11.12.2017 Views

Get Connected Autumn Winter 2017

Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.

THE MAGAZINE FOR RESIDENTS<br />

<strong>Autumn</strong>/<strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2017</strong><br />

25 years<br />

of support<br />

Celebrating our<br />

homeless service<br />

Universal Credit help<br />

<strong>Winter</strong> Safety<br />

1


In this issue:<br />

3 High Five<br />

Latest news and events<br />

Welcome<br />

4<br />

CRF’s best friend<br />

Tenants make new<br />

furry friends at their<br />

general meeting<br />

5 Sharing Talents<br />

Sharing skills for World<br />

Mental Health Day<br />

6<br />

7<br />

Cooking up<br />

conversations<br />

<strong>Get</strong>ting to know our<br />

communities better<br />

Complaints<br />

Introducing a new<br />

complaints policy<br />

8 <strong>Winter</strong> safety<br />

Tips to stay warm and<br />

safe this winter<br />

10 Home tips<br />

Condensation and light<br />

bulb changing advice<br />

11 We want you!<br />

<strong>Get</strong> involved in a service<br />

charge consultation<br />

12 Party time<br />

Our homeless scheme<br />

celebrated their 25th<br />

anniversary<br />

As the clocks go back and<br />

the nights draw in we hope<br />

that you find this edition a<br />

good winter read.<br />

In this issue, we cover the<br />

25th anniversary of our<br />

service that supports young,<br />

single homeless people<br />

in Kirklees.<br />

On the theme of celebrations,<br />

Connect Residents<br />

Federation (CRF) has<br />

been celebrating the work<br />

that guide dogs and their<br />

volunteer trainers do.<br />

We marked World Mental<br />

Health Day with a talent<br />

show at Thrive. The<br />

community were invited<br />

to share their skills in front<br />

of a supportive audience.<br />

Our Community Housing<br />

Officers have been out and<br />

about chatting to tenants and<br />

gaining useful insight to help<br />

shape our services.<br />

Tenants at Hawthorn Mill had<br />

a celebration on the theme<br />

of culture for International<br />

Older People’s Day.<br />

We’ve got some handy tips<br />

to help you look after your<br />

home and keep warm during<br />

the colder months.<br />

As Universal Credit rolls out<br />

across the country, we hear<br />

from our Income Services<br />

Manager, Ilyas about<br />

the changes.<br />

We hope you enjoy this<br />

issue of <strong>Get</strong> <strong>Connected</strong> –<br />

happy reading!<br />

Share your<br />

thoughts<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 />

13 Culture club<br />

COPS celebrate cultures<br />

from around the world<br />

14 Universal Credit<br />

A Q&A on the new<br />

benefits system<br />

Thank you<br />

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

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

thank you to the Connect Residents Federation (CRF) and<br />

Thelma, Rhoda and Sabre from the Dogs Trust, all of the staff<br />

at Community Links and Rebecca from Sakura CMT who made<br />

Sharing Talents a great event, the residents of Hollinbank – our<br />

single homeless scheme for celebrating 25 years of support<br />

and all of the Connect Older People’s Strategists.<br />

2


High Five<br />

News you can use<br />

Festive closure times<br />

Our offices will close at 5pm on Friday 22nd December for the<br />

holidays and will reopen at 9am on Tuesday 2nd January.<br />

For all emergencies during this time, please call 0300 5000 600.<br />

We wish you all a happy New Year.<br />

It matters –<br />

Annual Review<br />

We are proud to release our Annual Review,<br />

which celebrates some of the important things<br />

we have been focusing on over the past year.<br />

In a world where change and uncertainty has<br />

become the norm, we remain committed<br />

to our passion for a fairer society<br />

where people’s homes, health<br />

and happiness matter.<br />

To see the report visit:<br />

www.connecthousing.org.uk/ar17<br />

Welcome<br />

on Board<br />

We would like to give a warm<br />

welcome to Helen Forman,<br />

Karen Lythe, David Wilmshurst and<br />

Yasmin Hussain who have joined us<br />

recently as new Board members.<br />

Our Board are vitally important and<br />

they volunteer to give their expertise<br />

and knowledge to the organisation.<br />

Find out more about the Board at:<br />

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

Volunteer at<br />

Thrive<br />

Value for money<br />

We’ve carried our annual Value for<br />

Money (VFM) self-assessment of<br />

our activities, which is looked at<br />

by our regulator and is published<br />

on our website.<br />

A summary version and our VFM<br />

strategy can also be found at:<br />

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

We are currently looking<br />

for volunteers to help us<br />

in our community focused<br />

café and meeting space –<br />

Thrive in Dewsbury.<br />

If you’d like to gain<br />

valuable experience in the voluntary sector<br />

and help us continue to make a difference in<br />

the community, this could be the opportunity<br />

you’re looking for.<br />

Find out more information and apply at:<br />

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

3


CRF<br />

CRF’s<br />

best friend<br />

v<br />

On Tuesday 12th September the Connect Residents Federation (CRF) held<br />

their bi-monthly general meeting. There was something different about<br />

this meeting though, their special guests were dogs! Thelma from the<br />

charity ‘Guide Dogs’, brought in her two Labradors to meet the CRF and<br />

talk about the good work that the dogs and volunteers do.<br />

v<br />

The charity trains dogs to<br />

aid visually impaired people,<br />

and has 16,000 volunteers<br />

countrywide (and always on<br />

the lookout for more!).<br />

The potential guide dogs are<br />

trained for the first two years<br />

of their life and take a test<br />

to see if they would make<br />

suitable guides.<br />

Not every dog is destined to<br />

be a guide, but these highly<br />

trained pooches are still in<br />

demand with many people<br />

wanting to adopt any that<br />

don’t make the cut. Rhoda<br />

and Sabre didn’t pass the<br />

guide dog test because of<br />

allergies and a squirrel<br />

chasing habit, but they are<br />

successful in bringing joy<br />

and happiness as loving pets.<br />

It was heart-warming and<br />

Rhoda and Sabre have new<br />

fans with the CRF.<br />

If you’d like to find out more<br />

about guide dogs, how to<br />

volunteer or sponsor a<br />

puppy, visit their site at<br />

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

The CRF spent the afternoon<br />

crafting tea light holders and<br />

catching up with each other.<br />

They raised £100 for Prostate<br />

Cancer UK in memory of a<br />

much loved member.<br />

If you’d like to attend a meeting or find<br />

out how to join the CRF, please contact:<br />

Lisa Longbottom, Tenant Involvement Officer<br />

T: 0300 5000 600<br />

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

Join the CRF<br />

The CRF is an independent<br />

organisation run by<br />

tenants for tenants.<br />

They scrutinise Connect<br />

and help to shape and<br />

improve services.<br />

2018 Meetings<br />

Tuesday 13th February<br />

1pm - 3pm in Leeds<br />

Tuesday 10th April<br />

6pm - 8pm in Leeds<br />

Tuesday 12th June<br />

6pm - 8pm in Huddersfield<br />

4


v<br />

THRIVE<br />

Sharing Talents<br />

World Mental Health Day was on Tuesday 10th October this year, and we<br />

marked it with a talent show, Sharing Talents. In partnership with Community<br />

Links, we opened our doors at Thrive in Dewsbury and welcomed singers,<br />

poets, guitarists, artists, photographers and supporters.<br />

World Mental Health Day<br />

is an opportunity to raise<br />

awareness of mental<br />

health, the stigma that<br />

some sufferers face and the<br />

support that is available.<br />

Sharing Talents was an<br />

opportunity for people to<br />

showcase their talent in front<br />

of a supportive audience.<br />

The event promoted the link<br />

between creative hobbies<br />

and good mental health.<br />

The participants felt<br />

that painting, writing<br />

songs, poetry and taking<br />

photos positively affected<br />

their wellbeing.<br />

On show at the event, you<br />

could see vibrant sculptures,<br />

paintings and photographs<br />

with stories from the artists,<br />

explaining their positive<br />

experience of creating the<br />

pieces. The songs were<br />

performed and written by<br />

service users with help from<br />

music therapist, Rebecca<br />

from Sakura Community<br />

Music Therapy.<br />

There was a mental health<br />

quiz, karaoke, lots of coffee,<br />

cake and conversations. The<br />

event was a huge success.<br />

Sing your<br />

socks off!<br />

Do you want to get<br />

involved with music too?<br />

Community Links run<br />

a free music group at<br />

Thrive, which aims to<br />

improve wellbeing by<br />

bringing people together<br />

to sing and play.<br />

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

Contact Community Links<br />

on: 01924 465054<br />

5


COMMUNITY<br />

Cooking up<br />

conversations<br />

Our Community Housing Officers (CHOs) are spending more time<br />

out and about having conversations about what matters to you in your<br />

local community.<br />

v<br />

From these informal<br />

conversations, you have<br />

been telling us what it is like<br />

living in your community<br />

and have given us some<br />

thought provoking ideas<br />

about what would make your<br />

neighbourhood a better place<br />

to live in.<br />

So far, you have given us<br />

some great suggestions and<br />

we are looking at how we<br />

can work with you to take<br />

these forward.<br />

We also want to find out about<br />

any community initiatives or<br />

resources that are available in<br />

your area, and your ideas as<br />

to what would really make a<br />

positive impact.<br />

We appreciate that you know<br />

your local area best.<br />

With all of the insight that we<br />

are gathering, this will help<br />

us to make better informed<br />

decisions based on what<br />

matters to you.<br />

We would love to hear more –<br />

if you have ideas and would<br />

like a chat with your CHO<br />

please get in touch.<br />

These conversations<br />

give us some great<br />

local knowledge and<br />

ideas about what<br />

we can do to make<br />

communities more<br />

welcoming places<br />

to live.<br />

Helen Gallimore,<br />

Senior Neighbourhood<br />

Housing Officer<br />

If you would like to have a chat with your<br />

Community Housing Officer, please contact:<br />

Helen Gallimore<br />

Service Manager - Neighbourhoods<br />

T: 0300 5000 600<br />

E: helen.gallimore@connecthousing.org.uk<br />

6


v<br />

Building a new complaints<br />

system around you<br />

<strong>Get</strong>ting it right for tenants is our top priority and we’re<br />

making changes to our complaints procedure to make it easier for customers<br />

when things do go wrong. We understand that things aren’t always perfect<br />

and know it’s important to put things right quickly.<br />

Our proposed changes<br />

When you aren’t<br />

happy with the<br />

service, this will be<br />

formally logged as<br />

an expression of<br />

dissatisfaction.<br />

If we are unable to<br />

resolve your issue,<br />

you can raise a<br />

formal complaint<br />

at any stage,<br />

however we will<br />

ask you to justify<br />

your complaint and<br />

give further details.<br />

We will aim to<br />

resolve these<br />

quickly and will<br />

treat them with the<br />

same seriousness<br />

that we do formal<br />

complaints. This<br />

will be an improved<br />

experience with<br />

fewer delays.<br />

A manager will<br />

reply within 21 days<br />

of receiving your<br />

complaint (stage 1).<br />

By logging all<br />

expressions of<br />

dissatisfaction,<br />

we will gain<br />

a better<br />

understanding<br />

of when our<br />

processes or<br />

services go wrong.<br />

If you are unhappy<br />

with the response,<br />

you can appeal<br />

and a Director will<br />

review and respond<br />

(stage 2).<br />

Tell us<br />

We want to hear<br />

what you think of our<br />

proposal. Do you think it<br />

will improve the way we<br />

handle complaints and<br />

are there any changes<br />

you would make?<br />

Please share your<br />

feedback with us.<br />

Contact us<br />

To have your say,<br />

please contact:<br />

Richard Baggott<br />

Customer Experience<br />

Manager<br />

T: 0300 5000 600<br />

E: richard.baggott@<br />

connecthousing.org.uk<br />

If you are still unhappy, you can refer the issue to the Housing Ombudsman. Our new process will<br />

enable us to resolve problems much quicker, which means we can make improvements to our<br />

processes and services. The process will launch next year.<br />

Tackling anti-social behaviour head on<br />

Since we have introduced<br />

a new approach to working<br />

in the community with the<br />

Community Housing Officer<br />

team, we have had greater<br />

success in resolving<br />

anti-social behaviour<br />

(ASB) cases.<br />

Our new approach encourages<br />

neighbours to be considerate<br />

and tolerant of one another,<br />

and supports tenants to<br />

try and resolve issues for<br />

themselves. For serious cases,<br />

we have an Enforcement<br />

Officer who works with<br />

tenants through the process,<br />

keeping them informed of the<br />

action being taken.<br />

This has enabled us to work<br />

more efficiently and gain<br />

better results in enforcement.<br />

7


SAFETY<br />

<strong>Winter</strong> Safety<br />

As the nights draw in and the thermometer mercury drops, we thought<br />

it would be good to share some practical hints and tips to help you keep<br />

warm and well this winter.<br />

Financial<br />

support<br />

Some people will be eligible<br />

for some financial support<br />

during the cold months, here<br />

is some information on what<br />

you might be able to claim.<br />

KEEPING YOUR BILLS LOW<br />

Our Money Matters team can<br />

help you look at your budget<br />

and lower your energy and<br />

fuel bills, contact them on:<br />

0300 5000 600<br />

COLD WEATHER PAYMENT<br />

You may receive a cold<br />

weather payment if you are<br />

on certain benefits. You can<br />

get a payment if the average<br />

temperature in your area<br />

is forecast, recorded as or<br />

is zero degrees Celsius or<br />

below for seven days in a row.<br />

You will receive £25 for every<br />

seven day block of very cold<br />

weather between the dates<br />

of 1st November <strong>2017</strong> and<br />

31st March 2018. For more<br />

information, visit:<br />

www.gov.uk/cold-weatherpayment<br />

WINTER FUEL PAYMENT<br />

If you were born on, or before<br />

5th August 1953, you can<br />

claim between £100-£300<br />

to help with your winter fuel<br />

bills. You usually get this<br />

paid automatically if you<br />

receive state pension. If you<br />

qualify but don’t receive this<br />

payment, you can make a<br />

claim at: www.gov.uk/winterfuel-payment<br />

Staying<br />

Warm<br />

Setting your home thermostat<br />

to the right temperature<br />

can keep your home warm<br />

and efficient. Make sure it’s<br />

between 18-20°C and set the<br />

timer so it comes on early in<br />

the day and clicks off when<br />

you go to bed.<br />

Keep yourself warm during<br />

the day by wearing plenty of<br />

layers, eating and drinking<br />

hot food and beverages such<br />

as soups and casseroles,<br />

accompanied by a hot water<br />

bottle to warm the cockles.<br />

It’s also a good idea to keep<br />

well stocked up with food in<br />

case bad weather, such as ice<br />

or snow, prevents you getting<br />

out and about.<br />

8


Looking after<br />

yourself<br />

The flu jab is available on<br />

the NHS for people who are<br />

vulnerable, however it is<br />

worth having the jab even if<br />

you aren’t at risk to protect<br />

yourself. To find out if you can<br />

get the jab for free and if you<br />

are considered at risk, visit:<br />

www.nhs.uk/conditions/<br />

vaccinations/pages/fluinfluenza-vaccine.aspx<br />

Alternatively, you can speak<br />

to your local pharmacy or GP.<br />

If you have any prescriptions<br />

or medication delivered,<br />

make sure you order them in<br />

plenty of time, especially if the<br />

weather or forecast is poor.<br />

If you feel unwell at any point<br />

and it’s not an emergency,<br />

call the NHS hotline on: 111<br />

for medical advice.<br />

The service is available<br />

24/7 and is free to call.<br />

The website is also useful for<br />

checking symptoms:<br />

www.nhs.uk/conditions/<br />

Pages/hub.aspx<br />

Looking after<br />

your home<br />

PREVENTING CRIME<br />

Prevent crime during winter<br />

by keeping valuables and<br />

Christmas presents out of<br />

sight. If you are going out,<br />

ensure your home is locked<br />

and looks occupied with<br />

a light timer switch and<br />

possibly leave a radio on.<br />

Make sure your keys are not<br />

on show.<br />

INSURANCE<br />

Make sure your home is<br />

insured just in case the worst<br />

happens. We insure the<br />

structure and fittings in your<br />

home, but your belongings<br />

aren’t covered by us.<br />

If you need support with<br />

insurance, our Money Matters<br />

team can help you, contact<br />

them on: 0300 5000 600<br />

LOOKING AFTER FROZEN PIPES<br />

If your pipes freeze and you’re<br />

without water, we advise<br />

you to follow the guidance of<br />

Yorkshire Water which<br />

can be found at:<br />

www.yorkshirewater.com/<br />

winterready<br />

SNOW AND GRITTING<br />

We will help you by taking<br />

reasonable steps to ensure<br />

safety by gritting key<br />

footpaths and communal<br />

areas. We actively risk assess<br />

estates to make sure we<br />

put grit down where it is<br />

most needed.<br />

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

bin on your estate, you can<br />

collect self-help bags from<br />

our offices during prolonged<br />

periods of icy weather.<br />

Medium risk: In severe<br />

conditions we’ll top up<br />

grit bins on estates every<br />

fortnight. We can’t spread the<br />

grit or clear footpaths.<br />

High risk: We’ll top up<br />

bins and clear footpaths<br />

for designated supported<br />

housing schemes and for<br />

older people.<br />

For more information on how<br />

we grit, visit our website:<br />

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

grit<br />

9


HOMES<br />

Home tips<br />

Reducing condensation<br />

Condensation is more common during the winter months. Everyone gets<br />

condensation but it’s how you manage it that makes a difference and ensures<br />

you don’t get any build-up of black mould in your home.<br />

Here are 10 top tips to help prevent a build-up of condensation and black mould on walls:<br />

During winter, you should try to<br />

maintain a even temperature in your<br />

home. The cold air causes warm air<br />

to release moisture. If the air is all<br />

the same temperature then this<br />

won’t happen.<br />

Keep your home well ventilated by<br />

opening windows daily to allow airflow<br />

that will combat condensation.<br />

Dry your clothes outside or in an<br />

enclosed room with an open window.<br />

If you use a tumble dryer, the vent pipe<br />

should run outside your home.<br />

You should leave a small gap between<br />

your walls and your furniture as<br />

this allows the air to move away<br />

from the bottom of the walls and<br />

circulate effectively.<br />

Before and after cooking, always turn<br />

the extractor fans on a high power. If<br />

possible, open the kitchen windows<br />

while cooking for added ventilation.<br />

Always keep the lids on pots and pans<br />

while cooking so the moisture does<br />

not escape.<br />

To stop condensation forming in the<br />

bathroom after a bath or shower,<br />

the windows should be opened and<br />

extractor fans turned on.<br />

Trouble lighting up the bathroom?<br />

10<br />

Your property’s airways such as<br />

airbricks and chimneys should be clear<br />

to allow airflow in and out of your home.<br />

If possible, check your roof to see if<br />

there are any problems such as<br />

water leaks – but don’t climb ladders.<br />

Check guttering and down pipes to<br />

ensure that they are carrying the water<br />

away and that there are no damaged/<br />

blocked gutters or drains causing the<br />

external walls to become wet.<br />

Here is a short guide on how to change light bulbs (lamps) in enclosed bathroom fittings.<br />

The lamps are your responsibility to change and maintain, so we advise you to:<br />

1 2 3 4 5<br />

Turn the light<br />

switch off at the<br />

wall.<br />

Remove the<br />

cover taking out<br />

the screws and<br />

supporting it,<br />

you may need to<br />

push it inwards<br />

within the<br />

mounting and<br />

slide it to one<br />

side to release.<br />

Change the<br />

lamp by<br />

holding the<br />

centre point of<br />

the unit (not<br />

the lamp itself)<br />

and pull it out<br />

of the fitting.<br />

4<br />

Buy a new<br />

lamp: we<br />

recommend<br />

you take the<br />

old lamp with<br />

you to make<br />

sure you get<br />

the correct<br />

type and keep<br />

a spare one.<br />

To replace:<br />

simply push the<br />

new lamp back<br />

into the fitting,<br />

re-fit the cover<br />

and secure with<br />

the screws.


Setting new<br />

standards<br />

Early next year we are going to review the service<br />

standards for communal cleaning and grounds<br />

maintenance and we would like your help to do it.<br />

We would like to hear from you<br />

if you live in a property where<br />

we employ contractors to clean<br />

the hallways and stairs, or to<br />

look after the garden areas.<br />

We are going to try out a new<br />

approach, gathering feedback<br />

online and we would like<br />

to involve as many tenants<br />

as possible.<br />

In addition, we’ll host an event<br />

for those of you who would like<br />

to give feedback in person.<br />

In exchange for a small<br />

amount of your time, you<br />

can help us reshape these<br />

important services.<br />

If you would like to help, visit:<br />

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

consultation<br />

HELP<br />

WANTED<br />

Contact us<br />

If you would like more<br />

information, contact:<br />

Lisa Longbottom<br />

Tenant Involvement<br />

Officer<br />

T: 0300 5000 600<br />

E: lisa.longbottom@<br />

connecthousing.org.uk<br />

New policy on<br />

mobility scooters<br />

We have recently clarified tenant responsibilities when storing and<br />

using mobility scooters around their homes, particularly where there<br />

are shared spaces.<br />

The policy focuses on<br />

health and safety, storage,<br />

maintenance and insurance<br />

of mobility scooters. It also<br />

highlights schemes<br />

which have suitable storage<br />

facilities available.<br />

The policy highlights safety<br />

aspects that you should<br />

consider if you are thinking<br />

about buying a scooter or if<br />

you already own or use one.<br />

The storage of mobility<br />

scooters can be a fire risk if<br />

they obstruct escape routes.<br />

One of the aims of the policy<br />

is to keep our communal<br />

areas safe.<br />

If you are considering buying<br />

a scooter or you already own<br />

one, you can see the policy at:<br />

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

scooters<br />

or you can call: 0300 5000 600<br />

11


SUPPORT<br />

25 years<br />

of support<br />

Our young homeless service, Hollinbank hosted an anniversary party to<br />

celebrate 25 years of supporting people in Kirklees.<br />

v<br />

The service is vital in<br />

providing a home and<br />

support for young homeless<br />

16-25 year olds from<br />

all backgrounds.<br />

Hollinbank staff support<br />

residents in many ways,<br />

including emotional support<br />

and help with their mental<br />

and physical wellbeing.<br />

There is also practical<br />

support such as learning<br />

how to cook, how to manage<br />

on a budget and life skills<br />

needed to live independently.<br />

The party celebrated this<br />

important milestone.<br />

It was enjoyed by service<br />

users and staff with a party<br />

atmosphere, food, music<br />

and laughter.<br />

The event was a trip down<br />

memory lane and everyone<br />

was able to reflect on the<br />

achievements and positive<br />

impact the service has.<br />

If you would like more information on our<br />

young homeless support, please contact:<br />

Matthew Ginn<br />

Service Manager - Single Homeless Services<br />

T: 0300 5000 600<br />

E: matthew.ginn@connecthousing.org.uk<br />

Services like<br />

Hollinbank<br />

are vital for<br />

providing<br />

support<br />

when people<br />

need it the<br />

most and in<br />

tackling the<br />

homelessness<br />

crisis in our<br />

communities.<br />

Anna Broadbent,<br />

Senior Manager -<br />

Support Services<br />

12


Culture<br />

club<br />

On Wednesday 4th October, Connect Older<br />

People’s Strategists (COPS) celebrated the<br />

International Day of Older People at Hawthorn<br />

Mill, Leeds. The theme was cultures around the<br />

world through the generations and it was a<br />

colourful celebration.<br />

Hawthorn Mill had been<br />

decorated brightly for the<br />

party. Flags, props and<br />

costumes from different<br />

cultures and memorabilia<br />

spanning from the 1950’s<br />

were on display.<br />

After the strategising<br />

business was complete, it<br />

was time for a trip down<br />

memory lane, with cultural<br />

quizzes on food and music<br />

from around the world.<br />

Members shared their<br />

experiences of the 1950’s –<br />

which brought back lots of<br />

memories of rationing,<br />

when food was seasonal and<br />

there were no supermarkets<br />

or freezers.<br />

Fortunately, there was a<br />

good choice of food at the<br />

COPS buffet and not a spam<br />

fritter in sight. The event was<br />

enjoyed by all and the group<br />

can’t wait to meet again.<br />

Join COPS<br />

(Connect Older<br />

People’s Strategists)<br />

If you are a Connect<br />

tenant over the age of<br />

50 and interested in<br />

the services and wider<br />

issues affecting older<br />

people, COPS is the<br />

group for you. You’re<br />

welcome to join a<br />

session, meet<br />

like-minded people,<br />

have fun and help design<br />

the services.<br />

Contact us<br />

If you are interested in<br />

joining COPS, contact:<br />

Sarah Lumb<br />

Senior Scheme Manager<br />

T: 0300 5000 600<br />

E: sarah.lumb@<br />

connecthousing.org.uk<br />

13<br />

13


MONEY<br />

MATTERS<br />

Universal<br />

Credit<br />

Q&A<br />

with Ilyas<br />

This is an update on Universal Credit and how we can support you with the<br />

benefit changes. We caught up with our Income Services Manager, Ilyas<br />

Lunat for a question and answer session.<br />

Q. What is Universal Credit?<br />

A. Universal Credit is the new<br />

benefit that will be replacing<br />

existing benefits such as<br />

Income Support, Job Seekers<br />

Allowance, Employment<br />

Support Allowance, Housing<br />

Benefit, Child Tax Credits and<br />

Working Tax Credits.<br />

These are now known as<br />

‘legacy’ benefits.<br />

Q. What is the frequency<br />

of payments?<br />

A. Tenants will receive each<br />

monthly payment in arrears.<br />

Q. Who does it affect?<br />

A. Universal Credit will<br />

eventually affect everyone<br />

of working age. If you are of<br />

state pension age or in receipt<br />

of Pension Credit you will not<br />

be affected by this change.<br />

14<br />

It’s affecting people in<br />

different ways due to the<br />

Government rolling it out<br />

in stages.<br />

If you live in Kirklees or<br />

Calderdale and you have a<br />

change in circumstances that<br />

affect your benefits, you will<br />

be asked to make a new claim<br />

for Universal Credit.<br />

This will transfer you from<br />

the old ‘legacy’ system.<br />

Once you have transferred,<br />

you will not be able to claim<br />

any of the ‘legacy’ benefits.<br />

If you currently receive<br />

any ‘legacy’ benefits and<br />

don’t have any change in<br />

circumstances, you won’t<br />

be affected until 2019<br />

when the migration to<br />

Universal Credit is<br />

fully implemented by<br />

the Government.<br />

Q. How does this affect<br />

Housing Benefit?<br />

A. Once you start receiving<br />

Universal Credit, you will<br />

no longer receive Housing<br />

Benefit. However, you will<br />

receive help towards<br />

rent within your Universal<br />

Credit payments.<br />

You are responsible for paying<br />

your rent to us and budgeting<br />

other costs. The most<br />

significant change is that you<br />

will only receive your money<br />

once a month, so how you<br />

budget is important.<br />

Q. Are tenants who are<br />

working affected as well?<br />

A. If you are working and<br />

claiming Working Tax Credits<br />

you will eventually be moved<br />

onto Universal Credit. If you<br />

have a change in your income,


v<br />

which means your Working<br />

Tax Credits are re-calculated,<br />

you will be asked to claim<br />

Universal Credit.<br />

Q. How do affected tenants<br />

receive payments?<br />

A. In order to receive<br />

Universal Credit payments,<br />

you will need:<br />

• An email address, and<br />

have access to your<br />

emails.<br />

• A bank account to receive<br />

payments.<br />

• To be able to budget<br />

monthly as Universal<br />

Credit is paid monthly<br />

in arrears.<br />

• Understand when and<br />

how to pay your rent to us.<br />

Q. What can tenants do to<br />

prepare for Universal<br />

Credit if they think they’ll<br />

be affected?<br />

set up and an understanding<br />

of when their rent is due and<br />

how to budget.<br />

We also encourage tenants<br />

to start paying a little more<br />

towards their rent to build a<br />

buffer to put them ahead.<br />

Universal Credit will be paid<br />

in arrears every month. This<br />

puts tenants at risk of falling<br />

behind on their rent.<br />

It’s beneficial for tenants<br />

to be in credit on rent<br />

accounts, prior to the<br />

changes coming into place<br />

so they are prepared.<br />

Anybody who feels they need<br />

support, please contact the<br />

Money Matters Team.<br />

We can help<br />

Our Money Matters<br />

team can help you<br />

prepare for the<br />

transition to Universal<br />

Credit and make it<br />

easier for you.<br />

They can show you how<br />

to budget, give debt<br />

advice, help with<br />

digital skills and give<br />

careers advice.<br />

Contact<br />

If you need help with<br />

Universal Credit,<br />

please contact:<br />

T: 0300 5000 600<br />

E: moneymatters@<br />

connecthousing.org.uk<br />

A. Tenants will need to<br />

ensure that they have an<br />

email address, bank account<br />

Keeping up the festive spirit<br />

The Christmas holiday is a<br />

time to spend with friends<br />

and family, but for some<br />

people it can be worrying and<br />

stressful, both financially<br />

and emotionally.<br />

The festive period can place<br />

pressures on people to spend<br />

and entertain, even though<br />

their bills and rent have yet<br />

to be paid.<br />

If you’re struggling to pay<br />

your rent or having any<br />

difficulties with debt over the<br />

festive period or any time of<br />

the year, please contact our<br />

Money Matters team.<br />

15


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

MONEY<br />

MATTERS<br />

touch<br />

0300 5000 600<br />

www.connecthousing.org.uk<br />

hello@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 />

/ConnectHousing<br />

@ConnectHousing<br />

Leeds Office<br />

205 Roundhay Road<br />

Leeds, LS8 4HS<br />

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

Weds: 10.30am - 5.30pm<br />

Fri: 9am - 5pm<br />

Dewsbury Office<br />

21 Bond Street<br />

Dewsbury, WF13 1AX<br />

Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri: 9am - 5pm<br />

Weds: 10.30am - 5pm<br />

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

documents in large 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.

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!