Get Connected Spring 2016

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

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 />


<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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />


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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />


<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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