HNE

Welcome to Home News Extra!

Welcome to Home News Extra!

You've had your latest issue of Home News, now try Home News Extra!

Home News Extra is here to give even more news from Acis.

Here you'll find videos, infographics, links to handy advice and more.

In this edition you'll find:

  • Our Heroes awards: the shortlist - Watch video interviews with some of our shortlisted nominees.
  • Information on Universal credit - More information on the Universal Credit changes with videos and useful links on how to apply.
  • Download our Focus On infographics and find out more about how we support our customers with more than just bricks and mortar
  • Find out more about a day in the life of an Area Service Manager (ASM). We followed Jude Calvert and Taylor Gibson whilst doing their rounds.
  • and more!

Our Heroes Awards 2018 - The shortlists

Our Heroes - Good Neighbour categoryOur Heroes - Garden Guru categoryOur Heroes - Young person category

We have had an amazing response to the Our Heroes awards this year with almost a hundred nominations across the three categories.

Our judging panel have studied the nominations and have agreed on a shortlist. 

The awards ceremony will be held on 24 October 2018 where we will find out the winners.

The judging panel is made up of our Chief Executive Greg Bacon, West Lindsey District Councillor Sheila Bibb, and one of our Board members Kath Smart.

Check out the shortlists below to see who is heading to our awards ceremony to be in with a chance of winning!

Our Heroes 2018 - Good Neighbour/Neighbourhood shortlist

Well Women Group - Gainsborough

Well Women Group - Gainsborough

A group of women from Gainsborough are supporting each other to lead healthier lives.

The Gainsborough Well Women Group tackle weight issues, share problems, reduces isolation and generally lead better lives. Meeting once a week, they cover all aspects of health and wellbeing and their work is spreading through the Gainsborough community.

Group coordinator Kirsty Mathers said: “We started off with a coffee morning every Friday and I noticed there were a lot of health problems with the people that were attending. The ladies were thriving from the coffee morning – ladies were coming that wouldn’t normally leave the house. So we set up the Well Woman group.

“Every Tuesday morning, around 9am-11.30am, we cover all areas of health and wellbeing. We try to help them and their families. We’ve got one lady who’s lost about six stone and that’s followed through to her whole family – the children are trampolining, there’s healthy food in the house and her general health has improved.

“We just look at all areas of their health. We talk about things like cancer and things that women struggle to talk about. As a group, we talk about all these issues and get professionals in to help.

“But it’s also about feeling good about ourselves. We have hairdressers, nail technicians and beauticians in, we go to nice restaurants now and again and just about empowering them.”

The group is also proving to be successful in raising money for cancer charities, undertaking challenging tasks for sponsorship money. Their next aim is to complete the Three Peaks challenge.

Kirsty added: “The group were really happy and excited when they found out they’d been shortlisted.

“The help they give each other is unbelievable. The ladies are really supportive of one another and are so deserving of a nomination. The group comes together once a week but really, we’re there for each other all the time.

Group member Amanda Blakey said: “I come every week, really to help me lose weight. I’ve made a lot of new friends as well.

“The ladies in the group are absolutely supportive. We run a chat as well, so if we have any problems we just put a message on there and there’s always someone on there able to chat to us.

“I was shocked that we were nominated but Kirsty is amazing.”

Click the image below to hear more from Kirsty and the group and find out a bit more about why they were nominated

Click the image below to hear more from Kirsty and the group and find out a bit more about why they were nominated

Neil Haddock - Bardney

Neil Haddock - Bardney

Handyman Neil Haddock only recently moved to Bardney but has made such an impression on his neighbours that they nominated him for this award. 

Neil, 51, gives his free time to helping out anyone in the local community including painting and decorating, fitting appliances and grounds maintenance – all to make the village look better. He also became a trustee for Bardney Gateway Centre.
 
Neil said: “People do things for others all the time but it’s nice to be recognised. 

“I’m a bit old-fashioned. I can do most things, but as I get older I don’t advertise it as much. I enjoy it. I just try to put a smile on everyone’s face. It’s nice to put something back in.”

Neil was nominated by his local community. Neighbour Brian Wilkins said: “Neil really undersells himself with what he does. The work he has done has really helped me out. Most of the people he helps are old or disabled – even things like mowing the lawn if they’re struggling. It might not sound a lot but it makes a real difference. 

“I’m very pleased to have met Neil. His work for the local community deserves to be recognised.”

See and hear more from Neil and Brian by clicking the image below.

Click this image to hear from Neil Haddock, one of the shortlisted Good Neighbour nominees

Betty Smart - Welton

Betty Smart is a tenant of Park House sheltered scheme in Welton and is renowned for her caring nature.

94-year-old Betty, a former member of the Women's Royal Naval Service, makes it her duty to make sure herself and the other tenants in Park House are as comfortable as possible.

She said: "I've always been like that. I think we should all just help each other.

"I'm currently training Jenny [another tenant] to help out too as I won't be able to do it forever. 

"They're a good lot who live here so it's always nice to help out.

"I was surprised to hear I'd ben nominated but it was a nice surprise." 

Betty was nominated by a few people from Acis, including our Estate Officer, Kerry Stocks.

Of the nomination, Kerry said: "The tenants always come to Betty if they have any questions or need something doing.

"She will always try and help get things sorted.

"If there's any repairs, she's on hand to help people report them and also help our repairs team to get into the building when needed. She's a valuable asset to us and this community and deserves recognition."

Bety Smart of Welton

Jane Wilson - Woodthorpe

Jane Wilson is a local hero to many in the Woodthorpe area of Sheffield thanks to her tireless work in the community.

Jane's commitment to the Woodthorpe area has be a constant since she was 16 years old and her passion for helping people is stil strong to this day. 

One of the schemes she runs at the minute is a luncheon club at the Tenants and Residents Associaton building on a Thursday.

Of her community work, Jane said: "It goes back a long time to when I was 16 helping in a local junior club and up until a few years ago I was a youth worker in the area.

"Unfortunately, I lost my job due to some cutbacks but whilst that was happening I was asked to come along and take the role of Chair at the local Tenants and Residents Association (TARA).

"I was happy to get involved because I also wanted to continue to put back into the community whether that be paid or unpaid.

"We saw there was a need for a luncheon club as there's a lot of elderly residents around here so we set this up and it just became more and more popular."

Her work doesn't just stop at the elderly generation as Jane has recently returned to supporting the youth of the area with some go-kart building workshops.

She added: "There's very little in terms of youth provisions around the area so we took it upon ourselves to get some groups together and give them something to do.

"We managed to get a small bit of funding from the local Ward pot and we're getting the kids to go back to basics and building old fashions go-karts.

"They're getting to learn how to use tools and new skills along the way."

Jane's work doesn't go unnoticed in the area and it is very much appreciated by the local residents, including local councillors.

Councillor Peter Rippon said of Jane: "It's fantastic what she's done here over the past few years. There's a group of people who help but Jane does lead it all. She's been brilliant.

"She's really got the community involved and together which it wasn't before. She deserves recognition, not that she will accept it. She's in it because she cares for the community not for awards."

Jane Wilson - Woodthorpe

Our Heroes 2018 - Garden Guru shortlist

Mrs Barsley - The Park

Continuing the theme of making the most of smaller outdoor spaces, this garden is a fantastic example of creating a little piece of paradise in a small garden. Often small
gardens can look cluttered and untidy but Mrs Barsley spends a lot of time in making their garden look full but tidy and colourful.

Mrs Barsley - The Park

Dale View - Caistor

Dale View - Caistor

Green-fingered residents have brightened up one of our sheltered accommodation schemes in Market Rasen. 

The residents of Dale View have worked together and given their time and attention to the outside area of their flats.  

They have created and maintained a fantastic flower patch featuring a mixture of flowers such as fuchsias, lilies and pansies, with many hanging baskets also adorning the walls to create a colourful masterpiece. They also grow fruit and vegetables like strawberries, runner beans and peas. 

One of the residents, Mr Spencer, said: “I had a static caravan with lots of potted plants around it so when I moved here, and with us having quite a dark area, I decided it’d be a good idea to plant them and it started from there. 

“It went from strength to strength. We really enjoy it. It’s nice to look out on it, instead of a brick wall. The compliments we have had have been great. One lady likes to come out and just look it the area and see all the birds that come.”

Click the image below to find hear more from Mr Spencer about his great work!

Click the image below to find hear more from Mr Spencer about his great work!
 

Mrs Taylor - Pleasley

Mrs Taylor has worked on improving her garden over the past few years and has created a little piece of paradise. The garden has two small ponds and some garden ornaments which help add the character to the area. Another worth entrant!

Mrs Taylor - Pleasley

Mr Middleton - Caistor

Mr Middleton - Caistor

A fantastic garden with an amazing amount of effort put into the upkeep, Mr Middleton of Caistor is a very worthy nominee for this award. He has built his own flower display boxes in different shapes and has some fantastic hanging baskets that make the garden look vibrant and alive. This garden is formed in a relatively small space which the entrant has used to its full potential.

Mr Middleton - Caistor

Our Heroes 2018 - Young Person/People shortlist

Jake Farrow - Gainsborough

Jake Farrow - Gainsborough

Jake Farrow, who is just about to turn 18, has had uncontrolled epilepsy since he was just five-years-old. He has regular seizures and has undergone many surgeries over the years.

The Aegir Specialist Academy pupil has been shortlisted for his attitude towards his condition.

Despite injuring himself many times through these seizures, Jake has never once complained and is one of the happiest people his friends and family know. He is a very kind and well-mannered young man who never lets anything get him down.

Jake’s mum, Amanda, said: “He was a perfectly normal boy and then one day he started having a seizure and he’s had a seizure every day since.

“But to this day, he still has a smile on his face every day and nothing bothers him. He’s been through a lot. He’s had brain surgery. He’s had two implants to try and control his epilepsy, he’s on medication. In the last year, he has started to suffer from a dislocated shoulder when he has a seizure.

“He’s amazing. It just doesn’t bother him. He’s always thinking about others.”

Jake said: “I feel very proud. I didn’t even know that I’d been nominated.”

Talking about his condition, he added: “I feel a seizure coming on. Spider man has his spider senses, but I have epilepsy senses.”

Click the image below to hear from Jake and his mum Amanda on his nomination!

Jake Farrow - Young person of the year nominee

Bardney Youth Football

Travis Ayres, Alex Bond and Liam Wilson have been working tirelessly to raise funds to improve their local football facilities in Bardney.

They have been fundraising to be able to apply for grants to resurface the 5-a-side pitch at the Bardney Gateway Centre as currently it is an old tarmac surface that badly needs replacing to bring it up to present day standards. They would like to replace it with a new multi-use surface, capable of being used for other sports as well as football.This pitch will be a valuable asset, not just to the youth club but to the whole village.


The group have been fundraising since August 2016 and have shown tenacity, organising coffee mornings, Easter egg hunts, a Halloween Ghost walk and American Breakfasts as well as running the barbecue at Bardney Gala and helping with the logistics of that event.

So far they have raised in excess of £2800.

They are working under the guidance of the Gateway Centre and have made them very proud.

Everyone at the centre feels that they deserve all the backing and help that they can get them and see them as a credit to the young people of the village.

Bardney Youth Football

Murrey and Evan - Market Rasen

Charitable brothers Murrey and Evan from Market Rasen have been collecting items to give to homeless people at Christmas.

Following a visit to London where Murrey was struck by the amount of homeless people, Murrey (then aged just six) started a collection of shoebox Christmas treats to give via the Nomad Trust in Lincoln to those living on the streets at Christmas. His brother Evan is also now heavily involved. 

It’s believed the duo have donated more than 250 shoeboxes full of food, sweets, hats, gloves, hot chocolate, toothbrushes and toothpaste to charity over the last six Christmases. 

Murrey said: “We went to London when I was really young, and we saw these homeless people and I was asking mum why they were sat on the floor. Every homeless person we went past, I asked whether we could put some money in their pot. Then we came up with the idea of doing shoeboxes at Christmas, so they can feel like they’re not on their own on Christmas Day. It makes them happy, I think.

“We actually got to see them being given shoeboxes last year, and they were so grateful. It was quite nice to watch. It made me feel happy. Usually when we see them, they aren’t happy, but this puts a smile on their faces. It’s a good feeling to do something good for someone. 

“We don’t do it for an award. We do it to make people happy. You can tell that they appreciate it.” 

Evan said: “I don’t find it very nice when you see people laying on the floor - we’re all in homes and comfy and they’re on a rock-solid floor. We actually received a Christmas Card back from one of the homeless people – I like it when they are happy. 

Evan even donated 16 Easter eggs he recently won to the Nomad Trust to help with their efforts. 

The brothers are supported by family and friends, who regularly donate items for shoeboxes. Murrey added: “It’s nice to see the support that everyone gives. It’s really helpful because obviously we couldn’t do all the boxes by ourselves so it’s nice that people give up their own time to go and buy things to put in a shoebox. 

St George's Primary School - Gainsborough

St George’s Church of England Community Primary School - Gainsborough

A group of Gainsborough schoolchildren who have become renowned for their inclusive behaviours have been shortlisted for Our Heroes awards.

Children at St George’s Church of England Community Primary School have been shortlisted in the ‘Young People of the Year’ category at the Our Heroes awards.

It comes after the children rallied around to support classmate Logan Mountcastle, who last year was diagnosed with an incurable genetic disorder and confined to a wheelchair. Together, they have held fundraising events and have been praised for including everyone in school activities.

Logan has now moved to another school to receive specialist care, but he remains very close to his former classmates.

Classmate Logan Rendall, 11, said: “We were all looking after him. We would help him with things like work. If he wanted to go and speak to a teacher, we would take him there. We would play games with him.

“We had a ‘Logan’s Day’ where we had his two favourite things – Paw Patrol and Disney characters – and everybody dressed up and raised money for charity.

“Looking after one another is one of the most important things and doing whatever it takes to help. Nobody thought anything about awards. We’re all very surprised.”

Mrs Vaux, the school’s Acting Deputy Head, said: “The children are so inclusive. When Logan was at the school, the children made nothing of it and accepted him. He was always included. They were just fabulous.

“We’re so proud of them. We always talk about St George’s being a family and this is just another example of how when you’re a family you look after people whatever happens.”

The school also runs a pupil-led school council which has been applauded for helping to make decisions around the school.

Click the image below to hear from pupils and staff of the school on the nomination!

Click the image to see a video interview with pupils and staff of St George's Primary School

In our communities

Summer Fayre

More than 80 people turned out for our annual Summer Fayre at the Gainsborough Uphill Community Centre in July.

Attendees enjoyed a range of activities including a petting zoo and a bouncy castle as well as face painting and crafts.

Organised by Claire Tunstall, our Customer Engagement Coordinator, the day was a huge success, raising more than £160 which was split between our charity and the community centre for future fun events.

Children enjoying the summer fayre  Face painting at the summer fayre

Sizzling fun at Newlands

In August, the tenants of Newlands Court in Gainsborough suggested holding a barbecue event in their communal area.

This was a fantastic idea to make the most of the beautiful summer weather we enjoyed this year.

Funded jointly by the residents and us, the event was a great success enjoyed by nearly 40 attendees.

The tenants and guests at Newlands Court enjoying the day

A focus on you

We’re not like a normal social housing provider. We like to go above and beyond our responsibilities as a landlord, making sure we deliver on our vision to create better lives for people.

We focus on you – as a person, as a household, as a family, and as a community.

Below you'll find examples of how we supported our customers and communities in 2017/18.

Click on each image to download a full PDF version for you to read

Click to download - Focus on your future stats 2017-18 Click to download - Focus on your voice stats 2017-18 Click to download - Focus on your needs stats 2017-18 Click to download - Focus on your environment stats for 2017-2018

Tradespeople of the future

More than 30 students have taken part in our latest project to give young people the skills they need to gain careers as tradespeople.

The project, which sees young people work alongside our trades teams to renovate empty properties alongside their official college qualifications, has proved a huge success and is now in its second year.

It is run by our Volunteering and Employability Coordinator Jill Dickson and delivered on site by one of our fantastic multi-skilled tradespeople, Paul Exton. This year, Paul gave an outstanding 242 hours of his own time for this project!

Jill is proud of what we are doing for the communities with this project and is also delighted to see Paul giving so many hours of volunteering to the cause.

“As an organisation we want to give back to the areas we work in and the partnership with the college is something we’re very proud of.

“We’re pleased to see that we’re doing our bit to invest in future tradespeople and helping these young people gain some important skills for their future careers.

“Paul has always given a massive contribution to volunteering and support for the kids.

“He is one of many who represent the organisation in a positive light with our partners and this project is a great opportunity for him to share his skills and knowledge with the next generation of tradespeople.”

Find out more about Focus On your future and our other Focus On areas here 

Our engineer Paul Exton with a group of students who have benefited from this scheme

Introducing Accelerate!

Focus on your future - click the image to find out more about our focus on initiative

As part of our commitment to providing more than just bricks and mortar, we are introducing a new programme to help customers get back into work.

Our new Accelerate service will provide 30 weeks of intensive employability support for anyone looking for employment, enhance their careers or move towards the job market. .

This includes anyone who has any potential barriers to working, such as health issues or convictions.

The programme will also provide a further six weeks of in-work support, once a person has found work, to ensure both the employer and new recruit are comfortable in a bid to make sure the job remains sustainable..

Introducing…Jessica Sanders.

Jessica will be delivering this programme to help our customers get back into work.

Jessica comes from a background of delivering information, advice and guidance to a variety of customers. She is looking forward to taking this programme forward to support our tenants who are looking to further their careers.

She said: “I am really looking forward to working with our customers to help them achieve their goals and career ambitions.”

For more information, call us on 0800 027 2057 or fill in the form below and one of the team will give you a call back.

Register your interest in our Accelerate programme

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Out and about...

...with an Area Service Manager (ASM)

Area Service Manager Jude Wilson out and about in Sheffield

Our Area Service Managers do a fantastic job working with our tenants to help support them in their home.

We went out and about with Jude Calvert, one of our ASMs for Sheffield, to see what she gets up to on an average working day.

Visiting a tenant who was struggling to apply for benefits

We understand tenants may have difficulties applying for various types of benefits. On this occasion, a tenant has been struggling to sort out his Housing Benefit so Jude arranged for him to meet her in the office to help support him make the application and get it right

Gardens round up

Jude also had a check in with a number of tenants who have been clearing up their garden areas. Thankfully, the tenants had all made great progress so Jude was able to hand out some thank you cards.

Visiting a tenant following a bereavement

We also visited a tenant who had sadly recently lost her husband. The tenant was asking questions such as taking her husband's name off the tenancy and what to do moving forward. Jude was able to support and help with this.

Jude: "It's a sad situation the tenant is dealing with. I just want my tenants to know that I will help to support them though anything they may need. In this case she is lucky to have such a great family to be by her side."

Visiting a tenant with rent issues

Jude often deals with people who are having issues paying their rent. It's not always for bad reasons, and in this case, it was just to clarify some confusion. However, the tenant was hard of hearing so is unable to discuss matters over the phone. Jude worked with the tenant to come up with a new payment plan to make things easier as well as making sure his partner is now able to discuss tenancy issues with us over the phone.

Jude: "We will always try and help any tenant struggling with their rent and we have lots of ways we can do this. In this case we agreed on how we can clear his arrears and get him back on track. It's always best to get in touch to see how we can help."

Click the image below to see what Taylor was up to when we joined him on his rounds!

Click on the image to see a clip of following another of our ASMs, Taylor on his rounds

Developing new homes

New homes coming to Saxilby

Saxilby

New homes coming to Saxilby

We are delighted to be able to offer some new affordable homes for those over the age of 55.

We are working with Lindum Construction to develop 60 new homes in Saxilby for the over 55s with availability being split evenly between outright sales, shared ownership and affordable rent.

There will be 50 bungalows and 10 flats being built with the support of a social housing grant from Homes England.

We recently visited the site with our Chief Executive Greg Bacon taking part in a ceremonial ground cutting event.

Did you know we have launched a new way to apply for a shared ownership home? 

We're always looking to improve our services to customers and this is a way for shared ownership applicants to easily track their applications.

Register for your shared ownership application here.

You can find all the information about Saxilby on our website by clicking the banner above!

Partnership brings more affordable housing to Skegby

Partnership brings more affordable housing to Skegby

We’ve joined forces with leading housebuilder Rippon Homes to bring more affordable homes to Skegby, near Mansfield.

Four two-bedroom homes at Rippon’s popular Manor Croft Development on Mansfield Road are to be transferred to us.

Andrea Brough, Head of Development at Acis said: “We’re delighted to be working with Rippon Homes once again to bring more affordable housing to Nottinghamshire.

“Manor Croft will provide additional safe, secure and quality living spaces for local people.”

Ian Dyke, Managing Director of Rippon Homes, said: “We are so pleased to have teamed up with Acis to bring affordable houses to Skegby.

“This will bring much needed, quality built homes to the area that will be available to those struggling to get on the property ladder.”

We will have three homes available for affordable rent and one available to purchase under our popular shared ownership scheme.

Andrea Brough and Andrea Lowman meet with Rippon Homes

Money Advice

Universal Credit - What, where, when and how?

By the end of 2018, all of the communities we work in will have seen Universal Credit full service go live.

But what is Universal Credit? Universal credit supports you if you are on a low income or out of work. It includes a monthly payment to help with your living costs.

Download the Universal Credit page of Home News here to see when full service will be live in your area!

Universal Credit replaces: 
Child Tax Credit
Housing Benefit
Income Support
Income based Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA)
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Working Tax Credit

Find out more about Universal Credit and how it affects you at www.understandinguniversalcredit.org.uk

Click the image below to view a handy video guide on Universal Credit and how to make a claim.

Click the image below to view a handy video guide on Universal Credit and how to make a claim.

Direct Debit competition

Every thought of paying your rent by Direct Debit?

It's quick and easy to pay by Direct Debit - once set up, it's completely hassle-free. No more reminders to pay your rent. And the best bit of all, we'll let you choose the date that your payment comes out of your bank.

Sign up to pay your rent by Direct Debit during the month of October and you will be entered into a prize draw to win £100 in vouchers!

All customers who are set up to pay by Direct Debit at the end of October 2018 will automatically by entered into a draw. Once rent payment has been received in November, the winner will be given their prize in December.

And there will be two draws! One for new Direct Debit customers and one for current Direct Debit customers! This includes all customers who signed up to pay Direct Debit prior to October.

For more information, or to request a form to pay your rent by monthly Direct Debit, please contact our Income Team on 0800 027 2057.

Click on the image below to find out more about Direct Debits and other ways to pay your rent.

 

Click this image to find out more ways to pay your rent

Money advice

For more advice on Universal Credit, Direct debits and more, visit the money advice section of our infohub here or click on the image below and find out more

Click here to visit the money advice section of our infohub

Digital update

Allpay

In April this year we launched a new, faster way for customers to make payments to us as we enhance our support services.

Since the introduction of our new Allpay service, we have seen a 93% reduction in the amount of monthly telephone payments made via the contact centre from 930 to 70.

This has allowed our contact centre team to improve their response time for other queries while meaning you have the ability to pay your rent in your own time.

Acis tenant Denise Armitage has been using the AllPay app to pay her rent and has told us how it has improved her experience.

She said: “The old way of paying was so longwinded and took a long time to get it sorted.

“Using the new system is easy. I just use my card, enter my details and it’s done. It’s as simple as that.

“It takes about a minute for me to make payments now I have an AllPay card. It’s a much easier way of doing things.”

Click the image below to find out more about paying your rent with Allpay

Texting is coming!

Texting is coming!

Over the next year we will be rolling out our texting service to make life easier for you.

The first stage to go live will be texts about your rent, allowing you to text us 24/7 and find out your rent balance.

Keep an eye on our website and Home News Extra for updates on when this is going to be launched.

You can call us on 0800 027 2057 to make sure we have the correct mobile phone number for you.

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