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Get Connected Spring 2016

Get Connected is Connect Housing's tenant magazine that is sent our quarterly with news and exciting happenings reported on.

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

<strong>Connected</strong><br />

THE MAGAZINE FOR RESIDENTS<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

Volunteering<br />

Special<br />

Befriending, work<br />

placements and more<br />

Fair repairs<br />

Connect Residents Federation<br />

Apprenticeship opportunities


In this issue:<br />

High Five<br />

Latest news and events<br />

Friendship is<br />

the word<br />

<strong>Get</strong>ting to know the CRF<br />

In Focus<br />

An update on the impact<br />

of recent Government<br />

changes<br />

1000 hours and<br />

counting<br />

Volunteering special: be<br />

a befriender, become a<br />

Board Member or try a<br />

work placement<br />

Fair Repairs<br />

A quick guide to your<br />

repair responsibilities<br />

Connecting the<br />

new generation<br />

to jobs<br />

One apprentice’s<br />

career journey and our<br />

latest apprenticeship<br />

opportunities<br />

Food for thought<br />

Feeding bellies not bins<br />

3<br />

4<br />

6<br />

7<br />

12<br />

13<br />

14<br />

Welcome<br />

This year <strong>Get</strong> <strong>Connected</strong> is 10 years old (so is Connect!) so<br />

it's the perfect time to give the magazine a spring clean.<br />

What’s changed?<br />

There’s a new refreshed look<br />

and feel – making it a better<br />

read. It’s been printed on paper<br />

from sustainable forests using<br />

vegetable-based inks (you’ll see<br />

the accreditations on the back<br />

page), so it’s much better in terms<br />

of environmental quality and<br />

sustainability. It was also packaged<br />

and posted in a different way –<br />

using recyclable plastic wrap.<br />

So it’s cost more, right?<br />

No, this new magazine has cost<br />

much less to produce, print and<br />

post than previous issues. <strong>Get</strong>ting<br />

better value for money was a key<br />

driver in changing the magazine.<br />

We’re also going to look at how<br />

you’d like to receive this magazine<br />

– whether by post, email or online.<br />

What’s not changed?<br />

This is still a magazine for<br />

residents. In fact, we have taken it<br />

a step further. Tenants, volunteers<br />

and community partners have all<br />

been involved in the content of this<br />

issue and we’d like to build on this.<br />

We hope you enjoy your new<br />

<strong>Get</strong> <strong>Connected</strong> – happy reading.<br />

Share your<br />

thoughts<br />

If you’d like to be part of the<br />

next issue, if you’ve got a<br />

story you’d like to share, or<br />

if you’ve read something in<br />

this issue you’d like to give us<br />

feedback on, then we’d like<br />

to hear from you.<br />

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

phone, email,<br />

Facebook or Twitter<br />

0300 5000 600<br />

communications@<br />

connecthousing.org.uk<br />

/ConnectHousing<br />

@ConnectHousing<br />

Thank you<br />

Back cover<br />

All the details you need<br />

to get in touch<br />

Tenants, volunteers and community partners have all been<br />

involved in this issue of the magazine and we’d like to say a big<br />

thank you to Anthony Dilworth, Bruce Bird, Chelsea Ward,<br />

Jamie House, Kath Dalby, Kay Tinson, Malcolm Goodall,<br />

Maureen Kershaw, Max, Paisley, Paul Burr, Robert Chamberlain,<br />

Rosie, Steve Da Silva, Sudha Hussain and Tara.<br />

2


High Five<br />

News you can use<br />

›››<br />

Are you<br />

tired of<br />

counting<br />

sheep?<br />

We’ve<br />

Moved!<br />

Connect has moved from The<br />

Media Centre in Huddersfield<br />

(which we leased) to our own<br />

new premises in Dewsbury. You can find the<br />

new address details on the back cover of this<br />

magazine – we will be fully open in the summer.<br />

We’ve moved office but we’ve not shifted our<br />

focus. Our new building will provide more than<br />

just office space for our staff. It will be a vibrant<br />

community space offering a range of housing,<br />

education, health and wellbeing services for all<br />

our tenants and the wider community.<br />

We’ve been running a course in Kirklees for anyone having trouble<br />

sleeping. Using sleep diaries, sleep theory, thought records and various<br />

other sleep tools, this course has been helping people get a peaceful<br />

night’s sleep. We are looking to run more courses across different locations<br />

– so let us know if you’re interested.<br />

Contact Jessica Sharp on 0300 5000 600 or email<br />

jessica.sharp@connecthousing.org.uk<br />

3<br />

Tropical<br />

Trip<br />

The Survivor’s Group recently visited Tropical World<br />

in Leeds. It was a day of action – featuring nine<br />

members of the group, one volunteer, and too many<br />

creepy crawlies to mention! The Survivors Group is a<br />

friendly and non-judgemental group for people who’ve<br />

experienced mental illness, based in Kirklees.<br />

New members are always welcome.<br />

Contact Louise Turner on 0300 5000 600 or<br />

email louise.turner@connecthousing.org.uk<br />

4<br />

Bank Holidays<br />

in May<br />

We will be closed on<br />

Monday 2nd May and<br />

Monday 30th May. You<br />

can still call 0300 5000 600<br />

and speak to our out-ofhours<br />

service to report an<br />

emergency repair or<br />

anti-social behaviour.<br />

<strong>Get</strong> your<br />

voice heard5<br />

LGBT social housing forum<br />

Wednesday 18th May <strong>2016</strong><br />

Connect is jointly hosting this event with<br />

Leeds City Council and other housing<br />

associations so that we can listen and<br />

understand the housing concerns of the<br />

lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender<br />

(LGBT) community. The event will be held in<br />

Leeds (venue to be confirmed) but tenants<br />

from all areas are welcome.<br />

Contact Lisa Longbottom on<br />

0300 5000 600 or email<br />

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

3


CRF<br />

Friendship<br />

is the word<br />

The CRF (Connect Residents Federation to give it its full title) is fiercely independent and<br />

acts as a critical friend – making sure tenants’ priorities are taken into consideration<br />

across everything Connect does.<br />

Malcolm Goodall (Vice Chairperson) and Maureen Kershaw (Treasurer and Secretary)<br />

talk to <strong>Get</strong> <strong>Connected</strong> about why they are part of the CRF and why you should be too.<br />

What is the CRF all about?<br />

Malcolm Goodall: We look to<br />

fine-tune things Connect does<br />

and make them better for tenants.<br />

We can be critical; we can tell<br />

Connect if we feel they aren’t<br />

doing something right, but it’s in a<br />

friendly manner. Friendship is the<br />

word. It’s no good moaning about<br />

something if you can’t get together<br />

and put it right – that’s what the<br />

CRF does.<br />

Maureen Kershaw: It’s a group of<br />

tenant volunteers who represent<br />

Connect’s residents. It exists for<br />

us to look after the interests of all<br />

tenants, not just ourselves or our<br />

neighbours, and to have a good<br />

relationship with our landlord.<br />

4<br />

I like to<br />

think that<br />

CRF stands<br />

for Connect<br />

Residents<br />

Friends<br />

rather than<br />

Federation.<br />

Malcolm<br />

Tell us about the different<br />

meetings…<br />

MG: As well as five committee<br />

meetings and our AGM, we also<br />

have five general meetings a<br />

year which tenants are welcome<br />

to attend, and we can arrange<br />

transport and cover reasonable<br />

expenses. Meetings are a couple<br />

of hours long and usually start<br />

with a guest speaker – we’ve had<br />

a wide variety of topics including<br />

loan sharks, first aid, and welfare<br />

reform. We have a break with a<br />

buffet and drinks, and end with a<br />

quiz or a game. We’ve changed the<br />

format over the past few years, so<br />

those who used to come should<br />

give it another try. It’s less formal<br />

now and a bit more fun.


MK: Members have made friends<br />

through the meetings, it’s a<br />

good way to share and resolve<br />

problems. We always make a point<br />

to welcome any new members<br />

personally. We find that once<br />

people have attended their first<br />

meeting, they’re usually hooked.<br />

The CRF means so much more<br />

than just three initials.<br />

Why did you join the CRF?<br />

MG: I saw it in <strong>Get</strong> <strong>Connected</strong> and<br />

wanted to try it out. I used to have<br />

my own business and I have been<br />

a tenant for 15 years. I came to<br />

the meetings when I was close<br />

to retirement. I’ve been a general<br />

member around six years and<br />

this is my fourth year of being a<br />

committee member. I feel that I<br />

can bring my business experience<br />

to the meetings.<br />

MK: I wanted to be able to give<br />

something back to Connect – I am<br />

still to this day grateful that I was<br />

given a property when I needed<br />

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

To book your place on the taster session or to<br />

find out more about becoming a member of the<br />

CRF contact:<br />

Lisa Longbottom, Tenant Involvement Officer<br />

T: 0300 5000 600<br />

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

it most. Although I wasn’t able to<br />

attend the meetings at the time<br />

due to my work commitments, I<br />

joined straight away and always<br />

enjoyed reading the minutes.<br />

When I retired, I started to attend<br />

the meetings and was asked to<br />

become the Treasurer – I’ve been<br />

in a committee role ever since.<br />

What would you say to tenants<br />

who are wondering whether the<br />

CRF is for them?<br />

MG: I know the word ‘meeting’<br />

can put people off. You will not be<br />

sitting in a formal atmosphere. It’s<br />

not like that, everybody is welcome<br />

from any age or background and<br />

it’s fun.<br />

MK: It can be a big or little part<br />

of your life – it is what you make<br />

it. It would be good to have more<br />

members come along because<br />

everybody has something to offer.<br />

Quick Guide<br />

to the CRF<br />

› It is an independent<br />

organisation, run by<br />

tenants for tenants.<br />

› It makes sure tenant<br />

priorities are taken into<br />

consideration across<br />

everything Connect does.<br />

› Any tenant over the age<br />

of 18 can be a member<br />

and attend meetings.<br />

› It is run by a committee<br />

of democratically elected<br />

members, including<br />

a Chairperson, Vice<br />

Chairperson, Treasurer<br />

and Secretary.<br />

Taster<br />

Session<br />

Come and meet the CRF,<br />

non-members welcome.<br />

Tuesday 24th May<br />

I love my<br />

time with<br />

the CRF and<br />

have got so<br />

much out of<br />

it. It’s been a<br />

life changing<br />

experience.<br />

Maureen


UPDATE<br />

In Focus<br />

In the last issue of <strong>Get</strong> <strong>Connected</strong> we reported how the<br />

sweeping changes the Government was bringing in would<br />

significantly affect Connect. This is our first update.<br />

By now most of you will have<br />

received your rent review<br />

notifying you of the 1% reduction<br />

in net rent. Keeping rents truly<br />

affordable is one of Connect’s<br />

aims and we are pleased that the<br />

reduction will help many people.<br />

However, this also means a big<br />

drop in income for Connect,<br />

which inevitably affects the<br />

services we can provide, the<br />

staff we employ, and our future<br />

development plans too. The key<br />

consideration has been how we<br />

make the necessary changes<br />

without shifting our focus.<br />

Neighbourly Places<br />

One significant change we<br />

are making is to deliver our<br />

community support in a new way.<br />

Previously we had a separate<br />

The rent review leaflet<br />

that we sent you is also<br />

available on our website at<br />

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

rent<strong>2016</strong><br />

Community Services<br />

team, working alongside<br />

our Neighbourhood Housing<br />

Officers. We are taking a new<br />

approach by combining housing<br />

management and community<br />

development into one new<br />

Neighbourly Places team.<br />

This team will include six<br />

Community Housing Officers,<br />

covering smaller geographical<br />

areas than in the past, which<br />

means they will have more time<br />

to get to know tenants better,<br />

deal with general enquiries<br />

and help build community<br />

relationships. You will receive<br />

details of your own Community<br />

Housing Officer as soon as<br />

the team is in place. There is<br />

also a new dedicated Tenancy<br />

Enforcement Officer, who will<br />

deal with serious anti-social<br />

behaviour cases.<br />

Community remains at the<br />

heart of what we do and this<br />

new approach will increase the<br />

number of staff working in local<br />

neighbourhoods. Our purpose<br />

remains the same: to create<br />

truly affordable homes, to<br />

support people to enjoy healthy<br />

fulfilled lives, and to build safe,<br />

neighbourly places to live.<br />

The<br />

Numbers<br />

6<br />

new<br />

Team<br />

Talk<br />

Alan Metcalfe is the<br />

first of our Community<br />

Housing Officers and<br />

Jean Lewis has taken<br />

on the role of Tenancy<br />

Enforcement Officer.<br />

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

reduction in your<br />

net rent<br />

Community<br />

Housing Officers<br />

new Tenancy<br />

Enforcement Officer<br />

If you’d like to find out more about our approach<br />

to neighbourly places contact:<br />

Ceri Lewis, Neighbourhood Services Manager<br />

T: 0300 5000 600<br />

E: ceri.lewis@connecthousing.org.uk<br />

6


VOLUNTEERING<br />

hours and counting<br />

In February 2015, the first volunteers<br />

came on board for our new befriending<br />

service to help address the issue of<br />

social isolation and loneliness. Fast<br />

forward to today and we’ve reached<br />

over 1,000 hours* of volunteering on<br />

projects across Connect.<br />

We now offer lots of ways to volunteer,<br />

including being part of our befriending<br />

service, working with older people,<br />

supporting people with mental health<br />

concerns, working with one of our<br />

various office based teams, working with<br />

the CRF (Connect Residents Federation)<br />

or even being a Board Member.<br />

We caught up with a few of our volunteers<br />

to find out what it’s all about ››››<br />

*February 2015 to February <strong>2016</strong> – a big<br />

thank you to all our volunteers.<br />

Connect’s Volunteer Services Co-ordinator, Tom Dunn, with befriender Kay (left) and tenant Rosie (right).


Be a<br />

Befriender<br />

Recent research shows that social isolation causes the equivalent health effects of<br />

smoking 15 cigarettes a day.* Shocking isn’t it. Especially as modern life has seen an<br />

increase in people feeling isolated and lonely. That’s why we set up our befriending<br />

service. The service itself isn’t rocket science. Volunteers give at least one hour a week<br />

to spend time with someone experiencing loneliness. The benefits for people using<br />

the befriending service are massive – and it can be a rewarding and incredibly positive<br />

experience for the volunteers too. *Campaign to End Loneliness 2014<br />

KAY & ROSIE<br />

Kay and Rosie are at the park –<br />

one of their favourite spots for<br />

meeting up. There’s still a slight<br />

winter chill in the air, but that<br />

doesn’t stop them. This is where<br />

they often meet to walk, chat, have<br />

a cup of tea and feed the ducks.<br />

Kay has been a volunteer<br />

befriender for Rosie now for four<br />

months. It wasn’t a decision she<br />

took lightly.<br />

“I was unsure of what to expect<br />

by becoming a befriender with<br />

Connect. It was out of my comfort<br />

zone and I felt nervous in case we<br />

didn't get on.”<br />

The laughter and smiles that<br />

Rosie and Kay share now show<br />

that they did get on – and that this<br />

initial connection has grown into a<br />

genuine friendship.<br />

“I can honestly say Rosie has now<br />

become a good friend. Having<br />

such a wonderful experience has<br />

given me the confidence to do<br />

more work with Connect in<br />

the future.”<br />

8<br />

Confidence is also something<br />

that Rosie feels the befriending<br />

service has given her. <strong>Get</strong>ting out<br />

of the house and going to new<br />

places has given her the boost she<br />

needed – she has started to apply<br />

for jobs and is “ready to get back<br />

out there”.<br />

If I have<br />

worries, we<br />

chat about<br />

them and Kay<br />

cheers me up.<br />

I always look<br />

forward to her<br />

visiting me.<br />

It’s nice that<br />

Tom got us<br />

together.<br />

Rosie<br />

Quick Guide<br />

to befriending<br />

› The befriending service<br />

matches volunteers<br />

with people who are<br />

experiencing varying<br />

degrees of social isolation<br />

and loneliness.<br />

› All volunteers are DBS<br />

checked and trained<br />

before they start.<br />

› Anyone wanting to use<br />

the service is checked for<br />

suitability before being<br />

introduced to a volunteer.<br />

› The service usually lasts<br />

around six months to a<br />

year, but can last longer<br />

if it is beneficial for both<br />

people.<br />

› Befriending is more<br />

than just a friendship, it<br />

is about combating social<br />

isolation and loneliness<br />

through a structured<br />

supportive partnership.


MAX & STEVE<br />

Steve is upfront about why he<br />

decided to become a volunteer<br />

befriender. He’s in his second year<br />

of a BA in Business and Marketing<br />

and he wanted to enhance his<br />

CV and get a reference. But what<br />

happened next surprised him.<br />

“My initial intention was to gain<br />

experience; I wanted to add<br />

volunteering to my CV, but little did<br />

I know I'd end up making a friend.”<br />

Volunteers usually do around one<br />

hour per week – Steve has only<br />

been doing this a few months and<br />

has already broken the 100 hours<br />

mark, spending around five hours<br />

a week with Max.<br />

“I wasn’t expecting it to be like this.<br />

It’s just like going to see my old pal!<br />

When you meet someone you get<br />

on with, you connect on a level,<br />

it’s enjoyable. ”<br />

According to Max those five hours<br />

are usually spent “chilling and<br />

killing” – killing time that is, which<br />

usually involves pizza and a shared<br />

love of film.<br />

“When I first met Steve I thought,<br />

‘wow how old is this little whipper<br />

snapper’, but despite the age<br />

gap we have a lot in common.<br />

I love films, I thought I was the only<br />

person, but Steve loves films too.<br />

That’s what surprised me about<br />

this guy. We both love science<br />

fiction films, we have the<br />

same tastes.”<br />

VOLUNTEERING<br />

Max shares a story about how<br />

when he mentioned what his<br />

favourite film was, the next time<br />

Steve visited he brought the DVD<br />

with him as a gift. What was the<br />

film? A science fiction classic? Max<br />

starts laughing, “Pretty Woman.<br />

We were both sitting on the sofa<br />

watching Julia Roberts.”<br />

In amongst the laughter and<br />

the noise of the TV, Max says<br />

something that stands out. It’s a<br />

personal statement but it’s also a<br />

powerful message for befriending<br />

as a whole.<br />

“You don’t realise you were<br />

isolated until you bring someone<br />

into your life; then it shows you<br />

that you were alone.”<br />

I wasn’t<br />

expecting<br />

it to be like<br />

this. It’s just<br />

like going<br />

to see my<br />

old pal!<br />

Steve<br />

9


VOLUNTEERING<br />

Be on<br />

the Board<br />

The Board is responsible for making sure Connect is<br />

properly managed and for setting our future direction.<br />

All members of our Board are volunteers, but did you<br />

know that some are also Connect tenants?<br />

Kath Dalby, Connect tenant<br />

and Board Member, gives the<br />

lowdown on what really happens<br />

in the boardroom.<br />

Most people when they<br />

think of a boardroom<br />

have the image of Alan Sugar<br />

saying “you’re fired!” or lots of<br />

older men in their suits, all a bit<br />

stuffy. Well, we are not like that at<br />

all. We have a younger group of<br />

men and women (about a 50/50<br />

split) from all walks of life<br />

– all with a common passion<br />

for social housing.<br />

As a Board Member you will be<br />

asked to join other working groups<br />

or panels. I’m on the membership<br />

panel where we look to fill Board<br />

vacancies and see what skills we<br />

might like the ideal person to have.<br />

We are asked to form part of the<br />

panel for stage 3 complaints where<br />

a tenant gets the opportunity to<br />

bring their complaint to the panel<br />

of Board Members and the<br />

Chief Executive.<br />

We go on scheme tours, looking<br />

round properties, perhaps new<br />

build areas where the purpose of<br />

a building or scheme may have<br />

changed. It’s ok making decisions<br />

about a scheme but being able to<br />

visualise it makes it a lot easier.<br />

So come along and be nosy like<br />

I did, you never know you could<br />

be the new face at the<br />

board table.<br />

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

If you’d like to find out more about becoming<br />

a Board Member contact:<br />

Jacqueline Rattray, Corporate Secretary<br />

T: 0300 5000 600<br />

E: jacqueline.rattray@connecthousing.org.uk<br />

Robert Chamberlain,<br />

Connect tenant, shares<br />

three key ingredients to<br />

being a Board Member.<br />

CONNECT<br />

Being a Board Member is firstly<br />

about getting connected with<br />

significant and influential people<br />

in the life of Connect Housing.<br />

It is an opportunity to learn how<br />

Connect is run and to have a say<br />

in that yourself. And if you need<br />

references for jobs or voluntary<br />

work, the Board could<br />

provide that.<br />

CONTRIBUTE<br />

Being a Board Member is not<br />

just about what you can gain, but<br />

also what you can contribute.<br />

As a tenant, you have a special<br />

perspective on the issues<br />

discussed that needs to be taken<br />

into account. This is your chance<br />

to get your voice heard.<br />

CONSIDER<br />

Not only does a Board Member<br />

give their views, but we must<br />

consider the wider implications<br />

of decisions that need to be<br />

made. Something that's in<br />

the tenants' best short-term<br />

interests may not be in Connect's<br />

overall long-term interests, so<br />

that has to be considered.<br />

10


Try a work<br />

placement<br />

A volunteer work placement is a great way to get experience, build<br />

up your CV and get a reference for future career progression. We have<br />

volunteers working across different areas of the business, including our<br />

Hidden Memories Café, the Survivors Group, administration and communications.<br />

We welcomed Jamie House on<br />

board as a volunteer graphic<br />

designer, working with our<br />

communications team. Looking<br />

to get some work experience and<br />

enhance his portfolio, Jamie rolled<br />

up his creative sleeves and spent<br />

four weeks in our Leeds office.<br />

Q. Why did you volunteer with us?<br />

A. I decided to volunteer at Connect<br />

because I wanted to gain graphic<br />

design experience in a reputable<br />

organisation with good values. I<br />

was on Jobseekers Allowance<br />

for a while and I thought that<br />

volunteering would really boost my<br />

profile when it came to getting a job.<br />

Q. What did a typical day involve?<br />

A. A typical day was very busy but<br />

fun! I was trusted to design different<br />

customer leaflets and I also worked<br />

on a project for the CRF (Connect<br />

Residents Federation). I had a<br />

great time – there wasn't a day<br />

I didn't enjoy.<br />

Q. Any stand-out moments?<br />

A. Attending Catch-up Connect,<br />

which is a monthly meeting<br />

for all staff. Jenny Brierley, the<br />

Chief Executive, talked about the<br />

sweeping changes being brought<br />

in by the Government that affect<br />

social housing and tenants. It was<br />

a real eye opener, but it was also<br />

very inspiring as the mood in the<br />

meeting was positive, with everyone<br />

looking for ways to continue to<br />

support people who cannot afford<br />

to buy their own home or<br />

rent privately.<br />

Q. Anything you didn’t enjoy or<br />

would change?<br />

A. The only thing I would change<br />

is I would have stayed for longer!<br />

While I was volunteering I had a day<br />

off for an interview for a full time<br />

graphics job – which I got. In the<br />

interview, the panel saw the fact I<br />

was volunteering at Connect as a<br />

really positive thing.<br />

Good to know<br />

Volunteer work placements<br />

enhance our services so<br />

that we can do things that<br />

we are not usually able to<br />

do – they do not in any way<br />

replace the work that staff<br />

are paid to do.<br />

Q. What’s next?<br />

A. My plan is to work hard in my<br />

new job and apply the skills that<br />

I developed during my time at<br />

Connect. After seeing the difference<br />

it makes, I will also be contacting<br />

Tom to sign up as a volunteer<br />

befriender. I think it would be a<br />

great way to spend an hour or<br />

two a week.<br />

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

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering<br />

opportunities at Connect, or if you are interested<br />

in using our befriending service, please contact:<br />

Tom Dunn, Volunteer Services Co-ordinator<br />

T: 0300 5000 600<br />

E: tom.dunn@connecthousing.org.uk<br />

Illustration by Jamie<br />

11


REPAIRS<br />

Fair<br />

Repairs<br />

When we reviewed our repairs service<br />

two years ago, we asked you what<br />

was important and the word that kept<br />

coming up was ‘fairness’. You told us<br />

that you wanted to see Connect take a<br />

more consistent approach to applying<br />

the rules about repairs that tenants are<br />

responsible for. So here’s a quick guide<br />

to your repair responsibilities.<br />

Reporting a repair<br />

Our staff will ask questions to find out what the<br />

repair is, where it is, and how it was caused. If you<br />

are responsible for the repair being requested,<br />

our staff will suggest options for how you might go<br />

about getting it done.<br />

Taking action<br />

If you don’t make arrangements for the repair you<br />

are responsible for and it is something that causes<br />

a safety risk or might cause deterioration to the<br />

property, then we may go ahead and carry out the<br />

repair and send a bill for the work.<br />

Genuine cases of need<br />

Our staff are trained to listen and respond<br />

sympathetically to genuine cases of need. In some<br />

exceptional circumstances, where other options are<br />

not available, we may decide to do the repair work<br />

without charge.<br />

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

If you have any questions<br />

about your repair<br />

responsibilities contact:<br />

Vicky Varley, Customer<br />

Service Team Leader<br />

T: 0300 5000 600<br />

E: vicky.varley@<br />

connecthousing.org.uk<br />

You are<br />

responsible for:<br />

INSIDE<br />

Clearing waste<br />

blockages<br />

(toilet, sink, shower and<br />

bath) and replacing<br />

sink/bath plugs<br />

Toilet seat repairs<br />

or replacements<br />

Replacing shower<br />

heads and hoses<br />

Adjusting doors to<br />

accommodate new<br />

carpet being fitted<br />

Tightening up loose<br />

handles on doors<br />

and windows, kitchen<br />

cupboard latches<br />

and locks, plus other<br />

ironmongery<br />

Decorating and filling<br />

cracks in walls that are<br />

less than 3mm wide<br />

OUTSIDE<br />

Maintaining private<br />

gardens, including<br />

paths, walkways<br />

and trees<br />

TV aerials and satellite<br />

dishes – installation<br />

and maintenance,<br />

unless communal<br />

Burglar alarm<br />

repairs, unless<br />

owned by Connect<br />

Removal of household<br />

rubbish and waste,<br />

including bulky items<br />

Replacing light bulbs,<br />

fluorescent tubes,<br />

starters and<br />

electrical fuses<br />

DIY mishaps – making<br />

good any damage<br />

Treating condensation<br />

and mould,<br />

unless caused by<br />

a building issue<br />

Cleaning, including<br />

extractor fans and<br />

shower heads<br />

Fixtures, fittings and<br />

appliances that belong<br />

to you – such as carpet,<br />

cooker, microwave,<br />

fridge, freezer, gas fire,<br />

curtain rails, furniture<br />

Pest control,<br />

unless mice or rats<br />

Replacing broken<br />

windows, unless<br />

caused by criminal<br />

activity and a crime<br />

scene number<br />

is provided<br />

Cleaning, including the<br />

gully drains around the<br />

outside of the home<br />

Replacing lost keys<br />

or changing locks,<br />

and providing access<br />

if locked out<br />

Generally, you will be expected to pay for repairs<br />

caused by wilful damage, neglect or misuse<br />

either by you, your family or visitors.<br />

Full details are set out in your tenancy agreement<br />

– a copy of which is available on request.<br />

12


APPRENTICES<br />

A<br />

Anthony Dilworth<br />

We’ve seen some great success stories as our apprentices<br />

take their next career steps. Anthony is one of them. Having<br />

completed his apprenticeship and his NVQ qualification<br />

with Connect, Anthony has now moved on to become a<br />

Neighbourhood Housing Officer with Leeds City Council.<br />

Q. Why did you do an<br />

apprenticeship with us?<br />

A. Being an apprentice gave me the<br />

opportunity to gain a recognised<br />

qualification and develop<br />

professional skills, while earning<br />

a salary at the same time – and I’d<br />

heard good things about Connect.<br />

Q. Any stand-out moments?<br />

A. There were so many<br />

opportunities to get involved and<br />

try new things, such as public<br />

speaking at Connect’s AGM, getting<br />

involved in making a film to capture<br />

the experiences of apprentices and<br />

a real stand-out moment for me,<br />

as a young person unable to afford<br />

to rent or buy a home of my own,<br />

was going to Westminster to find<br />

out what our politicians had to say<br />

about the housing crisis.<br />

Q. Anything you didn’t enjoy or<br />

would change?<br />

A. No, there was so much variety<br />

and I enjoyed it all. I can honestly<br />

say without a doubt that this is the<br />

best job I have ever had – with great<br />

customers, wonderful colleagues<br />

and even better friendships.<br />

Q. What’s next?<br />

A. I will miss working with Connect<br />

but I’m excited about moving on<br />

in my housing career with Leeds<br />

City Council. I’m looking forward to<br />

putting into practice the skills I’ve<br />

learnt and I am sure this won’t be<br />

the last that local communities<br />

see of me!<br />

Connecting the<br />

new generation<br />

to jobs<br />

We have made a commitment<br />

that apprentices will account<br />

for 10% of our workforce.<br />

We’re already well on the way<br />

to hitting this goal – with just<br />

over 6% of our staff in 2015<br />

being apprentices.<br />

Apprenticeship<br />

opportunities<br />

We have apprenticeship roles<br />

coming up in our maintenance<br />

teams – such as Painting and<br />

Decorating, Plumbing, and<br />

Gas/Heating Engineering.<br />

Apprenticeships will last two<br />

years for a Level 2 qualification<br />

and pay is according to age,<br />

starting at £4.16 per hour for a<br />

16 year old. Interested?<br />

Call us on 0300 5000 600<br />

or email apprentices@<br />

connecthousing.org.uk<br />

13


PARTNERSHIP<br />

Food for<br />

thought<br />

The Real Junk Food Project Dewsbury has<br />

a simple but powerful mission – to feed<br />

bellies not bins. They do this by intercepting<br />

food from going to landfill and then<br />

distributing it to the local community.<br />

We have been working in partnership with<br />

them and so far this year, 7,000 meals* have<br />

been delivered to our Huddersfield-based<br />

accommodation for young homeless people<br />

(Swan Lane and Hollinbank House) and to<br />

our North Kirklees Women’s Refuge.<br />

We visited Swan Lane to capture<br />

the action ››››<br />

› The Real Junk Food Project<br />

Dewsbury aims to end food<br />

poverty in Kirklees.<br />

› So far this year, the project<br />

has intercepted 10,296 kg*<br />

of food that would otherwise<br />

have been wasted. This has<br />

been done with the support<br />

of local supermarkets, food<br />

retailers and restaurants,<br />

who donate the food instead<br />

of sending it to landfill.<br />

› This food gets distributed<br />

to local community groups,<br />

individuals and families. It is<br />

also turned into nutritious<br />

meals at the pop-up café<br />

held at Sensory World in<br />

Dewsbury. The café runs on<br />

a ‘pay as you feel’ basis – so<br />

everyone can have a meal.<br />

› Over 14,000 meals*<br />

have been distributed by<br />

volunteers – the project<br />

relies completely on<br />

volunteers to run and needs<br />

more people to help.<br />

*1st January to 31st March <strong>2016</strong><br />

1. Hello fresh food<br />

<strong>Get</strong> involved<br />

Want to volunteer? Fancy<br />

eating some delicious food?<br />

Take a look at the project’s<br />

Facebook page for more<br />

information.<br />

/TheRealJunkFood<br />

ProjectDewsbury<br />

It’s hard to believe that all of this<br />

food was destined for landfill.


2. Ready, steady...<br />

Part of the fun is planning what meals to make<br />

with the different ingredients. It takes a dash of<br />

imagination, a pinch of creativity and a sprinkle of<br />

new-found cookery skills.<br />

3. Cook!<br />

Ryan Dunne, Manager for Connect’s Single Homeless<br />

Service, says "At first we needed to give a lot of<br />

guidance on recipes and how to cook the food, now<br />

everyone just dives in. They’re developing cookery<br />

skills and it’s also a really social thing to do.<br />

Food that would otherwise be lost is being made<br />

available for a small donation – so everyone’s enjoying<br />

good quality, healthy food, that’s low cost. It’s such a<br />

simple idea, but it’s having a massive impact."<br />

15


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

touch<br />

0300 5000 600<br />

www.connecthousing.org.uk<br />

Connect Housing is<br />

a charitable housing<br />

association.<br />

Our passion is for a<br />

fairer society, where<br />

people's homes, health<br />

and happiness matter.<br />

hello@connecthousing.org.uk<br />

/ConnectHousing<br />

@ConnectHousing<br />

Leeds Office:<br />

205 Roundhay Road<br />

Leeds, LS8 4HS<br />

This office is open as usual.<br />

Mon, Tues, Thurs: 9am - 5.30pm<br />

Weds: 10.30am - 5.30pm<br />

Fri: 9am - 5pm<br />

New Dewsbury Office:<br />

21 Bond Street<br />

Dewsbury, WF13 1AX<br />

We can come to you:<br />

Whilst we are refurbishing our Dewsbury<br />

office, if you would like to meet with a member<br />

of our team face-to-face, we can arrange a<br />

home visit. We also have access to meeting<br />

spaces within Huddersfield and can book an<br />

appointment to suit you.<br />

Just call us on: 0300 5000 600<br />

Fully Open<br />

Summer<br />

<strong>2016</strong><br />

We can help you understand this information in your language. We can also provide documents in large<br />

print or audio. Please contact us.<br />

This magazine has been printed on FSC certified paper by a<br />

Carbon Balanced Publication Printer using vegetable-based inks.

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