WIN Spring wordsearch by linxiaoqin


									                                                                                                    Spring 2010

Yummy colca

                                                                                              Out & about

                                                                                            Win £25 in
                                                                                            vouchers                    WIN

 If you have difficulty in understanding this document or need it in another format,
    including Braille, large print, audiotape, interpretation, signed interpretation or
                translation into another language, please contact us.
Tel: 0800 121 60 60* or 01795 434 606** Email:
*Calls free from a BT landline, charges from mobiles and other networks may vary. **If you are calling from a mobile, it may be
        cheaper for you to dial 01795 434 606. Calls may be recorded and monitored for quality and training purposes.
 Welcome to the spring edition of news&views
 We’ve said goodbye to the noughties and it’s now time to say hello to the
 teenies, with your first newsletter of the decade!
 Thanks for all of your competition entries, photos and letters. You will find all the winners as well as
 some new competitions in this newsletter – happy reading!

                               Here is a selection of features in this edition:

                                3     Our cover story - an inspirational gardening project

                                6     Money, money, money – it’s all about benefits
    Cordingham Gardening
  Club competition winners     10     Out & about – your local stories

                               14     Domestic abuse – what help is out there?

                               17     It’s happened, it’s The happening

                               What’s up for grabs?
                               In this edition, we have three competitions that can earn you some
 Stop - don't let them cheat
    you out of your benefits

                               17     The Happening - it’s your shout, there’s £30 in vouchers to be won

                               18     One for the kids - a new take on a word search, win £20 in vouchers

                               20     Spring word search - there’s £25 of vouchers for the winner!

                                            Please look out for:
   Guerrilla Gardening with
          People for Action    R            Articles with this symbol have been suggested by you – our

                                 Spring clean your health
                                 Better weather and longer days are on their way. And they make this
                                 the perfect time for you to overhaul your health and lifestyle. We have
                                 included a few tips in the newsletter to help you step into spring and
                                 feel fit and energised!
 London and Surrey's young
    residents have their say

2 news&views Spring 2010
                                                  Your Community

How does your garden grow?
In the winter edition of News & Views, we ran       The kids were recently rewarded with tickets to
a Board members birthday card drawing               the panto, with free ice cream and drinks! These
competition! We had lots of entries, but one        were donated by the Whitstable Rotary Club for
place in particular put their creative hats on      maintaining part of a garden belonging to a
to produce a gallery of great artwork - see         disabled resident.
above!                                              Recently, the club made an application to their
Cordingham Close in Seasalter, Kent is home to      Area Panel Local Improvement Fund, to create a
a gardening club for local children. Mrs Ellie      mathematical garden. They hope to turn a piece
Sands, a local resident, runs the club and          of wasteland on the estate into a glorious
encourages the children to use their imagination,   geographical garden for all to appreciate.
learn about nature and most of all, have fun!       Ray, aged eight and a regular at the club said: “I
Ellie started the club in July 2009 and now has     really like to come to the club. It stops me
18 children on the register. Ellie said:            kicking footballs at cars, climbing lamp posts
                                                    and keeps me out of trouble.”
“There was nowhere for the kids to play and they
                                                    The Cordingham Gardening Club is a brilliant
were often being moaned at by the residents.
                                                    example of a project that the Local Improvement
They now have somewhere to hang out with their
                                                    Fund can support!
friends, get an insight into plants and do
something constructive. They have created a         Interested in hearing more?
garden, seaside rockery and they even have a        Contact us on 0800 121 60 60*
plant hospital for neighbours’ poorly plants.”      or 01795 434 606**

                                                news&views 3
 Your AmicusHorizon

  Check it out…                                                                                                                                                                                          The art of conversation
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Since its launch in December 2008, the Tenant Services
  again                                                                                                                                                                                                  Authority (TSA) has undertaken the largest consultation
                                                                                                                                                                                                         exercise of its type. The National Conversation has
  In the autumn, we
                                                                                                                                                                                                         engaged tenants and landlords from across the country to
  introduced our newsletter
                                                                                                                                                                                                         understand what matters most to you, our residents.
  information sheet. This is
  the front cover sheet with                                                                                                                                                                             Last year, over 500 AmicusHorizon residents joined in on the
  your name and address on.                                                                                                                                                                              ‘Conversation’ to shape the regulatory framework of the TSA.
  On this you will find details                                                                                                                                                                          This is an amazing turnout that we are very proud of. During
  about key staff for you to                                                                                                                                                                             the latest round, nearly 100 residents got stuck into discussing
  contact and details of your                                                                                                                                                                            the six national service standards. These include tenant
  next estate inspection.                                                                                                                                                                                involvement and empowerment, neighbourhood and
                                                                                                                                                                                                         communities, and value for money.
   Return to: Communications, AmicusHorizon, PO Box 322, SITTINGBOURNE ME9 8PQ
                                                                                                                                                                         ROYAL MAIL

                                                                                                                                                                         POSTAGE PAID GB
                                                                                                                                                                         LEICESTER 1257

                                                                                                                                                                                                         So what happens next?
                                                                                                                                                                                                         The TSA will look at all of the feedback they have received and
            You are invited to your
                                                                                                              For any enquiry please call
                                                                                                              ¥ 0800 121 60 60* or 01795 434 606**
                                                                                                                                                                                                         tweak the service standards ready for launch in April 2010.
            next estate inspection...
            Meeting at:
                                                                                                                  Calls may be recorded and monitored for quality and training purposes.
                                                                                                                  *Calls free from a BT landline, charges from mobiles and other networks may vary.
                                                                                                                  **If you are calling from a mobile, it may be cheaper for you to dial 01795 434 606.

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Keep an eye out for the final service standards on the TSA’s

              Your Area/Leasehold Manager is:                                                                                                                                                            website:
              Your Housing/Leasehold Officer is:

    This newsletter has been mailed to you using environmentally friendly degradable film, which will decompose within 2 years. This sheet is printed on 100% recycled paper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                         The ‘Conversation’ doesn’t stop here. The local standards are
                                                                                                                                                                                                         up for discussion next, so if you want to get involved, contact
  We’d really like to see you at                                                                                                                                                                         your Resident Involvement
  your next inspection. It’s a                                                                                                                                                                           team on 0800 121 60 60*
  great chance for you to:                                                                                                                                                                               or 01795 434 606**.
  I Check out your area
  I Meet your neighbours
    and staff
  I Have your say on anti-
    social behaviour,
    repairs and
    estate issues.                                                                                                                                           R
4 news&views Spring 2010
                                     Your AmicusHorizon

  Jargon busting                                       BLAH...

  Have you noticed that we are using too            BLAH...
  much jargon? Do you want to know
  exactly what it means? In this edition
  we are looking at housing terms:

Anti-social behaviour (ASB)         Resident Involvement team on
This is unacceptable behaviour.     0800 121 60 60* or 01795 434
It includes actions that offend     606**.
or harm residents or visitors to
                                    Notice of Intention to Seek
our properties. It includes
criminal acts as well as un-
                                    Possession (NOSP/NISP)
                                    This is a legal notice served by
                                                                       A shared dream?
neighbourly behaviour.                                                 Are you interested in
                                    a landlord on a resident in a
Choice based lettings               rented property. The landlord      shared ownership? If so,
This is the way that some           applies to court using this        AmicusHorizon presents
registered social landlords         notice to get possession of the    to you Longitude.
(RSL’s) let their properties.       property. There are 14 reasons     This is a development of
Once a person has registered,       for a landlord to serve this       stunning one and two
they have to bid for properties     notice. The most common            bedroom apartments in the
that become available. Based        reasons for serving notices are    heart of Croydon. These
on circumstances, a ‘priority       rent arrears and anti-social       luxury apartments have
rating’ is awarded. This                                               been designed perfectly for
determines who gets a property                                         life in this busy,
if several people bid for it.       Registered Social Landlord
                                                                       cosmopolitan area. Living
Housing benefit (HB)                                                   in Longitude, it’s easy for
                                    This is another name for           you to take advantage of
This is a benefit to help with
                                    housing associations.              Croydon’s bars, restaurants
paying rent and charges to a
landlord. The local authority       Service Charges                    and shops galore. There are
assess HB applications. All         The money residents and            excellent transport links
council, housing association        leaseholders pay for services      close by too.
and private tenants can apply.      such as gardening, caretakers      Call the Sales team at
Mutual exchange (MX)                and cleaning, lighting and         Shared Horizons for further
A resident has a right, under       maintenance of shared areas.       information on 020 8726
certain conditions, to exchange     Tenant Services Authority          8833.
their tenancy with another          (TSA)
resident. Exchanges can be          This is the organisation that
made within the same housing        oversees housing associations
association or to a resident of a   in England. They make sure we
different RSL.                      deliver good quality services to
National Tenants Voice              residents. You can contact
A tenant-run national council to    them on 0845 230 7000 or at
protect tenants’ rights. To find    www.tenantservicesauthority.
out more, contact your regional     org

                                                  news&views 5
 Your money

                                            David                 Wayne                Roland

  Benefit cheats                  Our benefits advisors – they’re
  Beware, some companies          wel…fare!
  are offering to help you
  claim your welfare benefits     Did you know…that we have Welfare Benefit Officers at
  - including appeals and         AmicusHorizon? We have three fully experienced Officers,
  backdates.                      one in each region. There’s David Ellis in Kent, Wayne
  You may think this sounds       McQuaid in Sussex and Roland Smith in London and
  great, but be careful, they     Surrey, all ready to help you. Here’s what they do:
  charge for this service.           I Take on cases referred by your Housing Officers and
  Sometimes, this charge is as         Income Recovery Officers
  high as 45% of any
                                     I Train and guide the Income Recovery Officers on
  backdated money you
                                       benefit issues
  receive. This could mean
  that you end up giving away        I Advise on all benefits
  hundreds of pounds in              I Help maximise incomes
  benefits that you are
  entitled to.                       I Review benefit entitlements and help make new claims
  Here are some examples of          I Work with you to appeal some decisions.
  the amounts you could end
  up paying to these
  companies. These figures
                                  Great work
  are based on a typical three    Here are some examples of the
  to six month backdate.
                                  fantastic work that they’ve done!
  I Disability Living
    Allowance – £645              Wayne worked with a resident who had over £3,000 arrears.
                                  The Housing Benefit (HB) claim was re-assessed and back
  I Job Seekers Allowance/        dated. The arrears were paid in full!
    Income Support – £752.
                                  David helped with a Job Seekers Allowance appeal. The
  There are free services         resident received a backdated payment of over £600!
  available that can help with
  your benefit claims. We are     Roland helped a resident who was admitted to hospital and
  here to help you, and there’s   had her HB claim suspended. He worked with the resident and
  the Citizens Advice Bureau,     HB to review and backdate her claim.
  Shelter and local advice        If you want advice on benefits and entitlements, then contact
  agencies who can all help.      us on 0800 121 60 60* or 01795 434 606**.

6 news&views Spring 2010
                                                            Your money

Spring to it!
Spring cleaning needn’t cost the earth.                                                Time to
See how you can spruce up your home
without busting your budget:                                                           make a
Multi-task your product
Buying a product for every household job that
you do can cost you a fortune. Many of them
are not that much different from each other.
Why not use products that are suitable for
different uses? Use floor cleaner neat for
                                                  Are you concerned
floors or diluted for cleaning surfaces.          about rent arrears?
Shop around
Use supermarkets own brand - they tend to       Are you worried about
cost less than branded ones. Check out
pound shops as they sell good quality             losing your home?
products at knock-down prices.
Products from around the home
                                                  Make a change and put
There are many products that you probably         yourself back in control.
already have in your kitchen that make
                                                 Our helpful and experienced Income
effective cleaners. These include:
                                                 Management Officers will help you get
I Soda water: this is a great stain remover.       your rent account back on track.
  Pour over fresh spills and dab
                                                We can offer practical advice and realistic
I White vinegar: this is probably the
  cheapest all-purpose cleaner you’ll find.       agreements to help you reduce your
  Once dried, it won’t smell either. Dilute         arrears, and stay in your home.
  half and half with water – it makes a great
  basic cleaner for kitchens and bathrooms            IT’S NEVER TOO
I Baking soda: this costs next to nothing
  and is ideal for unclogging drains. Pour a           LATE TO TALK!
  quarter of a cup of baking soda down the
                                                  Contact the Income Recovery team by
  drains weekly and
  follow with hot water                            calling FREEPHONE 0800 121 60 60*
                                                            or 01795 434 606**
I Coca Cola: oh yes, it                         or email:
  cleans loos! Pour
                                                 *Calls free from a BT landline, charges from mobiles and other networks may vary.
  left over cola                                 **If you are calling from a mobile, it may be cheaper for you to dial 01795 434 606.
                                                        Calls may be recorded and monitored for quality and training purposes.
  down the loo and
  leave overnight.
  Stains should be
  gone in the

                                          news&views 7
 Our performance

 Performance - how are we doing?
 Here’s how we performed between April 2009 and December 2009.
 Customer service
                                                         What we achieved
              Area of performance measured                                       What’s our target?
                                                         Apr - Dec 2009
              % telephone calls answered within
                                                         83%                     85%
              15 seconds
              % of complaints answered in time           88%                     88%

              % satisfied with handling of complaint     60%                     70%

 So far this year, our Response team has dealt with a quarter of a million phone calls! And they’re
 answering them more quickly. In October, November and December, they beat our target of
 answering 85% within 15 seconds. In December, 96% of complaints were responded to on time –
 that’s better than our target. Complainants are also getting more satisfied with the process, but
 we’re not yet at our target.
 In November, resident ‘mystery shoppers’ tested our services. One noted that on the phone, staff were:
 “Very helpful, all questions were answered and I was invited to call again if I needed more help.”

                                                         What we achieved
              Area of performance measured                                       What’s our target?
                                                         Apr - Dec 2009
              % of repairs completed right first time    79.6%                   80%
 So far we have done over 30,000 repairs on our homes. Our aim is to complete repairs right first
 time. We are close to our target and have exceeded it during October, November and December.
 Help us by giving us as much information as you can when you report a repair.
 Gas safety
                                                        What we achieved
              Area of performance measured                                      What’s our target?
                                                        Apr - Dec 2009
              % of homes with a valid gas safety        99.8%
              certificate                               19,838 out of 19,877
 We want all of our homes gas safe, with a valid gas safety certificate renewed every year. Please
 help by arranging an appointment when we contact you.

 Decent homes
                                                         What we achieved
              Area of performance measured                                       What’s our target?
                                                         Apr - Dec 2009
              % of homes meeting Decent Homes
                                                          96.6%                 98%
 The Decent Homes Standard is about making improvements so that our homes are warm,
 weathertight and have reasonably modern facilities. Although we are slightly short of this year’s
 target, we are on track for all our homes to meet the standard by December 2010.

8 news&views Spring 2010
                                                 Our performance
                                                          What we achieved
             Area of performance measured                                        What’s our target?
                                                          Apr - Dec 2009
             Average time taken to re-let empty
                                                          31 days                21 days
             homes – excluding sheltered housing
We set a challenging 21 day target for re-letting our homes. After a slow start early in the year, we
are heading towards this target. We won’t reach it this year – but aim to do so in 2010/11.
                                                          What we achieved
              Area of performance measured                                       What’s our target?
                                                          Apr - Dec 2009
              Rent arrears – excluding sheltered
                                                          4.46%                  4.5%
In December, we beat our target for reducing rent arrears – our best performance in three years! To
help us to continue to achieve our target, please contact us as soon as possible if you have
problems paying your rent.

Service standards – how are we doing
We set service standards so you know how we should be performing. Below are our performances
on Customer Services. If you would like a copy of the service standards please call us on
0800 121 60 60* or 01795 434 606**. Our standards are also on our website.

                                                                                  % of residents
 Service standard                                                                 who said we met
                                                                                  the standard
 Letters and emails
 Reply within 10 working days with a response that fully answers your enquiry     83%
 If we cannot provide a full response, let you know who is dealing with your
 enquiry and when you can expect a reply
 Telephone calls
 Answer telephone calls within 15 seconds, using a standard greeting and
 giving you our names
 Answer your enquiry immediately, or transfer you quickly to someone that
 can assist you or take a message
 Return your call by the end of the next working day if you leave a message       67%
 Visit our offices
 Greet you quickly and politely, within five minutes of your arrival              100%

 Ensure you are seen on time, when you have made an appointment with us           100%

Overall, 80% of residents surveyed stated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the service
they received. We will improve by providing staff with training to make sure that residents have a
great experience every time they have contact with us.

                                                  news&views 9
 Out & about

                                                   Go, go…Kent scouts
                                                   Mid Kent Area Panel members visited the
                                                   Sittingbourne and Milton District scouts to
                                                   see them show off their new go-karts. The
                                                   scouts used £1,920.00 funded by the
                                                   Community Forum Improvement Fund to
                                                   buy two Berg go-karts to add to their fleet.
                                                   This will hopefully encourage other kids to
                                                   join the scouts and try out the racers.
                                                   The Local Improvement Fund is still available,
  Guerrilla’s in our midst                         so send in your ideas for local projects. The
                                                   cash could really help your community, so
                                                   come on, make a difference!
  If you live in Sussex, how about improving
  your neighbourhoods and learning new             If you have an idea of how you can improve
  skills? People for Action (PfA) are running      your local area call us on 0800 121 60 60* or
  an exciting new ‘Guerrilla Gardening’            01795 434 606** and find out more about the
  scheme just for you.                             Local Improvement Fund!

  Working together, the Sussex Resident
  Involvement team and PfA’s ‘Something
  Fishy’ programme identified just how popular
  gardening is in the region.
  ‘Guerrilla Gardening’ is designed to
  encourage our residents, young and old, to
  improve personal, communal gardens or
  balcony areas. Activities on the scheme will
  include neighbourhood planting, tidying and
                                                   Home Access is here!
  maintenance, sessions at local allotments,       Home Access is a new government drive
  creating hanging baskets and pots to take        which helps low income families get
  home.                                            access to a computer and the internet to
                                                   get online at home.
  Grounds maintenance contractors (FGS and
  John O’Conners) are also keenly supporting       To qualify, families must have a child in
  the project by providing expertise, plants and   school, aged three to nine who is entitled to
  materials. For those who can’t attend            free school meals. This normally means the
  workshops, there is a ‘seeds of change’          household has an annual income of less than
  scheme. This allows you to apply for plants,     £16,040. Children who are in foster care may
  bulbs and seeds and gives you ideas on how       also be eligible for a grant and their local
  and where to use them.                           authority can apply for them.
  For more information please contact Naomi        Families that do not qualify for a grant are still
  Stones on 0800 121 60 60*                        able to buy a Home Access package from a
  or 01795 434 606** or email:                     range of well known high street retailers. For                   more information, please call 0333 200 1004.

10 news&views Spring 2010
Jobs+ fair
On Thursday 18 February 2010, over 200
residents from AmicusHorizon, L&Q London
housing association and the Croydon Black
Minority Ethnic (BME) Forum attended a
successful Jobs+ fair. This was held at the
Fairfield Halls in Croydon.
The event offered residents the chance to find       AmicusHorizon said: “It’s brilliant to see
employment opportunities or start a new              housing associations working together and
business. There was lots of representation from      pooling resources to find solutions to
up-and-coming industries, such as green              worklessness and business enterprise.”
industries and social enterprise.
                                                     Annette Blake, a resident at AmicusHorizon
The event was opened by AmicusHorizon’s              said: “It’s great that residents are able to attend
Vice Chair Steve Douglas, who also chaired the       events such as this and to help find out about
proceedings.                                         job opportunities. I got a lot out of attending
Steve Walker, Chief Executive for                    today.”

                                                                         How eggsiting
                                                                         Calling all Kent residents!
                                                                         How would you like to get
                                                                         your hands on a free
                                                                         Easter egg this April? Well
                                                                         you can. All you have to do
                                                                         is come and see us on our
                                                                         mobile bus, and you could
                                                                         be tucking into some
                                                                         lovely Easter chocolate –
                                                                         it’s on us! Look out for the
                                                                         bus here:
Too kool for skool                                                       I East Kent – 6 April 2010
Hooray…the Kool Club has just opened its doors again.                    I Mid Kent – 7 April 2010
The Kool Club is an after school youth club run on the                   I Kent Gateway – 8 April
Broomgrove estate in Hastings for children aged 6-11 years. It             2010.
offers local young residents the chance to take part in some
great activities such as sports, arts and crafts and basic               Children must come along
cooking. The club helps to increase self development and                 with an adult.
confidence - and lots of new friendships can be made too!                For more information,
The sessions are run every Wednesday, during term times,                 contact the Kent Resident
from 3.30pm - 5.00pm by volunteers.                                      Involvement team on 0800
                                                                         121 60 60* or 01795 434
This club makes use of local facilities right on your door step. It      606** or at
provides young people with a free opportunity to get away from           contactus@amicushorizon
the TV and do something useful! So, come along and join in.    
If you would like to know more about the Kool Club, please
contact Zoe Jackson, PfA Community Worker on
0800 121 60 60* or 01795 434 606**.

                                                 news&views 11
 Out & about
                                 Moving on up
                                 In February 2010, Brenda Chester,
                                 resident of AmicusHorizon, was
                                 selected to sit on the National Tenants
                                 Voice Council. The National Tenants
  What’s on…                     Voice is a new, Government backed
                                 organisation that has been set up to
  in Sussex?                     give residents greater choice and
                                 influence over the services they receive.        Brenda Chester

  Here are some events that      Brenda is one of 26 residents and was selected from over
  you may want to attend:        1,200 applicants. She said: “I am very excited about the
  April 2010                     challenges ahead. Eight million tenants now have a voice
                                 through the Council and can really influence future Government
  7 Estate action day            legislation which impacts on all our homes and lives.”
    Preston Road,
    Sidley, Bexhill
    10.00am - 4.00pm
  June 2010                      Thank you very
  2 Estate action day
    Ticehurst, Springfields      much!
    10.00am - 4.00pm             What a busy time the
  8 Residents open forum         London and Surrey Resident
    (TUG)                        Involvement team had,
    The Watch Oak, Battle        thanking their involved
    6.00pm - 8.00pm              residents in December 2009.
  9 Residents open forum         On 11 December 2009, over
    (TCG)                        100 residents and children
    Four Courts Community        enjoyed an evening of music,
    Centre, Stonehouse           dance, food and fun in
    Drive, St. Leonards          celebration of all of their hard
    5.30pm - 8.00pm              work and contributions. On 14
                                 December 2009, over 70
  Estate action days give you
                                 residents at the HOPs
  the chance to help clear up
                                 Schemes (Housing for Older
  your estate and at the same
                                 People services) - Arundel
  time meet our staff. You can
                                 Court, Barnards House, Leeds
  also get your questions
                                 Court, Milliners Court and
  answered, meet your
                                 Shannon Court had their end
  neighbours and become
                                 of year Christmas lunch. They
  involved in your community.
                                 had traditional dancing
  Interested? Please             entertainment from the
  contact your Sussex            Chinese Cultural Group. A big
  Resident Involvement team      thanks go to all
  on 0800 121 60 60* or          involved……keep up the good
  01795 434 606**.
                          R      work for 2010!

12 news&views Spring 2010
                                                                      Park life
It’s up, up and away for the                                          SAFE, the Sheppey based
                                                                      social enterprise, has
Croydon Youth Forum                                                   rallied support from local
                                                                      businesses, students from
In December 2010, the London and Surrey Resident                      the University of Creative
Involvement team launched the Croydon Youth Forum. The                Arts and a cast of
Forum was created to give young people a voice in                     enthusiastic volunteers to
improving housing services and their neighbourhoods.                  bring to life, ‘Park Life’, the
Over 50 young people attended the event.                              Sheppey based sitcom.
Councillor Gavin Barwel (Cabinet Member for Community                 The sitcom, which is based
Safety & Cohesion) officially opened the Forum. He praised the        around caravan sales, was
young people at the event for their hard work in preparing for        written by Steve
the hugely successful day. To find out more contact the               Cunningham and Matt
London and Surrey Resident Involvement team on                        Purnell. It’s set in a fictitious
0800 121 60 60* or 01795 434 606**.                                   holiday park on the Isle of
                                                                      Sheppey, Kent. The storyline
                                                                      follows the rivalry between
Great news                                                            two ruthless salesmen who
                                                                      would stop at nothing to
for Eastbourne                                                        close a deal!
                                                                      The SAFE project will
                                                                      provide experience, training
Spring 2010 will see the                                              and employment in
start of a new construction                                           performing arts and the
                              AmicusHorizon’s Development team
programme for Eastbourne                                              production and delivery of
Council and AmicusHorizon. Our Development team has                   digital video content. There
recently been chosen by Eastbourne Council to work as                 are currently nine jobs
their development agent on this programme.                            available. If you fancy
The first phase of the programme will see 10 apartments and           getting involved as a script
four family houses being built near the town centre. A second         writer, game designer, video
round of funding was announced on 11 January 2010, which              editor, web developer or
gave approval for a further 16 affordable homes in the area.          fashion designer, then go for
This will be the first local authority housing in the town for over   it.
20 years, thanks to the contribution from the Homes and               To find out more contact
Communities Agency.                                                   the Sheerness Jobcentre
Fantastic news!                                                       Plus on 0845 604 3719.
                                                news&views 13
 Your lifestyle
                                                             between adults who are or have
  Domestic abuse – there’s no excuse                         been intimate partners or are family
                                                             members regardless of gender.”
 What is domestic abuse?                                     Over two women per week are killed
 The Kent Domestic Violence Strategy Group say it’s: “Any    by current or ex-partners. And one in
 incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse        four women in the UK will
 (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional)   experience domestic violence in
                                                             their lifetime.

                                                             Can anyone help?
                                                             Yes, there is a lot of help out there
                                                             for you. The Police and the
                                                             Government have domestic abuse at
                                                             the forefront of their community
                                                             safety agendas. There are also lots
                                                             of agencies that can help. They will
                                                             give you advice, support and most
                                                             of all will listen to you. Here are
                                                             some details for you:
                                                             Broken Rainbow (Support for
                                                             lesbian, gay, bisexual and
                                                             transgender): 08452 60 44 60
                                                             Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111
                                                             Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
                                                             National Domestic Violence Helpline:
                                                             0808 2000 247
                                                             Refuge: 0808 2000 247
                                                             Women’s Aid: 0808 2000 247
                                                             Remember: if you are in immediate
                                                             danger, call 999.
                                                             Casa Support, part of
                                                             AmicusHorizon, provides a specialist
                                                             service offering support, advice and
                                                             help. You can call them on 0845 072
                                                             7625 or visit:

14 news&views Spring 2010
                                                               Your home

                                       It’s a good job……
                                       We aim to provide you with a quality repairs service.
                                       We also aim to make sure that your homes are
                                       maintained and improved to meet the Decent Homes
                                       We may not always meet your satisfaction standards – but
                                       we will always try to put right with you any failings that we
                                       have. There are times that you are very happy with our
                                       work and you let us know about it. Thank you. Here is one
                                       of your compliments: “My kitchen is complete…it
Night, night…                          looks gorgeous! I can’t thank you enough for
sleep tight                            your help and support.”

Did you know that you are more
at risk from a fire when asleep?
So, it’s a good idea to check your
home before you go to bed.
Here’s your nightly check list:

     Close inside doors at night to
     stop a fire from spreading

     Turn off and unplug electrical
     appliances unless they are
     designed to be left on – like
     your freezer

     Check your cooker is
     turned off

     Don’t leave the washing
     machine on

     Turn heaters off and put up

     Put candles and cigarettes out

     Make sure exits are kept clear.
     Keep door and window keys
     where everyone can find them.
Remember, that your smoke
detector is your friend… it can
save your life. Check it regularly.

                                            news&views 15
 Your green pages

  We need you!!                                     Energise your
                                                    home and your
  Sustainability is something that affects us
  all - it’s about preparing for the future. It’s
                                                    bank account
  about realising the impact of our actions         The Citizens Advice Bureau
  today on the quality of future life. It is how    will be training 60 of
  we work with the economy, society and             AmicusHorizon’s housing staff
  the environment to create better                  on their Energy Best Deal
  prospects.                                        training programme. This will
                                                    provide our frontline staff
  So what has this got to do                        (Housing Officers, Lettings Officers and
  with you?                                         Income Recovery Officers) with loads of
                                                    really useful information for you. For
  We would like to know your thoughts on how        example, they’ll be able to help you:
  we can do our bit for a sustainable future.
  We’ve set up a group to discuss this with you     I Cut back on your energy bills
  and will be running focus groups in May           I Investigate the best energy price deals
  2010. These sessions will cover topics such
                                                    I Switch suppliers easily and improve your
                                                      current tariff
  I The way we carry out our business activity
                                                    I Feel more confident with shopping around
  I The impact our homes have                         for your Best Energy Deal.
  I What role you can play                          Call us on 0800 121 60 60* or 01795 434
  I What we can do to reduce our impact on          606** to find out more.
    the environment.
  If you are interested in learning more about
  environmental issues, please come along. It
  will be great to see you and hear your ideas.
                                                     Spring clean your health
     Kent .........4 May 2010                        Zap that zapper
     London ....5 May 2010                           Your TV remote control is a hot spot for
                                                     bugs and viruses. Avoid picking up
     Sussex .....6 May 2010                          germs by keeping your remote control
  Please contact Jade Wilson                         clean.
  or Janey Bray on 0800 121                          Some bugs can survive for up to two days
  60 60* or 01795 434 606**,                         on surfaces. So, to prevent the spread of
  but hurry up as places                             viruses like colds, use disinfectant wipes
  won’t be around for long.                          to get rid of those nasty germs.

16 news&views Spring 2010
                                                     The happening

The happening                                            WIN           Your shout
                                                                       There’s loads that we
Your page, finally has a name and the winner is ‘The                   want to talk about, but
happening’. Thanks to everyone who sent in their                       it’s really not up to us.
suggestions to name the page but it’s Samantha Marlow of               Here are some of the
Penge in Greater London who is the lucky winner.                       articles we’d like to
Samantha thought that “The happening” would be a great name            feature, but would like
to represent what is going on in our local communities for young       your help with. After
people. Samantha also suggested that in each edition we:               all, you’re the experts!
I Run a “happening” competition                                        I Facebook, Twitter
I Interview young people in the area                                   I Grime
I Get people to send in their pictures to show what they have          I Fashion
  been up to                                                           I Booze
I Feature stories on young volunteers in the community!                I Graffiti.
We really want this page to be all about you…th! So, if you’ve
got ideas or if you want to write something for this page, please      It’s up
get in touch with the Communications team on 0800 121 60 60*
or 01795 434 606**. There’s £30 in vouchers up for grabs!
                                                                       to you!

                                My House, My Street, My Say
                                        Seven young people from our London and Surrey
                                        region really did us proud on Saturday 30 January
                                        2010. They represented AmicusHorizon at the Tenant
                                        Services Authority (TSA) youth event: ‘My House, My
                                        Street, My Say’.
                                        This fantastic event was set up to get young residents
                                        talking about the issues that affect them in their
                                        neighbourhoods. They talked about the times that they
                                        got involved in the decision making process with
                                        AmicusHorizon. It was a great day and even better for
                                        Sasha Bridges of the Croydon Youth Forum, as she won
                                        a £20 gift voucher for the ‘Human Bingo’ game!
                                        We want to hear more from our young residents, you are
                                        our future and you definitely matter. Call your Resident
                                        Involvement team on 0800 121 60 60* or 01795 434
                                        606** to find out what’s going on in your area.

                                             news&views 17
       Your noticeboard
      Spring recipe                                      Big thanks
                                                         Last time, we asked you to tell us
                                                         what you think about
                                                         communications…..and you did.
                                                         We had a massive response, so
                                                         thank you to all who took the time
                                                         to reply. We are looking at your

       Count on colcannon                                feedback and will get back to you
                                                         in the next edition.
       Spring is on its way…so what’s nicer than a       Thanks to Sylvia Fletcher of
       dish of fluffy mashed potato to tuck into? In     Alexandra Park Mansions in Hastings
       celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on 17            for her comments and for completing
       March 2010, here’s an easy to make recipe         her entry. She has won £20 in high
       for you to enjoy.                                 street vouchers!
       I 1.5lbs (700g) potatoes peeled and cut into
       I 8oz (225g) green cabbage, finely shredded
       I 12 spring onions trimmed and sliced into
           small rings                                     WIN
       I 3fl oz of cream or 5 tablespoons milk
       I 3oz (85g) butter
       I Salt and pepper to season.
       1. Boil the potatoes until cooked and drain
                                                                             Winston Vale
       2. Melt 1oz of butter in a small frying pan and                                   ntine
           fry the cabbage for about three minutes.
           Add the chopped spring onions and cook
                                                         Carrot hunt
           for another minute                            This one is for our readers under
       3. Add the rest of the butter and milk/cream      12 years. Our Designer, Emma has
           and mash the potato until fluffy. Stir the    a bunny rabbit called Winston. He
           cabbage and onion into the mashed potato      likes news&views so much that
           mixture                                       he’s hidden some of his carrots in
                                                         our pages. Can you work out what
       4. Season with salt and pepper and serve in
                                                         he is trying to say?
           mounds on individual plates. Make a well
           in the centre of each mound and add a         He has hidden them behind some of
           knob of butter.                               the words. Jot them down and put
       This is perfect with bangers, a stew or even on   them together to make a sentence.
       its own.... Enjoy!                                Send in your entries to the
                                                         Communications team and you could
       Serves 4                                          win £25 in high street vouchers!
       Send in your summer recipe suggestions -          The competition closing date is
       we’d love to include them!                        Friday 7 May 2010. Good luck!

18 news&views Spring 2010
Spring clean your health                                                               10,
                                                                        y 28 April 20
You don’t need to go to the gym to get                 O n Wednesda
                                                                       lding a staff
into shape. Try these home exercises;                  we will be ho                   his
                                                                         rence day. T
you can even do them whilst making a                   tr  aining/confe
                                                                         ere will be
cuppa!                                                 means that th                     is
                                                                         vailable on th
                                                        limited staff a                sed,
Using full soup cans or plastic water bottles                         es will be clo
                                                        day. All offic                    l be
as dumbbells do 10 bicep curls for each                                    all centre wil
                                                         h owever our c                 rn
arm. You can do these whenever you have a                                 ices will retu
                                                         open. All serv xt day.
few minutes spare.                                                      e ne
                                                          to normal th
Boxercise - imagine a small rectangle on
your floor and stay in that area while you
shadow box. Hold cans of beans or half litre
bottles of water in each hand as you box for      Thank you…
more muscle work. Do 50 to 100 repetitions.       …to the Kent editorial panel for working with
                                                  us to produce this edition of news&views.

Leaseholders - be gas safe
Being gas safe is a top priority. Carbon monoxide
(CO) is a highly poisonous gas that can creep
into your home through appliances like your
boiler or cooker. It’s a silent killer as it's
impossible to see or smell. It is easy to protect
yourself and your family from the risks if you
take the following action.
If you’re a leaseholder, you are responsible for
the maintenance of all gas appliances and flues
in your property. You need to have them
checked for safety at least once every 12
months. Only Gas Safe Registered Engineers can carry out
the inspection for you. At AmicusHorizon, we use these contractors:
London & Surrey – call EPS on 0800 783 6202
Kent – call Swale Heating on 01795 477 098
Sussex - Hastings & St Leonards - call Booker and Best on 01424 434391
       - West Sussex and Rother - call Robert Heath Heating on 0800 032 0688
Our contractors will be happy to carry out your checks, so why not give them a call? If
you do call, please make sure you tell them you are an AmicusHorizon leaseholder. They
will let you know how much it costs and arrange an appointment that is suitable for you.
Your gas safety check should only take half an hour. Remember, always check the
Engineers ID card – if its not Gas Safe, neither are you.

                                           news&views 19
 Your competition
 Spring wordsearch                                                          Spring is in the air! We
                                                                            know that you enjoy them
                                                                            so here’s our spring wordsearch. You
                                                                            can win £25 in vouchers by sending
   B    H    J     L    P    W     J        F        B         Y            in your completed and correct entry
                                                                            to us by Friday 7 May 2010.
   D    F    D     A    F    F     O       D          I        L
                                                                                   DAFFODIL                         LAMBS
   C    L    N    M     V    Y     L       H         D         F
                                                                                   BUNNY                            BLOOMS
   R    R    T     B    L    O     O       M         S         R                   BULB                             BEES
                                                                                   BUTTERFLY                        EGGS
   O    A    O     S    B    U     N       N         Y         E                   RAINBOW                          CROCUS

   C    N     I    Q    L    S     T       P         U         T
                                                                             Please fill in your contact details:
   U    E    S     N    U    U     Q       O         M         T             Name:......................................................
                                                                             Address: ..................................................
   S    G    M     V    B    Z     K        I        E         U             ................................................................
                                                                             Post code: ...............................................
   C    G     I    R    W    O     S       E         E         B             Telephone:...............................................

   A    S    E     G    K    X    W        G         C         A
                                                                               Good luck
 Deadline for all competitions is Friday 7 May 2010.                           Send in your competition entries to:
                                                                               Communications team
   Thank you to everybody who sent in their winter                             Freepost RSBU-ASLS-XTXZ
   wordsearch entries. The lucky winner is                                     AmicusHorizon
   Mumtaz Begum from Carshalton, Surrey. She                                   PO Box 322
   has won £25 in high steeet vouchers.                                        SITTINGBOURNE
                                                                               ME9 8PQ

                                       Contact us
                                       All enquiries telephone: 0800 121 60 60* or 01795 434 606**
                                       Postal address: AmicusHorizon
                                                         PO Box 322
                                                         ME9 8PQ
                                       Anti-social behaviour hotline: 0800 316 61 71.
                                       *Calls free from a BT landline, charges from mobiles and other networks may vary. **If you are calling
                                       from a mobile, it may be cheaper for you to dial 01795 434 606. Calls may be recorded and monitored
                                       for quality and training purposes.

20 news&views Spring 2010

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