Wear Living2011 by shuifanglj

VIEWS: 147 PAGES: 44

									           wear                                        January 2011

Inside this issue                            Look out
•   Local services - have your say        for our money
                                            saving tips
•   Let’s talk gas safety                   throughout
•   Holmewood’s ‘Art of Living’ project      this issue!
•   Gentoo Home Buyer
    Gentoo would like to say
    congratulations to our two
    winners of the last
    Wear Living competition!
    • Anne McConnell from Farringdon
      found all the missing words in our
      word search.
    • Kayleigh and Rebecca Green
      aged five and six years old from
      Glebe found all six pieces of rubbish.
    Spend your £25 vouchers wisely!
    Please see page 41 for further
    details on this edition’s competition.

    If you or someone you know would like this information in large print, on CD, or in Braille then please
    contact us.
    If you or someone you know would like this information in another language, please contact us.
    Interpretation services are available.
    If customers would like to receive their next edition of Wear Living electronically, please email

    Wear Living is produced by the Communications Team and the Customer Communications Group of Gentoo Group. Any correspondence
    should be addressed to the Communications Team, Gentoo Group, Emperor House, 2 Emperor Way, Doxford International Business Park,
    Sunderland, SR3 3XR.
    Tel:  (0191) 525 5000  (0191) 525 5999. All material remains the Copyright of Gentoo Group.
    *Calls from mobiles are not free and are charged at the provider’s standard rate.
    Front cover image: For the purposes of Health and Safety no operations were ongoing and vehicles/machinery were immobilised.
    Any risk was eliminated during the shooting of our front cover image.

In this edition of Wear Living                              CIPR North East Silver PRide
                                                            Award 2010 - Best Magazine
Directly to you .................................. 3-4
What you think about Wear Living .......... 5
Opportunities at Gentoo ......................... 6
Census 2011 ....................................... 7
Halloween party at the Nidderdale Centre 7
Doxford Park Estate Forum ..................... 8
Green update...................................9-10
New recycling bins ............................. 11
                                                            We are delighted to announce that our Wear
Australia Tower ................................... 11      Living publication has been awarded Silver
Schools Against Waste ......................... 12          in the ‘Best Magazine’ category. The CIPR
                                                            PRide Awards recognise excellence in PR and
Homes update ...............................13-14           communications across the UK.
Unite Mediation .................................. 15       As a CIPR silver winner our
Devolved budget update....................... 16            work has been judged to be
                                                            amongst the best in our area
Top tips to help you                                        by leading PR experts.
manage your money .......................17-18
Downhill Surgeries .............................. 19
Awards for All ..................................... 20
The Box Youth Project ......................... 20
Local services - have your say .........21-22
Let’s talk gas safety ............................. 23
Angels in the City ................................ 23
Local pupils on hand to help
make a greener future .......................... 24
Global Entrepreneurship Week .........25-26
SYF Respect Day ................................ 27
The Genfactor ..................................... 28
Holmewood’s ‘Art of Living’ project ........ 29
Repairs safety round up ....................... 30
Grace House..................................31-32
Putting Hendon and East Sunderland
‘Back on the Map’ ............................... 33
Gentoo Home Buyer ............................ 34
Resident involvement .....................35-36
Allocations and lettings ........................ 36
Repairs and maintenance ................37-38
Condensation ................................39-40
Competition time ................................ 41
Bill’s recipe ........................................ 42
You Said, We Did ................................ 43

    By Ian Porter, Managing Director, Gentoo Sunderland

    Welcome to the January 2011 edition of Wear Living, the twice-yearly magazine created in
    partnership with our Customer Communications Group.

    In my last message to you,            Since the last edition of Wear          public services, businesses and
    I told you about some of the          Living, so much has changed             individuals alike.
    extra services and work carried       for Gentoo and other housing            Last year we successfully secured
    out by Gentoo that makes us           providers, and I want to share          an unprecedented Kickstart
    ‘more than a landlord’. We have       with you what some of those             grant of £34m to build 443
    created job opportunities for         changes mean for Gentoo and our         new homes by March 2011 in
    local people through supported        customers.                              various locations across the City.
    apprenticeships and giving local      Most significantly 2010 saw             However, the Comprehensive
    people the authority to decide what   a change in government from             Spending Review has included
    improvements could be made in         Labour to a Conservative-Liberal        a significant cut in the amount
    their neighbourhoods through our      Democrat coalition. Any change          of money available, subsidising
    ‘devolved budgets’.                   in government brings with it            the building of affordable housing
                                                         new policies,            through direct grants from the
                                                         particularly for those   government. Gentoo has always
                                                         organisations such       sought an innovative approach
                                                        as Gentoo who             to financing the building of new
                                                        provide an essential      affordable homes. Rest assured we
                                                        public service. One       will continue to look for funding
                                                        of the incoming           to enable us to continue building
                                                        government’s              new homes and improving
                                                        key priorities is to      neighbourhoods.
                                                        tackle the public         The Comprehensive Spending
                                                        finance deficit with      Review also included the new
                                                        a ‘Comprehensive          government’s intention to reform
                                                        Spending Review’,         the benefits system. This could
                                                        which described           result in changes to Housing
                                                        the government’s          Benefit which may increase how
                                                        spending plans            much rent benefit claimants are
                                                        for the four years        expected to pay themselves. In
                                                        up to 2015. Their         direct response to this threat, we
                                                        proposals were wide       recently re-launched the customer
                                                        ranging and will affect   debt and benefit service with
                                                        our communities,          partner agency Sunderland Advice

                                        The government’s Housing Minister       customers to scrutinise housing
                                        Grant Schapps, has announced            provider’s performance. Gentoo
                                        a fundamental review of the way         has always encouraged customers
                                        social housing is provided. For         to be involved in giving us their
                                        many of our current customers the       feedback, helping us to improve
                                        impact will be minimal, with many       our services. We continue to work
                                        existing rights and responsibilities    in close partnership with customers
                                        maintained. The thrust of the           on our Local Customer Panels and
                                        review is to shift power from           Management Committees.
                                        central government to local housing
                                        providers and customers. Some of        The announced reform includes
                                        the changes included in the review      social housing customers being
                                        are:                                    given strengthened powers to
                                                                                ensure that their landlords provide
                                        • Flexible tenancies - local            quality housing and are held to
                                          housing providers can choose          account when problems arise.
                                          to use a ‘fixed term’ rather          Landlords will be expected to
                                          than a ‘lifetime’ tenancy in          support panels (or equivalent
                                          suitable circumstances with           bodies) giving customers the
Service. Since it re-launched
                                          new customers (not current            opportunity to scrutinise the
in August 2010, it has already
                                          transferring customers).              services being offered and to be
helped more than 450 customers
consolidate their debts, agree          • Affordable rents - as government      involved in resolving disputes.
affordable repayment plans and            grants to support house building      We continue to work closely
redeem £50k worth of benefits that        are reduced, local housing            with other agencies including
they were previously not claiming.        providers may be able to raise        the City Council and the Police
Just one of the many measures             funds by setting ‘affordable rents’
                                                                                and are setting up more localised
Gentoo has put in place to provide        at up to 80% of local market
                                                                                responsive services to deal
financial support and opportunities       rent levels.
                                                                                with issues that occur in our
to maximise income for customers.       • Fairer allocations - currently        neighbourhoods. Difficult financial
Many customers will also have             anyone can apply to live in           climates require increased
received support from our Income          social housing. Priority for social   collaboration and joined up
Management teams. These teams             housing will continue to go to the    solutions to ensure service to
provide ongoing assistance and            most vulnerable in society and        customers’ is maintained and
closely monitor the upcoming              those who need it most.               improved.
changes to the benefit system –         With the Tenant Services Authority      I’m sure you will agree that the
responding appropriately where          (our regulator) being abolished         challenges facing us in 2011 are
this may impact on some of our          and a changing regime, there            far reaching and require us to
customers’ ability to pay their rent.   will be an increased use of             be adaptable and flexible whilst
                                                                                continuing to deliver excellent
                                                                                performance in our day-to-day
                                                                                business of being a landlord;
                                                                                carrying out repairs, supporting
                                                                                vulnerable customers, and
                                                                                maintaining and improving estates
                                                                                and neighbourhoods.
                                                                                As always, we appreciate your

                                                                                Ian Porter

                                                                                What you think
    Summer 08

                                                                                about Wear Living
                                                                                which format you would
                                                                                like to receive it in, only                 32% of
                                                                                16% of people would like                    who had customers
                                                                                to view Wear Living online.              magazin not read the
                                                                                                                                   e gav
                                                                                 Therefore, we will look into                of reaso e a number
                                                                                                                      “I have          ns for th
                                                                                 various other options of                     been in           is.
                                                                                                                     not been          hospital
                                                                                 delivering the magazine.                       at home         so I h
                                                                                                                    “I haven              much la ave
                                                                                 This could involve more                     ’t had ti             tely.”
                                                                                                                       Living ye      me to re
                                                                                  information in your local                     t but I d      ad Wea
                                                                                                                                         o enjoy        r
                                                                                  estate newsletters.                                            it.”
                                                          Gentoo Homes
        in this edition> Anti
                                        Pride of
                                        Wearside Awards   update in your area    Some customers had
                          page > 10     page > 12
                                                          page > 30
                                                                                 thoughts on what they                            28% of
                                                                                 would like to see in Wear                        would li tomers
                                                                                 Living. Below are some of                       Wear Liv to see
    Gentoo is always on the look out                                             their suggestions, which we                    regularly g more
                                                                                                                            custome      , with o
    to improve the service we deliver                                    will aim to focus on in the                                r wan         ne
    to you. Since the Summer 2010                                        next edition.                                         a month ting to have
                                                                                                                                        ly versio
    edition of Wear Living, Gentoo                                                                                                               n.
                                                                         “I would like to hear more news
    has conducted research into what                                     about my local area.”
    you think about Wear Living.                                                                                                         97% of
                                                                         “I would like to see things about                                       cu
    With the help of the Customer                                        local causes and charity stories.”                              we talke stomers
    Communications Group members,                                                                                                     aware o d to were
                                                                                                                                              f We
    the Communications Team                                              “Money saving tips on use of                                   with 68 ar Living,
    contacted a sample of customers                                      household items.”                                             custome of these
    and asked questions as part of a                                     Thanks for your answers, we now                            reading rs actually
                                                                                                                                             the mag
    brief questionnaire.                                                 have some areas that we can work                                           azine.
    Some of the questions included:                                      on to improve our magazine. If
                                                                         you have any further comments
    1. What do you find most                                              to make about Wear Living, you
       interesting about Wear Living?                                    can contact a member of the
    2. What would you like to see                                        Communications Team on
       more of?                                                           (0191) 525 5000
    3. Would you read an online                                                                                                                                        Winter 2010
                                                                         or by emailing
       version of the magazine if it                                     wearliving@gentoogroup.com.
       was available?
                                                                         There is always something that
    Everyone contacted was happy to                                      you as a customer can get
    take part and we have analysed                                       involved in, if you would like
    your feedback to help make our                                       further information about how
    next edition even better.                                            you can help Gentoo, please
    From the questionnaire results, the                                  contact a member of the
    overall feel of the magazine was                                     Customer Involvement Team
    that people enjoyed receiving and                                    on  (0191) 525 5000.
    reading it.
    Gentoo is looking into how we
    can change how often customers                                                                              Inside this issue
                                                                                                                Gentoo Launch the Esplan
                                                                                                                                          ade / Digital Switchover

    receive Wear Living. When asked
                                                                                                                History Lesson with Gento                          /
                                                                                                                                          o / Spotlight on the Concie

                                                                             MIKE ORCHARD IS T
                                                                                               ER FOR
                                                                             ENFORCEMENT OFFIC
                                                                             THE HOUGHTON AND

                                                                             Between April and September, Mike
                                                                             Orchard dealt with 28 new cases of
                                                                             anti social behaviour (ASB) within
                                                                             the Houghton and Hetton areas,
                                                                             and of these cases, 10 were led
                                                                             by the police and 18 were led by
                                                                             Gentoo. Mike works closely with
                                                                             the Neighbourhood Policing Team
                                                                             to make sure we are tackling ASB
                                                                             together. In addition, Mike also
                                                                             completed 35 office interviews,
                                                                             sent 16 letters and made 54 home

Opportunities                                                                visits to prevent ASB escalating to
                                                                             the point where legal enforcement

at Gentoo
                                                                             is required.
                                                                             The team contacted 91% of
                                                                             customers reporting category 1 cases
                                                                             (the most serious cases of ASB)
Over the next six months Gentoo          We are looking for interested       within 24 hours of the report being
will be looking at how our               volunteers to help us develop       received and 83% of customers
customers can scrutinise the work        this scrutiny role for customers.   reporting category 2 cases. A total
that we do, to provide us with           You would work alongside            of 9 Notices of Seeking Possession
feedback on what we do well and          staff and Board members to          were issued to ASB perpetrators and
to help improve services. There          help shape our final customer       3 Acceptable Behaviour Agreements
are a lot of details to work through     scrutiny model. You don’t need      were completed. The team were also
to decide how this will work in          any prior experience but do         successful in gaining one injunction
practice, to make sure it is effective   need to be prepared to work         to stop a perpetrator from causing
and worthwhile.                          together in a team. Expenses        further nuisance.
                                         will be covered and meeting
                                         times can be flexible to meet the   For details of forthcoming meetings
                                         needs of the group.                 you can contact the Hetton
                                                                             Community Police Team on
                                                                              03456 043 043 ext. 66550.
                                                                             You can contact Mike on
If you would like further information
                                                                              (0191) 525 5000, but should
or would like to apply, contact Kay
                                                                             you witness an incident of anti social
Fleming on
                                                                             behaviour please report it promptly to
                                                                             any local housing office or by ringing
 (0191) 525 5000                                                            Gentoo’s 24 hour nuisance helpline
or email citeam@gentoogroup.com                                              on  0800 028 4445*.

                                          Halloween Party at the
                                          Nidderdale Centre, Hetton
                                          Gentoo organised a
                                          ‘spooktacular’ Halloween Party
                                          at the Nidderdale Centre, Hetton
                                          for the residents of Moorsley
    2011 Census:                          and Peat Carr. The party took        A fancy dress competition
    help tomorrow take shape              place on Thursday 28 October         and raffle was held for
                                          and support was received from        children, with three prizes
    On 27 March 2011 all homes            a number of partner agencies
    will be taking part in a Census.                                           awarded for the best dressed!
                                          including, Acumen, Groundwork
    The Census is carried out every       North East, Job Linkage, Council     Thanks to everyone who was
    ten years to count people and         Enforcement Officers, The Food       involved in the event a good time
    households in England and Wales.      Chain, Police and Fire Brigade.      was had by all!
    It’s vital that you complete your
                                          There was something for              Weekly drop in sessions are
    confidential Census questionnaire
                                          everyone, from cake decorating,      held at the Nidderdale Centre
    as the information gathered is
                                          paper activities, plant pot          on Thursday mornings 9.30am
    used to make decisions about
                                          decorating to garlic bulb potting,   till 11.30am and everyone is
    our community. Our area receives
                                          apple bobbing, face-painting and     welcome.
    funding from the government,
    based on the number of people         airbrush tattoos.
    living here, funding that can         The event was a great success
    be used for housing, schools,         with over 150 people attending,
    hospitals, transport and other        many in fancy dress! There were
    important services. So, in early      all kinds of ghosts, ghouls and
    March you will receive a white        monsters amongst the crowd!
    envelope through your door with a
    purple Census logo on it just like
    the one shown above. Inside the
    envelope you will find your 2011
    Census questionnaire. The form
    is straightforward to complete and
    should not take too long to do. If
    you want you can fill the form in
    online, otherwise once you have
    completed it simply post it back.
    Either way it’s all confidential so
    no one will see your personal
    information and if you need help
    there is a wide range of support
    available such as language                                                               Walk or cycle
    guidance booklets, large print                                                        not only does it save
    format, as well as online help and                                                    you money; you’ll get
    telephone call centres.                                                                 fitter and help the
                                                                                            environment too!
    If you’re interested in working for
    the 2011 Census field team find
    out more at www.census.gov.uk
    or apply online at
    www.censusjobs.co.uk.                                                              SAVING TIP
                                                                          SUE ABRAHAM IS T

Doxford                                                                   NEIGHBOURHOOD
                                                                          ENFORCEMENT OFF
                                                                          THE CENTRAL AREA
                                                                                           ICER FOR

Park Estate
By Norma Merrit,
Customer Communications
Group Member.                       Betty Gibson said: “Once again        The Neighbourhood Enforcement
                                    another excellent Halloween           Officer for Central Area has
LOTS OF SPOOKY FUN                  Party. The fancy dress is more        changed from Alan Downey to Sue
                                    difficult to judge every year.        Abraham. Although the service
Thanks to an Aspire grant from
                                    Thank you to the organisers for       remains the same for customers,
Gentoo, for prizes, disco and
                                    their hard work – a night enjoyed     Sue will now deal with the
decorations, the Forum were able
                                    by all.”                              most serious cases of anti social
to hold their annual Halloween
                                    There was true community spirit       behaviour (ASB). For this half year
Fancy Dress Disco in the
                                    shown at this event with help         period there were 50 new ASB
Community Centre.
                                    from The Box Youth Project and        cases dealt with, 13 of these cases
All children received a hot dog,                                          were led by the Police working
                                    the Community Association, an
lucky bag and drink and were                                              closely with Gentoo to prevent
                                    evening that was enjoyed by
entertained by Flash G Disco.                                             further incidents.
                                    both children and adults.
Doxford Ward Councillors Betty                                            We use enforcement action to stop
Gibson and David Errington had                                            ASB where we can, however we
a very difficult job deciding the                                         also use a variety of other methods
fancy dress competition winners,                                          at the early stages of a case to try
as there were around 100                                                  to stop it. There were 105 early
children and 50 adults in                                                 intervention activities carried out
attendance.                                                               for this half year period, including
The winners were:                                                         office interviews, letters and home
Under 5’s                                                                 visits. We also contacted 97% of
Noella Kielf and                                                          customers reporting category 1
Harrison Bolt                                                             (the most serious cases of ASB)
                                                                          within 24 hours of the report being
5 - 9 years                                                               received and 100% of customers
Abbi Chambers and                   CHRISTMAS LUNCH                       reporting category 2 cases. We
Lewis Davie                                                               also served 10 Notices of Seeking
                                    Tuesday 21 December proved
10 - 12 years                       to be a highlight for our coffee      Possession and completed 2
Deanna Davie and                    morning members as we                 Acceptable Behaviour Agreements.
Cameron Watts                       organised a Christmas Lunch           In addition, Gentoo referred 4
                                    for them in appreciation for their    cases to Unite, a mediation service
                                    support throughout the year.          which seeks to help parties resolve
                                                                          their disputes.
                                    After lunch there was a big           You can contact Sue on
                                    raffle and games of bingo. All         (0191) 525 5000, but should
                                    members received a present and        you witness an incident of anti
                                    had fun in the spirit of Christmas.   social behaviour, please report
                                                                          it promptly to any local housing
                                    Photography by Pat Carroll,           officer or by ringing Gentoo’s
                                    Customer Communications               24 hour nuisance helpline on
                                    Group Member.                          0800 028 4445*.

                                                                                            This is a
                                                                                         chance to see
                                                                                         what advances
                                                                                        Gentoo Green has
                                                                                        made and has in
                                                                                          store for this

    Do you care about the world in
    which you live?
    Would you like to meet with
    like-minded people to lighten
    your load on the planet by
    making simple and lasting
    changes in your home and in          St Andrew’s
    your life?                           Garden in Southwick
    EcoTeams is a long established
    and highly effective programme.      Frank Wilson is the maintenance
    Working with family, friends,        manager at St Andrew’s Church
    colleagues and other members         and has been developing the
    of the community through             garden for several years, which
    a series of action-focused           was originally a dumping ground
    meetings, online groups or           for rubbish.
    educational visits to areas of       Frank’s ambition is to turn
    local interest. We can work with     the garden over to the local
    you to reduce your fuel bills,
                                         community by April 2011, with a
    improve a local area or simply
    give you the tools to make a         view to local people owning and      Frank has just been awarded
    difference.                          running the garden. He hopes         £850 to add more raised beds
    Climate change, increasing           this will encourage more people      (with further disabled access).
    stress on natural resources,         to connect with nature through       There are also a number of large
    growing mountains of rubbish,        gardening, food growing and by       compost areas on a three year
    worsening air and water              simply having a beautiful space      cycle, and a small greenhouse in
    pollution – it can be difficult to   to be proud of.                      the corner.
    know where to begin.                 Over the years Frank has fenced      There is a large bit of land not
    Gentoo is currently working          it off and split the space into      in use that he wants to build a
    with 16 EcoTeams, made up of         three sections. The top section      commercial greenhouse on with
    Gentoo Sunderland customers          has a grassy area, where he has      seating areas, where kids can be
    from all areas. To date Gentoo       made his own timber framed           educated about gardening and
    has been able to provide water-
                                         structures and put benching in,      locally grown food.
    butts for community gardens,
    power saving devices and             along with plants and flowers.
    also helped set up recycling         The middle section is
    facilities for Gilhurst House and    a banked flower bed
    Holmewood in partnership with        and patio area and
    Sunderland Council and Nomad         beyond this are raised
    (North East registered social        beds, a couple of
    landlord who own Holmewood).         which have wheelchair
    A number of other exciting           access. In them he has
    developments have arisen             started growing some
    from the EcoTeams initiative,        vegetables.
    including a new community
    garden at Holmewood and new
    vegetable patches at Albany          For more information on EcoTeams or if you would like to get involved
    House and St Andrew’s Church         in the project at Southwick, please contact Joseph Buckman in the
    garden in Southwick.                 Green Team on  (0191) 525 5000.

The Green Debate                                                                                                              heating controls, double glazing,
                                                                                                                              insulation and even solar panels
                                                                                                                              capable of heating water and
Gentoo Green is currently                                      charges/fees in return for the                                 producing free electricity.
working on a project entitled                                  installation of energy reducing                                Once we have analysed the
‘The Green Debate’. With a                                     technology to their home, with the                             results of the debate we will
lack of funding to support                                     aim of reducing their fuel bills.                              report back to everyone involved.
housing providers finance                                      We would like to open the debate                               The results from the work will
‘green’ investment, ‘The Green                                 up to our customers to gauge                                   also be fed back to central
Debate’ seeks to establish if                                  what the general opinion is on                                 government early next year to
social housing customers have                                  paying for energy efficiency                                   help shape the ‘Green Deal’
a willingness to pay more (and                                 measures – the measures could                                  so it is more favourable for
if so, how much) in additional                                 include new efficient boilers and                              social housing.

Survey                                                                                                             By completing the surv
                                                                                                                  returning it to your local
                                                                                                                   you will be entered into
                                                                                                                                            ey below and
                                                                                                                                             Gentoo office
                                                                                                                                             a free prize
1. Would you be prepared to pay a small weekly charge to get                                                        draw to win a £50 B&Q
   energy and money saving technology installed in your home,                                                                                 voucher.†
   if the savings were greater than the costs?
             Yes                                                                        No (Please go to question 3)

2. If yes, what would you be prepared to pay to have an energy efficient combination boiler, double glazing,
   solar panels and various other measures installed in your home?
             Over £5 per week                                   Less than £5 per week                                            Other (please state)

3. Would you be prepared to pay a bit extra for?
Energy efficient
combination boiler                                  Yes                   No

Double glazing                                      Yes                   No

Electric fire                                       Yes                   No

Mains fed shower                                    Yes                   No

Solar thermal
(water heating from
the suns energy)                                    Yes                   No

Things that generate
free electricity                                    Yes                   No

        Please return completed surveys to: Your local Gentoo office, FAO Dylan Hawick, Gentoo Green
   †No purchase necessary. One entry per person. Closing date for surveys/entries 31.03.11. Winner of the £50 B&Q voucher will be selected at random and
                           notified within 28 days of the closing date. All entrants must be over 18 years old. No cash alternative.
Name: ....................................................................................... Phone:..............................................................................
Address: .............................................................................................................................................................................

     New recycling bins
     make recycling
     even easier!
     Sunderland City Council has            • Food tins
     introduced a new recycling             • Aluminium drinks cans
     system to make it easier for you       • Aerosols
     to recycle more of your waste
                                            • Plastic bottles (milk, drinks,
     from your doorstep whilst also
                                              household cleaner, shampoo
     helping to reduce the amount
                                              bottles, etc as long as they
     that has to be sent to landfill.                                             We all know how stressful moving
                                              have a 1 or 2 within a triangle
     Most residents should now have           on the base).                       home can be and the residents
     a new blue wheelie bin with a                                                of Australia Tower had a taste of
                                            In the inner box:
     separate inner box to use for                                                that experience earlier this year
     recycling instead of your old          Paper including: newspapers,          when they all had to move from
     Kerb-it box. If you haven’t got        magazines, junk mail, telephone       Aberdeen Tower.
     yours yet you will be receiving        directories, envelopes and printed-   However, regardless of the
     one soon. You can now put more         paper. Shredded paper can be          upheaval members of the Australia
     recyclable materials into your blue    included in the inner box, but it     Tower Luncheon Club and coffee
     wheelie bin including cardboard        must be included loose and not        mornings continued to keep
     and plastic bottles. The inner         be put into a plastic bag or other    their spirits up by taking part in
     box will hold your newspapers,         container.                            a camping trip, this was such a
     magazines and paper separately         If you would like further             success they are now planning to
     and the rest of the material for       information please visit              take a four-day cruise next year!
     recycling will go into the main        www.sunderland.gov.uk.                As well as organised trips, the
     part of the bin. You will still keep   Alternatively contact                 club get together every week to
     your green household waste bin         Sunderland City Council on            enjoy time together for activities
     and brown garden waste bin if           (0191) 520 5503 or visit            such as pie and pea supper, bingo
     you have one. The collection           recycling@sunderland.gov.uk.          and for the health conscious, a
     schedule will remain the same                                                slimming club. They meet every
     – weekly for household waste                                                 Tuesday 10.15am to 12.15pm
     and fortnightly for recycling and                                            and Thursday 10.30am - 1.00pm
     garden waste.                                                                and then again 6.00pm - 8.00pm
     Remember Christmas cards and                                                 in the Australia Tower Community
     wrapping paper can be placed                                                 Room.
     in the inner box of your bin to be                                           This year, organiser Joyce Moon
     recycled!                                                                    successfully applied for an Aspire
     Q. What can I put in the new                                                 Grant, which enabled the purchase
     recycling bin?                                                               of new equipment for the Club.
                                                                                  Aspire is delighted in supporting
     A. In the main body of the bin:
                                                                                  this club because it is a great
     • All types of cardboard
                                                                                  example of how a club such
       (flattened please)
                                                                                  as this can enrich peoples lives
     • Any clear or coloured glass                                                by bringing them together and
       bottles or jars                                                            increasing community spirit.

Schools Aga inst Waste aims
to inform kids in
the North East

An exciting new initiative
has been launched in the
North East that is free for
all school children to use.
                                        sorting, reuse and recycling, waste      or ask your teacher to register
It is aimed at helping schools,
                                        prevention and how waste impacts         your class.
students and staff to learn all
                                        on the environment. The content          For any further information contact
about waste and recycling issues
                                        has been designed with an exciting       Ben Grant, Project Officer, NEIEP
and can help schools who are
                                        mix of videos, interviews and            on b 07554 333679 or at
working towards green awards
                                        interactive games.                       ben.grant@northeastcouncils.gov.uk.
such as the Eco-Schools Awards.
                                        Students completing the course will
Schools Against Waste is an
                                        gain a certificate for their record of
exciting, interactive online learning
                                        achievement which is approved
course that is free to use in all
                                        by NCFE. Green jobs are on the                          Stop smoking!
North East schools. The course
                                        increase with the environment                          A 20-a-day habit
has been coordinated by the North                                                            could cost you nearly
                                        and waste sector set to grow in                          £2000 a year.
East Regional Improvement and
                                        the future.                                         For help and information
Efficiency Partnership together with                                                          see your GP or visit
the region’s 12 Local Authorities       To find out more about the fun                     www.giveupsmoking.co.uk
and Waste Aware North East. The         course visit
digital format has been built by the    www.schoolsagainstwaste.co.uk
Gateshead based Environmental                                                               MONEY
Academy, a nationally recognised                                                          SAVING TIP
centre of excellence for training.
The course is free to use by all
schools in the North East of
England and has four different
versions covering the four key
stages so there is something for
everyone. The Schools Against
Waste content focuses on waste
and waste issues in relation to
homes and schools. This includes
waste collection, management and

     Showing off
     our new homes
     Gentoo Homes has opened several new showhomes in and around Sunderland to showcase its new
     and improved homes for sale and affordable rent.
     Jill Haley, Head of New Homes         incorporating renewable                home will look. With limited stock
     Marketing and Customer Care at        technologies such as solar panels      available buyers will have to move
     Gentoo Homes, said: “We have          to give customers the opportunity      fast to secure one of our sought
     some fantastic incentives available   to reduce their energy use and         after new homes.”
     on our new homes and in some          giving the planet a little something
     cases buyers may even be able to      back too.                              St Catherine’s
     move in without a deposit.            “So far buyers have only had artists   St Catherine’s is perfect for buyers
     “Our new house types are bigger       impressions to base their decisions    looking for contemporary living
     and better than ever, embracing       on, however our show homes,            in a central location. The range
     and exceeding current design          showcasing our new and improved        of competitively priced two, three
     and quality standards. The new        house types, are almost complete       and four bedroom homes will
     homes are more energy efficient       meaning buyers will be able to         appeal to both first time buyers
     and environmentally responsible,      get a real feel for how their new      and those looking for a perfect

                                                                                                   Turn down
                                                                                              your central heating
                                                                                                  thermostat by
                                                                                               1°C - this could cut
                                                                                                 your heating bill
                                                                                                     by 10%!

St Catherine’s                                                                             SAVING TIP
family home. Its situation, just off     property is built to Eco standards      the A19 and A690, has excellent
the A1231 with easy access to the        including solar panels to save          links to Sunderland, Durham
A19, A182 and A1, makes it ideal         energy.                                 and Newcastle and has already
for commuters to all areas of the                                                prompted massive interest from
region.                                  Leafields                                potential buyers. It is in close
The Fairway showhome is a                Situated in the north of Sunderland     proximity to Mill Hill Primary
spacious three bedroom home              the location of our ever popular        School and the William Doxford
with excellent accommodation for         Leafields makes it ideal for            shopping centre, which offers a
families and couples alike. The          commuters to all areas of the           large supermarket, pharmacy and
property benefits from a driveway,       region. Just off the A19 with           newsagents.
garage and landscaped gardens.           access to the, A1231, A182 and          The Fenwick showhome really is
                                         A1, it is ideally positioned for        one to be seen, a contemporary
Hutton Rise                              various local shops and amenities       four/five bedroom family home
Hutton Rise is well situated off         and close to a new local primary        offering well proportioned
the A690 within easy reach               school and popular local park with      accommodation over three floors.
of all major links leading into          easy access to the harbour and the      The hallway leads to a large open
Sunderland, Durham and                   coast.                                  plan kitchen/dining area with
Newcastle. There are also excellent      Live life in style in the Regency       french windows leading to the rear
local bus services and public            showhome. This elegant spacious         garden. The first floor provides
transport links making it ideal for      four bedroom home has an                access to a family living room,
commuting.                               attractive interior with french         bedroom and family bathroom.
This new development is just a           windows from the living room            The third floor accommodates a
short stroll away from Houghton-         offering view to the garden. Built to   further three bedrooms, a study or
le-Spring town centre where you          eco standards to help save money        fifth bedroom and one with an
will find a wide range of local          and energy. The property has an         en suite. The property benefits from
amenities.                               attached garage and gardens to the      an integral garage and gardens to
The Meadow showhome is a                 front and rear.                         front and rear.
well designed three bedroom
home ideal for family living. The        Beckwith Green                          For more information or to
property benefits from a spacious        Beckwith Green is perfect for           arrange a viewing, please call the
kitchen/dining with utility, the first   buyers looking for more space and       Gentoo Homes sales team
floor comprise three generous            style at an affordable price. The        (0191) 525 5000 or visit
size bedrooms one en suite. The          development, on the doorstep of         www.gentoohomes.com.

                                                                                 mediators reminded the parties of
                                                                                 the ground rules - everyone
                                                                                 should listen and treat each other
                                                                                 with respect, anyone could ask
                                                                                 for a break at any time and
                                                                                 anything said in the meeting was
                                                                                 confidential. Caroline and Rachel
                                                                                 got a few minutes to say what
                                                                                 had brought them to the meeting,
                                                                                 what they thought the issues
                                                                                 were that needed to be discussed
                                                                                 and what they hoped to achieve.

     Could mediation help you?                                                   Caroline wanted some
                                                                                 reassurance that she would be
                                                                                 treated respectfully and that
     Gentoo’s Neighbourhood Safety         the situation. Each neighbour was     things would continue to be as
     Team has a number of tools it         given the opportunity to explain      quiet as they had been recently.
     can use in order to prevent and       the dispute from their perspective.   She said that she liked Rachel
     resolve cases of anti social                                                and would be willing to help her
     behaviour (ASB). One of these         Julie spoke first and said that       if she could. Rachel said that her
     tools is mediation and this           she was sick of the noise from        main issue was that she had
     service is provided by Unite,         parties. When it was Amy’s turn       reason to believe that Caroline
     a registered charity that has         she said that she and Jason           had been discussing her with
     provided independent ‘conflict         recognised that children make         other neighbours and she wanted
     resolution’ services since 1993.      noise and that it wasn’t really       this to stop. Her second issue
                                           that much of an issue but the         was Caroline’s cat fouling her
     Here are two real-life case studies   noise from the computer was           lawn.
     where Gentoo customers have           really too much.
     found that mediation has helped                                             Caroline and Rachel agreed that
     them to resolve neighbour             When they began looking at            they should speak directly to
     disputes. The names of those          options for resolving the issues      each other and only each other
     involved have been changed to         Julie said that she would speak       if any future issues arose. Rachel
     protect their identity.               to Chris about the volume of his      asked Caroline to use a litter tray
                                           computer. Amy said that she           for her cats to prevent them
     Gentoo referred these cases to        understood Julie and Chris’s          fouling Rachel’s lawn and
     Unite who separately visited each     concerns about the parties and        Caroline agreed to do this.
     of the neighbours to learn more       that in future she would give         All points were written up in
     about what had caused the             advance notice.                       an agreement.
     dispute and how it could be
     resolved.                             Julie and Amy agreed to discuss
                                           any problems that might arise in      Bringing people together in a joint
                                           the future.                           meeting mediation session
     Case Study 1                                                                creates an environment where
                                                                                 people can say what’s really on
     Julie and Chris live next door to     Case Study 2                          their minds and how a situation
     Amy and Jason. Julie and Amy
     had previously been friends, a        Caroline and Rachel had lived         is affecting them. This then
     dispute had been caused by            next door to each other for 10        allows them to identify what their
     excessive noise from parties,         years but their relationship had      interests are and what needs to
     computer games and the children       broken down due to noise, cat         happen to really make things
     in the property.                      fouling in the garden and a           better for the long term.
                                           general lack of communication.
     A joint meeting was held and                                                If you think that mediation might
     ground rules were set. Each           The Mediators checked if Caroline     be a useful way to resolve a
     neighbour was thanked for             or Rachel had any concerns            neighbour dispute you are
     attending and told how positive it    about attending a joint meeting.      involved in, please contact your
     was that both wanted to resolve       At the joint meeting, the             local Neighbourhood Enforcement
                                                                                 Officer on (0191) 525 5000.

                                                                                         D ALAN
                                                                      DELIA M CDONNEL AN
    Devolved                                                          DOWNEY ARE OD
                                                                      NEIGHBOURH OFFICERS
  Budget Update                                                                    T
                                                                       ENFORCEMEN H AREA.
    Lifeline                                                           FOR THE NOR

£  Sunderland
You may recall in previous         that sessions, which are to be
issues of Wear Living we           held at the Washington Primary
informed you that the five          Care Centre (near The Galleries)
Local Customer Panels              every Tuesday between 1pm
(LCPs) who represent our           and 4pm and at the Easington
customer base in each of the       Lane Community Action Point        Since our last update, one of your
                                   every Wednesday between            Neighbourhood Enforcement
local management areas
                                   1.30pm and 4.30pm, will            Officers (NEOs) has changed area.
across the City, had each                                             Sue Abraham has moved to the
been allocated £20,000 to          be just as successful.
                                                                      Central area and Alan Downey has
spend on schemes in their          For more information please        taken over from Sue.
neighbourhoods. This money         contact Lifeline Sunderland        During the last six month period
is in addition to our existing     on  (0191) 565 8070 or            we have dealt with 83 new cases
budgets and was the first          visit www.lifeline.org.uk.         of anti social behaviour (ASB).
time Gentoo had given a                                               Of these cases, 30 were led by
                                 If you have any good ideas           the police but involved close
budget directly to customers.    about estate improvements            partnership working with Gentoo.
Lifeline Sunderland is one of    or how the devolved budget           The remaining 53 new cases
the latest organisations to      in your area could be spent,         were led by your Neighbourhood
benefit from funding thanks to why not come along to the next         Enforcement Officers.
this new devolved LCP budget. LCP for your area? They are             The team contacted 99% of all

The LCP for the Washington       open to the public and we            customers reporting a complaint

and Houghton and Hetton          would love to hear your views.       within 24 hours of the report being
                                                                      received. The team also carried out
areas have allocated funding to You can get more
                                                                      76 office interviews, sent 64 letters
a charity which will enable      information by visiting              and made 95 home visits in an
them to set up and provide       www.gentoosunderland.com             attempt to stop ASB escalating.
various therapies to those with or by calling  (0191) 525
                                                                      For the most serious cases, 17
drug and substance addictions                                         Notices of Seeking Possession
                                 5000, where you will be put
within the Washington and                                             and 13 Acceptable Behaviour
                                 in contact with your Local
Easington Lane areas.                                                 Agreements were issued. The
                                 Neighbourhood Housing
                                                                      team were also successful in

Therapies available will provide Manager.
                                                                      gaining an injunction to stop a
individuals with a                                                    perpetrator from entering certain
comprehensive substance                                               streets to cause further nuisance.
misuse programme including                                            The team referred 15 cases to
auricular acupuncture;                                                Unite for mediation to look for
                                            Plan your meals
exercise; aromatherapy and               for the week – cooking
                                                                      a resolution to some neighbour

motivational interviewing with           your own food generally
                                         keeps meal costs down,       You can contact Delia or Alan on
the ultimate aim being the             especially when compared
reduction of and eventual                to expensive take-aways       (0191) 525 5000, but should
cessation of drug use.                        or ready meals.         you witness an incident of anti
                                                                      social behaviour, please report
The service has proved to be                                          it promptly to any local housing
incredibly successful in other           MONEY                        officer or by ringing Gentoo’s 24
areas and Lifeline are confident       SAVING TIP                     hour nuisance helpline on
                                                                       0800 028 4445*.

         TOP TIPS T O help you
          manage your money
     Gentoo knows that money is            Get confidential help with debt       • Premiums that start at just
     tight for everyone at the minute,     and benefits                            £1.06 per week for those
     whether it’s through increased                                                aged under 60, and just 61p
                                           We now offer a free service for
     fuel bills, a change in benefits or                                           per week for those aged over
                                           customers who would like help
     over-spending at Christmas, we                                                60!
                                           managing debts, or would like to
     could all do with a little help       check they are receiving the          • No excess – most insurers
     and support making our pennies        correct benefits.                       include an excess which
     go further!                                                                   means you could end up out
                                           This service is EXCLUSIVE to
                                                                                   of pocket if you make a claim.
     The Gentoo Money Matters Team         you, our customers and is being
     provides a number of services         delivered by our partner              • No increase in premium if you
     that can help you to manage your      Sunderland Advice Services (SAS         make a claim.
     money.                                – AgeUK). As well as many years       • New for old cover (except
     Get a FREE Money MOT!                 of experience in helping people to      clothing).
                                           manage their debt, it is also an
     Gentoo is working in partnership      alternative accredited office for     • Optional accidental damage
     with FISCUS to offer our              the Department of Work and              cover.
     customers a free financial health     Pensions (DWP) and therefore          • Variety of payment options.
     check in the form of a Money          keep a stock of all DWP benefit
     MOT. The appointment will take                                              • Help valuing your contents so
                                           forms. This authority means a
     place from your home or in one                                                you don’t end up under or
                                           reduction in the time taken from
     of our area offices and will                                                  over insured.
                                           a benefit being identified to you
     include the following:                actually receiving it.                • Optional one-to-one
     • A benefits check.                                                           appointment in your home to
                                           To make an appointment with the
                                                                                   discuss your specific
     • Fuel supplier advice.               SAS, or to get a free benefit check
                                                                                   insurance needs.
                                           call  0300 123 2004
     • Tips for being more energy                                                For more information about our
       efficient.                          Switch your Home Contents             home contents insurance scheme
     • Home contents insurance             Insurance provider!                   call  0300 123 2004 or call
       overview.                           Over the last 12 months Gentoo         (0191) 525 5000 and ask to
                                           has been involved in a campaign       speak to the Tenants’ Insurance
     • Opportunity to set up a
                                           to tell people about the              Team. Alternatively,
       savings account.
                                           importance of home contents           you can pick up
     • Advice about affordable credit.                                           a booklet at
     • Debt management support.                                                  any of
                                           While many of you already have        Gentoo’s
     • Help drawing up a household         home contents insurance, it           area                Don’t pay
       budget.                             might be worth asking the             offices.      full price for days out
     • Support opening a bank              question; “Have you got the                          and theme park tickets.
                                           best deal?”                                         Visit www.lastminute.com
       account.                                                                                    to source cheap or
                                           Gentoo has a policy designed                                free deals!
                                           specifically for our customers
                                           offering the following perks:
                                                                                              SAVING TIP
                                      • WFCU savers have the              Well alongside their savings
                                        opportunity to take out a         programme Wearside First Credit
                                        WFCU loan themselves.             Union (WFCU) offer loans which
                                      To find out more about Wearside     could work out much, much
 Start Saving                                                             cheaper than what you are
                                      First Credit Union savings plans,
 OK, so saving might be the last      or to arrange to open an account    paying now!
 thing on your mind, but it’s never   call  0300 123 2004 and            They offer loans from £100
 too early to start saving for        speak to a member of the Money      to £5000** and can help
 Christmas 2011!                      Matters team.                       consolidate existing debt and
 Wearside First Credit Union          Alternatively you can visit www.    support you to save whilst
 (WFCU for short) offers you the      wearsidefirst.com to find out        you repay.
 chance to do just that and we        more about WFCU products,           To find out more or see if you
 have negotiated a special deal       services and how they operate.      are eligible for a loan contact
 with them to make it even easier.                                        Wearside First Credit Union on
                                      Ditch your doorstep lender loan
 Gentoo customers can enjoy:          for a cheaper option!                (0191) 514 7491 or visit
 • Hassle free sign-up - Gentoo       Do you have a loan with a
   staff can now come out and         doorstep lender, or worse,          For more information on saving
   scan your ID so you can open       a loan shark?                       money and accessing the services
   an account without ever                                                offered in this article, call the
                                      Would you like to take control of   Money Matters team on
   leaving your home!
                                      your finances and pay less each      0300 123 2004.
 • No joining fee!                    month?
 • Minimum deposit of just £1.
 • Save as much or as little as
   you want, whenever you
 • Flexible ways to save – you
   can make savings deposits at
   any of Gentoo’s area offices,
   at WFCU’s head office on
   Waterloo Place (Sunderland)
   via standing order or through
   Benefits Direct.
 • Easy access – you can access
   your money at anytime and
   have it transferred into your
   nominated bank account via
   cash or cheque (depending
   on amount required).
 • Life savings insurance at no
   additional cost**
 • Give something back - by
   saving through WFCU
   you are supporting the
   local community
   through their affordable
   loans programme.

**Terms and conditions apply.
Visit www.wearsidefirst.com for
futher information. All information
correct at time of print.

   JOANNE FREEMAN IS                      EcoTeams

                                           My name is Joseph Buckman, I have set up an EcoTeam
                                           and I am looking for members to join.

     In the last six months your
     Neighbourhood Enforcement
     Officer, Joanne Freeman, has
     dealt with 13 new cases of
     anti social behaviour (ASB) in
     partnership with the local Police
     team. Joanne also took on 11
     new cases in which she was the
     lead officer.
     Joanne sent a high number of
     letters, made numerous home
     visits and carried out various        Joseph Buckman at Gentoo Green on (0191) 525 5000
     office interviews. This activity      or email joseph.buckman@gentoogreen.com
     helped stop any behaviour from
     escalating to a more serious
     level. Joanne contacted 96%
     of ASB complaints within 24
     hours, Joanne served 3 Notices
     of Seeking Possession and
     was successful in gaining a
     postponed possession order on
     a perpetrator’s property. Joanne
     has undertaken a new initiative
     to further strengthen our links
     with the local Police teams and
     will now be located within the
                                          Downhill Surgeries
     Farringdon Hall Police Station for
     two days a week to undertake         In response to customer             choosing to use alternative
     joint visits and patrols.            feedback, following the closure     methods to contact us.
     You can contact Joanne on            of Downhill Area Office in           As a result of this, we have taken
      (0191) 525 5000, but               October, we set up three            the decision not to continue with
     should you witness an incident       monthly surgeries which were
     of anti social behaviour, please                                         the surgeries. May we take this
                                          held in November, December          opportunity to remind you that
     report it promptly to any local      and January.
     housing officer or by ringing                                            should you require a home visit
     the Gentoo 24 hour                   We have found that the              by your Neighbourhood Housing
     nuisance helpline on                 attendance to these surgeries has   Manager, please contact us on
      0800 028 4445*.                    been low, with customers             (0191) 525 5000 to arrange.

      Does your community
       need some money?
                                      ■ Wheatsheaf Garden Club was           racism, discrimination and
                                        awarded a grant of £3,997 in         stereotyping to help improve
                                        August 2010 to establish a           community cohesion.
                                        gardening club for members
                                                                          ■ Columbia Village Community
  Did you know that the Lottery         of the community to come
                                                                            Association runs the local
  Grants programme ‘Awards              together and share their skills
                                                                            community centre and
  for All’ is looking to make           and provide fresh fruit and
                                                                            activities for the community
  more grants in the                    vegetables to local people.
                                                                            and was awarded a grant
  Sunderland area?                      The award will improve
                                                                            of £1,303 in June 2010.
  Community groups, schools,            physical wellbeing as well
                                                                            They will use the award to
  town/parish councils and              as bringing the community
                                                                            start up a new Youth Club
  health bodies are all eligible to     together to raise aspirations
                                                                            for the area. This will enable
  apply for grants of between           and skills.
                                                                            access to activities and
  £300-£10,000 for new                ■ Thornhill School was awarded        facilities which young
  projects that will help build         a grant of £9,500 in June           people in the area currently
  stronger communities, give            2010 to create positive rap         do not have access to.
  people better chances in life;        music after school to spread
  improve the environment or            a message of respect for          To find out more about Awards
  encourage people to be                difference. The project will      for All call the BIG advice line on
  healthier and more active.            culminate in the school            0845 410 20 30 or visit the
  Here are some examples of             recording a CD and performing.    website at
  previously funded projects in         It will raise awareness of the    www.awardsforall.org.uk.
  the Sunderland area:                  problems associated with

                                THE BOX YOUTH PROJECT
                                4TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION EVENT
                                representatives and local
                                The young people in
                                attendance were able to
                                sample various activities
                                including face painting,
                                nail art, bracelet and card
                                making. They also had access
During National Youth           to the music decks, the new IT
Week the Box Youth Project     suite and playstations. There              The Management Committee are
celebrated four years in their was also a delicious buffet,               looking for new committee
building at Hall Farm. The     which was enjoyed very much                members so if you would like
milestone was marked with an   by all.                                    to help or have any other
anniversary celebration.                                                  queries please contact Lisa
                               The Youth Box Project will be
Despite heavy rain the                                                    Wilson Riddell, Project
                               hosting the XL Youth Village
event was well attended                                                   Manager on  (0191) 522 5031
                               on a Saturday between
with staff welcoming young                                                or email
                               5.30pm-8.30pm from the 22
people, along with the                                                    Theboxyouthproject@
                               January - 26 March 2011.
management committee, agency Everyone welcome.                            googlemail.com or visit
     Local Services -

     In the last edition of Wear Living, we explained to you that the new regulator for housing (the Tenant
     Services Authority) had tasked all housing providers like Gentoo to work with customers to shape our
     ‘local offer’. This local offer describes how services will be delivered in your area.
     Following the appointment of       thousands of responses to this      Over the coming months, Gentoo
     the coalition government, the      survey and one of the questions     will be hosting a number of
     Tenant Services Authority has      we asked was for you to select      events to give customers a further
     been disbanded. Now, housing       three services you felt we should   opportunity to give us their
     providers have been told they      focus on from a list of ten         feedback and to tell us what they
     must continue this work and we     different services.                 think about the ‘local offer’ in
     have until April 2011 to develop   The results so far have indicated   their area.
     and introduce these new local      that customers consider their       As well as these drop in events,
     standards.                         three key services to be:           our staff will also be asking for
     Gentoo has already started a          • Repairs and maintenance        your feedback at events being
     customer consultation process                                          held by other organisations on
                                           • Looking after your             your estates, or at your Tenants
     and you may recall receiving
                                             neighbourhood                  and Residents Association or
     a postal survey as part of our
     Annual Report to Customers            • Security or anti               Local Customer Panel meetings.
     that was issued during the              social behaviour in            We will also be carrying out
     summer. So far we have received         your neighbourhood             a number of surveys with

have your say!
              FEB                         FEB                   FEB                   FEB
          Monday 7th 2011             Monday 7th 2
                                                   011       Monday 7th 2011     Wednesday 9
                                                                                             th 2011
         Housing Office                The Galleries           Houghton              Athenaeum
        Conishead Centre             Housing Offic           Housing Office            Buildings
             9am - 4pm                 9am - 4pm            Skyline Centre        Fawcett Stree
                                                               9am - 4pm            9am - 4pm

              FEB                         FEB                    FEB                   FEB
           Friday 11th 2011            Friday 11th 2
                                                     011      Friday 11th 2011     Monday 14th
             Concord                     Havelock
          Housing Office               Civic Building                               North Moor
                                                     s        Housing Office
          Arndale House                Hylton Road                                Housing Offic
              9am - 4pm                 9am - 4pm
                                                              Cornhill Centre                  e
                                                                                     9am - 4pm
                                                                 9am - 4pm

             FEB                         FEB                    FEB                   FEB
         Monday 14th 2011           Wednesday 1
                                               6th 2011    Thursday 17th 2011    Thursday 17th 20
         Hetton Centre                                      The Galleries           Concord
                                    Housing Offic
         Welfare Road                              e        Housing Office        Housing Office
                                    Cornhill Centr
            9am - 4pm                              e         1pm - 6.30pm        Arndale House
                                     1pm - 6.30pm
                                                                                  1pm - 6.30pm

customers - either face to face         provide, the more you can be
when you call into one of our           assured that the services we
offices, when we visit you at           deliver will be as you would want          Switch off lights
home, when we meet with you             them to be.                                and appliances.
in communal areas in your multi                                                  Leaving an appliance
                                        For more information, contact            on standby uses 80%
storey block or sheltered scheme,       your local Neighbourhood                  as much energy as it
or by telephone. Also, look out for     Housing Manager on                           does being on.
an online survey on the Gentoo           (0191) 525 5000.
Sunderland website.
All of the information we collect                                                  MONEY
will be used to shape our ‘local                                                 SAVING TIP
offer’ so the more feedback you

     With the cold weather here,             You might remember it used to be
     you’ll be thinking about keeping        known as CORGI but now it’s
     warm this winter.                       called the Gas Safe Register. All
                                             gas engineers have to be Gas           registered when they turn up at
     You probably already have your
                                             Safe registered by law.                your front door – if they don’t
     central heating switched on - it’s
     important to make sure this and         Get your gas boiler, gas fire and      show you then don’t be afraid to
     all of your gas appliances are          gas cooker checked once a year         ask to see it. Always check the
     working safely and correctly.           by a Gas Safe registered engineer.     card.
                                             Annual servicing not only helps        You can also call the Gas Safe
     Did you know the Gas Safe
                                             keep your heating and hot water
     Register is the only official list of                                          Register free on  0800 408
                                             working properly, it helps keep
     gas engineers who are legally                                                  5500* and we can tell you if the
                                             you safe.
     allowed to do work on your gas                                                 gas engineer is on the list and
     boiler, gas cooker and gas fire?        All Gas Safe registered engineers      qualified for the work you need
     This list is there to help protect      carry an ID card so they can           them to do. Alternatively visit
     you from unsafe gas work.               show you they are Gas Safe             www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk.

     Angels in the City
     Alcohol and alcohol related             These groups of volunteers
     issues are at the heart of many         from churches across
     problems faced by people today,         Wearside want to help, care
     sometimes they just need                and listen to those who find
     someone to listen to stop               themselves in such situations.
     situations escalating out of            They offer help without any
     control.                                judgment or criticism and
     Many residents of Sunderland            this help could take the form
     enjoy a night out in the town, but      of just pointing someone to the        Aspire was approached by a
     at times too much alcohol can           taxi rank, helping give first aid to   volunteer of the group, in the
     leave some people feeling               an injured person, or just taking      hope of helping their group buy
     disorientated and vulnerable. We        the time to sit and talk to them.      uniforms, so they can be easily
     now have a group of ‘Angels’ that       They also offer practical help by      identified by people in need.
     have descended onto our streets         giving water to party goers who        Aspire was very happy to support
     called ‘The Street Pastors’. You will   have had too much to drink, flip       this cause and feel proud to know
     find them patrolling around the         flops to women with sore feet and      there are people out there willing
     main bars of the City every Friday,     provide space blankets when            to give their time to help others
     Saturday and Monday night.              they are required.                     selflessly.

Local pupils
on hand to help
make a greener
future                               Pupils were led by Service
                                     Implementation Manager,
                                     Albert Sawyer-Copus,
As part of National Tree Planting    as part of a drive to
Week in November, Gentoo             encourage community
began a challenge to plant 55        involvement and
trees in two days with the help      commitment to environmental
of local pupils.                                                           The houses at Leafields are
                                     sustainability.                       designed to be friendlier to the
National Tree Planting Week is       Albert said: “The pupils have         environment as well as offering
organised by the tree council and    really took the role very seriously   stylish and comfortable
every year over half a million       with a number of them stating         accommodation. Each of the
adults and children take part.       that they would like to sleep in a    properties have solar panels fitted
Pupils from Southwick Primary        tent next to the trees to ensure      to provide hot water, water butts
took turns to help Gentoo plant      they don’t get damaged in any         installed in the gardens for re-use
lime trees on the Leafields          way. By involving local children      of rain water, energy efficient
development, Faber Road. In          in the tree planting exercise it is   boilers and a high standard of
total, nine pupils were on hand to   hoped that a sense of pride will      insulation – all of which aim to
help plant the trees which are       stop any vandalism from taking        cut fuel bills, whilst at the same
hoped to form a lasting legacy for   place and that the trees will be      time reducing the impact on the
the area.                            around for years to come.”            environment.



     Last year, the Enterprising Futures team helped to
     celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week,
     a worldwide movement of entrepreneurial people,
     with millions unleashing their enterprising talents
     and turning their dreams into reality.
                                                                             design and embroider day and
     ‘Enterprise Week’ began life                                            evening bags offering limited
                                           Earth Scent Hand Made
     in 2004 as a national event                                             edition and unique bags. Wendy
     in the UK. By 2008, so many                                             also offers a made to order
                                           Wendy Barnes of Houghton is in    service making matching bags for
     countries had begun to take
                                           the process of setting up Earth   weddings, prom dresses
     part, it became known as ‘Global
                                           Scent. Earth Scent produces a     and special occasions.
     Entrepreneurship Week’.
                                           wide range of handmade soaps.
     Wanting to support as many of         The soaps are unique in their     The Flower Hut, Florist
     their customers as possible, the      novelty presentation and the      Elaine Morrow, a Gentoo
     team arranged for a selection of      selection is by no means          customer from Thorney Close set
     new businesses to come into           exhaustive.                       up The Flower Hut in July. With
     Gentoo’s Head Office each day                                           the help of the team, Elaine
     of the week to offer their services   Baroque Bags
                                                                             managed to secure premises in
     to staff.                             Wendy Kitching from Ryhope set    Ashdown Road, Farringdon.
     The line up for the week looked       up Baroque Bags in November       Elaine offers flower arrangements
     like this:                            2010. Baroque Bags individually   for any occasion.

Lady Bra Bra                          so contacted the Enterprising         Emma specialises in bespoke
                                      Futures team to see what help         cakes, made to customer
While working in a care home in
                                      was available.                        requirements and has already
the City, Adele Thomson realised
                                                                            made a terrific selection, gaining
there was a demand from older         Liliarnos Sweets                      excellent feedback.
people to be measured and fitted
with quality bras and underwear.      Lillian Davison set up Liliarnos in
                                      October after noticing that there     Kimberley Haley, Beauty
Through her new company Lady          was a high demand for sweets in       Therapist
Bra Bra, Adele can visit residents    her area, but not enough sweet        Kimberley Haley, a beauty
in care homes or in their own         shops. Living in Ford Estate,         therapist was very popular with
private dwelling, to measure,         there are a lot of young children,    staff at Gentoo when she visited,
fit and supply bras.                  who are too young to walk to the      offering some fantastic beauty
                                      nearest sweet shop alone, so          treatments. Kimberley currently
Julie’s Little Angels Baby            Lillian created a sweet delivery      works at a salon called Profile in
Clothes                               service and now has a thriving        Sunderland and has been
Julie Anderson of Peat Carr has       trade.                                running her own business since
two young children and knows                                                February 2010.
the difficulties she has in finding   Miss Tilly’s Cake Company
nice, good quality clothing at        Emma Annan always knew she            Full contact details for all of the
reasonable prices for them. Julie     had a creative side but it’s only     above businesses can be found
thought that she could provide a      recently that she turned her          on the business directory of the
good range of baby clothing           hobby into a business and set up      Enterprising Futures website,
online and through home visits,       Miss Tilly’s Cake Company.            www.enterprisingfutures.org.

                                             Very big hit at our resp             Learn to respect the road, its not as
                                                                     ect da
                              rnament,        Everyone had a go throug y.        easy as it looks, shows people how hard
        5-a-side football tou involved                                  hout
                                                                                 it is to drive, gives them a chance to
                             got                        the day.
        every young person mpetition.                                                think before jumping in a car.
                            le co
       and enjoyed the who

                                                                                 A lot of young people commented
     SYF RESPECT DAY                                                             saying “When is the next
     On Monday 16 August Southwick                                               Respect Day?”
     Youth Forum held their first Just
     About Respect Day for young                                                 The day was a huge success with
     people in Southwick.                                                        just under 150 young people
                                                                                 attending and taking part in
     The event was held at Thompson                                              the various activities that were
     Park between 12-4pm, there were                                             provided.
     many activities for young people to
     enjoy on the day.                                                           The Forum would like to say a
                                            We organised this Respect Day        big thanks to the agencies who
     The Respect Day was all about                                               provided all the equipment to make
                                            because young people rarely have
     celebrating young people, and to                                            the day a success and to all of the
                                            their say in what happens in their
     show people in the area the good                                            funders who helped make our day
                                            area and if we do its often not
     things young people do. Over a                                              possible.
                                            taken into consideration. But this
     few months the forum spoke to
                                            occasion we did and we were          By James Hodgson
     lots of young people to see what
                                            heard and every young person who     (Forum Member).
     they would like to do if there was a
                                            took part enjoyed the day.
     special celebration.

                                                                                  Every person likes to dance and
                                                                     ile bus,                                       a
     Don’t think anyone
                         has                     New to the XL mob levision      lot of people took part in learnin
      at a respect day, so had these                             nsole, te
                                              computers, a Wii co has got it!        the dances and enjoyed it.
     them and everyone e invited               you name it this bu
                         loved having
                  a go!
                                                   Anyone can join the SYF, for further information
                                                  email us at southwickyouthforum@hotmail.com.


                                                                            Jeff Dingle - American Idol Season 3
                                                                           (Judge and Performer Genfactor 2010)

Have you got the Genfactor?

For the past two years Gentoo        a chance to shine and showcase          2011. This will be our third
has hosted our very own talent       their talents.                          annual competition in search
competition, showcasing the                                                  of Sunderland’s best young
                                     Gentoo is committed to improving
musical talents of young people                                              performers!
                                     the lives of young people and the
in the Sunderland area.
                                     Genfactor aims to recognise and
Last year we saw a total of 78       highlight local talent.
entrants aged 10-16 from local
schools who were then narrowed
                                     “This competition has really                Could you be the
                                     helped us to engage with young
down to 10 finalists, with 13-year
                                     people in the community,                     next Genfactor
old Liam Jones being crowned
the 2010 winner, blowing the
                                     providing them with an enjoyable                winner?
                                     activity in a safe environment.”
audience and judges away with                                                      If you are aged 10-16
his rendition of ‘Time to Say        Gentoo Sunderland Community                  and think you have the
Goodbye.’                            Involvement Officer, John                     ‘Genfactor’ this is your
                                     Hollinshead.                                   opportunity to shine!
The competition has a strong
focus on rewarding the talent of     Due to its success, Genfactor              Look out for further details
young people and gives young         will be returning, with the initial            on how to apply.
performers in the local community    auditions, taking place in April

     Holmewood’s ‘Art of Living’ project

     Gentoo has set out to achieve an ambitious vision ‘To improve the art of living beyond our imagination’.
     Our vision encompasses more than property alone, we want to have a tangible, positive effect on the
     way people and communities live, develop and improve.

     12 Young People currently living     Holmewood have been designing            enthusiastic part in this activity
     at our supported accommodation       an ‘eco-garden’ which will include       which underpins what we do as a
     service known as ‘Holmewood’         an allotment to grow a variety of        service to support young people to
     have been looking at what the        fruit and vegetables, a culture and      think and act independently.
     ‘Art of Living’ means to them        heritage section to reflect their        Finally, both projects are driven to
     personally by taking part in a       interpretations of the ‘Art of Living’   raise awareness, participation and
     number of discussion groups and      and an innovative recycling and          ownership and to support young
     sessions, which have been run and    compost section.                         people to integrate within their
     facilitated by service staff.        They have also been looking at           local community (we’re inviting
     As an outcome from these             ways which Holmewood can                 local neighbours and some older
     discussions, a topical agenda and    generate its own energy and reduce       people living in our older persons
     project plan (developed by the       its overall carbon footprint by doing    services to get involved). The
     young people) has been created       ‘their bit’ to support the City of       project also creates opportunities
     with two themes:                     Sunderland to hit carbon reduction       for young people to express their
                                          targets.                                 opinions, work as part of a team,
     ■ To develop an eco-garden and                                                develop skills around planning
       look into energy efficiency        Young people at Holmewood have
                                                                                   and preparation, work within the
       to improve environmental           also been involved in improving
                                                                                   community, improve personal
       sustainability, supported by       their living accommodation. They
                                                                                   health and wellbeing, build self-
       Gentoo Green.                      have developed a refurbishment
                                                                                   esteem, confidence and increase
                                          plan and are currently being
     ■ To develop their home                                                       their environmental awareness.
                                          supported to implement this.
       environment (living                                                         For more information or if you
                                          All the young people have been
       accommodation) for them and                                                 want to get involved please
                                          involved in completing health and
       future young people who will                                                contact Donna Grieves at
                                          safety risk assessments covering
       access the service.                                                         donna.grieves@gentooliving.com.
                                          the refurbishment, as well as
     To plan and implement this           sourcing and costing materials.
     agenda, the young people at          They have played an integral and

REPAIRS                                The advantages of upgrading:
                                       • Cheaper - the cost of running
                                                                               We take our landlord responsibilities
                                                                               and your personal safety very

SAFETY                                   a gas combination boiler is
                                         less than running a solid
                                                                               seriously and failure to comply
                                                                               with our request to gain access to

ROUND UP                                 fuel appliance. Savings from          your home to undertake essential
                                         £70 - £200 can be made                maintenance will result in legal
                                         over a year long period if used       action being taken against you.
 One off repair or ongoing care          correctly in accordance with the      Gentoo Launch New
 It’s what we do.                        manufacturer’s guidance.              Health and Safety
                                       • Safer - solid fuel fires are more     Factsheet
                                         potentially dangerous than gas        Gentoo has launched a new
                                         systems in terms of carbon            factsheet designed to give
                                         monoxide leakage.                     customers essential information
                                       • Convenience - Gentoo has to           on how some repairs may affect
                                         service the fire annually and         health and safety. The factsheet
                                         have recently changed our             entitled ‘repairs and maintenance
                                         working practice to include a         health and safety’ is available
                                         monthly cleaning of the throat        online at
                                         plate.                                www.gentoosunderland.com
                                                                               and is on display in local housing
                                       • Environmentally friendly -
                                                                               office reception areas.
                                         solid fuel fires produce carbon
                                         emissions and therefore add           The factsheet contains valuable
Solid Fuel Appliances                    to your ‘carbon footprint’.           information about:
                                         Conversion to a combination           • Gas and solid fuel appliances
We are encouraging all customers
                                         boiler and electric fire suite will   • Carbon monoxide
who have a solid fuel fire to make
                                         reduce carbon emissions.              • Asbestos
the change to a high efficiency
combination gas boiler. With           For any further efficiency enquiries    For more information on any
the new boiler, we are also offering   customers can contact the Energy        of these issues, or if you would
customers the opportunity to           Savings Trust on                        like to receive a copy of the new
choose an electric fire and fire       0800 512012* or at                     factsheet, please contact Gentoo on
surround if they wish.                 www.energysavingtrust.org.              (0191) 525 5000.
All works are completed in one         Gas Servicing
day and we give compensation
                                       Each year there are around 30
for any disturbance to existing
                                       unnecessary deaths in the UK
decoration. The systems are room
                                       due to poorly maintained or
sealed, which means that carbon
                                       badly installed gas appliances.
monoxide is prevented from
                                       As your landlord, Gentoo has a
entering your home, creating a
                                       legal responsibility to carry out an
much safer environment.
                                       annual gas safety check of the
Some customers have told us            appliances within your home. This
that they are reluctant to switch      inspection is designed to minimise
from solid fuel as they receive a      the risk of injury or harm to you
concessionary fuel allowance as an     and your family by checking
ex-British Coal employee. However,     appliances and hard wired smoke
that fuel allowance can now be         and heat alarms. It also ensures
changed to a cash payment in lieu      that your appliances are operating
of fuel.                               as efficiently as possible.
For more information regarding the     You will receive a letter from us
payment of your fuel allowance,        to remind you when your safety
contact the National Concessionary     check is due. We will ask that you
Fuel Office (NCFO) on                  contact us on free phone
0845 759 0529 or at                   0800 587 7809* to arrange a
www.ncfo.co.uk.                        convenient appointment.

     Building starts on first
     independent ‘stand alone’
     children’s hospice in North East

Artist impression of new Grace House Hospice

Back in November, The Duchess               that we can finish the build and for     tailored to the needs of the whole
of Northumberland formally                  ongoing costs, but Wearside wants        family and will be available 24
marked building work starting               this, we all do.”                        hours a day, 365 days a year, for
on the Grace House children’s               Construction work started on site        as long as is needed.
hospice, which will provide a               in Southwick on the 18 November          The purpose-built hospice will
home from home for sick children            and you will start to see the building   be self-contained with bright,
across the North East, from the             take shape over the year.                homely rooms for children and
Scottish Borders to Teesside.                                                        accommodation for whole families.
                                            Kathy Secker, founder of the Grace
Her Grace, patron of the charity,           House Appeal, said: “It has been         It will provide a much-needed
visited the site and officially broke       a very special day. The start of the     addition to existing services, giving
the ground to commemorate the               build has been this charity’s dream      parents a break, a chance to share
start on site of the long awaited and       for some time and thanks to the          their time with other children in the
much needed hospice.                        support of this community and            family as well as the gravely ill. A
                                            the wonderful people of the North        chance to talk about their fears and
The Duchess said she was
                                            East it is now becoming a reality.       complex emotions, facing up to a
delighted to have been asked to                                                      future which can never be what
perform the duty and was excited            Thanks to our inspirational partners
                                            Gentoo, there’ll be bricks and           they had hoped.
to see work begin. She added:
“We have 1,000 young children               mortar here before you know it.”         Kathy continued: “Work starting on
in this area who need to benefit            Gentoo has supported the charity         this site has been a great milestone.
from a facility like this and it’s really   for several years and we have            When finished, the hospice will
important that it is in the middle of       agreed to design and build the new       provide support to very sick children
a community, it’s not stuck out in          hospice at cost price within the         and their families across the whole
the countryside, it’s accessible for        Southwick renewal area. Following        of the North East. Fundraising, of
families and children.”                     a successful planning application        course, will be ongoing as there is
                                            earlier in the year, work will now       no long-term sustained government
Grace’s mum Deborah was also                                                         funding for children’s hospices. We
delighted to see the construction           commence on building the hospice.
                                                                                     would welcome your support.”
work starting and commented:                Once completed, the new hospice
“I just feel really proud. This day         will provide a wide range of             If you’re not involved and would like
has finally happened and I’m                support for families, offer respite      to be, Grace House would love to
overwhelmed. This is the start of           and terminal care, have a team of        hear from you.
things really happening now and it’s        dedicated professionals offering the     Give them a call on
been a long time coming. We have            most up-to-date medical skills and       (0191) 516 6302 or visit their
to continue with the fundraising so         palliative care, offer support that is   website www.gracehouse.co.uk.

     Putting Hendon and East
     Sunderland ‘Back on the Map’
                                         City Council, Northumbria Police
                                         and the Tyne and Wear Fire and
                                         Rescue Service join forces with
                                                                                  Government Office North East
                                         local residents to tackle a variety
                                                                                  commented on the friendliness
                                         of neighbourhood issues. Teams
                                                                                  and professionalism of our grounds
                                         worked together on a number of
                                                                                  maintenance team and volunteers.
                                         community events including litter
      BEFORE                             picking, tidying gardens, planting       Lynne Moffett, Neighbourhood
                                         bulbs and addressing anti social         Housing Manager received an
                                         behaviour.                               award from Alison on behalf of
                                                                                  the team, which was awarded for
                                         Back on the Map is the New
                                                                                  their commitment and dedication.
                                         Deal for Communities programme
                                                                                  Alison commented that from all the
                                         for Hendon and the East End of
                                                                                  organisations involved that week
                                         Sunderland. The £54m programme
                                                                                  the Gentoo team had collected
                                         runs from 2001 to 2011 and is
                                                                                  and disposed of the most bags
     AFTER                               delivering improvements to the area
                                                                                  of rubbish. In addition the SAFC
                                         in housing and the environment,
                                                                                  Foundation staff were working with
                                         health, community safety, education
     The Gentoo grounds maintenance                                               Gentoo on a two week placement
                                         and employment.
     team and other volunteers were                                               as part of the ‘Back in the Game’
     given special praise for the work   The Gentoo grounds maintenance           venture, which helps people back
     that they carried out for the       team and other volunteers from           into employment.
     Hendon and East Sunderland          Gentoo cleared resident’s gardens,
                                                                                  A ‘thank you’ lunch was provided by
     Back on the Map ‘Week of Action’.   including some empty properties of
                                                                                  Back on the Map for all volunteers.
                                         rubbish, litter, old trees and shrubs.
     Neighbourhoods in Hendon                                                     This was held on Wednesday 8
     and the East End of Sunderland      “The lads were fantastic” was an         December at the Community Link
     benefited from a Back on the Map    opinion that was echoed by the           Shop. The grounds maintenance
     ‘Week of Action’ which took place   Council and staff from the Back on       team, volunteers and the SAFC
     between Monday 22 and Friday 26     the Map management team. Alison          staff all attended for this much
     November. The event saw partners    Batey, Deputy Locality Manager           deserved treat.
     including Gentoo, Sunderland        Local Partnerships and Place Team,

                                                       a job well done!
Gentoo Home Buyer
 - a new easy way to own
Gentoo Home
            your own home
Buyer is a new easy way
for buyers to own their own
home as you may only need up
to a 70% mortgage and just
5% deposit. Gentoo would then          “The combination of Gentoo’s high
contribute 30% as a Home Buyer        quality homes and our new Gentoo          “Gentoo Home Buyer is perfect for
Loan which is totally interest free   Home Buyer Scheme means that              us as it allows us to buy a house
for five years, repayable at the      anyone looking to buy their dream         we love, at an affordable price for
end of the tenth year. The new        home should definitely explore our        which we can get a mortgage.
scheme is available across all        developments as an option.”               The sales staff were really helpful
Gentoo properties and is designed                                                and guided us through the process
                                      One lucky couple who have already
to make home buying more                                                         explaining everything we needed
                                      taken advantage of the scheme are
affordable.                                                                      to know.”
                                      Mr and Mrs Majorkiewicz, who
Buyers will be offered a loan of      have reserved a three bed semi             Gentoo Home Buyer is opening
between 10% and 30% of the            detached house with a garage at            doors for more and more Gentoo
purchase price, depending on          Gentoo’s Leafields development in           customers and it could open doors
income, meaning they could only       Southwick.                                  for you. To find out more about this
need a mortgage to finance 70% of                                                 offer and any of Gentoo Homes
                                      Kamila said: “We saw the property
the agreed sale price and a deposit                                               developments contact the sales
                                      advertised and loved the type of
of just 5%. The loan is not linked
                                      house and its location, however              team on  (0191) 525 5000 or
to house price inflation, meaning
                                      since the recession its been really          visit www.gentoohomes.com.
buyers know exactly how much
                                      difficult for first time buyers like us
they will be paying back as it’s
                                      as banks are not as willing to lend
exactly the same amount as the
                                      us the money we need.
day that they purchased.
Jill Haley, Head of New Homes
Marketing and Customer Care,
said: “With the Government led
Homebuy Direct Scheme coming
to an end last year we wanted to
provide a home buying product
that would help the many people
who are priced out of the property
market to get on the ladder.
“We appreciate the difficulties
buyers are facing at the moment
and wanted to make owning
your own home as simple and
straightforward as possible. So,
in partnership with Halifax and
Nationwide, we put together
Gentoo Home Buyer to make
home ownership accessible to
more people.

       Mr and Mrs Majorkiewicz
       and son choosing their new Gentoo Home.

     Resident Involr ement !
                   v ews
                      we want you
     Do you want to influence                   Are you interested in a specific        Are you mainly interested in your
     and improve the services we               service?                               local area?
     provide?                                  We have service ‘focus groups’         Local Customer Panels are groups
     Do you want to have your                  that are responsible for making sure   of local residents who get together
                                               that our services improve. Members     to monitor the performance of
     say in decisions that affect              receive all performance information    local services, and monitor where
     your community?                           and all customer feedback in           customers can work with staff to
     Gentoo is committed to involving          relation to each service. Based on     suggest improvements. There is a
     the community in what we do.              this information on how the service    separate panel for each of our five
     We want to create sustainable             is working, members make and           local areas, so all information will
     communities with excellent facilities     agree recommendations on how we        relate directly to your area. The
     where people are proud to live and        should change each service for the     panels can make decisions which
     feel safe.                                benefit of all customers.              affect your neighbourhood.
     To achieve this we need to involve
     our residents in what we do. We
     aim to give you a range of ways
     you can get involved and improve
     our services. Your feedback and
     involvement is vital for us to be able
     to deliver excellence and improve
     the quality of life for people locally.

                                                “I have actively been involved
                                                with customer focus groups for
                                                the last six years, focus groups
                                                cover all service areas and being       “I have multiple sclerosis, and
                                                involved enables customers              to keep my mind active I joined
                                                like me to help shape services          the local customer panel. They
                                                to meet our needs and to                give me a chance to voice my
                                                establish acceptable standards.         opinions and help Gentoo to
                                                Discussions at meetings consider        improve things around our area.
                                                essential values and ensure
                                                everyone is treated equally.             I have also recently joined a
                                                 I would recommend other                 focus group, this helps me to get
                              ace you            customers to consider getting           out and about and meet with
      “Focus groups are a pl d work                                                      other Gentoo customers older
      can meet other peop
                            le an                involved, there is opportunity
                           difference. I         for personal development as             and younger. Being involved
      together to make a                                                                  gives me a sense of achievement
                                 I find them     the group provides training
       attend focus groups as find out                                                    when things are done.”
                              can                programmes to help you develop
       very informative. You
       what is going on  around you and          your skills.”                           Carl William Brown,
                               views and be                                              Local Customer Panel Member
       can put forward your                      James Falade,
        listened to.”                            Customer Focus Group Member
                               er Focus
        Audrey Carr, Custom
         Group Member                           We are currently reviewing our customer focus groups and in April 2011
                                                we will re-launch with a new structure and branding. We are
                                                also in the process of reviewing the ways in which residents can get
                                                involved and appreciate any feedback that you may have.
         You do not have to
         meetings to get in

!       We are currently im
        website in order th
                            proving our
                           at you can
        contribute your view
                             s online.

        Did you know we have specific
        methods of involvement for young             Gentoo Sunderland and
        people?                                      Sunderland City Council are
        Join the G2Cru - a group                     working in partnership to look at
        for residents aged 16-25                     how we allocate our homes.
        years. You can also get                      We are now in the second stage
        involved by looking at the G2Cru             of the consultation after a very
        Facebook page.
                                                     successful first stage. At the end of   Renewal for those people
        For further information on ways              the first consultation we received      presently, or in the future living in
        to get involved or if you have any           over 600 responses, 90% of which        a Gentoo or Council renewal area.
        feedback, please contact your local
                                                     were in favour of our proposals.
        Customer Involvement Officer on                                                      Each week properties that become
         (0191) 525 5000 or visit                   Taking on board the feedback from
                                                                                             available will be advertised through
        www.gentoosunderland.com.                    the first consultation we have now
                                                                                             Choice Based Lettings in one of
                                                     produced a draft Housing Allocation
                                                                                             the four bands described above.
                                                     Scheme for Sunderland.
                                                                                             Applicants who have been
                                                     Basically, our proposals are that       accepted into that band will be
                                                     we will have only one housing           eligible to apply.
                                                     register and one application form.
                                                                                             If you would like to see the draft
                                                     We will prioritise our customers
                                                                                             policy which includes all of the
                                                     into different groups depending
                                                                                             proposals, it is available on the
                                                     upon their personal household
                                                                                             Gentoo website at
                                                                                             www.gentoosunderland.com in
                                                     The four priority groups or bands       the section ‘be involved’ under
                                                     as we intend calling them, are as       ‘allocations review’. It is also
                                                     follows:                                available on the Council’s website
                                                     Urgent for those who need               at www.sunderland.gov.uk.
                                                     immediate rehousing. For example        If you have any comments to
        “I attend the G2Cru meeti                    those people who are homeless           make please contact Geoff Leask
       I know my views will be he regularly as       or who have a medical condition         or Norma Shiell from Gentoo on
                                    ard and things   which means that they cannot             (0191) 525 5000 or email
       will happen as a result. Fo
                                  r example,
       the young people in our gro                   return to or remain in their present    geoff.leask@gentoosunderland.com
                                     up came
      up with the name ‘G2Cru’                       home.                                   or norma.shiell@gentoosunderland.
                                   and Gentoo
      have set up a Facebook pa                                                              com.
                                    ge that we       Priority for those who have a
      asked for - which we were
                                  involved in        pressing but not urgent need to         Alternatively you can contact Louise
      designing. This helps us ke
      and discuss issues; our qu in touch            move. For example those who have        Mainwaring from Sunderland City
                                  estions are        a medical condition which will          Council on  (0191) 566 1831
     answered almost immedia
                                 tely. The group     eventually mean that they have to       or email louise.mainwaring@
     is a great way to meet new
    met people I wouldn’t norm nds, I have           be rehoused or those who need to        sunderland.gov.uk.
                                  ally meet and
    I keep in touch with them                        move to give or receive support.
                                 outside of the                                              Your comments will help inform the
                                                     Choice for those people who do not      development of our joint allocations
    Jonathan Guthrie, Young                          have a real need to move but would      system and we will publish results
    Group member (G2Cru)                             like to live somewhere different.       of all feedback received.

     Repairs and
     at a glance
     Gentoo operate a
     priority system for
     repairs, this means that
     we deal with the most
     urgent repairs first.

     When you contact us to report a       3. Routine Repairs                   You can:
     repair, we assess its importance      These are repairs which need to      • Telephone our Customer
     and then put it into one of the       be completed within 31 working         Service Centre on
     following categories:                 days. As an example this can            (0191) 525 5000.
     1. Emergency Repairs                  include repairs to kitchen units,      This service is available
                                           small adaptations for disabled         between 8am and 7pm Mon
     These are repairs which need to
                                           customers, plaster patching and        to Fri and 8am until 12 noon
     be made safe within 24 hours.
                                           repairs to bathroom fittings.          Saturdays.
     As an example this can include
     gas leaks, dangerous electrics,       4. Major Repairs                     • Use the repairs free-phone
     dangerous structures, etc. In                                                located in all our local area
                                           These are repairs which can            offices.
     addition customers who have           be completed within 365 days
     no heating and no hot water                                                • Text us on b07725 151515,
                                           depending on the amount of
     fall under the ‘Tenants Right                                                starting your message with
                                           work required. These are usually
     to Repair’ category and should                                               the word REPR followed by
                                           large jobs and as an example can
     receive an initial visit within one                                          brief details of what work is
                                           include large joinery work and
     working day.                                                                 needed. We will contact you
                                           making and installing window
                                                                                  if we require any additional
     2. Urgent Repairs                     frames. Some major repairs to
     These are repairs which need to       your home can often be carried
                                           out as part of a planned works       • Fax us on (0191) 525
     be completed within 7 working                                                5520, providing brief details
     days. As an example this can          programme, for example roofing
                                           or fencing.                            of what work is required along
     include repairs to roofs, faulty                                             with a contact telephone
     electrical sockets and switches,      We offer a range of ways to report     number.
     and leaking waste pipes.              a repair.

• Use our online repair reporting     • Do not use electric switches        carbon monoxide poisoning, but
  service by logging onto               or mobile phones as any             here are some symptoms to look
  www.gentoosunderland.com              sparks may start a fire.            out for:
An emergency repair service is        • If the smell of gas is coming       • Feeling tired and weak
also available 24 hours a day,          from outside your home, you         • Having a headache
7 days a week on                        should shut all doors and
                                        windows to your home.               • Feeling sick
 (0191) 525 5000. Please
                                      • If the smell of gas is very         • Pains in your chest and
note that if you contact us outside
                                        strong you should leave the           stomach
working hours with a repair
which is not an emergency, you          property straight away.             • Problems with your vision
will be advised to contact us         In an effort to prevent gas           • Being out of breath
using the methods above. Our          leaks from faulty appliances,         Should you or someone you
priority for emergency repairs        Gentoo are required to carry          know experience any of these
is to ‘make safe’ – we will not       out an annual gas service of all      symptoms please contact our
always be able to fully complete      appliances in your home. Failure      emergency repairs hotline on
the necessary repair outside of       to allow us access to carry out        (0191) 525 5000 or the gas
normal working hours.                 this service will result in action    hotline on  0800 587 7809*.
Gas and Carbon Monoxide               being taken against you.
If you smell gas you should do        Carbon monoxide is a poisonous         During the winter months an
the following:                        gas which is released when a           particularly when we experi
                                      gas or solid fuel appliance has        severe weather conditions
• Open all the doors and                                                                                 as
                                      not been fitted on maintained          we have recently, it is often
  windows in your home.                                                     necessary for us to only res
                                      properly, or when a flue or                                         pond
• Turn off the gas at the meter       chimney is blocked. Carbon            to emergency and urgent rep
  and phone National Grid on          monoxide is dangerous because         for the safety of both our sta
   0800 111 999*.                    you can’t see, smell or taste it.     and customers.
• Put out all naked flames,            It can be difficult to detect if     During these times, please
  including cigarettes.               someone is suffering from                                          be
                                                                           assured that all routine rep
                                                                           will be re-arranged for the
                                                                           earliest available date.
                                                                           We appreciate your patienc
                                                                           during these conditions.

     During the winter period it is
                                         Your body produces moisture all
                                         the time, when you breathe and
                                                                                • Steam from bathing and
     usual to experience some            perspire. We also create moisture
                                                                                • Lack of air circulating in the
     condensation in your home.          when we take a bath or shower,
                                         cook or wash the dishes.
     However, in this edition we hope                                           • No ventilation in the house
     to give you some helpful advice       Where it can happen?
                                                                                  (this can be made worse by too
     on how to prevent condensation      Condensation usually occurs on           much draught proofing).
     and treat it when it occurs.        cool parts of walls, particularly on
                                                                                • Raising room temperatures
       What is condensation?             outside walls where there is not
                                         much air movement. It often
     Condensation happens when           appears as a dark patch in               How can I prevent
     moist air comes into contact with   corners near the skirting board          condensation?
     a cool surface. This is what        and on the ceiling. The side walls
     happens when your bathroom          or windows are often affected as       To help reduce the risk of
     mirror steams up.                   they can also be quite cold.           condensation in your home:

     When this happens on your           Areas with poor ventilation can        • Adequately heat and ventilate
     window, the glass mists up and      be prone to condensation. This           rooms at risk.
     drops of water run down the         could be behind furniture,             • Keep your heating on low
     window. When it happens on a        particularly wardrobes and beds if       throughout the day in cold
     wall, the wall soaks up the         they are placed against an               weather. Use central heating
     moisture and becomes damp,          outside wall.                            programmers and thermostatic
     which could lead to mould.
                                         Moisture is most commonly                radiator valves to ensure that
     Condensation usually appears on     found in bathrooms and is easily         all rooms are comfortable and
     cold outside walls and surfaces,    seen on tiles in the form of             nowhere in the house is very
     and in places where the air does    mould. To prevent mould                  cold. Try not to rely on a gas or
     not circulate well.                 occurring, open the window and           an electric fire to heat one room
                                         wipe the tiles after bathing or          while the rest of the house
       What causes condensation                                                   remains cold (a number of
       and where does it come            showering.
                                                                                  rooms could be heated by
       from?                               What are the main causes               radiators compared to the cost
     Condensation usually occurs           of condensation?                       of heating one room by a gas or
     during the winter because                                                    electric fire).
                                         Condensation is often caused by:
     properties are colder and                                                  • Don’t overfill cupboards and
     windows are opened less so          • Drying clothes inside the
                                                                                  wardrobes – make sure air can
     moist air cannot escape.              house.
                                         • Steam from cooking in the

 • Don’t keep furniture and beds
   hard against walls. Make sure
                                        • Keep doors open in rooms that
                                          get lots of sunlight. This allows
                                                                              Penetrating damp occurs if the
                                                                              water is coming in through the
                                                                              walls or roof (for example, under
                                          the warm air to circulate in
   air can circulate.                     your home.                          loose roof tiles or through cracks).
 • Avoid drying clothes in your           How can I get rid of                Rising damp occurs if there is a
   home. If you have to, don’t put        condensation or mould?              problem with the damp proof
   wet clothes over the radiators,                                            course. This is a barrier which
   instead use a clothes airer/rack,    Following the above advice            stops moisture rising through the
   open the window vents or             should help you reduce                house from the ground. The
   windows in the room and keep         condensation in your home, it         usual evidence of rising damp is
   the door closed.                     may even remove condensation          a ‘tide mark’ on the walls that
                                        altogether.                           shows how high it has risen.
 • When using a tumble dryer                                                  There can also be a musty smell.
   make sure the hose is placed         If mould occurs then this can be
   outside the window or door.          easily removed, usually by wiping       What do I do next?
                                        it off with a disposable cloth and
 • When cooking use the extractor       some household cleaner. There is      If after following the above
   fan, if you have one, or open a      no need to use strong chemicals.      advice, and taking the steps given
   window vent or window. Use           Wipe over the area again every        to prevent condensation, if you
   lids on pans and keep the            few days using diluted household      continue to experience
   kitchen door closed.                 cleaner to stop the mould             condensation and problems with
                                        growing back. This should             mould, it may be necessary to
 • When bathing or washing,                                                   have a technical survey carried
   keep the bathroom door closed.       become part of your regular
                                        cleaning routine.                     out to your home.
   Switch on the extractor fan. If
   there is still a lot of water          What is the difference              This can be arranged by
   vapour after you have finished         between damp and                    contacting us on
   then leave the fan on, or open         condensation?                       (0191) 525 5000.
   the window.
                                        A number of customers will            In the majority of cases our
   How to keep your                     contact us to report damp in their    customers have found that
   home warm                            property but what they are            following the advice given, and
                                        actually experiencing is              changing their behaviour where
 • Don’t trap heat – avoid placing                                            necessary, has significantly
   large pieces of furniture in front   condensation which could be
                                        prevented by changes in               improved the situation.
   of a radiator as this prevents
   the heat from circulating.           behaviour.

 • Keep curtains above radiators.       Damp occurs when a fault in the
                                        building’s basic structure lets in
 • Thick curtains stop heating          water from outside. There are two
   escaping – remember to close         types of damp – penetrating
   them at night.                       damp and rising damp.

       Competition time!
         There are six coins hidden
         throughout this edition of
         Wear Living. Simply find all six coins, cut them
         out and stick them into the piggy bank
         opposite for your chance to win a
         £25 gift voucher!
         Entrants must be aged 12 or under.

     Name: ........................................................................................................................................
     Address: ..................................................................................................................Age: ............
     Tel: ............................................................. Email: ......................................................................

     A S       F    I    P    L   H U       X A       L    N A W G E
     P P
     A S
     Y A

               A S
                    G G
               N D W U M B
                         H K
                              Y    B A N K

                                   O D
                                            K L
                                             I   S
                                                           O U N
                                                                          H N
                                                                          L E
                                                                          T R
                                                                                    There are 15 words hidden in the word
     M W N T             H    J   N N M L             E    A    E B       N G       search opposite. Find them all for your
     E G       C    J    K    B    E M S B            L    A    L A       A Y       chance to win £25 of shopping vouchers.
     N S       E D N H             Y   L    P R       T    S    R C       Q E       Entrants must be aged 12 or over.
     T    F    H H K          Y    E S      G B       F    A    J    C    S F        MONEY                        DEPOSIT
     S B U D G                E    T    I   N G       T    V    E O       B F        ACCOUNT                      FINANCE
     S D N S             K    O D C         A S       H    I    G U       B I        CASH                         CREDIT
     R B       J D       E    P    O S       I   T    J    N    L N       Y C        DIRECT DEBIT                 ENERGY EFFICIENCY
     A S       V R       J    K    O D B R            S    G B T          D I        BUDGETING                    DISCOUNT
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     D    I    R E       C    T    D E      B     I   T    H N D          R N        PIGGYBANK                    DEBT MANAGEMENT
     G G D R             B D R B            R D       T    I    D E       R C        BILLS
     D E       B T M A N A                  G E M E             N T       J Y

     Name: ........................................................................................................................................
     Address: ..................................................................................................................Age: ............
     Tel: ............................................................. Email: ......................................................................

     Competition details Closing date 31/3/11. Competition rules One entry per competition per household. The winner
     will be chosen from entries received by the closing date. The Judges decision is final. No purchase necessary.
     Return the completed entry to: Communications Team, Gentoo Group, Emperor House, 2 Emperor Way, Doxford
     International Business Park, Sunderland SR3 3XR.

Winter w
         ar             ming Stew
                                                                 with Dum
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                               1Ib (4
                                          50g) s                                                  licious ed out with
                                                                                                          and co        v
                               2 table             te
                                          spoons wing or brai                                                   st-effec egetables
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                             5 carro atoes                    r
                            1 large ts
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                          1 sma icken stock
                                    ll turni             (
                         1 oxo                p diced 1 pint)
                       100g ings:
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                     1 table             of salt
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                      ople.                                                              the tem        ok

At Gentoo we are always looking for ways to improve the services we provide. The most valuable
feedback comes from the people who know our services best - our customers. There are many ways for
customers to tell us how we are performing. Here are some of the service improvements made recently
as a direct result of listening to you.

 You Said - You wanted us to         You Said - You wanted             You Said - We need
 consider single people for some     a consistent method for           additional access to empty
 smaller houses.                     customers to use when             properties in case of fire or
                                     checking our services.            other emergency.
 We Did - We now advertise
 some two bedroom homes              We Did - We have developed        We Did - We now share
 to include single person            a bespoke estate photo book       information on how to access
 applicants.                         for customers to use when         our empty properties with Tyne
 This improvement was identified     inspecting our estates.           and Wear Fire and Rescue
 using feedback from a customer      This improvement was identified   Service.
 complaint.                          from our work with another        This improvement was
                                     housing association, Housing      identified from a staff
                                     Hartlepool.                       suggestion.
 You Said - When we asked
 what you thought of the
 SHARE reward card scheme            You Said - You wanted more        You Said - You would like
 for Excellent Customers, you        say in how we improved your       to hear a local voice on the
 told us you didn’t use it, hadn’t   estates.                          telephone recorded message
 heard of it, or that it didn’t                                        which plays whilst you are
 help you.                                                             on hold.
                                     We Did - We have set up
                                     devolved budgets for each of
 We Did - As a result we have        our five local management         We Did - Our on hold
 scrapped the scheme and are         areas (see page 16 for more       messages are now recorded by
 looking at a better value use for   information).                     Gentoo staff, so you receive a
 the £10,000 it cost to run                                            regional accent.
 each year.                          This improvement was
                                     identified using customer         This improvement came from
 This improvement was                feedback.                         feedback from one of our
 identified following a customer                                       Customer Focus Groups.
 research programme.

 Did you know…?
 We have set up an 0300
 number which you can call to
 speak directly to the Money
 Matters Team to get advice
 and guidance on managing
 your money.
  0300 123 2004

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