July 2020 View this email in your browser
A message from your Housing team

In order to keep you, your family and all our staff safe we have introduced measures to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. In line with government guidance the changes to your service are explained below. To keep up to date with service changes please visit www.swindon.gov.uk/coronavirus.

  • Where possible all non-essential home visits will be replaced with a telephone call or email
  • If a home visit is considered essential, you will be asked a series of health related questions before your appointment is considered

Please stay alert, control the virus and save lives.

Important information for Tenants

Rent payments during coronavirus

If your income has been affected due to coronavirus please ensure that you have contacted your Housing Officer. Our Housing Officers have already supported many tenants to maximise their income.

For extra support our Housing Officers can also refer you to our dedicated team of Tenant Money Advisors, who are experts in budgeting and claiming benefits.

Wherever possible please ensure you are making rent payments online or via your telephone.

An update on voids and lettings

We are now carrying out repairs in all empty homes. Tenants will continue to receive contact via phone and email, with all verification checks being done electronically. Only essential viewings are being carried out with appropriate risk assessments in place, in line with public health guidelines.

Can you claim a possible £98 to help with your energy bills?

The Warm & Safe Wiltshire advice service has funding to provide gas and/or electricity vouchers for households in Swindon who use prepayment meters to manage their energy.

Every eligible household can receive £98 with the possibility of a further £49 if you are in particular hardship. All households will need to speak to an energy advisor who can offer advice about budgeting, energy efficiency and income maximisation. This funding expires on 15 September 2020 so act fast to ensure you do not miss out.

The Warm & Safe Wiltshire service is available for anyone needing advice or support on keeping safe and warm at home, regardless of payment method. Please do contact the service on Freephone 0800 038 5722, should you need any assistance.

What is Swindon SEND Families Voice?

Swindon SEND Families Voice provide free support to families in the local area that have children aged between 0-25 years old, with special educational needs and disabilities. The team provide one-to-one support, workshops, support groups and can signpost families to other useful services.

The team can be reached on 07486 873405.

Your repairs service

Reporting or requesting new repairs

If you need to report an emergency or urgent repair to your home (such as a water leak, blocked toilet, electrical fault or boiler breakdown) please contact us on 01793 445503 and we will arrange for the repair to be carried out as quickly as possible.

We have begun to restart the repairs service by undertaking external repairs and repairs to communal areas that we already know about - as minimal contact is required for access. This type of work includes roofing, guttering, fencing, paths and fixing communal doors, door entry check systems and lighting. If you have reported an external or communal repair you will be contacted by our team to arrange a convenient date and time for the work to be carried out.

We are planning to restart internal routine repair work that we already know about shortly. We will communicate with you once a date to recommence work is confirmed.

Currently, we are not planning to extend our repairs service to any households who are showing symptoms of the virus or to individuals that are shielding, unless it is for safety reasons. In these cases, special precautionary measures will be put in place to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

To help us protect you and our staff we would ask that you respect social distancing guidelines when we carry out repairs to your home. We are expecting repair jobs to take longer to plan and carry out than usual, we would like to thank you again for your continued patience during this time.

An update on improvement works

External improvement work, such as replacement roof coverings and new door entry check systems, has restarted. You will be contacted directly if your home is on any of these programmes of work.

Gas safety programme update

We are continuing with our gas safety programme and are making plans to catch-up in homes where tenants are known to be shielding, or are aged 70 or over. If you have any concerns please contact 01793 445503.


Swindon Street Reps have been combating fly tipping 

The Penhill Street Reps and Junior Street Reps have been working alongside the Neighbourhood Wardens to clear six tonnes of fly-tipped waste from land at the back of Pewsham Road, Penhill.

The Reps are currently consulting with the Environmental team at the Council to prevent this happening again, this could include the installation of CCTV.

Fly tipping is illegal and will not be tolerated, the Council will enforce fly tipping regulations wherever necessary.

Sing-a-long with Goldies

Goldies (Golden-Oldies), a charity who operate in England and Wales, are offering weekly sing-a-long sessions for elderly people. The 30 minute sessions are available twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday at 11am and aim to bring joy to thousands of front rooms across the UK.

One family’s experience of lockdown

For one family in Penhill, life in lockdown is proving to be a larger-than-life experience. Parents Sam and Jimmy Phillips have nine children ranging from five to 18 – Destiny, Tyrese, Shaniya, Rio, Sienna, Savanah, Frankie, Shay & Taliyah.

The Phillips family have been living life to the max since they went into lockdown in March. Dedicated parents, Jimmy and Sam, have managed to implement a routine for all nine children, which includes housework jobs for everyone, home-schooling and lots of long, rambling walks, following nature trails, playing games and trying to spot local wildlife.

In these uncertain times, no one knows what the new normal will look like. But one thing’s for sure, the Phillips family have definitely made the most of their lockdown experience.

Important information about the Young Wardens scheme 2020

Unfortunately, for the first year since it was launched in 2010, the Young Wardens scheme has had to be cancelled due to coronavirus. Last year 100 young people were signed up to the scheme and we hope to see similar successes when the scheme is re-launched in 2021.

This year we received a large number of donations of craft activities for the Young Wardens scheme, these have now been re-purposed and handed out to some very grateful families across Swindon to help ease lockdown boredom.

Contribute to this newsletter
Would you like to write an article for Tenant Focus about something happening where you live or to promote something that you feel passionate about? Please let us know by email at getinvolved@swindon.gov.uk

Copyright © 2020 Swindon Borough Council. All rights reserved.

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

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