August 2019 View this email in your browser

Welcome to the new format of Tenant Focus. Over the next few editions we will be changing the way we deliver this newsletter to improve it for you. If you have any feedback or suggestions on what content you would like to see please email

Important information for tenants

We've made important changes to our Waste and Recycling service

Earlier this month, we took vital steps towards increasing Swindon’s recycling rate by introducing compulsory recycling and charges for additional and replacement recycling boxes. Households will now be expected to present all of their recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard, cans, glass bottles and jars in recycling boxes instead of the black wheelie bin/blue bag. Any households that order new recycling boxes will have to pay a fee of £5 for the box and £2 for the lid, which can be purchased either individually or together.

We hope that these new measures will help us to meet government targets and encourage households to dispose of their waste more responsibly. You can find out more about recycling in Swindon here.

Have you checked if your household is on the food waste trial?

From the beginning of September 11,000 households in Swindon will be trialling the new weekly food waste collection. To find out if your household is on a trial route visit the SBC website. Those households who are on the food waste trial are encouraged to make full use of the service. Over the trial period there is potential for Swindon to divert up to 200 tonnes of food waste to be recycled and composted rather than turned into fuel or sent to landfill.

Important information on non-payment weeks

Tenants are reminded that the remaining non-payment weeks for the year are:

  • Week 22 – 26th – 30th August 2019
  • Week 39 – 23rd – 27th December 2019
  • Week 53 – 30th March – 3rd April 2020

To qualify for the non-payment week your rent account should not be in arrears, unless you have previously agreed an alternative arrangement to repay these.  For more information, please contact your Neighbourhood Housing Officer.

Improved way to report your potholes

Keeping your roads safe is really important to us. In 2018 we fixed over 7,000 potholes and patches on Swindon's roads, footpaths and cycle routes but only 900 were reported to us by the public. Thanks to your feedback, we have now made the system easier for you to report potholes, all you need to do is drop a pin on our interactive map and leave a few extra details. Once your report has been received, you will be sent a confirmation email. Our team will then aim to inspect your report within four working days. If the pothole is deeper than 40mm we will fix it within 24 hours.

If there are any potholes that you are aware of, help our Highways team by reporting them on the SBC website.

Register for Home Swapper 

Our tenants have free access to Home Swapper which is a database of tenants who want to exchange their homes within Swindon and across the country. Mutual exchanges are a quick and effective way to move into a different council or housing association property. Last year, over 100 households moved through a mutual exchange in Swindon. If you would like to find out more information about mutual exchanges, visit our website.

Say goodbye to summer and hello to Christmas

It’s never too early to start saving for Christmas. In fact, the end of the summer holidays is the perfect time to review your spending and start budgeting for the festive period. This time of the year can be expensive, however with careful budgeting you don’t have to worry about being left short of money. If you would like more advice on saving, please contact the Credit Union or Citizens Advice.  

Are you struggling with debt?

If you are struggling with debt, why not get in contact with Step Change. Step Change are a debt solution charity that can offer free, confidential and expert debt advice online or over the phone. For further information on the support they offer, visit their website.


An update on our Housing Change programme

Earlier this year we announced that we were running two new projects in Housing which will improve the Housing Repairs service and reduce the time taken to re-let empty council properties. Two teams of Housing Officers have begun work on the projects and will be liaising with tenants throughout the process to ensure their needs are met.

Tenants from the Tenants Association Sheltered Housing (TASH), Street Reps and Swindon Tenants Voice (STV) are already working with Housing Officers on these projects and will meet regularly to discuss the proposed changes. These will include updates to My Housing Tenancy online reporting and a revised 28 day notice period for outgoing tenants.

Please keep an eye out for future editions of Tenants Focus where we will be updating on progress. If you would like further information on either project please contact Arlene Griffin or Paul Yeomans

Neighbourhood Housing Officer report

Our Neighbourhood Housing team are very proactive, if our team become aware of any faults with a tenants’ property then they are quick to rectify the issue. Recently the team noticed a defective pipe in one of our tenanted ground floor flats. The team were very responsive and quickly identified the source of the problem. Unfortunately, due to a lack of response from the tenants and their next of kin, our team had to force entry into the property to fix the problem. If this situation had not been addressed then the safety valve would have eventually failed and the water would have caused damp and mould issues in the property. The tenant may have also been left with a considerable water bill.

If you notice any faults with your property please report them online through your My Housing Tenancy account or to request an emergency repair, call 01793 445503.

Pinehurst Fun Day hailed a success

Last month saw the return of Pinehurst’s annual Fun Day and the event was a huge success, with various demonstrations and free activities running throughout the day. The Neighbourhood Wardens attended on behalf of SBC and ran their own stall to promote housing services and answer any questions. The Local Reps were also in attendance giving an oversight of the work they do in their communities.

Remember to test your heating

It is good practice to test your heating in the summer months to ensure everything is working correctly in time for the colder months. In the winter our heating teams attend to a large number of properties and are often over-booked. Follow these simple steps to avoid the rush:

  • Turn on the heating making sure the central heating boiler fires up.
  • Check that all radiators are getting hot.

If you experience any issues with your heating, please make a note of the codes on the boiler display and report through your My Housing Tenancy account, or you can call the Contact Centre on 01793 445500.

Introducing Swindon’s new community café

This Autumn the Railway Village is due to welcome a new community café, following the success of previous projects set up in Penhill and the already established community café in Chiseldon. The grand opening of the café will be on Monday 2 September and will be open every Monday between 10am and 12pm thereafter. The café offers members of the community a chance to catch up with neighbours over a cup of tea. To find out more information, please contact Nick Brock

100 years of council housing

July marked the 100 year anniversary of Council Housing which was pioneered by one of Swindon’s own, Dr Christopher Addison. During his life time Mr Addison was a Doctor, Politician and a former MP for Swindon. He also introduced the first publicly funded local authority housing scheme.

To mark the centenary we are appealing to our older tenants and their families to come forward with any recollections, anecdotes, copies or scans of photos, documents and so on, for inclusion in October’s celebration event. Please send any content to Paul Wilkins or Nathan O'Brien

Penhill street reps celebrate the success of The Big Lunch

Earlier this month the Penhill Street Reps hosted The Big Lunch, an initiative that was linked with the Eden Project Big Lunch. The event sought to bring members of the community together over a barbeque, drinks and ice cream, all kindly donated by the Parish and local businesses. The Mayor of Swindon, Cllr Kevin Parry, attended the event where he presented the Reps and Junior Reps with certificates for the Food Hygiene courses that they had recently passed.

Planned works

We have been working to transform the exterior of some of our houses in Penhill as part of a wider maintenance programme. This month, 28 properties on Southwick Avenue have benefitted from a fresh coat of paint which has transformed the previously un-painted concrete render exterior and brightened up the street. The planned maintenance programme will continue to provide vital maintenance and transformative works to our stock.



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Copyright © 2019. Swindon Borough Council. All rights reserved.

Swindon Borough Council, Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1  2JH

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