Newsletter issue 7

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					House Proud
                                             Issue 7        November 2006




First Birthday...
Last month was the first
anniversary of St. Leger Homes
of Doncaster. Members of
Parliament Rosie Winterton,
Caroline Flint and Jeff Ennis
joined our Chief Executive Martin
Musgrave to celebrate our first
year of business. Rosie said
“Arms Length Management
Organisations have been very
successful, they give Tenants the
opportunity to take a full role in
the management of their
homes”.

Just one year ago, our company       Martin cuts cake with Rosie & Caroline
was created by Doncaster
Council to ensure that the
                                       We have made a number of
services you receive reach an
                                       changes including extending our
excellent standard, and that we
                                       Repairs Centre opening times,
meet the challenge of bringing all
                                       introducing a dedicated repairs
Council properties up to the
                                       free phone number and
Decent Homes Standard. As you
                                       increasing the range of rent
know, our ability to access the
                                       payment options.
money needed to do this work is
dependent on us reaching at
                                       “I believe customers are
least 2 stars in our Audit
                                       beginning to experience the
Commission inspection in March
                                       difference”.
2007. If we’re successful, the
additional £300 million will
                                       We know we’ve got a huge task
benefit the whole of Doncaster
                                       in front of us, but we’re
as many local businesses will
                                       committed to improving all of
come onboard to help us do the
                                       our services. Work is continuing
work.
                                       towards the inspection and
                                       beyond. The whole team is
Martin Musgrave said “We have
                                       looking forward to getting the
used our first year to lay down a
                                       massive programme of
firm foundation for the company.
                                       improvements in to full swing.
                      Our Mission Statement
    A company Mission Statement is basically what it aims to achieve.

    Our Vision
    We will provide excellent customer responsive services that encourage tenants to
    take pride in their homes and work with others to develop sustainable
    communities.

    We will:
          Provide excellent services to all our customers
          Empower our customers through meaningful consultation and participation
          Demonstrate our commitment to equality and diversity
          Engage with others to increase the sustainability of estates
          Achieve the best value for money from all our resources
          Engage with others to fulfil the strategic objectives of St. Leger Homes and
          Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council

    Our Strategic Objectives are to:
          Empower and involve customers in service development and monitoring
          Ensure equality and diversity is integral to all we do
          Develop effective partnerships for the benefit of our customers
          Operate as an efficient and effective business delivering value for money

    Our Values
    To provide effective leadership through structured governance which involves all
    Tenants, Leaseholders and residents. We will:

          Be open and honest
          Care for tenants and customers and be tough on those who do not fulfil
          their responsibilities
          Encourage participation from tenants, leaseholders and residents
          Encourage staff to reach their full potential
          Promote equality in service delivery and behaviour of employees, Board
          Members and partners
          Strengthen the bonds of trust between the company, its customers and
          staff
          Work with other agencies and partners to ensure that communities are
          sustainable

    Have we got this right? - let us know what you think.

    The improvement plans we have for your homes will generate a huge amount of
    business for local contractors, but we are being very selective about who we work
    with. We selected contractors who could meet the very high standards that we
    set, and invited them to our Bidders Conference on 19 October, where we gave
    them an in-depth view of our plans. To make sure they were fully aware of what
    the programme of work involves, they were given a tenants perspective by Lynn
    Ralph, who is one of our Board of Directors & also Chair of the Doncaster
    Federation of Tenants and Residents Associations.

    The contractors now have until 20 December to submit their bids for various
    internal & external works. We’ll then work through these and select those who
    are best able to help us deliver the huge programme of works which will start if
    we’re successful in our Government inspection next March.


2                                                                 www.stlegerhomes.co.uk
                                   Competitions

Happy Christmas from St. Leger Homes
Do you light up the neighbourhood with your outdoor Christmas light display? Is your
house on a par with Santa’s Grotto? If so, why not enter our Best Festive House
competition and be in with a chance of winning £75 in Argos vouchers.

To enter you must contact us and register your entry before Monday 18 December.

Judging will take place on 19 and 20 December, with one winner in the East and one in the West.
Winners will be announced in the next issue of House Proud.

Terms and Conditions
Employees of St. Leger Homes, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Councillors and Board members
are not eligible to enter.
There will be two £75 prizes, one for the East and one for the West. No runner up prizes.

Important
Your decorations must be in a safe condition and secured properly to your home. Any decorations
that are seen to be unsafe, or causing annoyance to neighbours will disqualify you from the
competition.

Doncaster in Bloom – our own Winners
We had our own categories in this year’s competition to recognise
the amount of work many of our tenants put into their gardens.
Our Chief Executive Martin Musgrave was delighted by the very high
standard of entries. The judges awarded prizes as follows:

Best Garden
1st Prize (£50) went to Mr & Mrs Shaw, Thorne, 2nd prize (£30)
was Mr Ridding, Dunscroft, and a very close 3rd prize (£10) went
to Mrs Peckett, Cantley

Best Hanging Basket or Container
Joint 1st Prize (£50) went to Mrs Gothard, Mexborough and Mr
Turner, Rossington

We will be running the competition again next year, so start
planning your entries.
Watch out for more gardening news in future issues!

Photos courtesy of DMBC                                            Mr & Mrs Shaw with Judith Jones,
                                                                    Director of Customer Services

Have you signed up to our Free Direct Debit Service?
If you’re thinking of paying your rent by Direct Debit, now’s the time to do it and enter our free
prize draw at the same time. All applications we receive before 30 November 2006 will be entered
into the draw that will take place 8 December. Plus you’ll also be entered into our quarterly prize
draw for keeping your rent account clear!
Don’t worry if you’ve already signed up – you’ll all be included in the draw!
Application forms are available from your local St. Leger office or our Central Rents Team on 01302
862869.

Butterscotch was first made in Doncaster, by Samuel Parkinson in 1817.                           3
                                      Home Safety
Fire Safety in the Home
Do you have a plan for safely getting out of your home in the event of a fire? If not, please take
the time to think about it. If you have children or other people dependent on you, make sure they
also know what to do. Keep your exits clear and close all doors, shutting doors can help keep your
escape route free from fire.

      Don’t leave cooking unattended – fire starts when your attention stops
      Never fill chip pans more than 1/3rd full
      If a pan catches fire, don’t throw water over it, turn off the heat if you can safely – don’t
      move the pan
      If you have to use an adaptor, keep the total output to no more than 13 amps. Watch out! A
      kettle uses 13 amps alone
      Don’t put cables under carpets or mats
      Don’t overload sockets, use one plug in each socket and unplug any appliances you’re not
      using
      If you have a mobile phone, keep it with you when you go to bed.

If a fire starts
Try to keep calm. If there’s smoke, keep low where the air is clearer. Don’t waste time
investigating the fire or rescuing valuables. Call 999 and leave the fire brigade to tackle the fire.

Free home fire safety visits and smoke alarms are available on request; contact South Yorkshire
Fire & Rescue Service on 0114 2532314 for further details, or visit www.firekills.gov.uk. Leaflets
are also available including: Plan Your Escape, Escaping a High Rise, Fire Safety for People with
Sight, Hearing or Mobility Difficulties, Electrical Safety & Candle Safety.


Bogus Callers
                                                          Can you afford to be without contents
There’ve been a few incidents recently of bogus           insurance?
callers/workmen tricking their way into people’s          See the item on page 7
homes. We’d like to remind our customers that it’s
your right to insist on seeing identification for
anyone calling at your home, whoever they say              Christmas Lights - Safety
they are.
                                                           Advice
If they have identification, but you’re still in doubt,
or don’t feel comfortable letting them in, ask them        Always buy your lights from a reputable
to call back at another time when you can arrange          store
for someone to be there with you.                          Make sure they carry the BS Kite mark for
Remember, if in doubt – keep them out.                     safety
                                                           Always use a stable support when hanging
                                                           your lights
Flats - Safety Issues                                      Take care not to overload your sockets
                                                           Never insert or change bulbs when
For your own safety and that of your visitors, it’s        switched on
very important that communal areas are kept free           Inspect cables and bulbs for damage
from anything that could be a safety hazard. To            Do not use lights that are damaged –
avoid possible trips or falls and fire risks,              dispose of them safely
communal halls and stairways must be kept clear            Always read and follow the manufacturers
at all times; this includes carpets, mats and              instructions
furniture. If you’re unsure about anything please
contact your Estates Officer.

 4                                                                       www.stlegerhomes.co.uk
                                       Staff Focus

Finance Team
Our Finance Team is based at our Head Office and is
managed by our Assistant Director of Financial Services.

Each of our departments have their own budget holder and
the Team work closely with them giving financial advice or
training if needed so that we can make sure our finances
are always managed in the best way possible.

The Team have the responsibility of managing both our
income and outgoings, and determining the projected level
of funding for current and future years. They prepare and
monitor our budgets and report on our financial
performance to our Board of Directors and Executive
Management Team on a regular basis. The Team
frequently update all financial information so that the most
up to date information is always available.

They also have responsibility for managing the Council’s Housing Revenue Account and the Housing
Capital Programme, which includes the Decency work planned over the forthcoming years.

While they have the serious job of managing our corporate finances, the tag ‘boring accountants’
definitely doesn’t apply to this team. They enjoy socialising as a group and with other teams in our
company, one member is a 1st Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and another is off to Australia this
winter for the Ashes Series.


Taking Care of the Estates
We’ve introduced a new service to help keep our estates clean and tidy.
Thirteen Estate Caretakers now work across the borough on the
properties and land managed by St Leger Homes for the Council. They
will concentrate on environmental issues like:

   •   Removing dumped rubbish
   •   Cutting hedges
   •   Cleaning communal areas
   •   Keeping the gardens of empty properties tidy
   •   Litter picking

Even though the caretakers have only been operating for a few weeks
the estate management staff and residents have already been singing
their praises.

If you need help tidying up your estate please contact your local St.
Leger Homes office and ask to speak to the Estates Officer for your
area.

Tenants Conference
The first ever St. Leger Homes Tenants Conference will be held early next year – watch out for
further details.

November 10 1911: The first turf is cut at Hatfield Main colliery.                               5
       Review of Senior Citizens Garden Service
We’ve just started a best value review of the Senior Citizens Garden Service. The review group is
made up of tenant representatives and staff from the Council and St. Leger Homes. This group
will be looking at all aspects of the service and trying to find the answers to important questions
like:

      Is the service what our customers want?
      Are tenants satisfied with the service?
      How can the service be improved?
      Is the service good value for money?

At the moment, the service is free of charge to Council Tenants who are either pensioners or
registered disabled, and don’t have a capable dependant person living with them. The work is
currently carried out by the Council and includes cutting the lawns and hedges and pruning the
shrub beds. We pay the Council to do the work and it costs approximately £228,779 a year.

One of the first things that the review group will be doing is carrying out a survey of the existing
users to find out important information like how satisfied they are with the service. So if you’re
receiving the service we’ll be writing to you within the next couple of months to find out what you
think.

We’d also like to hear the views of customers who don’t currently receive the service – do you
think the current qualifying criteria is reasonable? Do you feel that you qualify?

Current Qualifying Criteria
Everyone residing at the property must be less than 16 years old or of pension age or
registered disabled with Social Services

Current Service
Grass to be cut at least 4 times a year between April and September
Hedges to be cut twice a year
Roses to be pruned once a year
Shrubs to be pruned once a year in winter

The review will be completed by the end of December 2006, however, if you would like to talk to
us about the Garden Scheme we’d be pleased to hear from you. Please contact the Estates
Improvement Team on 01302 737309.



Leaseholder News
We held our first Leasehold Forum on 27 September at the Mansion House. This was following
your responses to the Leaseholder Questionnaires that we’d recently sent, where the majority of
you said you’d like a Forum establishing.

The event itself was a success and was very well attended. We were able to discuss current
issues and identify how we could improve services to our Leaseholders. Everyone felt the Forum
had been beneficial and we should continue with them.

Future meetings will be held on Wednesday 13 December, 7pm to 9pm and Thursday 14
December 10.30am to 12.30pm in the Priory Suite, Mansion House, High Street.

Leasehold advice line Tel: 01302 736 308, office hours are 8:30– 5pm Monday to Friday. There is
an answer machine for any out of hours calls & we will respond the next working day.


 6                                                                    www.stlegerhomes.co.uk
                               Customer Services

Household Contents Insurance
Looking for home contents insurance is often something we’ll ‘do later’. We don’t fancy all the
hassle of trying to find a policy that actually gives us the cover we want, and if your home’s not
like Fort Knox, the premiums are usually sky high.
We understand all this, so we’ve arranged a Home Contents Insurance Scheme that offers you:
      Easy weekly payments – just add to your rent if you want to
      No property security requirements to meet and no excess to pay
      New for old cover
      Cover for theft, flood, fire, water damage, freezer contents and vandalism
      Accidental damage for TV’s, video recorders, mirrors and fixed glass in furniture
      Cover for theft or loss of keys
Best of all, its easy to set up a policy or make a claim, if you need to. Application forms to join the
scheme are available from any St. Leger Homes Office or by contacting the Central Rents Team on
01302 862868

 Recent Incentive winners
                                                                                  Don’t forget, our grand
 Winner in this quarters draw for keeping a clear rent account are:              £1,000 draw takes place
 Mrs Marshall         Mr Potter       Mr Greening      Mr White                       in December!
 Adwick-le-Street     Mexborough      Cantley          Barnby Dun


You told us We did!                                 Been let down by your Christmas savings club?

You told us –                                                      Don’t Despair
You would like to have more time to spend           We can help with a low interest loan this year and
the Decoration Allowance vouchers.                  next year with your own savings. Danum Credit
                                                    Union is an ethical and local alternative to
We did –                                            mainstream financial services. We offer savings and
All vouchers issued after 1 January 2007, will      low-cost loans. Danum is a not-for-profit organisation
have and extended expiry period of 6                regulated by the Financial Services Authority. We
months.                                             now have 4 offices and 30 community outreaches in
                                                    Doncaster. Our latest one is now open at 12 Nether
You told us –                                       Hall Rd.
You would like a list of people to contact for
various issues.                                                           Free savings and loan insurance
We did –                                                                  Financial Compensation Scheme
A useful contact list is being compiled and                                Flexible savings from £1 a week
will be sent out to all customers with the next                                          Easy ways to save
                                                                                        No hidden charges
issue of House Proud.
                                                                                     Young Savers Scheme
You told us –                                                                             Payroll deduction
You would like to be more prepared for the                                                          scheme
extent of the work involved in carrying out                                                 Low cost loans
the ‘Decent Homes’ work to your home.                                                  Consolidation loans

We did –
We’re producing a DVD that will show you                 Say goodbye to doorstep lenders forever
exactly what happens at different stages of         For more information call 01302 84115 or log on to www.danumcu.co.uk
works.
If you think that there is something else
that we could do better, please let us


Less than 40 days to Christmas….                                                                                       7
                                  Community News
Money! Money! Money!                                   Community Houses are also situated at
                                                       Craganour Place, Denaby, Sussex Street,
Are you looking to set up a new club or                Balby and Beckett Road, Wheatley.
organisation? Are you a member of a group that’s
desperately trying to buy a new piece of equipment?
                                                       Tenant Training Courses
Perhaps we can help – We’ve set aside £5000 to
sponsor small projects within the local community      Tenant training will start in November with
that will benefit the lives of our customers.          ongoing courses such as Committee Skills,
                                                       Equality and Diversity and Grant Funding.
Some examples of the sort of things we’ve been
thinking about are:                                    New subjects will include Newsletter
A bingo machine                                        Writing, Grant Application Forms,
Toys for a toddlers group                              Assertiveness Training, Interpersonal
Equipment for a local football/netball/cricket team    Skills and Team Building.
Gardening equipment to help local residents
                                                       For more information contact our
But perhaps you have something else in mind?           Community Liaison Team on
                                                       01302 862739 or email
Please contact 01302 862732 for further                community.liaison@stlegerhomes.co.uk
information.
                                                       TARA AGM Dates
Hyde Park Community House
                                                       Mexborough Common - Tues 28
Situated at 31 Clark Avenue, Hyde Park Community       November 2006, 7:30pm
House has recently been refurbished to include         Venue: Catholic Club, Park Road,
disabled access, a kitchen area and a very pleasant    Mexborough.
picnic garden. There’s something for everyone
including benefits                                     Adult, Family and Community
and housing                                            Learning
advice, activities
and day trips
                                                       Courses available for adults (over 19 years
during the
                                                       of age). If you’re interested, contact your
summer for local
                                                       local TARA. When there’s a group of at
residents.
                                                       least 8 people, they might be able to
                                                       deliver the course at your choice of venue
Summer and Christmas fairs and raffles are
                                                       & time.
organised to raise funds, and this year the
committee kitted out the youngsters of Hyde Park
                                                       Health and Wellbeing/Healthy eating,
Knights with a new football strip.
                                                       Personal Development, Learning to Learn,
                                                       Returning to Work, Learn to Cook – each
The committee at the Community House would be
                                                       course is 6 x 2 hour sessions with an
pleased to hear from any group who would like to
                                                       administration charge of £2.00 for the
make use of the facilities.
                                                       course.
Coffee mornings will be held each Wednesday
                                                       Also available - Certificate in Delivering
morning, a chance to drop in and get together.
                                                       Learning (City & Guilds 7302), OCR Entry
Children are welcome, and you’ll be able to find out
                                                       Level Certificate in ICT Skills for Life,
what’s on at the Community House.
                                                       Computer Skills (ASET) Level 1 – these
                                                       courses vary in length and a tuition fee is
Community House is open every day, please feel
                                                       payable. Contact the AFCL team on 01306
free to call in if you’d like further information or
                                                       862688 to find out which course would be
think your group may like to use the facilities.
                                                       best for you.

 8                                                                  www.stlegerhomes.co.uk

				
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