Street Talk 73 Easter Edition 2023

Welcome to the Easter edition of our tenant and resident magazine

Welcome to the Easter edition of our tenant and resident magazine


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<strong>Street</strong><br />

<strong>Talk</strong><br />

Tenants &<br />

Residents Magazine<br />

Happy <strong>Easter</strong><br />

from all at<br />

Ocean Housing<br />

... see page 2 for front cover story<br />

No <strong>73</strong><br />

Spring <strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>Easter</strong> Opening:<br />

We will close for <strong>Easter</strong> on Thursday 6th April at 5pm<br />

and reopen on Tuesday 11th April <strong>2023</strong> at 8:30am.<br />

Out of hours emergency contact number: 01726 874450.

2<br />

3<br />

in this issue . . .<br />

P 2 - 3<br />

P4 - 5<br />

P6 - 7<br />

P8 - 9<br />

P10 - 11<br />

P12<br />

Happy <strong>Easter</strong> from Andie.<br />

Welcome to Adam.<br />

Our office remains closed.<br />

Help and support.<br />

Do you need help reducing<br />

your water bills?<br />

Financial support.<br />

Rent increase update.<br />

Service charges explained.<br />

Tenant satisfaction measures and<br />

what they mean to our tenants.<br />

Penwithick community action day.<br />

Why does Ocean want my personal<br />

information?<br />

Fresh new look for our fleet.<br />

Health and safety - condensation and<br />

mould in your home.<br />

<strong>Easter</strong> bunny competition.<br />

Christmas competition<br />

winners.<br />

Happy <strong>Easter</strong><br />

from Andie<br />

on our front cover . . .<br />

Meet Alfie, Roxy, Macey and Eivar. Alfie was our<br />

Christmas <strong>Street</strong><strong>Talk</strong> winner. Their mum, Samantha,<br />

a member of our Virtual Internet Panel (VIP) says,<br />

“Being involved with four children is not always easy.<br />

It is important for me to provide my feedback on issues<br />

that concern my family. Being able to do this on the<br />

go, with no pressure is why VIP works perfectly for us.”<br />

To find out how you can get involved, contact<br />

the Tenant Partnership Team.<br />

Although it’s technically Spring, as I am writing this, it is still<br />

feeling a bit chilly out there – but I am heartened by seeing so<br />

many daffodils flowering everywhere – a truly joyous sight! It’s also lovely to feel the days getting longer<br />

after what always feels like a long dark winter.<br />

At Ocean, this is the time when we similarly take stock over what has been achieved over the past year,<br />

consider the many challenges that lie ahead, decide on targets and agree budgets for the forthcoming<br />

year, and all before April!<br />

Our increasing focus is on the continued improvement of our homes; whilst it is not a quick fix, we know<br />

that what matters most to us all is to have a home that is safe, warm and economical to run. It is a major<br />

challenge to upgrade some of our older properties and the rising costs of materials and the increasing<br />

difficulty in recruiting trades staff are not helping. Our Property Services Team are working flat out and<br />

I think you will agree they are doing a great job to keep our homes in good condition.<br />

We also know that many people are struggling to make ends meet with the rising cost of energy and<br />

increases in the cost of living. That’s why we have extended the Simon Griffiths’ Hardship fund this year<br />

so that there is money available to assist those in desperate need.<br />

I sincerely hope that the forthcoming year will bring each of you some well-deserved cheer; whether<br />

that is from shared experiences with your families and friends or simply taking time out to enjoy<br />

the splendid county of Cornwall, in which we are all fortunate to live.<br />

Andie Smith<br />

Chair of Ocean Housing Board<br />

A friendly<br />

welcome<br />

to Adam,<br />

Neighbourhood<br />

Services Officer…<br />

Meet Adam, the new Neighbourhood<br />

Services Officer covering St Blazey,<br />

Tywardreath, Fowey and some of the<br />

St Austell area.<br />

If you would like to discuss<br />

any issues with your<br />

Neighbourhood Services Officer<br />

or make an appointment, please<br />

email help@oceanhousing.com<br />

Our office<br />

remains closed<br />

Adam told us, “I have been working in the housing sector<br />

for nearly four years, specifically in supported housing<br />

and most recently for a homeless charity before joining<br />

Ocean. Prior to this, I held a variety of different roles<br />

across multiple countries in Europe, gaining invaluable<br />

knowledge along the way.<br />

In my spare time, you will find me out walking my two<br />

dogs, who keep me very busy or out exploring areas<br />

of beautiful Cornwall. I love to travel with my partner<br />

and we never miss an opportunity to go to the cinema<br />

whenever possible.<br />

Within my new role I am looking forward to being<br />

available to help and advise tenants regarding their<br />

property, tenancy, neighbourhood and community,<br />

working together to make sure this is an enjoyable<br />

place to live for everyone.”<br />

Adam is here to help with any of the following:<br />

l Carrying out visits when you move into your<br />

new home to identify support needed<br />

l Provide guidance on the best way to manage<br />

your tenancy, look after your home and keep<br />

your garden well maintained<br />

l Partnership working with the police, local<br />

authorities and other agencies<br />

l Offering advice and signposting if you need<br />

support<br />

Following feedback we received from you in 2021, we decided to<br />

l Work with new tenants and also those leaving<br />

on how best to manage their home<br />

permanently close the office to tenants, residents and the general<br />

public, as many of those that had previously visited the office had<br />

found alternative ways to contact us.<br />

We would like to remind you that if you would like to make an appointment<br />

with a member of staff this can be arranged by LiveChat via oceanhousing.com<br />

or by email at help@oceanhousing.com<br />

Please remember when calling the office, our busiest times are between 8:30am and 10:00am.

4 5<br />

Available help and support<br />

Meet Annie and Louise, our knowledgeable and friendly Financial Inclusion Advisors who are part of<br />

our Customer Accounts Team. Annie and Louise are available to help you maintain your tenancy and<br />

maximise your income by providing you with guidance and support in the following ways:<br />

l<br />

l<br />

l<br />

l<br />

l<br />

l<br />

l<br />

Navigate the welfare benefit system to<br />

maximise your income<br />

Help to reduce your energy costs<br />

Help to reduce other household bills<br />

Provide food bank vouchers and<br />

knowledge of community larders<br />

Debt referrals and budgeting advice<br />

Look at available grants / funding<br />

options<br />

Help you to save money<br />

At Ocean, we understand that the cost-of-living crisis is affecting us all in different ways.<br />

We currently have our own hardship fund - The Simon Griffiths Fund. All applications<br />

will be considered for items such as household appliances, essential furniture items or to<br />

help towards priority bills such as food, gas or electric. For items like food or electric, we can now<br />

issues e-vouchers as a same day emergency payment. More information can be found on our website<br />

at oceanhousing.com/pay<br />

Annie<br />

If you feel that you need extra support and are struggling financially, please do not suffer in silence.<br />

Contact us today by emailing help@oceanhousing.com and Annie or Louise will give you a call back to<br />

discuss your current circumstances and undertake a financial assessment to support your application.<br />

Do you need help reducing your water bills?<br />

Louise<br />

Knowing what financial support you’re eligible for and<br />

spending time filling out forms can be a stressful and<br />

time consuming activity. Luckily, South West Water<br />

have the WaterCare+ service which could save you<br />

money on your bills.<br />

Government support – by asking a few simple questions an advisor<br />

can check you are receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to.<br />

Tariff – If you’re on a meter, an advisor will ensure you are offered the best<br />

tariff which means your payment plan will help spread the cost of your bill.<br />

Home visit - When on a meter, saving water means you pay less. These helpful home visits can<br />

highlight the easy steps you can take.<br />

Water-saving devices - Whether you are on a meter or not, water saving devices can be installed and<br />

include, shower heads, tap inserts, and cistern bags. These cut costs and help the environment.<br />

For more information or support, visit southwestwater.co.uk/bills/need-help-paying-bill/singleapplication<br />

Alternatively, you can call their team on 0344 346 1010.<br />

Financial support all in one place!<br />

Lightning Reach is a free online portal that can help you find and apply<br />

for financial support available from multiple different sources, quickly<br />

and securely - all in one place. This may include grants from charities,<br />

local Council funding or support with utility bills.<br />

By creating a profile (in under 15 minutes) from any device, you will see all help available to you, get<br />

updates when more help is added, and apply for multiple sources of support directly through<br />

the portal.<br />

The website is easy to use and you can get<br />

started in three simple steps:<br />

l Step one: Sign up for free and create a profile<br />

by answering a few simple questions.<br />

l Step two: Match to support and see what<br />

help is available to you.<br />

l Step three: Apply for support by uploading<br />

relevant documents and submitting your<br />

application through the portal.<br />

Rent<br />

increase<br />

update<br />

In March we advised<br />

you of the impending<br />

rent increase. It is important that<br />

you notify the DWP of the changes to your rent.<br />

You should have already received a notification<br />

within your online Universal Credit account, asking<br />

you to confirm your new charges. These changes<br />

must be reported on or as soon after Monday<br />

3rd April <strong>2023</strong> to ensure you receive the money<br />

you are entitled to.<br />

If you pay by direct debit, we will automatically<br />

adjust your payment to reflect the new amount<br />

Lightning Reach understands the financial<br />

pressures many people are currently facing.<br />

They are there to help you find and access the<br />

support you need to get on the road to financial<br />

recovery, no matter what the reason.<br />

Find out what support you are<br />

eligible for today. Go to<br />

lightningreach.org/applicationportal<br />

or scan the QR code.<br />

If you receive Universal Credit, it is<br />

important to report your rent<br />

increase for <strong>2023</strong> to the<br />

Department for Work and<br />

Pensions (DWP).<br />

that you need to pay.<br />

A new schedule will<br />

be sent to you in the<br />

£<br />

post. If you pay by standing order or are a manual<br />

monthly payer, then you will be responsible for<br />

amending your own payments to reflect the new<br />

amounts.<br />

If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit from<br />

Cornwall Council, and this gets paid direct to<br />

Ocean then you do not need to inform them of<br />

the change to your rent. We are able to inform the<br />

Council direct of any changes and your Housing<br />

Benefit will be adjusted accordingly.<br />

If you have any concerns about paying your rent,<br />

please contact our Customer Accounts Team at<br />


6<br />

7<br />

Your service charges explained . . .<br />

Most of our tenants pay a service charge to cover the cost of providing communal or shared services.<br />

Services can either relate to maintaining your building (if you live in a block of flats) such as cleaning, or<br />

your neighbourhood such as grounds maintenance.<br />

The service charges you pay will be set out in your tenancy agreement.<br />

You can view the service charges that you pay by visiting your My Ocean account online or through<br />

our App.<br />

These are some of the common services that may be included<br />

in your service charge:<br />

l Cleaning and Caretaking<br />

You can find a full<br />

l Grounds maintenance<br />

list of service charges<br />

and what they represent on<br />

l Door Entry systems<br />

our website oceanhousing.com<br />

l Management fee<br />

If you require further information or<br />

l Lighting<br />

have additional questions regarding<br />

your service charge, you can<br />

l Communal utilities such as water, gas and electricity<br />

contact us by emailing<br />

l Lifts<br />

help@oceanhousing.com<br />

l Community Centre costs<br />

What are Tenant Satisfaction Measures?<br />

The 1st April <strong>2023</strong> marks the introduction of a new<br />

way that all social housing landlords must collect<br />

tenant satisfaction information. This is through a<br />

survey called Tenant Satisfaction Measures (TSM).<br />

The measures have been developed by the Regulator<br />

of Social Housing to find out how well we and other<br />

social housing landlords are providing good quality<br />

homes and services. We will report this information each<br />

quarter to both Ocean Housing Board, Together with Ocean<br />

tenant group (TWO) and on the Ocean Housing website<br />

oceanhousing.com/service-standards/<br />

This feedback ensures we are transparent with how we are doing and<br />

lets you, the tenant, hold us to account.<br />

What to expect<br />

What do the<br />

Tenant<br />

Satisfaction<br />

Measures<br />

mean for you,<br />

our tenants?<br />

As many of you will know, over the last two years we have been asking for your feedback through IFF<br />

Research, an independent research agency. This will continue with 22 new questions, designed to see<br />

how well landlords are performing in terms of:<br />

l keeping properties in a good state of repair<br />

l maintaining building safety<br />

l respectful and helpful engagement<br />

l effective handling of complaints<br />

l responsible neighbourhood management.<br />

Receiving your honest feedback is essential for us<br />

to improve our services, we would encourage all<br />

tenants to complete the survey when contacted by<br />

IFF Research and let us know how you feel, as it really<br />

does help us make a difference. IFF Research will<br />

call you from 0203 148 7635.<br />

If you want to get involved further simply let us<br />

know by visiting the Tenant Partnership page on the<br />

Ocean Housing website<br />

bit.ly/tenantpartnership and sign up as a member today.<br />

Below is a selection of responses from quarter three (October - December 2022) and how you feel about the<br />

services we provide.<br />

How satisfied<br />

are you that your<br />

home is safe and<br />

secure:<br />

Performance information<br />

88%<br />

Target 85%<br />

How satisfied<br />

are you with the<br />

overall repairs<br />

service over the<br />

last 12 months:<br />

76%<br />

Target 85%<br />

How likely are you<br />

to contact us if you<br />

had a problem:<br />

94%<br />

Target 90%<br />

How satisfied<br />

are you that we<br />

listen to your<br />

views and act<br />

upon them:<br />

68%<br />

Target 75%

8<br />

9<br />

Penwithick<br />

Community<br />

Action Day<br />

There are old Ocean logo signs in the area that<br />

need updating<br />

We are in the process of updating all<br />

of our signage over all of the schemes<br />

we manage, this will take time but we<br />

are making progress.<br />

You said<br />

We did<br />

We never see anyone from Ocean<br />

Adam, the Neighbourhood Services<br />

Officer confirmed he will complete<br />

two estate walkabouts throughout the<br />

year, one in Spring and one in Autumn.<br />

At the end of last year, we joined up with residents and local<br />

agencies to strengthen the community feeling in Penwithick.<br />

This was a great opportunity for residents to have a chat and<br />

a festive treat with members of staff, along with other agencies<br />

such as Devon and Cornwall Police, Bugle Library, Safer<br />

St Austell, St Austell Community Fire Station, who were there<br />

to promote their services and give advice.<br />

We asked families to complete Ocean’s Three Wishes form to<br />

make us aware of any concerns in the Penwithick area. With<br />

those issues in mind, we met regularly with Councillor<br />

Peter Guest to discuss the feedback received<br />

and how we can work together to tackle<br />

these areas.<br />

There is a lot of anti-social behaviour in the area<br />

Devon and Cornwall Police attended the event<br />

along with Safer St Austell. Both are aware of<br />

residents concerns but assured residents to<br />

continue to report any issues they are experiencing.<br />

What is happening with the empty park on<br />

Tedder Road?<br />

Councillor Peter Guest will raise this at<br />

his next Council meeting and be able to<br />

feedback to residents of Penwithick with<br />

what they propose for the area.<br />

Lack of parking in the area<br />

Councillor Peter Guest will raise this at his next<br />

Council meeting and pass on the<br />

suggestion of additional parking for<br />

the area.<br />

Why does Ocean want my personal<br />

information?<br />

Throughout your journey as a tenant, there will be many times that<br />

we request information from you. Some personal information we request is more sensitive than<br />

others and you may feel that it isn’t necessarily important or relevant. Rest assured we have strict<br />

procedures in place for the collection, use and storage of these details, to make sure it is kept<br />

secure and not used for any purpose other than that identified in our policies.<br />

We never ask for any information that we do not need or isn’t beneficial to make sure our services<br />

better fulfil your needs. On occasion we will use a third party to collect data on our behalf.<br />

As it stands, we only have limited information for some of our tenants, so it is difficult to know if<br />

we are providing the support that you need. With this in mind, we will continue to encourage you<br />

to share more with us, including equality and diversity information, so we can work on better<br />

outcomes together.<br />

Fresh<br />

new look<br />

for our<br />

fleet<br />

Have you spotted<br />

any of our new<br />

vans out and about<br />

yet? We have a<br />

fleet of more than<br />

40 vans and have<br />

been working behind<br />

the scenes for many<br />

months to upgrade them<br />

with our updated signage.<br />

The new vehicles enable<br />

tenants and residents to identify the<br />

service teams when they are out and about<br />

completing works in your home.<br />

Property Services Manager Martin, explains, “In 2020, the decision was made to replace our<br />

vehicles. Each van had travelled nearly 300,000 miles in their seven years with us. We are<br />

happy to confirm all new vans are now in service, which is a cause for celebration.”<br />

Get to know…Helen!<br />

Helen is one of the newest members of Together with Ocean (TWO).<br />

Initially joining us for our Communication Scrutiny Bootcamp<br />

last year, where residents were invited to give their feedback on<br />

their experiences of this service and make suggestions on how<br />

improvements can be made.<br />

other ways we, as tenants, can ensure our voices are heard.”<br />

Helen said, “After meeting TWO members and encouragement<br />

from staff, I began getting involved with the Virtual Internet Panel,<br />

completing surveys and other online focus groups. I attended a<br />

TWO meeting, as a guest and I haven’t looked back since. Now I’m<br />

an official member of the TWO group and involved with decisionmaking<br />

at the highest level for residents. I’m really looking<br />

forward to being involved in improving the services I receive and<br />

If you’d like to find out more about the ways you can get involved or to attend a TWO meeting as<br />

a guest, either in person or online, contact the Tenant Partnership Team by emailing<br />


10<br />

11<br />

Health<br />

and Safety<br />

Spotlight<br />

Dealing with condensation<br />

and mould in your home<br />

What is condensation and mould?<br />

Condensation forms when warm,<br />

moist air meets a cool surface, such as a<br />

wall or window and forms water and overtime<br />

can evolve into mould. A combination of the temperature of your<br />

home and everyday activities can contribute to these problems. It’s<br />

important to understand how this happens and how to deal with it<br />

in the most effective way. Condensation and mould are reoccurring<br />

issues in many homes and it is important to remember, you are not<br />

alone and that we are here to support and resolve these problems<br />

with you.<br />

Any condensation that forms on surfaces, should be wiped off to<br />

prevent the risk of mould forming. If you feel confident to tackle a<br />

small amount of mould and condensation yourself, take a look at<br />

our Tenant Guide to Property Health and Safety, where you will find top<br />

tips on reducing this in your home. The booklet can be viewed on our website, or you can request a<br />

copy via one of the contact methods below.<br />

If the mould or condensation is not improving or you feel is at an advanced stage, please<br />

ensure you let us know, by using the dedicated form at oceanhousing.com or emailing us at<br />

help@oceanhousing.com<br />

Did you know, we also have a<br />

self-help video on damp, mould<br />

and condensation on our<br />

YouTube channel?<br />

You can view this by visiting<br />

bit.ly/preventingDMC<br />

Tenant Guide<br />

to Property Health & Safety<br />

What to expect when reporting damp, mould<br />

and condensation<br />

At the end of last year we assembled a new team to specifically tackle reports of damp, mould and<br />

condensation. We introduced some new roles for team members specifically qualified to carry out initial<br />

surveys, administer mould treatments and complete remedial works. The team have been working hard<br />

to address these reports as quickly and efficiently as possible.<br />

Rob Mitchell, Property Services Manager explains, “Tackling damp, mould and condensation in tenants’<br />

homes is a top priority for us, we are aware that some of our homes are more prone to these issues.<br />

We’re being proactive in this area so please raise any concerns with us, so together, we can resolve<br />

the issues and prevent further problems developing. We are supporting tenants who are experiencing<br />

these concerns through a three stage process.”<br />

Stage one - Property<br />

You will be contacted by one of the<br />

specialist team to arrange a full<br />

property condition survey / property<br />

inspection. This will look at the<br />

structure, ventilation and heating<br />

of your home.<br />

Stage two - Your situation<br />

As part of the visit we will give you<br />

advice and support on how to manage<br />

condensation and mould, including<br />

using your heating and hot water<br />

systems most efficiently and refer<br />

you for financial or other advice,<br />

if appropriate.<br />

Stage three - Review<br />

You will be contacted by the<br />

specialist after the final job is<br />

complete to confirm a successful<br />

outcome or discuss any concerns.<br />

You can report issues with damp, mould and condensation by:<br />

l visiting our website, oceanhousing.com and using our dedicated online form or LiveChat<br />

l emailing help@oceanhousing.com l calling 01726 874450.<br />

We take these concerns very seriously and we are fully committed to investing in repairs and<br />

our planned investment works in existing homes. Together, we need to make sure<br />

that everyone’s home is safe, comfortable and issues with damp, mould and condensation<br />

are resolved.

!<br />

Find the <strong>Easter</strong> Bunnies Competition<br />

How many <strong>Easter</strong> Bunnies can you spot hidden in the<br />

farm scene above?<br />

The first correct entry drawn will win an Ocean<br />

goodie bag and £60 shopping voucher.<br />

Three runners up will win an Ocean goodie bag<br />

and £20 shopping voucher.<br />

The competition is open to anyone living in our<br />

properties. Only one entry per household.<br />

Closing date is Monday 29th May <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Good Luck with your search!<br />

You don’t need a stamp, just cut out this slip<br />

and pop it into an envelope addressed to:<br />

FREEPOST RSES-LCCA-EJUJ, <strong>Easter</strong> Bunny<br />

Competition, Ocean Housing, Stennack Road,<br />

St Austell, PL25 3SW.<br />

How many <strong>Easter</strong> bunnies have<br />

you spotted above?<br />

Name:<br />

Address:<br />

Telephone No:<br />

Mobile No:<br />

Email address:<br />

Postcode:<br />

Congratulations<br />

to our Christmas edition winners, Lorna, Alfie, Lucy and Caroline.<br />

Please recycle your <strong>Street</strong> <strong>Talk</strong>. Printed on Re-cycled paper. Designed & produced by karenjacksondesign.com 01326 3<strong>73</strong>108 Photography by Tom Last Photography 0777 3010866.<br />

Join the Virtual Internet Panel<br />

bit.ly/virtualinternetpanel<br />

email: help@oceanhousing.com<br />

oceanhousing.com<br />

01726 874450<br />

Out of Hours Numbers<br />

Emergency Repairs: 01726 874450<br />

Anti-Social Behaviour: 01726 874450<br />

Contact us for a Large Print<br />

or Audio CD of this newsletter

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