Welcome to this 2010 Winter Edition of the Tenants Tattler.
It is hard to believe that ten years have passed since everyone was discussing a new millennium and
perhaps melt down of computers! For some people Christmas can be a time of joy and great excitement
and for others it is a time of reflection and remembrance. For all of us it is often a culmination of a great time
of activity going on around us. This is also true in Helm. You will also be receiving the annual performance
report on the work of the Association in 2009/10. We continually strive to improve our service and to listen
to tenants - the results of the recent tenants survey are currently being considered and will inform change
in how we carry forward the Association.
A significant part in this is played by the Tenants Forum and I wish to pay tribute to each one of them
for the service they give to you in participating with Helm in improving services and policies. Our work
as staff has added value through their contribution. My thanks go also to the staff who assist the forum
throughout the year and produce this magazine which I hope you will enjoy reading.
On behalf of the staff of Helm I wish each one of you a happy and peaceful Christmas and all good wishes
Jean Fulton, Group Chief Executive
Marie Curie’s Vision 2 - Tenants Forum
At the end of life we want all terminally ill 4 - Charity Update
patients to experience the best possible care 6 - Supported Housing
with the choice of being cared for in 8 - Rathgill Avenue, Bangor
their own homes. 10 - Access To Benefits
11 - New Telephone
System and Tenant
Support the charity by joining their team Rewards Scheme
of volunteers at the hospice 12 - TV Licensing
14 - Properties to Let
Every week, volunteers of all ages and backgrounds donate their time to take
15 - Redecoration
on roles such as driving patients to appointments, working on reception,
helping on the wards or working at a local hospice shop.
16 - Condensation,
Marie Curies’ bereavement services also depend on committed volunteers and
many of their complementary therapies are provided by volunteer therapists.
17 - Legionnaires Disease
18 - Advice Centre Info
If you’d like to know more about volunteering, contact our Regional
20 - Fire Safety Guidelines
Volunteering Manager Janna Moore on 0845 305 2191.
22 - Carbon Monoxide &
23 - Have we got your
24 - Competition Time
It has come to the end of another year for At Forum meetings members learn how Helm is
the members of the tenants forum. The performing and of any plans for the future. Helm
value the opinion of forum members on any issue up
tenants forum has worked hard this year
to ensure all tenants have their say in all
aspects of the association. Helm Housing feels that tenant participation is central
to customer satisfaction and important for continued
Forum members enjoyed an excursion to the giant’s growth. Various issues such as repairs and anti-social
causeway and the day began with an audio-visual behaviour have been discussed and debated at Forum
tour, which for some it was a trip down memory lane. meetings this year and such items have helped Helm
After this members enjoyed lunch in the causeway move towards more effective polices.
hotel, and this was a welcomed warmer having been
wind swept down at the basalt columns. This was The forum is always seeking to extend membership.
followed by an interesting tour around the bushmills Each tenants association has the right to nominate
distillery, where some members even had the two representatives to the tenants forum. Meetings
opportunity to have a tipple. are held bi-monthly in Helm Housing offices. If you
would like to get involved and become a member or
The away day, which is always the highlight of the year, if you just want to ask a few questions, please feel free
was thoroughly enjoyed by all staff and tenants even to make contact with Helm Housing or any member
though the weather wasn’t too good at first. Events of the tenants forum via details below.
like this are aimed at gathering tenants together with
a common interest in housing related issues.
Being a member of the forum provides a voice for Helm Housing,
the tenants of the association, through attendance at Helm House,
meetings and having an interest and knowledge of 38-52 Lisburn Road,
relevant and topical housing issues. Belfast
Tel: 028 9032 0485
Some snaps from the Away Day...
Since 1999 Helm has chosen a different charity every two years to be the focus of staff fundraising. In
September 2009 we launched our partnership with Marie Curie Cancer Care. Marie Curie provide end of
life care to terminally ill patients in their own homes, or in one of their hospices. Helm staff and tenants are
supporting people with cancer by raising money for Marie Curie and the money raised will be spent to help
people with cancer who live in the local community.
On 28th October with the theme
of Halloween the committee
organised a coffee morning
Some staff put on their aprons and
whipped up some delicious apple
pies especially for the occasion.
This triumphant event raised
Pinetree Manor tenants held a coffee
morning at the scheme raising a
superb £330. Thank you to all who
were involved and a special thanks
for your generosity and continued
Our most recent event was a wine and cheese night on the 5th November at Helm Head Office. Massive
thanks to all of those who donated raffle prizes and a special thanks to Centra who donated the cheese and
crackers and Micheal O’Neill who donated a luxury fruit hamper.
The night was a huge success, raising £660.
To date the ESV Committee have raised
over £17,000 through fundraising events,
contributions from tenants & contractors and
the generosity of Helm Housing and its staff.
We need to continue with this success and you
1) There are handmade cards for all occasions for sale at
Head Office reception. We would ask that you show
your support by purchasing the cards.
2) There are collection boxes in many of our schemes.
We would ask that you continue your support by
chucking your loose change in the box.
3) Lastly we have charity bags here at head office so
why not have a good clear out in the New Year and
donate any clothes, shoes, handbags etc. that can be
resold in Marie Curie shops. The deadline for charity
bags is Friday 28th January 2011, however, you
can still donate via Marie Curie shops throughout
Many mistake Supported Housing as Residential Care, but this is not the case!!
Supported housing is intended specifically for older people, usually over 55. It can offer independent living
through improved mobility, good health, safety, financial security, good neighbours and lack of dependency
on others. Helm have several supported housing properties ranging from flats to bungalows.
All properties have a living room, bathroom, kitchen and bedroom(s). Some properties have communal areas
such as a lounge and garden to socialise and a guest room where family and friends can stay.
People choose to live in supported housing for different reasons: companionship, reassurance of a scheme-
based or visiting co-ordinator, may still want your own front door but also want the peace of mind of added
security and you may like organising events or taking part in activities with people of a similar age.
Elgin Court tenants
organise a trip to the
famine village in Inishowen
Scrabo Manor tenants
go on a shopping trip to
If you, or someone you know, is interested in supported housing please give us
a call on 028 9032 0485 and speak with a housing officer.
RATHGILL AVENUE, BANGOR
The Association recently completed new Significant consultation was undertaken with the
build scheme of 28 general family units at local community group, the Rathgill Community
Association, who pledged their support from the
Rathgill Avenue was officially opened by
outset, welcoming the redevelopment in the area.
the Minister for Social Development, Alex Through the community involvement the Association
Attwood, on 10th November 2010. was also able to create a revised mix of
accommodation. The original NIHE appraisal had
In June 2007, Helm Housing was nominated by the called for two bedroom accommodation exclusively;
Northern Ireland Housing Executive to develop a through consultation the Association was able to
Brownfield transfer site at Rathgill Avenue, Bangor to successfully introduce a small percentage of three
provide general family accommodation in the Bangor bedroom accommodation thereby meeting the
area. needs of the local community.
The Association’s new build transfer scheme replaced The site at Rathgill Avenue is within walking distance
48 flats originally built in 1978 by the Northern of various local amenities, including local parks and
Ireland Housing Executive. Due to inherent design recreational facilities, Bloomfield shopping centre
faults these flats had high maintenance costs and
were unpopular with tenants creating a difficult to let
situation in an area of otherwise very high demand.
Lack of defensible space only exacerbated problems
and the flats became derelict due to vandalism and
The aim of the redevelopment of the area was to
ease physical and environmental issues and to
reduce housing management problems - such as
high number of voids and anti-social behaviour - and
stigmatisation of the area.
and a community centre, providing an excellent Helm Housing acquired the site on 31st March 2009,
location for the residents. The site is also close to local with construction work commencing on site on 6th
primary and secondary schools and local bus routes April 2009. Practical Completion was achieved on 6th
provide easy links to Bangor town centre. The roads July 2010 providing accommodation for up to 120
system also provides excellent links to Belfast and people.
Helm secured the capital funding (Housing
Association Grant) and approval from Northern
Ireland Housing Executive Development Programme
Group. A private sector loan to undertake the
development was in place.
All accommodation in this development has been
designed to meet Lifetime Homes, Secured By
Design and Code for Sustainable Homes Code
Level 3 requirements. With regards to the latter the
Association has installed various items to ensure Housing Mix:
that the development remains sustainable whilst
1 no. 5 person
meeting the needs of the tenants. Sustainability
3 bedroom detached house
measures include the installation of photovoltaic
solar roof panels, which generate a natural source 2 no. 5 person
of electricity, which the tenants can use (with any 3 bedroom semi-detached houses
surplus potentially being sold back to NIE plc). Also,
rainwater-harvesting systems have been utilised 15 no. 3 person
in order to recycle water, for example, for use in 2 bedroom semi-detached houses
flushing toilets or watering gardens. Also, further
to recommendations outlined by an ecologist, the 10 no. 3 person
Association has provided meadow grass planting 2 bedroom apartments
and other plants and shrubbery, which support the _____________
existing eco-system as well as bird and bat boxes. 28 no. TOTAL
ACCESS TO BENEFITS
Millions of pounds go unclaimed in benefits The internet-only service at www.a2b.org.uk is run
in Northern Ireland. Are you losing out? by A2B (‘Access to Benefits’), a locally-based non
profit organisation working to improve entitlement
uptake, particularly amongst older people. Over £5m
Many people miss out on their entitlement to benefits
in previously unidentified and annually recurring
and other allowances because they don’t know what
benefits have been applied for by people who learned
is available, they don’t think they are entitled or
about their entitlements to Pension Credit, Housing
they don’t like sharing their financial details to find
Benefit, Rate Relief, Income Support and Tax Credits
out what they might be due. In most cases, benefit
using the Calculator.
payments do not come from the Northern Ireland
‘block grant’, so this is money lost not just to our
The website also provides short factsheets on
citizens but also to Northern Ireland’s economy. As
each benefit, links to online claim forms and an
the cuts begin to bite, it is now more important than
Organisation Directory listing where you can get
ever that you get everything you are entitled to.
help with a calculation as well as all the local benefit
delivery offices and general advice providers.
How can you find out what you might
be due? Getting help to use the calculator
Thousands have already found a way of doing just People have used it directly, with help from
that using the website www.a2b.org.uk. their families, or from some of the 200 front line
organisations including community projects and
The website provides a free, simple and anonymous MLA constituency offices across Northern Ireland
Benefit Calculator that allows you or someone you who are trained in how to help people through the
trust to carry out a benefit check and identify the Calculator. Log onto www.a2b.org.uk for your own
nearest sources of help to apply for any unclaimed entitlement check-up or to find out where to get help
entitlement. There is no need to enter your name, with a calculation in your area. There’s nothing to
National Insurance number or address as the system lose!
doesn’t need these to calculate your entitlement.
NEW TELEPHONE SERVICE
to be launched in 2011
Customers who use the main Helm office telephone line (028 9032 0485) to contact us will notice some changes
to our answering system in the coming weeks. We plan to introduce a very simple automated system to help
us manage the volume of calls coming in to the office as efficiently as possible. Your call will be answered
automatically and you will be invited to select your preferred option depending on which service you wish
to use. Those customers ringing to access our Housing Management Service will be directed to the different
service options accordingly.
In addition to the automated system, Helm Housing will be launching a dedicated repairs line for use by
tenants ringing to make repair orders. The system will invite you to leave a voice message detailing the specific
nature of your repair, access details to your home and a contact telephone number, preferably a mobile.
Details of the telephone number for this service will be published soon.
We hope that by introducing these changes to our telephone system we will be able to offer our customers
an enhanced service by getting them through to the right person first time, consequently making better use
of our staff time to deal with your queries.
Helm Housing is working with the Tenants Forum to introduce a Rewards
Scheme in 2011.
There will be several Rewards in the scheme:
• Regular Prize Draws for tenants with rent accounts
not in arrears or who have been keeping a payment
plan over the previous 13 weeks.
• Incentives for tenants who decide to pay their rent
by direct debit or standing order.
• Competitions for best-kept gardens.
• Community Awards for individual tenants or groups
who have improved their building or area for the
benefit of all residents.
The scheme will not apply to tenants who are in breach of their
conditions of tenancy. We will send you further details when the
scheme is launched.
Did you know that you can be There are also a number of concessions available – for
example people who are aged 75 or over are entitled
fined up to £1,000 if you are to a free TV Licence that will cover their household,
caught watching TV without and people who are registered blind or severely sight
impaired are entitled to a 50% reduction in the TV
a licence? Licence fee.
Make sure you’re correctly licensed If you would like more information, or want to buy
a TV Licence, please call 0300 790 6112 or visit
TV Licensing is working hard to ensure that people are www.tvlicensing.co.uk
aware of the circumstances when they have a legal
responsibility to have a TV Licence. Put simply, you Resources for the deaf: TV Licensing offers a
need to be covered by a valid TV Licence to receive Textphone number on 0300 790 6050, as well as a
or record television programmes as they are shown Typetalk facility operated by RNID.
on television. TV Licensing enforces the licence fee on
behalf of the vast majority of people who pay for their TV Licensing: all you need know
TV Licence. This is the case whether you are receiving
the programmes via TV or any other device, such as a THE LAW
mobile phone or a PC. You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence to watch
or record television programmes as they are shown
TV Licensing is doing all it can to reach out to everyone on TV. This is the case whether you are watching the
in the community to make it as simple as possible for programmes on TV or any other device, such as a
them to get a TV Licence. In order to help people who mobile phone or a PC.
do not have English as a first language, TV Licensing
provides leaflets in 18 different languages, 16 Anybody who is not correctly licensed risks
languages on its website and a telephone translation prosecution and a possible fine of up to £1,000.
service in over 180 languages. A colour licence currently costs £145.50 and black
and white licence costs £49.
WAYS TO PAY CONCESSIONS
TV Licensing understands that some people may The following concessions have been set by
struggle to pay the licence fee, which is why we government.
offer a number of different ways to pay. These
include: • Over 75 licence: People who are aged 75 or over
are entitled to a free TV Licence that will cover
• Payment Card: Open to everyone, the TV their household. Although it is free, people aged
Licensing Payment Card allows people to spread 75 or over do still need to apply for the licence by
the cost of the TV Licence into weekly, fortnightly providing TV Licensing with their date of birth and
or monthly payments. Payments can be made by National Insurance number. If someone does not
cash or a debit/credit card at any one of almost have a National Insurance number, they can ring TV
22,000 PayPoint outlets nationwide, or over the Licensing to arrange other proof of their date of birth.
Once someone aged 75 or over has successfully
Payment Card members can also check their applied for their licence, their licence will be
payment history, balance, renewal dates and make automatically renewed twice: it is, in essence, a free
payments online and via text message. Call 0300 three year licence. To find out how to apply for a free
790 6078 for further information. licence, people can call 0300 790 6073.
• PayPoint outlets can be found in newsagents, If someone is 74 and needs to renew their licence,
convenience stores, supermarkets, petrol stations they can apply for a short-term licence that will cover
and other retailers. To find their nearest PayPoint, them until their 75th birthday or claim a refund on
people can visit www.paypoint.co.uk/locator or an existing licence for the months since they reached
call 0300 790 6137. the age of 75.
• Savings Card: this card is ideal for people who • ARC licence: In some residential care settings, some
want to save in advance for their licence in a residents are eligible for a concessionary TV Licence
secure way. People can make small, manageable under the Accommodation for Residential Care (ARC)
payments at any time either online, by text, at any scheme. The criteria for ARC can be complicated
PayPoint outlet or over the phone. Call 0300 790 so, if in doubt, those in charge of residential care
6078 for further information. accommodation should contact us on 0300 790 6011.
• Other payment methods: Direct Debit is currently • Blind concession: People who are registered
the most popular payment method - used by over blind or severely sight impaired are entitled to a
14 million people – either annually, quarterly or 50% reduction in the TV Licence fee. To apply for a
monthly. An increasing number of people choose concessionary licence contact TV Licensing on 0300
to pay via our website www.tvlicensing.co.uk using 790 6076.
a credit or debit card - 1.8 million licences were sold
this way in 2008/09 – others simply pay over the When their licence is due for renewal, anyone who
phone. is blind or severely sight impaired should send their
renewal form and a photocopy of a certificate from
People can also opt to pay by putting a cheque their local authority or ophthalmologist indicating
for the full amount in the post. Cheques should be that they are blind or severely sight impaired to:
made payable to TV Licensing and sent to Customer Concessionary Licensing Centre, TV Licensing, Bristol
Services, TV Licensing, Bristol BS98 1TL. The payee's BS98 1TL. They will not need to provide any of this
name, address and TV Licence number (if renewing) information again when they next renew their TV
should also be written on the back of the cheque. Licence.
To find out more about the payment options
available, call us on 0300 790 6115 or visit www.
PROPERTIES TO LET
Do you have a friend or a relative in need of housing? If so detailed below is a list of
properties currently available to let.
For more information on any of the properties listed below and how to apply please feel free to contact
Helm Housing on 028 9032 0485.
BELFAST - NORTH BELFAST - SOUTH/EAST
McIlroy Court Arthur Road, Newtownabbey Hong Ling Gardens, McAuley Street
- (1 person/1bedroom over 55) - (Chinese elders)
Mount Vernon Court, Mount Vernon Lane Grahamsbridge Manor, Grahamsbridge Road,
- (1 person/1 bedroom) Flat Dundonald (over 65s) - Flat
1 bedroom/1 person
Sherbrook Close, Boundary Way 1 bedroom/ 2 person
- (1 person/1 bedroom) Flat 2 bedroom/ 2 person
Winchester Court, 2 Coniston Close
- (2 person/1 bedroom over 60s) Flat Scrabo Manor, Scrabo Glen, Newtownards
- 1 bedroom/2 person Flat
Chisholm Court, 29 Doagh Road, Ballyclare
- 1 person/1 bedroom- Flat Riverview, Antrim Road, Ballynahinch
- 1 bedroom/1 person Flat
Brookvale House, 33 Cliftonville Avenue - 1 bedroom/ 2 person Flat
- 2 person/1 bedroom Flat
Springwell Lodge, Groomsport
Dunowen Court, 21 Dunowen Gardens - 2 bedroom/3person flat
- 2 person/ 1 bedroom Flat
Orient, 63 Cliftonville road Richardson Court, Richardson street
- 2 person/ 1 bedroom flat - (Over 60s 1person/1bedroom) Flat
GENERAL NEEDS HOUSING
BELFAST - NORTH Tates House, Tates Avenue
Cairndale, Forthriver Drive - 2bedroom/3 person
- 1 bedroom/1 person apartments - 1 bedroom/1 person
Cliftonville Road, 65 Cliftonville Road Durham House, College Square North
- 1 bedroom/ 1 person
Eccles Street, Belfast
- 3 bedroom/ 5 person House Laurel Lodge, Flush Park, Lisburn
- 1 person/1 bedroom
BELFAST - WEST
Filbert Drive, Stewartstown Road BELFAST - SOUTH/EAST
- 3 bedroom/ 4 person- House The Mount, Belfast
- 2 bedroom/ 4 person -Flat - 1 person/1 bedroom
Helm Housing has established partnership
with two major DIY stores, Homebase
and B&Q, to provide tenants with home
To receive a Redecoration Allowance major repair of
your property must be undertaken i.e. damp proof
course installation, or works carried out under the
cosy homes scheme.
If you are entitled to a redecoration allowance Helm
will issue you with one of the following;
This is a plastic card which will be credited by Helm Tenants have the choice of Homebase or B&Q
to the value of your entitlement. It can be used at cards only. No other form of voucher will be issued
any Homebase store. Just to tenants. Remember please do not purchase
produce the card at the home redecoration items until you receive these
checkout as you pay for redecoration cards. It will take approximately two
any of the home decorating weeks to process your redecoration allowance.
products listed on the
voucher. You can spend the The Department for Social Development introduced
entire amount in one go or a higher rate that may be paid to qualifying tenants
as you need to. of registered Housing Associations. Tenants who fall
within all of the following circumstances are entitled
B&Q CARD to the Higher rate of redecoration allowance which is
B&Q cards work in the same to help pay for the cost of someone else doing their
way as the Homebase card. redecoration:
• The tenant must be at least 60 years of age.
STORES NEAR YOU: • The tenant must have a disability (i.e. in receipt of
a disability linked benefit)
Homebase stores are located at:
• The tenant must be in financial hardship (i.e. in
Bangor - Balloo Retail Park, Balloo Link receipt of means tested benefits such as Housing
Belfast - Forestside, Saintfield Road Benefit or Income Support)
Belfast - Shane Retail Park, • There must be no community based
Boucher Road redecoration schemes operating in the area
Craigavon - Rushmere Retail Park • There is no able-bodied person aged between
Omagh - Great Northern Retail Park, 18 and 59 residing in the property.
Those tenants entitled to the higher rate will receive
vouchers of their choice Homebase or B&Q vouchers
B&Q stores are located at:
for redecorating products plus a cheque to make up
Ballymena - Braidwater Retail Park their entitlement.
Belfast - Boucher Road,
Holywood Exchange, If you require any further information on the
Airport Road payment of Redecoration Allowance please
Lisburn - Sprucefield Retail Park contact your Housing Officer.
Newtownabbey - Abbey Retail Park,Church Rd
CONDENSATION, RADIATORS AND FROZEN PIPES
Condensation occurs when warm moist air meets a cold surface, it usually occurs in winter. The build up is a
result of the colder weather, windows are opened less therefore, and moist air cannot escape.
The moisture in the air comes from a number of sources including normal day-to-day activities such as
cooking, washing and drying. Below are details of ways this can be controlled.
The following steps may reduce condensation levels in winter months.
• After having a bath or shower ensure the extractor fan is on and the window is open, if possible try to
keep the door closed.
• When having a shower, refrain from running it before you are ready to use.
• When cooking, open the window, and use the extractor fan. Keep the kitchen door closed to prevent the
steam from spreading.
• Keep your heating at a constant temperature thus reducing cold areas where steam can accumulate and
• If there is no one in your house or flat during the day it can get quite cold, if possible set the heat to come
on during the day, on a low level.
• If possible dry your clothes outside, if you need to dry them inside be sure to open a window.
• Consider using a dehumidifier these can aid in removing a considerable amount of water from the air.
Condensation is the most common cause of dampness in buildings. It affects both old and new buildings, and
may lead to mould growth. Mould is an indicator of the presence of moisture and if caused by condensation,
gives warning that heating, ventilation or structural insulation may require improvement. It is the tenants
responsibility to ensure that suitable conditions to prevent condensation are practiced, poor practice in this
can lead to clothes, toys, furnishings, fixtures, wood or plastic being damaged or destroyed by mould.
HOW TO BLEED A RADIATOR
When a radiator is cold at the top and warm at the bottom or not heating at all it is likely that there is an air
lock. To bleed a radiator you will need a radiator “bleed key” or allen key, and a rag. Radiators normally have a
bleed screw at the top of the radiator.
To bleed a radiator:
• Ensure that the heating is turned off to prevent any further air locks
• Insert the key into the bleed valve.
• Turn the key anti-clockwise
• Under the bleed key hold a small cloth.
• You will hear a ‘hissing’ noise followed by water; turn the bleed key ‘clockwise’ to close the valve.
• The radiator should now heat fully.
The current cold weather we are experiencing can lead to frozen pipes in the home. This can cause thousands
of pounds worth of damage.
Below are some tips to help prevent this problem from arising.
• If you are going away over Christmas or for the weekend during the bad weather, set your heating to
come on during the day on a low temperature, this will keep your pipes warm.
• Cover water tanks and cisterns with insulation, as exposed pipes are susceptible to freezing.
• Remove the attic door from the roof space to allow hot air to enter into the space.
• Dripping taps may cause waste pipes to freeze.
• Try and eliminate draughts to keep the house warm.
• Know where the stopcock is.
In the event of a burst pipe, know were the stopcock is located. It is normally located in the kitchen under the
sink. The stopcock turns on and off the cold water system. By turning the stopcock in a clockwise direction will
shut the water system off, turning it anti-clockwise will turn it on again.
If the burst pipe is a pipe from the storage tank, turn the stop valve in the storage tank, turn all the hot taps
to drain the system, allow the fire to burn out or turn the heating off until the burst pipe has been attended
to by a plumber.
• Do not use the water heater as this may cause the hot water cylinder to collapse.
• The water supply should not be turned on until the burst pipe has been repaired.
• If the water has come into contact with electrical fittings the electricity should be turned off at the mains.
Aforementioned frozen pipes occur in the roof space or below the sink. If a pipe is frozen thaw it out
slowly using a hot water bottle or towels that are soaked in warm water. Using direct heat may cause
GOOD WATER SAFETY MANAGEMENT GUIDE:
What is Legionnaires Disease?
Legionnaires Disease is a form of pneumonia, which can cause ill health or in extreme cases can be fatal. It is
caused by breathing in small droplets of water infected with the Legionella bacteria.
Who is at risk?
Everyone is at risk of infection, but some people are at a higher risk; those over 45 years of age, smokers and
heavy drinkers, those suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease and people whose immune system
Where can Legionella be found?
Legionella bacteria are common in natural water courses such as rivers and ponds. Since Legionella is wide
spread, bacteria may contaminate and grow in man made systems like water-cooled air-conditioning systems
and hot and cold water systems.
What is Helm Housing doing?
Helm Housing employs a Water Hygiene Contractor to carry out risk assessments, checks and repairs of water
systems at sites that have communal water storage tanks.
What can you do in your own home?
Good house keeping measures:
• Make sure taps are in regular use (at least weekly) - if you've been away on holiday or are taking a new
tenancy, run all the taps at a gentle flow rate for two minutes.
• Keep shower heads or any other fitting in a clean condition and keep limescale to a minimum.
• Set water heaters to store hot water at 60OC. If you think your water heater is not working properly
please contact the office.
ADVICE CENTRE INFO
If you need help and information on your housing needs Helm has a number of advice centres
throughout Belfast. They are:
NEW OPENING HOURS FOR ADVICE CENTRE:
My Lady’s Road - Tuesday 10.30 -11.30am
Blackie Community Centre, Beechmount - Wednesdays 2-3pm
Bloomfield Avenue Advice Centre - Thursdays 2-3pm
Christ the Redeemer Church, Lagmore Drive - Thursdays 2-4pm
OTHER USEFUL CONTACTS:
Helm Housing 028 9032 0485
38-52 Lisburn Road
Belfast BT9 6AA
Emergency Repair Centre 08007 313081
(Weekdays after 5.00pm, Weekends and Holiday Periods)
NIE- Connection and Electric Failure 08457 643643
Bill enquiries/Payment Arrangements 08457 455455
Belfast City Council - Noise Hotline 028 9037 3006
Phoenix Gas : - Enquiries, Emergency Repairs 08454 555555
- If You Smell Gas 08000 020001
Water Service 08457 440088
BT : - To Report Faults 08008 00151 (24hrs)
- General enquiries 08008 00150
Gingerbread - Advice for lone parents 08008 00150
Help the Aged - Senior Line 08088 087575
Women’s Aid 028 9033 1818 (24hrs)
Debt Counselling Local Citizen’s Advice Bureau
HOUSING OFFICER CONTACT NUMBERS:
NORTH SOUTH EAST SOUTH WEST
Neill Beckett 028 9089 1070 Rosemary/ Evelyn 028 9089 1079 Ciaran Kelly 028 9089 1089
Rosemary Friars 028 9089 1067 Geraldine Carlisle 028 9089 1090 Jacqueline Cormican 028 9089 1069
Sarah Venny 028 9089 1077 Hugh Kearney 028 9089 1071 Margaret McConnell 028 9089 1093
Karen McFall 028 9089 9754 Tony Lavery 028 9089 1083 Jill Young 028 9089 1080
Paul Reynolds 028 9089 1062 Martina Reilly 028 9089 9762 Anne-Marie Lavery 028 9089 1075
Emma McCormick 028 9089 1052
DEBT RECOVERY OFFICERS:
Helen Martin 028 9089 1065 Laura Williams 028 9089 1052 Myrtle Cranston 028 9089 9784
ACCESS TO SERVICES
Language Line How to Contact Helm
We provide a telephone for people who do not You can contact the main Helm office by one of
speak English, this service is called the Language the following methods:
Line. The telephone number for the Language Telephone
Lines is: 0845 310 9900 028 9032 0485
Typetalk 028 9033 0402
Typetalk is a telephone service for anybody who Email
is deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired. firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact Helm from a textphone call: Writing
18001 028 9032 0485 Helm Housing, Helm House,
38-52 Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 6AA
IMPROVING ACCESS TO INFORMATION
Information Tenant Approved
We aim to make sure any information that we The Tenant Approved Scheme shows that our
provide is clear and easy to understand, and is tenants have approved a document for being
provided in a range of formats to meet tenants easy to read.
needs and expectations.
You can request an alternative format by
Alternative Formats contacting Performance and Standards by writing
We can provide all of our written information in to: Performance and Standards
the following formats: Helm Housing, Helm House,
38-52 Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 6AA OR
Telephone: 028 9032 0485
THIS SERVICE IS FREE OF CHARGE. If you are interested in helping us improve
We ask a number of tenants to give their how we communicate with tenants please
views on the layout, design and clarity of contact Performance and Standards on
language used in their documents. 02890 320485. 19
FIRE SAFETY GUIDELINES:
Helm Housing has recently completed fire risk assessment surveys on all of its properties in compliance with
Please make yourself aware of some of the outcomes of the fire risk assessments. We would ask for your
assistance in preventing fire and assuring your safety in a fire evacuation.
Fire Evacuation Strategy:
In the event of a fire occurring in your flat
• The fire alarm will sound.
• If this happens, alert your family and leave your flat immediately. Close all doors as you leave.
• Exit the building immediately using the nearest fire exit (you must use the stairs only-do not use the lift)
• Go directly to the outside assembly point (the location of the assembly point is stated on fire evacuation
notices throughout the building)
• When you are clear of the building call the fire service (dial 999) either on a mobile phone or by using a
public call box.
• Wait at the assembly point until the fire service arrives.
• Do not go back inside until the fire service says it is safe to do so.
• Do not attempt to tackle a fire.
If you are in the communal areas of the building (corridors, stairways or communal rooms) and you
observe fire or smoke:
• Operate the nearest break glass fire alarm call point* (apply moderate pressure to the red glass box until the
glass cracks. This will set off the fire alarm)
• Follow the same evacuation strategy as stated above.
*Not all buildings are fitted with break glass fire alarm call points.
FIRE SAFETY GUIDELINES:
Fire drills: Your Scheme Co-ordinators, Community
Coordinator or Community Support Officer will conduct 2
fire drills per year. Please participate fully in the fire drill.
Fire alarm and emergency lighting tests: Your Scheme
Co-ordinator, Community Coordinator or Community
Support Officer will test the fire alarm system every week
and will test the emergency lighting system every month.
You will be informed when the tests are being carried out
Fire doors: Many of the doors throughout the building are fire doors. You are advised to keep your internal flat
doors closed at all times and especially at night time. It is mandatory to keep flat entrance doors closed at all
times and it is not permitted to disconnect the self closing devices of flat entrance doors. It is also mandatory
to keep all fire doors in communal areas closed at all times unless the doors are fitted with devices that are
designed to close the doors automatically when the fire alarm operates. FIRE DOORS MUST NOT BE WEDGED
OR PROPPED OPEN. Scheme Co-ordinators, Community Coordinator and Community Support Officer will
regularly check all fire doors are closed.
Communal areas (including corridors, stairways and communal rooms) must be kept clear of all fire hazards:
Only electrical items that have been safety tested by an electrician are permitted in communal areas.
Tenants are not permitted to place personal electrical items or flammable items in any communal areas
without the approval of the Scheme Co-ordinator, Community Coordinator or Community Support Worker
(Prohibited items are chairs, tables, furniture, personal storage, cardboard boxes, electrical items, waste bags
Disabilities: Helm Housing are required by law to identify if any tenants have
any type of disability which may affect a person’s ability to escape from fire.
A questionnaire has previously been forwarded to you regarding this matter.
Where a person with a disability is identified Helm Housing management will
determine if any further action is required to ensure your safety from fire.
Visitors: If tenants are bringing visitors into the property then it is the tenant’s
responsibility to stay with the visitor at all times. Your visitor may have hearing,
sight or physical disabilities and may require your assistance during a fire
evacuation. On no account should a visitor who has a physical disability (in the
context of this letter, a physical disability means anyone who cannot use the
stairway due to a physical impairment) be allowed to leave the ground floor of the building. This is because
the stairs must be used to evacuate the building (where provided, lifts must not be used to evacuate).
CARBON MONOXIDE & ASBESTOS
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless,
tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete
burning of gas, oil, wood or coal.
Potential sources of carbon monoxide
• Ventilate rooms containing heating appliances
• Sweep chimneys regularly and keep them clear
• Use appliances only for the purpose for which
they were designed
• Never use any appliance if you suspect it might be faulty
• We will ensure that heating systems and gas appliances provided by Helm Housing are regularly
If you have appliances that use gas, oil, wood or coal, make sure they are serviced and maintained regularly
by a competent person.
By law, all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register to do any gas work.
If you still have a closed room heater, we will replace this with a new, modern central heating system. However,
if you wish to retain the room heater you should have the chimney cleaned regularly.
We will provide carbon monoxide detectors when we do replacement heating works, e.g. cosy homes and in
any new buildings
Asbestos was a very popular building material used for its natural properties:
It does not catch fire easily;
It withstands high heat,
It blocks noise and insulates buildings.
Asbestos can be found in homes built or refurbished before 2000.
There may be asbestos in the following areas:
• Fascia Boards
• Textures coatings such as Artex
• Roof tiles
Most common asbestos used in buildings is Crysotile or white asbestos, which is the softest and least harmful.
DIY activities such as drilling, sanding or sawing may disturb and possibly damage products containing
asbestos releasing fibres into the air. Current scientific advice tells us that asbestos is not a danger to your
health if it is in good condition and is not disturbed. It is unlikely that there is asbestos in your home but we
are surveying common areas of our buildings and will be surveying a percentage of tenant’s homes in order
to meet our legal obligations.
Over the forth-coming months we will be introducing ‘textback’ to some service areas, such as repairs. Please
help us with this initiative by providing us with your up-to-date contact details on the cut-off Contact Update
NB All completed Contact Update forms received by 31 January 2011 will be entered
into a prize draw to win £25 vouchers to spend on the high street.
please cut along the ine
CONTACT UPDATE FORM
Tenant Name: ____________________________________________________________
__________________________ Postcode: ________________________
Mobile telephone number: ________________________________________________
Telephone number: ________________________________________________
Completed Entries should be sent to:
Claire Bradley, Helm Housing, Helm House
38-52 Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 6AA
Telephone 028 9032 0485, or email email@example.com