AH Accord News JUL

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AH Accord News JUL Powered By Docstoc
brought to you by residents and staff                                                                                  July 2009

                                                                                                                        In this issue

                                                                                                                        Page 3 Find out who
                                                                                                                        is Accord’s ‘Neighbour
                                                                                                                        from Heaven’.

                                                                                                                        Page 4 & 5 Picture special!
                                                            Accord’s Louise Creswick (right) climbing high              All the fun from European
                                                            with resident Christine Kirkham and her son Ethan.          Neighbours’ Day.

 Residents enjoy free day trip
  More than 350 of you boarded coaches and headed to Telford
  recently to celebrate Neighbours’ Day.
 Accord provided free transport and free tickets            Sara Woodall, Director of Corporate Housing
 to the magical Telford Wonderland and Park                 Services at Accord, said: “We are so pleased                Page 8 Meet the team
 to celebrate European Neighbours’ Day on                   that so many of our residents were able                     from Customer First.
 Tuesday 26th May.                                          to join us to help celebrate European
                                                            Neighbours’ Day.
 Goody bags were handed out to residents
 and there were a number of prize draws                     “Neighbours’ Day is about bringing
 during the event that ran from 9.30am-3pm.                 communities together in a fun and
                                                            interesting way and what better way of
 Housing staff were also on hand to talk                    doing that than with a picnic in the park!
 to residents about Accord’s services and
 standards during a ‘bring your own picnic’                 Turn to pages 4 &5 to see photos of the
 lunch from 12:30pm-1pm.                                    day and read residents’ comments.                           Page 12 Win £20 in
                                                                                                                        High Street vouchers

                                      understanding this would cover         mobile package. Those who do not       elsewhere, eg 01922. Free
 Customer First                       the cost of all landline calls and     have ‘free inclusive minutes’ are      local/national calls included in
 call charges –                       some mobile tariffs.                   charged at standard landline rates,    rental packages also apply when
                                                                             which is still a significant saving.   calling on the Customer First
 clarification                        It has recently emerged that this is                                          number (0300 111 7000).
 We are committed to providing a      not the case. Calls to our new         Landline calls are charged at the
 low cost single number for you. To   Customer First number (0300 111        standard local rate for those          We are sorry for any
 do this we bought thousands of       7000) are free if callers have ‘free   dialling from 0121 locations and       inconvenience or
 ‘free’ minutes on the                inclusive minutes’ as part of their    the standard national rates from       misunderstanding this has caused.
page 2

         In the News

         Party as Walsall Scheme turns 30
         Residents at a sheltered housing   Shepherd and local author Roger    through a tough time but I was
         scheme in Aldridge celebrated      Harper. Visitors were treated to   reminded just how exceptional
         its 30th anniversary with a        maypole dancing and guests also    we can be when working
         ‘Best of British’ garden party.    boarded a distinctive ‘Harper      together.”
                                            Bros’ bus.
         Old Rectory Gardens hosted the                                        The Rectory, which houses
         party on the 5th June and          Angela Jewkes, Scheme Manger,      a common room, dates back
         guests included MP Richard         said: “Britain may be going        to 1826.

    Plans for                                    TENANTS BREW UP FOR CHARITY
    Mobile Office                                A sheltered housing scheme in
                                                 Wednesbury raised more than
                                                                                     Tenants at Kings Hill raised
                                                                                     £130 for the Teenage Cancer
    move forward                                 £100 for a good cause by
                                                 putting the kettle on.
                                                                                     Trust by holding a coffee
                                                                                     morning in March.
    Plans for a mobile office that
    will bring housing help and
    advice straight to your front
    door are well under way.
    The vehicle, which will visit
    homes to offer assistance on a               If in doubt, ask for ID
    range    of    housing     and               Accord is encouraging its          your home or a communal area.
    community issues, is currently               residents to ask to see the        You can also call Customer
    being built by a specialist                  identification of those claiming   First on 0300 111 7000 to
    company.                                     to work for the Association.       confirm that the person is an
    It’s hoped the office will be                                                   Accord employee or contractor.
                                                 All Accord staff and
    ready to launch in August.                   contractors carry ID badges so     Any suspicious behaviour can
    If you would like to get involved            if in doubt please ask to see      be reported to the police by
    in the project call Nick Hill on             one before you let anyone into     calling 0845 113 5000.
    0300     111     7000      direct
    extension 3938 or email                       For more information about home security go to               
                                                                                                                                     page 3

                     Residents’ Corner
                                                                                                Poets Corner
                                                                                                 I’m here again on edge of seat
                                                                                                 As bill deadlines I cannot meet
                                                                                                 Once again my mind’s a blur
                                                                                                 Words come out in such a slur
                                                                                                 Don’t know what I’m going to do
                                                                                                 Must re-think or they may sue
                                                                                                 Where’s that number, where’s it gone
                                                                                                 Telephone number the only one
                                                                                                 Now listen for that friendly voice
                                                                                                 So familiar and nice
                                                                                                 Don’t know what I’d do without
                                                                                                 This lady that shows so much clout
                                                                                                 She’s my lifeline when scales tip
                                                                                                 It’s Jackie’ O my Accord Pip
                                                                                                 Join with me and thank them all
                                                                                                 As to our houses they do call
                                                                                                 All that’s left for us to say
Welcome to Residents’ Corner. This month Dot Lycett                                              Well done people PIP, PIP hooray!
tells us why her neighbour Julie Venables is a                                                   The Promoting Independence Project
‘Neighbour from Heaven.’                                                                         (PIP) provides support to enable
                                                                                                 people to develop or maintain their
Everybody needs good neighbours and            Dot, who lives in Rushall,Walsall,                independence. PIP advises on welfare
according to 81-year-old Dot Lycett hers       explains why Julie truly is a ‘Neighbour          benefits, managing finances and
is “magic and “golden”.                        from Heaven’. “Julie is a mother of one           budgeting.You can contact them on
                                               little boy and goes to work but she still         0121 568 3965.
It’s this glowing reflection that led to       has time for me,” said Dot.
Dot’s neighbour and mum-of-one Julie
Venables winning Accord’s Neighbour             “I can’t get around much so she will ask       is only as good as you make it! I’m very
from Heaven award 2008.                        me if I need any shopping. She’s taken me       grateful and taken aback. Dot’s like a nan
                                               to the hospital too. Julie is such as nice      to me.”
The Making a Difference awards help            girl. She’s golden!”
Accord reward people who make a real                                                           Have you got a story to share with
difference in their neighbourhoods.            Julie, a 41-year-old Clerical Assistant,        readers? Write to the Editorial Board,
The awards are split into 3 categories,        added: “I was very surprised to be              37 King Street, Darlaston,WS10 BDD,
Neighbour from Heaven, Going Green             nominated as I don’t feel I do anything         email or call
and Exceptional Young Person.                  out of the ordinary.Your neighbourhood          0121 500 3919.

                                           We take your complaints and                      Telford Park with free entry to
                                           requests seriously, so in every edition          children’s entertainment venue
                                           of Accord News we will explain how               Telford Wonderland.
                                           we are improving our services.
                                                                                            Tell us what you thought about
                                           At the Streets Ahead event 2008 you              Streets Ahead ‘09 by emailing us
       You said,                           told us that you enjoyed it but would
                                           like to see more activities for children.
                                                                                            at residentengagementunit@
                                                                                  , go to Resident Area

       we did!                             This year, we hosted Streets Ahead at
                                                                                            of our website
                                                                                            or call us on 0300 111 7000.
page 4

         Residents from across Birmingham
         and the Black Country celebrated
         neighbourliness with a free day trip.

         More than 350 of you enjoyed the day
         out at Telford Park and Wonderland
         in May in celebration of European
         Neighbours’ Day. We received some
         great feedback from the fun-filled day.
         Here are just a few of the things you said.
page 5
page 6

           Have you got a         Ask Eddie
           question or query
           about Accord? Then
           why not ask resident Eddie Gunter.
    Q. How can I have a say about what happens
       in my neighbourhood?
    A. After talking with Shireen from the Community
       Team she tells me that you can have “a say”
       and that the Team are encouraging you to do so.
           Tenant empowerment is at the              They will be looking at:
           heart of what the Community               • All aspects of anti-social          If you would like to have
           Team do and they want residents             behaviour from the 24 hour          your say about the
           to get involved.                            hotline to policy and procedure     Community Team’s
                                                     • Estate management standards,        services call
           During the next 12 months, the              such as communal cleaning           Shireen Mabley on
           Community Team is aiming to                 and gardening                       0300 111 7000
           review and improve how it                 • Value for money                     ext 3919 or email
           delivers its services.                    • What matters to you       

    The Watch
         Like all housing associations, Accord has various performance
         targets it aims to meet. This table shows how we shaped up
         in terms of repairs compared to our targets.
     Well done! We are performing well against our target.
     Must try better! We need to improve.

         Repairs                                   January 2009          Target          Performance against target

         Emergency repairs completed                     95%               99%                      
         Urgent repairs completed                        98%               97%                      
         Routine repairs completed                       98%               95%                      
                                                                                                                    page 7

                                       New Team
                                       want you
                                       to get
                                       involved                                The latest from

Hi I’m Sara Woodall, Director of Corporate
                                                                               Hi I’m Louise Creswick your
Housing Services for the Accord Group.                                         Resident Engagement Co-
                                                                               ordinator. I work for Accord
We have a new Group-wide team         In conjunction, we are also              Housing Association and the other
whose aim is to encourage you         asking you to help us update             associations in the Accord Group.
to get involved, have your say        our Tenancy Agreement.
and tell us about the services                                                 This column is a chance for me to
you want to see.                      • We are currently carrying out          update you about the projects you
                                        a review of HomeClub. Until            can get involved in as well as keep
Your new team is headed up by           this review is finished, we’re         you in the loop about my work.
me, and supported by familiar           suspending the scheme and
faces Nick Hill, Louise Creswick                                               Firstly, do you want to gain new
                                        hope to re-launch it soon.
and Mandy Holcroft.                                                            skills through training or volunteer
                                        More information will be
                                                                               work? We are launching a new
                                        sent to Home Club Plus
The team continues to work with                                                Residents’ ‘Talent’ Network this
                                        members in the post.
groups of residents and Panels to                                              year so why not join in and make
improve services and we’d like to                                              a difference.
                                      • We are recruiting new
thank those who have been               members for a Design and               We are also keen to offer you the
involved over the last year.            Asset Management Panel.                opportunity to become Board,
                                        If you have something to               Committee or Panel members.
We hope more of you tell us what        say about design, repairs              If you think you’ve got what it
you think to build on the excellent     and property standards                 takes get in touch.
work that has been done to date.        let us know.
                                                                               Do you want to put your
Now, here’s a run down on some        You can contact the Resident             community in control? Then why
of the things we’ve been working      Engagement Team, Nick Hill               not arrange activities on your
on with you.                          or Louise Creswick, about any            estate, or join us on a walkabout.
                                      of the above on 0300 111 7000
                                                                               We also want new residents to help
• Accord’s Resident Panel has         or e-mail
                                                                               us review and shape our services as
  been reviewing the way Accord
                                                                               well as give us feedback. If you are
  manage estates and tenancies.
                                                                               passionate about excellent services
                                                                               then why not think about
                                                                               becoming a Customer Researcher.
                                                                               For more information about
                                                                               any of the above call me on
                                                                               0121 500 2064.

page 8

         Meet the team

     Welcome to Meet the Team, your chance to find out                 Why is your work important to me as a resident?
     more about the different departments at Accord. This              Our main aim is to resolve your queries, whatever they
     month it’s Customer First.                                        may be. We aim to resolve your query at the first point
                                                                       of contact, meaning you should only need to call or
     How many people are there in the team?                            email us once!
     There are 12 including a resident who is working with
     us on a voluntary basis, which is fantastic for us. (You          Can I help the work of your team as a resident?
     can read more about resident Christine below!)                    Yes, your feedback is vital in shaping our service.
                                                                       We need your feedback whether via a survey or
     What do the team do on a day-to-day basis?                        speaking to a member of the team.
     We handle all general enquiries about repairs, income,
     lettings, neighbourhood services and communities.                 How can I contact you?
     Importantly we also shape the customer experience                 You can call us on 0300 111 7000, email us at
     in each and every call we take.                          or go to our

                                         My name’s Christine and I            relaxed atmosphere. All the staff are friendly,
                                         wanted to tell you about my          efficient and aim to put customers first.
                                         experience of working in
                                         Customer First as a volunteer.       My experience has been great, I feel valued as a
                                                                              person and my skills are increasing by the day.
                                         I was given the opportunity to
                                         join the team through my role        I’m so pleased I’ve had this opportunity as it’s
                                         on the Residents’ Panel.             given me some valuable experience. My
                                                                              confidence has also grown and I’m feeling
                                         I’ve been made to feel very
                                                                              positive about my role in Customer First.
                                         welcome by the team.
                                         Customer First has a very            Christine.
                                                                                                       page 9

Accord gets
tough on ASB                                                              A watchdog to raise the
Partnership working is key to seeing results in tackling                  standard of services for
                                                                          affordable housing tenants
anti-social behaviour.                                                    has published its first report.
We appreciate the involvement         We would not have seen success      The Tenant Services Authority
of our residents, the police and      in all three cases without the      (TSA) wants your feedback on
others, working with us to see        evidence given by witnesses.        the report which looks at the
ASB problems solved.                  Without their support and           findings of the National
                                      determination these cases may       Conversation.
During the last year we resolved      not have been as successful.        The National Conversation
three serious cases of ASB that                                           was the largest consultation
all reached the courts.               If you need to report anti-social   with social housing tenants
                                      behaviour in your neighbourhood     in England.
We are pleased that through our       you can call us on 0300 111 7000    You can download a full copy
increasing expertise in these types   during normal office hours          of the report and other
of cases we were able to manage       Monday to Friday 9am                information from the Tenant
some of the process ourselves         to 5pm or 0800 180 4502             Services Authority website at
rather than using the services        outside of these times.   
of lawyers, which can be costly.

 Who deserves an Oscar?
 You decide!
    It’s your chance to nominate the Accord
    employee who you think makes a difference
    to the neighbourhood where you live.

    Who goes the extra mile?
    Who is always happy to help?
    Who do you think is working
    hard to help your community?
    If you know someone who works for Accord
    who is a worthy winner, get nominating.
    The person who nominates the eventual winner
    of the ‘Customer Making a Difference Award’
    will get a £20 shopping voucher.
    You can fill in a nomination form at any of
    our offices, download one from our website,
    or email/phone us on
    or 0300 111 7000. Please do not nominate more than
    three people in total.

    Nominations must be in by 31 October 2009.
page 10

      New logos coming soon
      All of the organisations in the       We will begin to use these logos       This will make our communication
      Accord Group are updating their       from this month. As you can see the    with you clearer and help ensure
      logos. You can see the updated        logos are now all the same size and    things like leaflets are all of the
      logos below.                          shape, but keep the individual         very highest standards across the
                                            identity of each organisation.         whole of the Group.

     Paying Rent                                                  Mortgage
     at Payzone
     Accord is today advising customers not to
                                                                  help for you
                                                                   Are you having difficulties making your mortgage
     use payzone to make their rent payments.                      repayments and are in danger of becoming
                         The network is currently being            homeless if repossessed?
                         phased out and as such Accord
                         is advising customers to make             Then the Government’s Mortgage Rescue scheme
                         their payments at a PayPoint              may be able to help you! If you are eligible for the
                         or Post Office outlets instead.           scheme, which is run by your local housing authority,
                                                                   you could get financial help to stay in your home.
                         To find the nearest PayPoint and
                         Post Office outlets you can go            Owners of freehold and leasehold properties, who
                         to                 meet the criteria, are also eligible for the Mortgage
                                                                   Rescue scheme. For more information about the
                                                                   scheme go to and follow the
                                                                   links to Home and Community.

     Job help                                                      You can also contact your local council directly
                                                                   to get advice about the Mortgage Rescue scheme.
                                                                   Accord can also provide you with information
     with Accord & Hays                                            about how to get help or advice about paying
                                                                   your mortgage, rent and service charge.
     Would you like help and advice in finding work?
                                                                   Call Home Ownership
     Accord has teamed up with leading recruitment
                                                                   Officers Jane Irwin on
     company Hays to offer you a range of services
                                                                   0121 568 3986 or email
     including CV writing and interview technique.
     For more information contact Anna Burdett
                                                                   Ruth Thompson on 0121
     at Hays on 01242 539 076
                                            HAYS                   568 3985 or email
page 2

                             Dates for your Diary
                  MONDAY           TUESDAY       WEDNESDAY           THURSDAY            FRIDAY        SATURDAY           SUNDAY

   13th JULY

                                                                                                                           Eid Mela
                                                                                                                       Kings Heath Park

                                                                                        Antiques for
   20th JULY

                                                                                         23-26 July

   27th JULY

                                                Library Parent &
                                                  Todler Group
                                                   (every Wed)

                                                                    Jolly Jewellery
   3rd AUG

                                                                      Bilston Craft
                                                                      5-12 yr olds

                                                  Magic & Fun
                  Launch of                         Summer
   10th AUG

                                                                                                       Chitty Chitty
                   Accord’s                        Afternoon                                            Bang Bang
                 Mobile Office                    Galton Valley
                                                Museum, Smethwick
                 at Darlaston
                                                   11am-2pm                                            Grand Theatre

                                                                                                                       1960’s Summer
   17th AUG

                                                                                                                         Family Fun
                                                                                                                        Haden House
                                                                                                                        Cradley Heath
   24th AUG

                                                Bloxwich Leisure
                                                  (every Wed)
                 Bank Holiday
   31st AUG

                 Museum & Art
                                                                      Andy Warhol
   7th SEPT

                                                                      Paintings &
                                                                       Art Gallery
                                                                    (until 21st Sept)

               Please contact venues directly for more information about the events listed above.
page 8

  Wordsearch - win
 One of the words is NOT in the puzzle below.
                                                                        £20                                Useful
 Find the missing word for your chance to win a £20 High Street voucher.
  F      Y    F       S    O      C     A      A      H      S      F      V     G      C      I           numbers
  M      W    D       O    D      N     E      T      N      I      N      R     E      Q      C           • West Midlands
  D      A    V       E    V      A     W      W      E      N      S      Y     O      F      E             Police
  D      R    D       Y    X      J     P      T      K      P      H      I     C      Q      X             0845 113 5000
  H      J    D       O    I      X     Q      R      F      O      C      M     N      O      L
  L      E    M       G    N      J     L      U      E      Z      W      G     F      S      E
                                                                                                           • Crimestoppers
                                                                                                             0800 555 111
  M      R    C       E    C      N     R      S      B      D      A      J     R      U      G
  B      R    E       A    K      F     A      S      T      C      L      U     B      U      G           • FRANK
  U      B    C       B    X      G     Z      F      F      E      K      U     H      G      I             (drugs helpline)
  M      H    E       C    I      V     I      M      A      I      M      J     O      B      N             0800 776 600
  Y      L    V       I    O      W     Y      H      Z      U      A      O     Z      H      G
  C      H    Y       N    P      O     C      S      F      D      N      P     D      Q      S
                                                                                                           • Samaritans
                                                                                                             08457 909 090
  D      D    H       E    V      I     L      A      R      O      D      A     E      D      E
  Q      S    R       E    M      P     A      W      G      E      L      P     M      L      W           • NSPCC
  Y      M    H       T    Y      Y     Z      Q      J      R      Z      J     K      H      J             0800 800 500
      DEAD OR ALIVE        LEGGINGS           NINTENDO           WISPA               MADONNA               • Centro
      SHOULDERPADS         PERM               LEG WARMERS        NEW WAVE
                                                                                                             (public transport)
                                                                                                             0121 200 2787
                  Send your answer to: Accord News competition,

                  Accord Housing Association, 37 King Street, Darlaston, WS10 8DD
                  Remember to include your name, address and a phone or email contact.
                                                                                                           • National Rail
                  One winner will be chosen from all the correct entries.                                    Enquiries
                  Closing date Friday 28th August 2009.
                  Last issues winner was Denise Capewell from Walsall.
                                                                                                             08457 48 49 50

                                                                                                             Printed on Antalis Era silk Recycled FSC,
  Have you got a story to share with readers?                                                                made using 50% recycled waste, being
  Contact the Editorial Board, Accord Housing Association,                                                   fully accredited by the Forest Stewardship
                                                                                                             Council and bearing the FSC logo.
  37 King Street, Darlaston, WS10 BDD.
  Email or call 0121 568 3938
  If we publish your article we’ll send you a £10 shopping voucher!

   About the Accord Housing Group
   Accord is one of the largest housing groups in the Midlands. The Accord Group is a family of the following six organisations:
  1 Accord Housing Association          All six organisations work together to provide homes and services to about 35,000 people across the
  2 Ashram Housing Association          Midlands and beyond. Accord also leads the Matrix Housing Partnership, a group of five Midland
                                        housing associations who work together to provide joint services
  3 bchs (formerly Birmingham
    Co-operative Housing Services)
  4 Moseley & District Churches
    Housing Association
  5 Fry Housing Trust
  6 Redditch Co-operative Homes