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Poor Wall Swatch - Dacorum Borough Council

VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 12

									                            Housing
                                                                                                                  Winter 2011




                                            News and Views

STAR to shine light on
improvements
This January all tenants and                complete the form either on paper to
leaseholders are getting the chance         post or online. The more people who
to tell us how satisfied they are           share their views with us, the better       and maintenance, landscaping and
with the council’s housing service –        informed any improvements to the            cleaning communal areas.
and how we could improve it                 housing service will be.
                                                                                        To ensure that we are delivering our
further.                                    The survey has been designed by the         service fairly, the survey also includes
In the new year you will be sent a          HouseMark organisation which helps          voluntary questions asking for
Survey of Tenants and Residents – or        social housing providers like the council   information about everyone living in
STAR. STAR is the most extensive survey     make the best use of their resources to     each household. Personal information
of tenants’ opinions we have ever           provide high quality services.              will not be passed to anyone outside the
undertaken. It will show us how our                                                     housing service.
                                            We have also worked closely with a
housing service is performing compared
                                            group of tenants to find out which areas    STAR will be dropping on your doorstep
with other social landlords and enable us
                                            of our service you would especially like    in January, along with a letter telling you
to make real improvements by
                                            to examine. As well as general questions    more about it. For more information
highlighting our weaker areas and
                                            about how satisfied you are with your       phone 01442 228000 and ask for
enabling us to address them.
                                            home and neighbourhood, they also           ‘Tenant Involvement’ or email
It will take you just a few minutes to      asked us to include questions on repairs    tenantinvolvement@dacorum.gov.uk



 Tenants’
 conference
 report
 We held our first ever Tenants’ Conference at
 Longdean School in Bennetts End, Hemel
 Hempstead in October – and our housing team
 (pictured right) enjoyed being able to meet
 those of you who were able to come.

 If you did not manage to attend, you can still
 see what went on in a special ‘Getting to know
 you’ feature on pages 6 and 7. And watch out
 for details of the next event for tenants we’ll
 be hosting in the summer.
     02 | News and views                                                                            www.dacorum.gov.uk




Stop when you shop 12-16 December
                                            We will be out and about across the borough from 12 to 16 December to get
                                            your feedback on a number of housing issues, including our Christmas rent
                                            campaign and potential changes to your tenancy agreement.
                                            Please stop and share your ideas and opinions:
                                            • Monday 12 December, 10am to 2pm: Tesco car park, Tring
                                            • Tuesday 13 December, 10am to 2pm: Grovehill shops, Henry Wells Square
                                            • Thursday 15 December, 10am to 2pm: Berkhamsted town centre, near the Civic Centre
                                            • Friday 16 December, 10am to 2pm: Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, near the Volunteer
                                              Bureau (Roundhouse)
                                            If you can’t make it to any of the sessions please call 01442 228000 and ask for ‘Tenant
                                            Involvement’ or email tenantinvolvement@dacorum.gov.uk




Safety first on landings


                                                                                             Weather
                                                                                             warning text
                                                                                             service
                                                                                             Extremes of weather, like snow and
                                                                                             ice, can cause disruption to your
                                                                                             waste collections.
                                                                                             Now you can get up-to-date information
                                                                                             about your bin collections sent straight
Hertfordshire Fire and                                      don’t clutter!’ information
                                                                                             to your mobile phone.
Rescue Service have                                         leaflet and an article also
advised us to take a zero                                   appeared in local                To sign up to the alerts send a text
tolerance approach to
                                Keep clear                  newspaper The Gazette.           message to 60777 saying "DBC waste"
items being stored in the       Don’t clutter!              Anyone who has not yet           then your house number (or house
communal areas of flats.                                    seen it can download it          name) and postcode. For example, "DBC
                                               from our website www.dacorum.                 waste 80 HP4 2DR".
This means that all items from plants,
                                               gov.uk/walkabouts
door mats and shoes to litter, pushchairs                                                    Your initial text will be charged at your
and bulky items must not be left outside       Staff from the housing team recently          standard network rate (it may be
your property. These could cause               visited two areas of the borough and          charged outside your inclusive text
someone to trip or block the escape            removed items in line with the policy.        package). You will not be charged to
route during a fire.                           Residents who wish to recover these           receive the alerts.
                                               belongings need to pay £15.
Our Clear Landings Policy has been                                                           For more information on refuse and
publicised widely: by now most flats           Please consider your own safety and the       recycling, visit
have received a letter and ‘Keep clear,        safety of others.                             www.dacorum.gov.uk/recycling
   01442 228000 tenantinvolvement@dacorum.gov.uk                                            News and views | 03




Are you moving
with Dacorum?
We have received around 1750 new and re-registrations for housing using
our new online housing register service since it launched on 1 November.
From now on all available properties will
be advertised on the new website
www.movingwithdacorum.org.uk

If you have already made a housing
application but not yet re-registered, it is                                            Behind the scenes
important to do so as soon as possible.                                                 Who are the people who make up
If you have difficulties in registering                                                 Dacorum’s housing service? Here we
online, please ask friends or family for                                                meet Income Officer Paula Bowman
help. You can also visit the council’s                                                  who ensures the council receives all
Customer Service Centre at Hemel                                                        the rent owed.
Hempstead or Berkhamsted Civic Centres                                                  “On the face of it my job might not look
where help and a computer are                                                           popular, but I love working with our
available. For further help and guidance,                                               tenants. I’ve been here for two years
please visit                                                                            now and with rent recovery since April.
www.movingwithdacorum.org.uk or call                                                    It’s so fulfilling to know I can help
01442 228000 and ask for ‘Housing’.                                                     people.
                                                                                        “Most of the time when people miss
                                                                                        payments because they’re having
Have you seen our Annual Report?                                                        temporary difficulties – perhaps
                                                                                        they’ve been ill and missed work or
We hope that many of you have now had the chance to see our
                                                                                        been made redundant.
Annual Report to Tenants and Leaseholders 2010/11, which is
available both as a DVD and in print.                                                   “I spend a lot of time discussing
                                                                                        problems on the phone, but I also ask
If you have not seen it yet, please remember that you can:                              people to come in for a face-to-face
• Phone us and we can post either a printed report and/or a                             meeting or I go on home visits. Then I
  DVD to you                                                                            usually set up individual payment
                                                                                        plans so they can make smaller but
• Collect a copy from our Customer Service Centres in Hemel
                                                                                        regular repayments. Sometimes
  Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring
                                                                                        voluntary organisations also help.
• View both versions on our website www.dacorum.gov.uk/HousingAnnualReport
                                                                                        “Our ‘Peace of mind at Christmas’
A number of tenants and leaseholders helped us produce the report, advising on the      campaign [see page 5] is all about
content and design, providing real life stories and featuring in photographs and film   encouraging tenants not to miss
footage. If you would like to get involved in next year’s report or give us some        payments over the holiday and avoid
feedback, we would love to hear from you.                                               sliding into debt.
To get in touch please call 01442 228000 and say ‘Tenant Involvement’ or email          “Tenants really do have to pay their
tenantinvolvement@dacorum.gov.uk                                                        rent. Since April we’ve been forced to
                                                                                        evict 15 tenants because they didn’t

 Help to switch to digital                                                              pay their rent time after time which is
                                                                                        not something we take lightly. I can’t
 In 2012 the traditional TV signal will be switched off in our                          stress how important it is to get in
 region and replaced with a digital TV signal. For more                                 touch and let us help.”
 information visit the website www.helpscheme.co.uk or call                             To contact Paula or her team call
 0800 40 85 900.                                                                        01442 228000 and ask for ‘rent’.
04 | Tenants and Leaseholders Committee                                           www.dacorum.gov.uk




    A letter from Rose Kosmalski,
    Chair of your Tenant and Leaseholder Committee (TLC)

   Dear Tenants and Leaseholders
   Your Tenant and Leaseholder Committee is now nearly a year old
                                                                  – and a lot has been achieved
   during this time.
   In 2010 the Tenant Services Authority launched the new standard
                                                                   for social housing which
   included tenant participation.
   Dacorum Borough Council wanted a meaningful dialogue with their
                                                                          tenants so a new committee
   was set up to take this forward. The TLC held its first meeting at the
                                                                           council on 24 January 2011.
   To be a member of the TLC we all had to go through an interview
                                                                       which was carried out by other
   tenants and leaseholders.
   The TLC look at the processes and procedures of the housing service
                                                                           and scrutinise the
   performance of the service it delivers to tenants. So far we have worked
                                                                              together on the Annual
   Report and DVD (see page 3) and the Tenants’ handbook, which
                                                                     we hope you all liked. We have
   also held the Tenants’ conference on 29 October. A big thank you
                                                                      to all the tenants and staff
   involved in the organisation of the event, which was a resounding
                                                                      success as you can see from
   pages 6 and 7. Watch out for the date of the conference next year.
  Over the next few months we will be working together with the Counc
                                                                     il looking at finance and
  governance of Housing Landlord. The TLC will give you an update
                                                                   every quarter of what we have
  been looking at.
  Don’t forget the ‘Peace of mind at Christmas’ campaign Dacorum
                                                                      is running over Christmas (see
  page 5 opposite). If you do have any difficulties paying your rent
                                                                     or council tax over Christmas get
  in touch on 01442 228000 ask for ‘housing’ and speak to a helpful
                                                                       member of staff. Please don’t
  put your home at risk by avoiding dealing with rent arrears – help
                                                                     is at hand.
  The TLC represents you, the tenant and resident leaseholders from
                                                                      all over Dacorum. If you want
  to get in touch with us you can email tlc@dacorum.gov.uk. We promis
                                                                        e to respond to emails that
  come in to us. You can also write to us, in confidence, c/o Hemel
                                                                    Hempstead Civic Centre,
  Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1HH.
  The TLC and I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and
                                                                        Happy New Year.
  Best wishes


  Rose
  On behalf of the TLC
   01442 228000 tenantinvolvement@dacorum.gov.uk                                               Help and advice | 05




Peace of mind at Christmas




Income Team Leader                                      Phil says: “I see people         Dacorum and together we find a way to
Katie Kiely and Phil                                    every day who are                help. You can either call the council on
Brett, Project Worker                                  struggling – but there’s          01442 228000 or call Turning Point on
from housing support                                  always an answer. I work           01438 724995. Please get in touch as
agency Turning Point, joined                       closely with the housing staff at     soon as you think there’s a problem.”

forces early in December and were
guests on a BBC Three Counties
Radio listener phone-in about                Partnership portal to learning
housing, bills and benefits.                 Are you trying to get back
                                             into work, threatened with
They were spreading the word that it is      redundancy or simply
important to keep money aside over           looking to add to your skills?
Christmas to pay your rent and council
                                             Dacorum Borough Council is a
tax, even when money is tight.
                                             member of the local Learning
Katie’s simple message is: “The best         Partnership which links up
present you can give yourself is peace of    learning providers and
mind – and we want to help keep you          encourages lifelong learning
out of debt. If all the bills seem to have   for individuals and
                                             communities in Dacorum. The
arrived at once, we’ll help you sort out
                                             Partnership aims to help
what to pay first.”
                                             residents to move from
Katie and her team (pictured above) are      benefits into employment.
always here to help if you’re having         For free and confidential professional careers advice or information on current
difficulties meeting payments and can        training courses, local learning providers, local computer facilities and IT training,
also advise you of other support             visit the website www.dacorumlearningp.btck.co.uk
agencies such as Turning Point.
     06 | Involving you                                                                       www.dacorum.gov.uk




                                                                      Getting to
                                                                      We held our first ever Tenants’ Conference at Longdea
                                                                      Saturday 29 October. Everyone was welcome and ove
                                                                      “excellent, well done” and “interesting, I really enjoye
                                                                      Carolyn Leech, Tenant Involvement Team Leader, whose team orga
                                                                      tenants, councillors and housing staff to meet face-to-face, get to k

                                                                      “It’s always hard starting something from scratch, but we worked w
                                                                      programme on offer. Next year I hope we’ll build on it further and




TLC Chair Rose Kosmalski with Councillor Griffiths



T
      he conference was opened by Rose Kosmalski, Chair of the
      Tenants and Leaseholders Committee (see Rose’s report
      page 4) and was followed by an introduction to Dacorum’s
Housing Landlord Service by Elliott Brooks, Assistant Director of
the service.

Taking a detailed look
Tenants could then take their pick from a series of workshops
which helped them learn about different areas of the housing
                                                                    The Question Time panel
service in more detail. The workshops included:

• an introduction to self-financing and how we spend your money;    Any questions?
• a look at the environment and how we tackle problems with         Next on the conference’s agenda was Question Time, where
  parking and anti-social behaviour; and                            tenants could pose questions to a panel made up of Portfolio
• repairs and maintenance.                                          Holder for Housing Councillor Margaret Griffiths, Elliott Brooks,
                                                                    Katie Kiely (Income Team Leader), Jack Burnham (Strategic
One tenant commented on the repairs workshop: “All of the group
                                                                    Housing Team Leader), Mark Kibble (Maintenance Team Leader)
contributed to the workshop with an open and honest view. The
                                                                    and Rose Kosmalski.
answers were direct and honest.”
                                                                    Andy Vincent, Group Manager for Tenancy and Leaseholder
                                                                    Services chaired the panel and directed questions from street
                                                                    lighting and parking to choice-based letting and under-occupation.

                                                                    Going the extra mile
                                                                    One of the highlights of the conference was the Resident Awards
                                                                    ceremony, where a number of tenants were recognised for their
                                                                    time and dedication in supporting the housing landlord service.

                                                                    Councillor Margaret Griffiths said: “To provide an excellent
                                                                    housing service we need a two-way relationship with our tenants
                                                                    – and this year the way people got involved and gave us a real
                                                                    insight into what goes on in their homes and communities has
                                                                    been amazing.”

                                                                    Marian Taylor, Stuart Parker, Barb Stevens and Dave Stevens
Workshops examined different areas of housing in detail             (pictured left to right) were given an award for their contribution
             01442 228000 tenantinvolvement@dacorum.gov.uk                                             Involving you | 07




know you
an School in Bennetts End, Hemel Hempstead on
er 40 tenants attended. Feedback ranged from
ed it” to “well presented and informative”.
anised the conference, said: “It was a great opportunity for
know each other and share ideas.

with tenants beforehand to ensure that we had a full and varied
d the conference will become a popular annual fixture.”




                                                                     The 'ask the audience' conference evaluation

                                                                     All work and no play...
                                                                     Towards the end of the morning some light relief was provided by
                                                                     a raffle with prizes supplied by our contractors Mitie and Apollo as
                                                                     well as local businesses.

                                                                     And then it was time to end the conference with an interactive
                                                                     ‘ask the audience’ style evaluation and a few final words from
                                                                     Councillor Griffiths. Everyone was then free to mingle over lunch
                                                                     and look around the exhibitions on display.

                                                                     Carolyn summed up the day: “It was a hugely enjoyable day and
  to the new Tenants’ handbook, while others were also thanked for   everyone left feeling that they’d learnt something, staff and
  their efforts advising on Annual Report 2010-11 and the            tenants alike. We hope to make the conference even bigger next
  conference itself.                                                 year and get more young people and families involved. In the
  We are hoping to extend the awards next year to give all tenants   meantime, we’re also planning an event for the summer. If you
  the opportunity to nominate your neighbours for going the extra    would like to find out how you could be involved then please
  mile in your community.                                            contact the Tenant Involvement team for more details.”

                                                                     Raffle prizes were donated by contractors and local businesses
     08 | Your tenancy                                                                            www.dacorum.gov.uk




                                                                                              Give a little
                                                                                              respect
                                                                                              Dacorum Borough Council Chief
                                                                                              Exectuive Danny Zammit has
                                                                                              signed up to the Respect Anti-
                                                                                              social Behaviour (ASB) Charter
                                                                                              for Housing – demonstrating the
                                                                                              commitment to tackle ASB across
                                                                                              our organisation.




Estate Improvement Officer Sharon Clayton (centre), Gadebridge Councillor Roger
Taylor (right) and the Clean, Safe and Green team



More walk, less talk                                                                          ASB continues to be a key issue
                                                                                              for landlords, tenants and
                                                                                              communities. This voluntary
If your estate suffers from graffiti, litter, untidy gardens or cars parked on grass          standard is set by the Chartered
verges, don’t just talk about it – take action!                                               Institute of Housing, the Social
That’s the message from our estate            During estate walkabouts residents and          Landlord Crime and Nuisance
improvement staff, who recently carried       council staff walk around the                   Group and HouseMark. By signing
out a series of estate walkabouts across      neighbourhood together looking for              it, we are making a public
the borough. Sharon Clayton says: “I just     anything that makes the estate look             commitment to provide a high
want to say a big thank you to everyone       unsightly. Your Estate Improvement              quality service to prevent and
who joined in the Gadebridge walkabout.       Officer logs all the problems you identify      effectively combat anti-social
It was good to work as a team with our        and the ways your walkabout team think          behaviour (ASB). We are also
council colleagues although we do need        its best to tackle them.                        committing ourselves to be
more residents to join in if we’re going      There’s now a leaflet available telling         accountable to our tenants for its
to make a real difference.                    you more about estate walkabouts. Call          delivery.

Resident Moira Scott came along to the        Sharon on 01442 228000 or read it on            Having the Respect charter means
Adeyfield walkabout: “I wanted to come        our website www.dacorum.gov.uk/                 we can work with our residents so
                                              walkabouts – where we’ll also advertise         that ASB services match local
along today to see what it is all about
                                              dates of future walkabouts and publish          needs and priorities.
and point out the things that I think we
                                              the walkabout action reports.
need. We all want to live in a nice                                                           For more information visit
environment, so it’s for everyone’s           So please spread the word, team up with         www.cih.org/respectcharter
benefit to come along.”                       your neighbours and join in.



  Deadline for area improvements money
  The deadline for applications for a          would help you and your neighbours          fund improvements like these. You can
  grant from the housing service’s new         to grow vegetables.                         bid for up to £1,000 of the Housing
  Environmental Improvement Budget                                                         service’s new Environmental
  is the end of January 2012.                  Or maybe you’d like a bench on the          Improvement Budget; there is no
                                               communal green, or to plant some            minimum bid.
  How would you improve your area if           bulbs on the grass verges or amenity
  we gave you some money? Perhaps              greens.                                     For more information and details of
  you live in a flat and think some                                                        how to apply please call 01442
  planters in the communal drying area         Tenants can now apply for a grant to        228000 and ask for Selina Burris.
   01442 228000 tenantinvolvement@dacorum.gov.uk                                                 Your tenancy | 09




Disabled adaptations installed
faster and for free
Tenants needing disabled aids or adaptations to their council homes
will no longer need to pay – and will get the work done faster.
We make around 100 adaptations to our        This will cut down administration time
properties each year which help disabled     and enable tenants to benefit sooner
tenants to live independently in their       from the adaptations.
homes, such as building ramps, installing
                                             If you think you might need aids or
level access showers, widening doors
                                             adaptations to your home, please see
and fixing grab rails.
                                             your GP. He or she will arrange for an
Following a review of this service,          occupational therapist to assess what is
councillors have agreed that tenants’ will                                              For more information on the service
                                             right for you.
no longer need to make a financial                                                      itself, please contact call Sharon Abbott
contribution, except where the work          Call your GP or Health and Community       on 01442 228000 or email
costs over £10,000.                          Services on 0300 1234 042.                 sharon.abbott@dacorum.gov.uk




                                                                                        Swap homes
                                                                                        to suit your
                                                                                        size
                                                                                        Is your home
                                                                                        too big for
                                                                                        you? Do you
                                                                                        need more
                                                                                        space? Or do
                                                                                        you want to
                                                                                        move area?
                                                                                        Our mutual
                                                                                        exchange
                                                                                        programme
                                                                                        matches tenants who wish to swap
                                                                                        homes, and help avoid what might be a
                                                                                        lengthy wait for a transfer.
Local shopping centres got an Action Group revamp recently
                                                                                        Simply fill in your details on our website
Your Neighbourhood Action Group needs you!                                              www.dacorum.houseexchange.org.uk
                                                                                        and search for suitable properties to
If you’re keen on improving your neighbourhood further and getting involved with
                                                                                        exchange with. A three-way exchange is
the community, you can become a member of your local Neighbourhood Action
                                                                                        also possible. Further details and copies
Steering Group.
                                                                                        of the house exchange leaflet are
If you live in the Highfield, Grovehill, Woodhall Farm, Piccotts End, Bennetts End,     available by contacting calling
Adeyfield, Hemel Hempstead Town Centre, Bourne End, Box Lane or Felden areas and        01442 228000 and asking for ‘Housing’
would like to find out more, please call Joe Guiton on 01442 228000 or email            or emailing
joe.guiton@dacorum.gov.uk                                                               houseexchange@dacorum.gov.uk
     10 | Supported housing                                                                        www.dacorum.gov.uk




Dacorum celebrates Older
People’s Week
UK Older People’s Week took place at the
beginning of October – and Dacorum’s Supported
Housing schemes entered into the spirit of things.
The aim of the week was to encourage           class. There was lots of
people to get and stay active in later life.   laughter throughout!
Our Supported Housing Officers
                                               Yoga is already held
organised events and activities across
                                               once a week at Lagley
the borough.
                                               House in Berkhamsted,
Dharini Chandarana, Supported Housing          aiming to relax the
Team Leader, said: “The idea was to            mind and body and
encourage our residents to join in, have       improve flexibility and energy levels.       against one another. Many hadn’t played
fun and get to know each other. In many        Older People’s Week attracted two            in years, so it was a good opportunity to
cases we hope the activities will              additions to the group. Sheila, one of the   get back into the game. Emma
continue – people maybe enjoyed their          new members, said: “I absolutely loved       Rothschild’s Court won on the day, but
taste of yoga or perhaps revived               the class. I could join in with everything   the teams now hope to start a darts
forgotten darts skills!”                       and learnt some new techniques for           league so there will be opportunities for
                                               breathing”.                                  a re-match. Resident Coral Basil said:
Residents at Gilbert Burnett House in
                                                                                            “Although I knew there were other
Hemel Hempstead (pictured) and Dudley          Lagley House was also the setting for a
                                                                                            schemes out there I had never met
House in Bovingdon took part in gentle         fiercely contested darts tournament.
                                                                                            anyone from them. It has opened up a
but stimulating seated exercises. Each         Tenants from four schemes – Christopher
                                                                                            whole new world.”
person was given a bottle of water to          Court and Gilbert Burnett House from
use as a weight before the qualified           Hemel, Emma Rothschild’s Court in Tring      Southernwood Close in Hemel
physiotherapist started the hour-long          and the host team – pitted their skills      Hempstead organised a games afternoon
                                                                                            which was so popular it has become a
                                                                                            weekly event. Tenants played snooker,
                                                                                            darts, board games and Wii – which was
                                                                                            new to most and a big hit.

                                                                                            Other new activities are in the pipeline
                                                                                            for tenants. Joe, one of the tenants at
                                                                                            Southernwood Close, is organising a
                                                                                            gardening project. After clearing a patch
                                                                                            of weeds, a rockery will be created with
                                                                                            alpine plants donated by Hilliers Garden
                                                                                            Centre, Hemel Hempstead.

                                                                                            Brian and Robert, from Gilbert Burnett
                                                                                            House, are designing a bird feeding area
                                                                                            with money donated by Pride of Herts
                                                                                            Lodge in Kings Langley.

                                                                                            If you have any ideas for new activities
                                                                                            please speak to your supported housing
                                                                                            officer. Call 01442 228000 and ask for
                                                                                            ‘Supported Housing’.
   01442 228000 tenantinvolvement@dacorum.gov.uk                                                         Repairs | 11




Homes survey update
                  Savills surveyors have almost completed their
                  assessment of Dacorum’s council homes.
                  The survey will help us plan for future repairs and maintenance.
                  The Government also needs us to put an overall value on our
                  properties before we can start the new self-financing arrangement.
Many of you will have already received a visit. However, the survey will continue up
to 23 December, including weekend visits. If a surveyor calls at your property, we
would be grateful if you could let them look round your home.
All surveyors will be wearing Savill’s identification badges and carrying a letter of
authorisation on the council’s headed paper. Call 01442 228000 and ask for ‘Housing’
if you need to check.



                                                                                        Apollo’s winter
                                                                                        warmers
                                                                                        Staff working for Apollo, our planned
                                                                                        maintenance contractor, are being
                                                                                        trained to advise residents on energy
                                                                                        efficiency in the home.

                                                                                        Heating your home typically accounts for
                                                                                        around 60% of your total energy bill
                                                                                        every year and during the winter
                                                                                        months these costs rise. However, there
                                                                                        are a number of things you can do to
                                                                                        reduce this – reducing both your bills
                                                                                        and your carbon footprint:

Kids get colouring for Christmas                                                        • Draw curtains when it gets dark to
                                                                                          prevent heat escaping and draughts.
Maria McKenna, Resident Liaison Officer
for our repairs contractor MITIE, is                                                    • Consider putting on an extra layer of
organising a Christmas colouring                                                          clothing before turning up the heating
competition for children in the borough. A                                                at home.
winner from each of three age categories                                                • Don’t open windows if it gets too hot:
(up to 6yrs, 7–10 years and 11–14 years)                                                  adjust the thermostat instead.
will receive a Christmas goodie box.                                                    • Set the heating to switch off just
The closing date is Monday 19 December                                                    before you go to bed and on again just
and winners will be told by 23 December.                                                  before you wake up in the morning to
Pick up an entry form from our Customer                                                   reduce the energy used overnight.
Service Centre (CSU) at Hemel Hempstead                                                 • If your home has wooden floorboards,
Civic Centre where there is also a box for                                                fill these with sealant to prevent
completed pictures.                                                                       draughts.
Maria has a weekly repairs hot desk at the                                              For more ideas read Apollo’s ‘Top tips for
Hemel Hempstead CSU every Thursday                                                      a greener home’ leaflet on our website
(pictured) from 9.30am to 1pm where you                                                 www.dacorum.gov.uk/housing or email
can drop in and talk to her about your                                                  Resident Liaison Officer Matt Pluck at
repairs.                                                                                mattpluck@theapollogroup.co.uk
     12 | News in brief                                                                         www.dacorum.gov.uk




Keep safe this Christmas
Please remember to use candles and decorative lights safely this Christmas.
Keep candles away from light fittings or fires, never put them on Christmas trees and
never leave them burning unattended.

Check Christmas lights carefully before use: buy new ones with a BS Kite safety mark
if the cabling is damaged or bulbs are loose. Turn the lights off when the room is
empty and especially when you go to bed. Only use lights outside if they are specially
made for external use.

The Electrical Safety Council and Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents have
more safety tips. Visit their websites www.esc.org.uk and www.rospa.com


                                                                                         Leaseholder
Christmas                                                                                handbook review
                                                                                         The Leaseholders’ handbook is being
opening hours                                                                            reviewed and a new version will be
                                                                                         published next year.

Dacorum Borough Council offices, including                                                                  We are keen to hear
our customer service centres, will be                                                                        suggestions from
closed for bank holidays over Christmas                                                                      leaseholders about
and New Year on Monday 26 and                                                                                improving the
Tuesday 27 December 2011, and                                                                                current handbook or
Monday 2 January 2012.                                                                                        suggestions about
                                                                                                              the content you
During these times you can still
                                                                                                              would like to see
contact the housing repairs
                                                                                         included. Please email your feedback to
service on 0800 018 6050 and
                                                                                         Julie Moseley on julie.moseley@
make payments using our 24
                                                                                         dacorum.gov.uk by the end April 2012.
hour automated service on
08453 70 60 70.

For other services’ opening times
                                                                                         Winter Digest out now
over the holidays, and for many                                                          Have you read
of our services online, visit                                                            the latest
ww.dacorum.gov.uk                                                                        Dacorum Digest,
                                                                                         our quarterly
                                                                                         residents’

 Contact us...                                                                           magazine?

                                                                                         It features news
 If you would like more information, want to give us some feedback                       from across the
 or would like this issue in another format such as large print, audio                   Council,
 tape or in another language, please ring 01442 228000 and say the                       including a
                                                                                         round up of local events happening over
 name of the person you want to speak to or simply ask for ‘Housing’
                                                                                         Christmas. By now all homes in
 or ‘Tenant Involvement’. You can also email us on
                                                                                         Dacorum should have received the
 tenantinvolvement@dacorum.gov.uk or visit www.dacorum.gov.uk                            Winter issue. You can also read it online
 Textphone users please call 01442 228656.                                               at www.dacorum.gov.uk/digest or pick
                                                                                         up a copy at your local library or from
 Find us on facebook and twitter.
                                                                                         our civic centres.

								
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