Hull Housing News - April 2018

Hull Housing News - April 2018

Date: 
March 2018
How do you like the new look Hull Housing News?

Your Communications and Publications Group have been looking at how we can improve Hull Housing News.  Many publications have gone for web only availability. Experts tell us that on-line is more popular because people like to share and keep information on their phones and lap tops. Of course, online is better for the environment too.

However, we’ve opted for half and half because we appreciate that not everyone can get on line at home. We’ve cut the newsletter to four pages. You can read a summary of the story in the newsletter, and if you want to know more we have given you an online link. To read the links on line, you can always pop into one of the libraries or customer service centres where help is available to help you access it.

Still time to win £500

There’s still to win the first prize of £500, if you sign up to pay your rent by standing order or direct debit, or a second prize of £250 or £100 third prize. The prize draw will be made in May. People who already pay their rent by standing order and direct debit, and continue to do so, will be automatically entered into the prize draw. 

Find out more
 

Digital champions – helping you get online

Are you comfortable using a computer or the internet? Do you know how the apps on your Smart phone can make life easier for you? Would you like to shop on line, set up an email account, look up information, manage your accounts and pay your bills online?

A number of tenants have volunteered to be Digital Champions, helping people to become more tech savvy.  Informal sessions will be held at venues across the city. All the sessions are free, thanks to funding from Efficiency North, and KCOM which has provided computers and helped train our volunteers.

 

Date Time Location
Wednesday 25 April 2018 1.30pm - 4.30pm Mitchel Community Centre
Goodrich Close
Hull
HU2 0BG
Thursday 10 May 2018 09.30am - 12.30pm Eastmount Community Recreation Centre
Waveney Road
Hull
HU8 9NB
Tuesday 15 May 2018 09.30am - 12.30pm Unity in Community
501 Endike Lane 
Hull 
HU6 8AQ
Friday 25 May 2018 09.30am - 12.30pm Ings Plus
Savoy Road
Hull
HU8 0TX
Tuesday 5 June 2018 09.30am - 12.30pm Bransholme library
Goodhart Road
Hull 
HU7 4EF
Monday 18 June 2018 1.30pm - 4.30pm Gipsyville Multi-Purpose Centre
730 Hessle Rd
Hull 
HU4 6JA
Wednesday 27 June 2018 1.30pm - 4.30pm Princess Ave Methordist Church
91 Princes Ave
Hull 
HU5 3QP
Thursday 19 July 2018 09.30am - 12.30pm Spring Bank Community Centre
West Parade
Spring Bank
Hull
HU3 1BX

End your tenancy the right way!

Every year, around 2000 council tenants move out of their home.

Did you know that you MUST give the Council 4 weeks written notice that you wish to end your tenancy agreement?  If you don’t, you may find that you are charged rent for a period after you move out of your home.  Don’t get caught out with an unnecessary debt.  The Council will pursue unpaid rent even after you move home, and if at some point in the future you want to apply for rehousing with us, you may be “down banded” on the Housing Register until any outstanding debt is cleared.  This could be many years after the debt first occurred.

  • Tell us that you intend to move by giving 4 weeks written notice
  • make sure you hand in all keys, fobs and window locks at the end of the 4 week notice period and tell us your new address
  • Make sure you re instate any alterations that you’ve done to the property and repair any damage.  The Council will seek to recover the costs from you of doing the work needed if you don’t do it yourself
  • Remove all furniture, personal belongings and rubbish from the premises – you may be charged for clearance if you leave things behind
  • Take final meter readings on the day you are moving out and notify your utility suppliers – this will avoid any arguments later on about your final bills at the property
  • Make sure that all household members, lodgers or subtenants and any animals leave at the same time as you do

Recognise us as a benefit to society!

Ann and Darren, joined tenants from across the UK at the House of Commons to launch Benefit To Society, a new campaign which aims to change public perceptions of people living in social housing.

Hull City Council is the first local authority nationally to sign up, joining housing associations and ALMOS calling for an end to social housing tenants being stereotyped and spoken about in derogatory language.

Leading up to the launch, Ann and Darren successfully took their message to the media in Hull and on Twitter, receiving positive feedback. At the House of Commons they discussed the campaign with Hull MPs, and used the occasion to sign up to the Benefit To Society Pledge.

Darren says: 'We want respect based on the people we are and not our tenure. We are not the people portrayed in such TV programmes as Benefits Street and Shameless. In fact, national statistics show that just seven percent of people who live in social housing are unemployed. We make a very positive contribution to society both economically and in the voluntary work we do in our communities.'

Find out more on the Benefit to Society website

Sign the Pledge online

Alternatively you can contact us on tenant.resident@hullcc.gov.uk

Why I volunteer – Ann Reekie

Ann is a retired customer service manager, who spent most of her working life in the retail trade. Since retiring, she and husband Walter spend most of their time volunteering.  Walter looks after the gardens around their home, which is in one of the multi-story living blocks on Bransholme while Ann is a tireless worker with Hull Tenants’ Forum.

Ann is currently Vice Chair of the Forum, Chair of the Tenant Involvement Group as well as Vice Chair of the Scrutiny Panel. She  also serves on the Tenants’ Scrutiny and Designated Complaints Panel, and is a member of the Communications and Publications Group and the Multi-storey Living Group. Ann personifies the old saying 'If you want something doing, ask a busy woman!'

Ann is also leading Hull tenants’ participation in the newly launched national campaign 'Benefits To Society' and it is largely thanks to Ann’s influence that Hull Tenants have a seat on the national steering group.

Ann says 'it is wrong, wrong, wrong that people judge us by our housing tenure rather than respect us for who we are. Social housing tenants come from all walks of life.  If you look at the jobs they carry out in Hull, from train drivers, health workers and mechanics to teachers, office staff, the leisure industry and more, you’ll see that we keep the city running.'

Ann loves volunteering because she feels that too many people complain or don’t see it as their role to make their neighbourhood a better place, yet if they were to get involved in the community they could help make a real difference.

Ann says, 'We have seen how well the volunteers for the City of Culture have had recognition and support for the work they are doing. We have a lot of tenant volunteers in Hull who go the extra mile for their community and encourage others to see the effect we can have, proving that we do benefit society.'

Dedication of bow anchor in memory of the crews lost in the Triple Trawler Disaster

Hull City Council marked the 50th anniversary of the Triple Trawler disaster by dedicating a trawler’s bower anchor in the grounds of Valiant Drive where the three blocks of flats are named after the trawlers, St Romanus, Kingston Peridot and Ross Cleveland, which were lost. It was also an appropriate location because regeneration in the Hessle Road area, home to Hull’s fishing community, resulted in families being relocated across Hull, including Bilton Grange which includes Valiant Drive.

Cllr John Black, Hull City Council Portfolio Holder for Housing, led the dedication together with Superintendent Tracy Stevens from Hull Fishermen’s  Mission. Also in attendance was Yvonne Blenkinsop, a founder member of the Hessle Road Women’s Committee, whose tenacious campaign to improve safety in the fishing industry, led to new shipping legislation.

The ceremony started at 11am with the choir from the nearby Andrew Marvel School. The short service of dedication included a reading of the seafarers’ version of 23rd Psalm by the Lord Mayor and Admiral of the Humber Cllr John Hewitt, who also laid a wreath on behalf of Hull City Council. Yvonne Blenkinsop and Jill Long, whose fisherman husband was lost at sea, both laid wreaths of remembrance on the anchor. Since losing her husband, Jill has been a tireless worker supporting seamen and their families and, along with other Hessle Roaders, has compiled the names of every known lost fishermen in the memorial books which are housed in the Maritime Museum.

This poignant anniversary was also marked by the city’s young people too. Two representatives from Andrew Marvell School presented flowers to Yvonne and Jill to thank them for what they achieved and for ensuring that the men and boys who were lost are never forgotten.

The bow anchor itself was positioned on St Andrew’s Quay until the new permanent memorial to lost trawlermen was erected in 2016. It was subsequently donated to the Council by St Andrews Dock Heritage Park Action Group (STAND), and together it was agreed that the most appropriate re-location would be Valiant Drive.    

Unveiling the anchor at Valiant Drive, Housing Portfolio Holder Cllr John Black said: 'The Triple Trawler disaster shocked the nation and ripped the heart out of our city. Those three weeks in 1968 are remembered as 'The Dark Winter', yet out of the tragedy a campaign developed. The women of Hessle Road took on the fishing industry, and some members of their own community, and secured new safety and employment practices which subsequently saved countless lives.'

'The Council is very grateful to STAND for gifting this anchor, and on behalf of the Council it is an honour and a privilege to dedicate it as a memorial to those who sailed on the St Romanus, Kingston Peridot and Ross Cleveland.'

'This city will always remember the sacrifice made by the crews on board the three trawlers and all 6,000 fishermen who were lost at sea from St Andrew’s Dock opening in 1886 and closing in 1975.'

A day in the life of Tracy Pocklington

Tracy Pocklington is the External Relations Manager for the Housing Investment Service.

My three Jack Russell dogs are better than any alarm clock for getting me out of bed. I never manage more than a quick cup of tea before leaving the house because I’m too busy getting their breakfasts, letting them out into the garden, plumping their cushions for the day and leaving the radio on Radio 2 as company.

I’m a North Lincolnshire girl, but have worked in Hull for more than 30 years. I certainly never tire of admiring the wonderful Humber Bridge when I travel across. I was so pleased Historic England gave it a Grade 1 listing last year.

I work in Warehouse 9 overlooking Queens Gardens, and job number one, once I’ve grabbed a coffee, is to go through my emails. I always look for emails concerning customers first because our tenants are central to everything we do. Customer emails can cover anything from comments and complaints about our services across every aspect of the Neighbourhood and Housing Service’s work.

Despite meticulously planning my day ahead, it usually doesn’t work out and no two days are ever alike. My role is really that of a trouble shooter, the link between the customer, the contractor, the area housing teams and other Council services, resolving problems and intervening as appropriate.  For example, recently there were blocked drains at the home of a tenant with complex medical problems and in the interests of the customer’s health and to sort the problem quicker I was able to arrange an urgent repair with our contractors.

After prioritising customer emails, I monitor where we are with  formal feedback to ensure we are on target to meet our promise to get back to customers within ten working days for a first stage complaint and twenty for a second stage.

Sometimes, face to face discussion with customers can resolve a problem, and I often pop and see a customer or they come in to see me.  After sorting things in the office I pop out and see a customer who is unhappy with some work carried out in their home.  After talking it through, we seem to have found a solution and I bookmark it to be raised at our regular Customer learning sessions with our contractors in the event of a similar situation arising.

Lunch time varies from a sandwich at my desk to a sneaky peak around the shops.  I must confess, I am a bit of a shopaholic!

After lunch I spend time ensuring the A-Z information used by our call handlers at the 300 300 call centre is correct and updating the website .  We encourage as many people as possible to sign up to self-service via the website. It is so much easier as you can do it anywhere, any time and from any smart phone, tablet, laptop or computer. Not only can you report a repair but you can track its progress.

My focus then goes to other areas I am responsible for and one of these is Corporate social responsibility. Basically this is looking at and supporting the social, economic and environmental impact contractors have in the area where they are working. My last meeting of the day is with one of the companies that supplies boilers to the Council.  We receive ‘credit’ points for every boiler installed and this is equivalent to a money value that we are turning into a fund to support good causes. It’s always good to end the working day on a positive note.

I usually head straight home and the front door is opened with trepidation wondering what the three rascal dogs may have done that day. First job is feed the trio and then take them for a good long walk (they have access to the garden during the day) and finally it is me-time! This time of year, it is usually cook tea, and then relax with a large glass of red wine, some music or a catch up with my new favourite programme Peaky Blinders.

Asbestos

Asbestos was used in building materials for older homes due to its fire resistance properties. The use of blue and brown asbestos was banned in 1985 and all asbestos in 1999.

Asbestos is unlikely to be a health risk as long as it’s undamaged and hasn’t been disturbed. It is only harmful if you inhale fibres released from damaged asbestos.

Find out more about asbestos in your home

Did you know?

  • In 2016 the Neighbourhood Nuisance Team dealt with just over 3500 complaints of anti-social behaviour
  • In 2016 the Neighbourhood Nuisance Team supported almost  4000 victims and witnesses of anti social behaviour and dealt with around 1300 people causing anti-social behaviour
  • Around 1500 informal warnings/actions were issued and around 100 legal sanctions taken in response to complaints of anti social behaviour
  • Everybody who contacts us about anti social behaviour receives an individual package of support tailored to their needs
  • You can be assured that the Neighbourhood Nuisance Team will treat all calls about anti-social behaviour with the upmost confidentiality
  • The Neighbourhood Nuisance Team has its own ‘victim’s champion’ to support the most vulnerable
  • The Neighbourhood Nuisance Team and Humberside Police work closely together to tackle anti-social behaviour
  • The range of services provided by the Neighbourhood Nuisance Team is available to everyone, not just council tenants
  • The Neighbourhood Nuisance Team has a wide range of enforcement tools to help it deal anti-social behaviour