots – a pop-up festival bringing people together to<br />

get a sneak peek of the venue in the raw and to explore ideas,<br />

share stories and start conversations.<br />

We were delighted to welcome 145 people to<br />

the festival – including partner organisations,<br />

tenants, service users, shareholders, Board<br />

members and one local MP.<br />

Creating connections<br />

The event was all about bringing people<br />

together to get feedback and share ideas about<br />

what should happen in the new community<br />

space. We asked people to stick up a brick and<br />

tell us what barriers they think exist in the<br />

community.<br />

People had fireside chats with our community<br />

reporters and added their words to the festival<br />

bunting. The architect’s plans for the building<br />

were available to view and people gave us<br />

feedback to help shape the space. Between<br />

5.30pm and 6pm there was the opportunity to<br />

be part of Connect’s AGM session.<br />

Connect the storytellers<br />

We heard from people and organisations making<br />

a difference right now, including Mark Griffin,<br />

Batley Smile; Larry Eve, The Basement Recovery<br />

Project; Ruth Bridges, Creative Scene; Vicky<br />

Sawka, Chol Theatre Company; Linda Holmes,<br />

Sensory World; Scott Bell, Inclucid; Paul Burr,<br />

The Real Junk Food Project; and others from<br />

Connect.<br />


Connect the artists<br />

There was music, dance and poetry to set your<br />

heart racing, including singer and songwriter<br />

Jake Smallbones, Lindy Hop<br />

dancing, Hank’s Monologues<br />

and Batley Poets. Connect<br />

tenant Elliot Wigsell from<br />

Urban Art Leeds, worked<br />

outside with spray paints<br />

to bring to life<br />

the ideas of<br />

some of our<br />

younger<br />

tenants.<br />

Connect the best ingredients<br />

Festival goers experienced coffee creativity<br />

from the independent Bean Brothers; tucked in<br />

to food by The Real Junk Food Project, who<br />

reduce food waste, feed hungry people and<br />

build communities; drank delicious mocktails by<br />

Inclucid, who create alcohol-free spaces for all<br />

communities to enjoy; and helped us write the<br />

menu for events at our future happy café.<br />

Pictures, partnerships and popcorn<br />

Our Secret Cinema featured community films<br />

from Alzheimer’s Society, Mencap in Kirklees,<br />

The Real Junk Food Project, Connect Housing,<br />

Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, Heatherstones<br />

Court, Callaloo Carnival Arts, Yorkshire St Pauli,<br />

and Voluntary Action Kirklees.<br />

Thank you to everyone who was part<br />

of the Connect the Dots festival.<br />

None of this is possible without the<br />

enthusiastic support and commitment<br />

of our partners and tenants.<br />

The bigger picture<br />

Community-based organisations,<br />

like Connect and our partners, have<br />

continued to join the dots in the<br />

communities in which we work, adding to<br />

the picture as other services have been cut<br />

back or disappear. We have countless examples<br />

of how these efforts have made a difference,<br />

which you can read in our Annual Review <strong>2015</strong>.<br />

You can read it online at<br />

www.connecthousing.org.uk/annualreview<strong>2015</strong><br />

If you would like to receive a paper copy<br />

please call us on 0300 5000 600.<br />

Recent policy changes will make our<br />

work more challenging but will not<br />

make us retreat. We will continue<br />

to connect the dots.<br />



The end<br />

of Housing<br />

Benefit<br />

Does this information affect you?<br />

If you are Pension Credit age (above 60 years and 6 months) this information<br />

will not affect you so please do not be worried. If you are of working age<br />

(between 18 years and Pension Credit age) it might affect you and is very important.<br />



Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people<br />

who are on a low<br />

income or out of work.<br />

It will replace Housing<br />

Benefit, Income-Based<br />

Jobseekers Allowance,<br />

Income Support,<br />

Income-Related<br />

Employment and<br />

Support Allowance,<br />

Child Tax Credit and<br />

Working Tax Credit.<br />



One of the biggest changes under Universal Credit is<br />

that you will receive your rent entitlement (previously<br />

Housing Benefit) within your monthly Universal Credit<br />

payment as ‘Housing Costs’.<br />

This no longer gets paid directly to Connect and you will<br />

be responsible for paying the full rent to us.<br />



At the moment, Universal Credit mainly affects newly<br />

unemployed single people and in our region rollout has<br />

already begun – Calderdale went live on 27 April <strong>2015</strong>,<br />

Kirklees went live on 29 June <strong>2015</strong> and Leeds is<br />

expected to go live from 1 February 2016.<br />

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages. If you’re<br />

already claiming one or more of the benefits being<br />

phased out, you should carry on claiming as normal.<br />

You’ll be told when you need to do anything differently.<br />

However, if your circumstances change, you may be<br />

asked to claim Universal Credit instead.<br />



It is extremely important that you notify us if you are<br />

asked to claim Universal Credit as there are some<br />

significant changes that will affect the way you need to<br />

pay your rent. Some tenants have already started to claim<br />

Universal Credit and have not realised they have to pay<br />

rent from the money they receive, which has resulted in<br />

rent arrears. If you already receive Universal Credit<br />

please let us know urgently by calling 0300 5000 600.<br />


Here to help<br />

We can help your move to Universal<br />

Credit go smoothly. There will be changes<br />

that will affect you and even if you’re not<br />

likely to be affected straight away, we<br />

can help make sure you’re ready.<br />

Universal Credit will be paid<br />

monthly, you will need a<br />

bank account, you will have<br />

to apply and maintain your<br />

account online and you will<br />

be responsible for paying<br />

your full rent to us directly<br />

from the money you receive.<br />



• Set up a bank account<br />

• <strong>Get</strong> online<br />

• Request direct payments from DWP<br />

• Look at your budget and access debt advice<br />

• Lower your energy bills and pay off fuel debts<br />

• Find work and develop your CV<br />


• If you are already receiving Universal Credit<br />

• When you make a claim for Universal Credit<br />

• If you are worried about the changes or do not feel that<br />

you will be able to manage your rent payments –<br />

the earlier you tell us the more likely it is we can help you<br />

<strong>Get</strong> in touch<br />

Email moneymatters@connecthousing.org.uk<br />

or you can call the Money Matters team on<br />

0300 5000 600<br />

Did you know?<br />

Over the last year our Money Matters team has<br />

given debt advice and welfare benefit guidance<br />

to 238 tenants securing a total of £354,000<br />

for them in extra money and debt relief –<br />

why not see how we can help you?<br />

Are you looking<br />

for a job?<br />

FREE for our tenants<br />

If you’re looking for a job then<br />

MyWorkSearch is what you need! It’s the<br />

UK’s most powerful online toolkit and it<br />

will give you a huge advantage as a<br />

jobseeker. It offers you advice on all<br />

aspects of looking for and securing your<br />

new job and will help you with your dayto-day<br />

job search activities.<br />

Sign-up today<br />

MyWorkSearch is completely free for<br />

Connect tenants. Call Michelle Cox on<br />

0300 5000 600 or email<br />

myworksearch@connecthousing.org.uk<br />

and we will set up your account – we can<br />

also offer help in getting online and how<br />

to use the system.<br />

Christmas<br />

is around<br />

the corner<br />

Christmas should be a happy<br />

occasion spent with family<br />

and friends, but for some it<br />

can be a time of financial<br />

worry and stress. There can<br />

be a great deal of pressure to<br />

spend money on presents and<br />

entertaining, but rent<br />

payments must still be made<br />

throughout the festive<br />

season. If you are<br />

experiencing difficulty<br />

with debts or are<br />

struggling to pay your<br />

rent please contact our<br />

Money Matters team now.<br />


Stay connected<br />

A charitable Housing Association<br />

Call us<br />

0300 5000 600<br />

We have listened to<br />

customer feedback and we<br />

now have one telephone<br />

number that you can call,<br />

whenever you need to.<br />

During office hours your call<br />

will be answered by one of our<br />

Housing Liaison Officers. At all<br />

other times our out-of-hours<br />

service is available if you need<br />

to report an emergency repair<br />

or anti-social behaviour.<br />

Calls to this number cost the<br />

same as making a local call<br />

from any phone, including<br />

mobile phones.<br />

Visit us<br />

You can visit us at either of<br />

our offices:<br />

Leeds office<br />

205 Roundhay Road<br />

Leeds LS8 4HS<br />

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday:<br />

9am – 5.30pm<br />

Wednesday: 10.30am – 5.30pm<br />

Friday: 9am – 5pm<br />

Huddersfield office<br />

The Media Centre<br />

6 Friendly Street<br />

Huddersfield HD1 1RD<br />

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday:<br />

9am – 5pm<br />

Wednesday: 10.30am – 5pm<br />

Friday: 9am – 5pm<br />

Stop Hate UK is a charity<br />

working to raise awareness<br />

of all types of Hate Crime.<br />

Home visits<br />

If you’d like to see someone face-to-face and are<br />

unable to visit either of our offices, please contact<br />

us on 0300 5000 600 and we can arrange a<br />

home visit.<br />

Do it online<br />

www.connecthousing.org.uk<br />

Visit our website where you can report a repair, pay<br />

your rent, report anti-social behaviour, find out<br />

about your tenancy, access support and advice, and<br />

read the latest news from Connect Housing.<br />

You can also contact us by email on<br />

hello@connecthousing.org.uk<br />

<strong>Get</strong> social<br />

You can find us on Facebook and talk to us on<br />

Twitter, Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm<br />

www.facebook.com/ConnectHousing<br />

@ConnectHousing<br />

Cut out and keep me<br />

For an audio version of this information please contact your local Connect Housing Office.<br />

Se não entender esta informação, contacte o Gabinete de Habitação “Connect“ local para que o possam ajudar<br />

Si vous ne comprenez pas ces informations, veuillez contacter votre bureau local du logement Connect.<br />

205 Roundhay Road, Leeds, LS8 4HS.<br />

Tel: 0300 5000 600<br />

A charitable Housing Association.<br />

If you have any ideas for this<br />

newsletter please contact us,<br />

we would love to hear from you.<br />

The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those<br />

of Connect Housing, however, every effort is made to verify the<br />

accuracy and contents of all articles at the time of going to press.<br />

Designed & produced by The Design Box, Leeds. 0113 257 1313 thedesignbox.co.uk

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