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                                                                                                                                                                                                        M er
                                                                                                                              Connects     Summer 2009
                                                                                                                                           Published by Nexus Housing in partnership with
                                                                                                                                           the Customer Newsletter Panel

Lowesmoor House and Chalverton Court have both received £120
Community Funding from Nexus Housing Association to help buy
equipment for members of the residents’ Extend fitness classes.
Brian Hunt, a Customer Panel member and                               classes at Lowesmoor House and Chalverton
fitness trainer for the senior citizens of the two                    Court are pictured here with Nexus Customer
schemes, had successfully secured the funds.                          Involvement Officer, Lindon Morgan and Brian
The residents attending the ‘Extend’ fitness                          Hunt and their cheques.

  GIVING YOU A                                                                                                                                       OPENING TIMES
  GREAT DEAL                                                                                                                                           Please note our offices will close for the
                                                                                                                                                         August Bank Holiday from 5pm on
  All West Mercia residents – and that                                                                                                                    Friday 28th August until 9am on
  includes Nexus residents – are entitled
                                                                                                                                                              Tuesday 1st September.
  to discount at selected Jewsons and
  Dulux Decorator                                                                                                                                        Our normal office opening times are
  Centres.                                                                                                                                                9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
  All you have to do is use                                                                                                                                 We are not available between
  ‘thegooddealcard’ that                                                                                                                                           2pm and 3pm
  you will find inside this issue.
                                                                                                                                                         every Thursday due to staff training.
  To activate your card simply
  fill in your name, address and                                                                                                                        If you have an emergency
                                                                                 If your card goes missing contact
  contact details and take it with
                                                                                Katie Summers on                                                        repair to report while our office

  you when you go shopping,
  together with additional proof                                               01527 556404 or email:                                                   is closed please call
  of your address to be sure you                                              katie.summers@wmhousing.co.uk
  can use the card.                                                                                                                                    0845
             Jrust                                Please find enclosed in your Bumper Summer
                                                  Nexus Connects a fun activity comic for the                                                          3441
             fo kids
                                                  younger readers to enjoy this Summer!

        Please place into recycling
        when you have finished
        reading, thank you
                            Harden Housing Association, Kemble Housing, Nexus Housing, Herefordshire Supported Housing for Young People Project and Whitefriars Housing Group are members of West Mercia Housing Group
                                                          NEXUS CONNECTS SUMMER 2009

Find out about the schemes   lWhere    is it? Close to the city centre, on the site
                                                                                         PORCELAIN WAY WORCESTER
  the Association manages     of a former Worcester porcelain factory.
 and hear from the people    lWhat   does it consist of? Modern new build flats
     who live in them.        and houses. A variety of rented, leaseholder and
                              shared ownership properties.
                             lWhen     was it built? In 2008. It is now home to
                              at least 50 Nexus customers. Amongst those who
                              can remember how the site was is Mr Bill
                                    Stickland, formerly head of security at the
                                          factory which had stood on the site. On
                                               the day we visited, Bill was taking a
                                                      trip down memory lane with
                                                      his wife Beryl and
                                                      granddaughter Eloise,
                                                      reminiscing about the old
                                                      porcelain factory and his days   Above: Lindon Morgan,
                                                      as head of security patrolling   Customer Involvement Officer
                                                                                       with Bill Stickland and his
                                                      the site.                        family
                             lWhat   is it like to live there?                         community spirit. The
                              Keith Mousley, one of our first customers to move        development is perfectly
                              into the development and Chair of the Worcester          nestled between the River
                              Porcelain Residents Group, said;                         Seven and the canal,
                             “I would describe Worcester Porcelain as being a          providing tranquility and
                             modern, clean living environment, attracting people       relaxation from the hectic
                             with a universal desire to create a strong positive       working environment.”            Lindon takes a walk around the scheme with Keith Mousley

        Would you like to nominate your scheme for ‘Down Your Way’? If so, please contact your Housing Officer. Tel: 01905 342600
                                                  or email: nexus@wmhousing.co.uk

WELCOME                                                 MAINTENANCE MAESTROS
                                                      Our dedicated Repairs Service Team looks after                  Heading up the Team is Repairs Service
TO LINDON                                             all maintenance work, kitchens, bathrooms,
                                                      cyclical updating (such as painting), aids and
                                                                                                                      Manager, Nick Howland; Maintenance Officer
                                                                                                                      Tom Hughes, Maintenance Surveyors, Ben
A warm welcome to Lindon                              adaptations and any works required between                      Hughes and Ian Chuter and Administrator,
                                                      homes becoming empty (void) and being relet.                    Carly Ruddock.
Morgan who joined Nexus
Housing Association at the
beginning of June as our
Customer Involvement Officer.
He was a
                                                        ALL IN A DAY FOR
police officer
for fourteen
years and
                                                        THE MAINTENANCE TEAM
qualified as a
specialist                                              Monday 8th June                                               Tuesday 9th June
Anti-Social                                             09.00 – Review Gas Certification process to                   09.00 – 17.00 – College.The association is an
Behaviour                                               ensure it meets West Mercia Housing Group                     ‘Investor in People’ and Ben Hughes,
                                                        and Nexus Procedures. Like all landlords, we                  Maintenance Surveyor is studying for a HNC in
Most of his
experience                                              have a legal duty to service all gas fires, water             Construction.
has been                                                heaters and boilers in our homes every year.                  Wednesday 10th June
gained                                                  11.00 – Pre-inspection of ‘Void’ properties to                09.00 - Review Aids and Adaptations to make
within                                                  allocate any works required to contractors to                 sure we are providing a good service both in
Midlands inner city areas, and he was                   ensure they meet our lettable standard.                       the office and onsite with residents, contractors
nominated for the outstanding individual                                                                                  and Occupational Therapists. Aids and
achievement award with Redditch                         14.00 – Review
                                                        Cyclical Painting                                                 Adaptations, such as handrails, special
Borough Council in 2008.
                                                        Programme. Painting                                               showers and stair lifts, make life easier for
Lindon is currently working on a                                                                                          customers who need them.
                                                        is carried out at five-
number of new projects, including the
planning and organising of our first                    year intervals for                                                 12.00 – Carry out pre-inspection to
Nexus Customer Conference. He has                       outside woodwork                                                   analysis defects within our properties,
already met many of our customers and                   and ten-year intervals                                             accompanied by Housing Officers and
is hoping to meet more in the coming                    for stairways and                                                  contractors.
months.                                                 lobby walls in blocks                                              15.00 – Planned Maintenance Programme
                                                        of flats.                                                          allocation. All work is tendered to ensure
 If you would like to get involved in                   16.00 – Check                                                      value for money and quality of work.
 helping to develop any of our                          emails – liaise with                                               16.00 – Authorise invoices and monitor
 services contact Lindon Morgan                         colleagues and                                                     contractor performance.
 on 01905 342600.                                       contractors.

                                                                NEXUS CONNECTS SUMMER 2009

Composting is not only great for                         Simply:                                                          3. It takes about 9-12 months, but when your
                                                         1. Site your                                                        compost contents have turned into a crumbly,
gardens, it’s good for the                                  composter in a                                                   dark material resembling, thick, moist soil, it is
environment.                                                sunny spot, and                                                  ready to use, your flowers, vegetables and
                                                            on bare soil if                                                  other plants will love it!
By sorting out your waste into the compost or
green waste bins supplied by your local council                                                                           Help on hand
you are helping to cut down the amount that              2. Fill with
                                                            anything from                                                 Heaps of sites offer tips on how to make, care for
goes to general landfill.
                                                            vegetable and                                                 and use compost. One of the most popular is the
Experts reckon that around 40 per cent of the                                                                             BBC’s gardening site
                                                            fruit peelings to
average dustbin contents are suitable for home                                                                            www.bbc.co.uk/gardening
                                                            grass cuttings,
composting – and that’s a lot of goodness that can
                                                            teabags, toilet                                               Search for compost and you can even take part in
be recycled!
                                                            roll tubes,                                                   a Hurl-a-Heap game!
Make your own                                               cereal boxes and
If you do have room to compost at home, it is
                                                            eggshells. (Do not compost cooked food, meat                   Contact your local council for further
                                                            or fish - some council composters can cope with                information on composting and
not a complex process. You can either make your
                                                            these because of the very high temperatures                    recycling in your area.
own compost container or buy one.
                                                            they reach, but home composting cannot).


                                         All you have to do is find the 12 items you would find in a compost bin in
                                         the word search. As you look for the hidden words, remember that they
                                         can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, forward or backward.

    T    P     A     S    S      A   R     G      Q      A     P       I       GROW
    A    E     W     E    E      D   S     A      D      U     A       S       YOUR
    F    E     A     T    W      B   A     O      A      R     P       S       OWN
    L    L     G     E    B      O   O     A      S      U     E       D       HERB
                                                                               GARDEN                                       Are you
                                                                                                                            ready for
                                                                                                                            digital TV?
                                                                               Fill in the entry form and return it         Results of an initial survey to determine how many
    X    G     D     C    A      B   B     A      G      E     S       A       by Friday, 25th September
                                                                               2009 for the chance to win this
                                                                                                                            of our residents are ready
                                                                                                                            for digital TV are currently
    E    A     S     S    T      S   U     D      W      A     S       C       stylish kitchen window box
                                                                               herb garden.                                 being assessed, and a second
                                                                               Send your entry to:                          phase of consultation
    CABBAGE   EGGSHELLS FRUIT                               GRASS              Richard Hancock,

                                                                                                                            will take place later this year.
                                                                               Customer Involvement
    CARDBOARD FLOWERS   WEEDS                               PAPER              Officer, West Mercia Housing                 Work is expected to begin
                                                                               Group, Barnsley Hall,
    TEABAGS   SAWDUST   PEELINGS                            WOOD               Barnsley Hall Road,                          next spring to help all
                                                                               Bromsgrove, Worcestershire,                  our residents make
                                                                               B61 0TX.                                     sure they are ready
    Entry              Name
                       Address                                                               Closing date is
                                                                                                                            for digital TV by
                                                                                                                            the end of 2010.
    Form                                    Postcode
                                                                                               Friday 25th
                                                                                            September 2009                    For more information contact the Nexus
                                                                                                                              Maintenance Team on 01905 342 600

                                                           NEXUS CONNECTS SUMMER 2009

                                                                           CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

At your
We are improving the way in which we look after
gas appliances for all our residents.
An annual service of all gas appliances is a legal      The Group Joint Customer Panel visit Whitefriars offices in Coventry before going on a stock tour
obligation for all landlords and we have been
working hard with our contractor Status Heating         The ‘Group Joint Customer Panel’                                  a key role in helping us to achieve more
to make sure that not only can we carry out all the     continues to make great strides forwards. It is                   consistency across the Group as well as
service checks, but that the right numbers of           made up of involved customers from all of our                     improving services.
engineers are available during winter months when       Associations, Harden, Nexus, Kemble and                           Without doubt the Panel is challenging us more,
calls for repairs are at their highest.                 Whitefriars. It has now met five times since                      which is exactly what we want and it is about to
As a result, some people might find that their annual   Whitefriars joined the Group and it has had an                    elect it’s own Chair and take forward the
safety check and service is brought forward to the      important input into developing the Group’s                       agenda within it’s wider remit.
summer and early autumn. You will be advised of         new vision and values, corporate aims and
any appointments to carry out the service. Please       future plans for engaging customers.
help us by letting our engineers in – or by arranging                                                                        If you want to join the Customer Panel
                                                        The Panel has also visited the new Group
alternative dates if the appointment is not suitable.   Contact Centre at Nexus and viewed various                           contact your Housing Officer on
                                                        homes within the Group. The Panel exchange                            01905 342600
  For more information please contact
                                                        experiences of their Associations and are playing
  Nexus on 01905 342600

   Take part in                                         MULBERRY TERRACE
   our first
   Customer                                             SET TO BLOOM AGAIN
Join us at the Sixways Stadium - home to the
Worcester Warriers - on Thursday 29th October.
It’s half term week,
there’s going to be plenty
to do, for young and old,
and it’s all free!
The Nexus Customer
Conference is a chance
n celebrate our new partnership with
n meet our staff and hear about our                     Nexus staff, residents and                                        suggestions are
                                                                                                                          now being acted
  services                                              contractors are preparing to roll up                              upon to give the
n view exhibitions by local jobs                        their sleeves and don their wellies                               area a bright
  and training providers, the Emergency                                                                                   and cared-for
  Services, Army and Navy                               to spruce up Mulberry Terrace.                                    feel. The project
n meet specialist advisers in finance,                  The area, in one of the older parts of Worcester,                 is creating a
  lifestyle and housing                                 has suffered wear and tear in communal areas.                     sense of
                                                        Anti-social behaviour from some former residents                  community and will, we hope, bring lasting
n take part in children’s activities                                                                                      improvement. ”
                                                        also added to the need for a general tidy-up.
Worcester Warriers are donating a season ticket for
                                                        Housing Officer, Anne King successfully applied to                Pitching in with residents on the day will be
the 2009/2010 season to a lucky Nexus customer.
For your chance to win the ticket, register your        Nexus for a £2000 Community Funding Grant to                      grounds maintenance contractor Sheldons and
interest with Lindon Morgan by emailing                 carry out environmental improvements. On                          some of the Customer Service Advisors from
lindon.morgan@wmhousing.co.uk or call                   Friday 28th August it will be all hands to the pump               Nexus led by Customer Involvement Officer,
01905 342600                                            to put in new plants and flower beds, turf and                    Lindon Morgan.
                                                        shrubs as well as repairing some fencing to front                 Mandy Hall, one of the original residents at
  Further information on the Worcester                  gardens and elsewhere.                                            Mulberry Terrace commented; “Once we all chip
  Warriors and Sixways go to
                                                        Anne said; “The residents at Mulberry Terrace are                 in and it is done and tidied, we can all take pride in
  www.warriors.co.uk and
                                                        really behind the improvements and their                          our street”

                                                               NEXUS CONNECTS SUMMER 2009

On tour in the Contact
Twenty customers representing all four
West Mercia Housing Group Associations
were given a grand tour of the new
Contact Centre by the Contact Centre
Manager, Elaine Cash.
The customers helped Elaine
and her team explore ways
to make repairs reporting
more user friendly.
Elaine said: “This was a great
opportunity to meet all the
contact centre staff, share
experiences and get a real
understanding of how the
service works”.

Customers from across West Mercia Housing Group
watch on as Contact Centre staff log incoming repairs

By listening to our customers we know that the
               Helping Us to
repairs service is a high priority to many people.
                                                                                                              A helping
Leading up to the launch of our new Group wide

               Help You,
Contact Centre we have worked with the new
Contact Centre Team, to give them as much training
as possible. This included visits to homes and estates
to learn more about the Association stock across the       5 Tips for Reporting Repairs…
                                                                                                              Nexus has been working very closely, and
Group.                                                                                                        in partnership with, Worcester Housing &
                                                           1. Give us as much helpful information as
Sally (one of the new advisors) said; “The training was       possible. We will ask you some questions so     Benefit Advise Centre (WH&BAC) which
intense but it enables me to give a good service to our       that we can get the right repair ordered and    has enabled our customers to access help
customers. There’s nothing better than being able to          the right craft-worker to visit you.
help people who have a real emergency and knowing                                                             to resolve benefit queries and access
that they are getting a quick and efficient service from   2. Try to avoid peak periods (9-10.30am and        financial and debt advice.
our repairs contractors. There is also a really good          lunchtimes) unless it is an emergency, as we
sense of team work”.                                          don’t want you to have to wait.                 Since the agreement has
Shirley (another new advisor) summed up her first
                                                                                                              been set up more
                                                           3. Remember there are some repairs you are
few months; “I work with a great bunch of people, we                                                          than 100
                                                              responsible for. You can check what these are
support each other and it’s a pleasure and joy to come        in your Residents Handbook and in your          customers have
to work. It’s hard work but really enjoyable”.                Tenancy Agreement.                              been assisted.
We hope that as we learn, you will experience a                                                               We will feature
continuously improving service, that politely explains     4. Out of office hours, that’s between 6pm and
which repairs we are responsible for and any that             8am, and the weekends, the Contact Centre       more information
you need to carry out.                                        can only accept calls to report emergencies.    in our next issue,
In order to improve though, we need your feedback          5. Remember your appointment and please stay       but, in the meantime,
and would encourage you to let us know anything               in for it. To help you remember we will also    if anyone is interested in
we can improve further by filling in the repairs              send you a number of text message reminders     obtaining this assistance please contact
satisfaction questionnaire that you will receive once a       (unless of course you do not want us to).
repair has been completed.                                                                                    our Income Management Staff on
                                                                                                              01905 342600.

                                                                    NEXUS CONNECTS SUMMER 2009

            OMER EY 2009
        CUST SURV
                          se of you
                                                                                               t we can’t
                                                                                ments tha individual
                                                              specific co give you an
              ks to tho                                        response to
                                                                                                      that every
Many than customer survey
                              questionna ng with
                                 a numb

                                          er of
                                                                               nt to
                                                                We do wa s been read and
                                                                comment ents, along with the part of a
                                                                                        assure you noted and

                                                                 these com ur responses will fo
                                                                                                                                      When Nexus residents
                                       ents, we h                                 yo                          ing                                             contact the office
                                              sy going            findings of n plan we are putt e                                    most find getting hold of
                                                                                                                                                                 the right person
                                   been bu               il                        tio
                                                                   detailed ac customers. This wil edition
                                                                                                               lb                     easy 77% residents, 68
                                    throug   h the deta                             ith                         xt                                             % supported,
                                                                    together w you to see in the ne                                  80% sheltered, howeve
                                     of th e feedback                                r                                                                          r home owners
                                                                     available fo nnects.                                            found it less
                                       w e have             s        of Nexus c
                                                                                      o                         ll flavour o
                                                                                                                            f       easy with a
                                        receiv  ed. Thank                                         er e is a sma
                                                                                                                  . We take
                                                                                     an time, h
                                         also   to                    In the me things you have said ise to                         percentage of
                                                                                       e                          m
                                          'Feedback                    some of th ery seriously and pro are                         55%.
                                                                                        v                          e
                 irkb y                     Services' w
                                                        ho              your views s where you think w ere are                     Once staff
                                                                                       e a                         wh
          ine B
    ther irector                            were the                    address ar celebrate the areas                             have been
 Ca tant D                                                                              d
 Assis                                               the data
                                        to look at on the                weaker an                                                 contacted, the
                                asked                                    doing well.                               on any of
                                                                                                                                   majority of
                    company with your views                                                           formation ot
                        back to us
         and come ices that the team
          range of s e.
                                                   here at                                t further in
                                                                          If you wan ntioned, please do us.
                                                                           the items ontact us here at N
                                                                                                                                  residents found
                                                                                                                                  them to be helpful
                                                                                                                                 86% resident, 89%
                                                                                                                                                              supported resid
                         vid                                                hesitate to
                                                                                             c                                                                satisfied with ents
           Nexus pro                              we need to                                                                     sheltered, 95%
                                     areas that ade some                                                                                                      helpfulness of staf
                          of course                                                                                              supported and only                              f
            There are some of you have m                                                                                         64% of home owners.
            improve a

                                                                          Overall satisfaction
                                                                          with service
                                                                          The majority of residen
                                                                                                    ts 83%
                                                                          are satisfied with the ov
                                                                          services provided by
                                                                         Nexus and a 1%
                                                                         increase since the
                                                                         2006 survey.

        Repairs and
                                                                        Sheltered customers
                                                                        were the most
                                                                        satisfied 92%
                                                                       followed by supporte
                                                                                               d customers 77%. H                             of residents
                                                                       owners were the leas                            ome
                                                                                                t satisfied with the over                     satisfied
                                                                       service with only 55%                              all
         78% of residents, 77% of supported
         customers and 88% of sheltered
         customers are satisfied with the overall
         repairs and maintenance service. An

         overwhelming 100%
         was scored from
         our supported
          customers for
          speed at which
                               of sheltered residents                                                                    RESIDE ED
                               satisfied with the
          the work was         overall service
          quality of repair,                                                                                                                            e satisfied
                                                                                                                                         s residents ar
          attitude of worker and                                                                                            7% of Nexu
                                                                                                                           7                    em informed
           being told when the work will start.                                                                            that N exus keeps th            and
                                                                                                                                          red customers
               If you would like to become                                                                                 8 9% of shelte                ough
                                                                                                                                         e owners, alth                 of residents
             involved in our Repairs Group                                                                                  65% of hom                    at
                                                                                                                                            d customers                 satisfied
              contact your Housing Officer.                                                    on resident                  fewer supporte
                                                                                   See article                                           ere satisfied.
                                                                                               t on page 5
                                                                                                          .                  only 60% w

                                                                 NEXUS CONNECTS SUMMER 2009

A nti-Social                                                                                                                       Taking
Behav   iour (ASB)
s atisfaction                                  nts reported an
                                                                                                                                   account of
 Only a small pr
 behaviour to N
 customers foun
                             of Nexus reside
                     us over the pa
                  d it ea
                                      st 12 months,
                           sy to contact th
                            found staff he
                                                       60% of these
                                             e right person
                                            lpful, however
                                                             , while 25%
                                                              only 43% of                                                          your
                   t. 61%                               oblem.
 found it difficul                    al with their pr
                  d  staff able to de
  residents foun                                tered and supp
                   action im   proved for shel                        g that
  However satisf                                    sheltered feelin
                  h 83% supp      orted and 70%
   customers wit                                           how we                                                                  54% of
                                          an example of
                    ful. See page 8 for
   staff were help                                 cester.                                                                         supported
   recently ac ted to solve a

       If you are suffe
                                 problem in Wor

                         ring proble  ms of anti-soc
                                     dedicated hotl
                                                      ial behaviour
                                                     ine on 0845 60
                                                                      out of office
                                                                       4 1453
            hours then ring
                                                                                                         customers satisfied       sheltered

     Satisfaction with the neighbourhood in which                                                                                  that we took into
                                                                  top 3 issues for residents are car parking,
    you live is very positive and very high
    compared with other landlords and much
                                                                  disruptive children/teenagers and
                                                                                                                                   account their
                                                                                                                                   views, but only
                                                                                                                                   40% of
                                                                                                                                                                   of residents think
    improved since our last survey. Where ther                                                                                                                     their views are
                                                e                    See page 11 for further details on how
    were problems in your neighbourhoods the                                                                 residents
                                                                       tackled rubbish and litter on one of esta
                                                                                                                                   home owners                     taken into account
                                                                                                                                   thought that this
                                                                                                                                   was the case.

                                                                                                                                      Survey Prize
                                                                                                                                     Draw Winners
                                                                                                                                            Mr M Sheehan
                                                                                                                                              Mr K Jelfs
of residents
                                                                                                                                               Eve sha m
                                                                                                                                             Mrs O Peters
satisfied with the
neighbourhood                                                                                                                               Mrs M Chambers
                                                                                                                                              Birm ing ham

   80% of Nexus residents are satisfied with the quality of

   their homes with even higher satisfaction ratings from
   sheltered customers 97%, supported customers
                                                                                      of residents

                                                                                                                              ING TO
   80% and home owners 85%.

  JARGON BUSTER:                                                                                                         LOOK TURE
  Resident:                a person who rents and lives in a home owned by the association.
                                                                                                                         THE FU              at gives yo
                                                                                                                                                           u a bit
                                                                                                                                                                                  ation on w
                                                                                                                                                                   more inform e provide.
                                                                                                                                                                ng and serv
                                                                                                                                                                              ices w

                                                                                                                           So hopefully th         t the housi                              ugh
  Home owner:                                                                                                                                 bou                              edback thro
                           a person who lives in the home that he/she owns or is purchasing, or has a                            have said a                      get your fe                  ety
                                                                                                                           you                       not just to                   gh the vari
                           share in the equity of the property with the association.
                                                                                                                            We are    really keen              gular  basis throu           if you
                                                                                                                                                but on a re                    let us know
  Sheltered:                                                                                                                      eys like this                 offer. Please
                           housing specially designed for older people, grouped together with a range of                    surv                   tivities we                      ays you can
                           communal facilities.                                                                              of invo lvement ac              bout th  e various w
                                                                                                                                              formation a
  Supported:                                                                                                                 w  ant more in

                                                                                                                                                         ne Birkb y
                           shared or self-contained accommodation in which people with special needs are                                   d.
                                                                                                                              get involve
                           provided with a wider range of services designed to meet their support needs.

                                                                                                                                                 Assistant D
                                                             NEXUS CONNECTS SUMMER 2009

  Payzone YOU TOLD US
  ceases WE DID IT
 You are
 reminded that
                                                        Members of the Disability
 you can no                                             Equality Panel pointed out that

                              7                                                                                                                                      6
                                                                                                                                         Hous ing Aids
 longer use                                             our Housing Aids and
                                                                                                                                         and Adaptations

 Payzone to pay                                         Adaptations leaflet did not
                                                                                                                                                Helping you manage in your

 your rent, but                                         make it clear who they should
 you can use any                                        contact first. We have now
                                                                                 Do you want this leaflet
                                                                                                          in a different format?

                                                                                                                       01527 556400

                                                        reworded and reissued the
 Paypoint outlet
                                                        leaflet stating that your
                                                                         Harden Housing Association
                                                                                                      Kemble Housing
                                                                                                                         Nexus Housing

 or pay at any                                          Housing Officer is your first
 Post Office.                                           contact for minor adaptations – and
 If you would prefer                                    listed what those are – and we have
 you can pay on line                                    listed those major adaptations where
 using your payzone                                     an Occupational Therapist’s assessment
 swipe card or debit                                    would be required before works can
 card by going to                                       be carried out.
 www.allpay.net                                         Also when Housing Officer, Jennifer
 and click on ‘make a                                   Solely went on an estate walkabout
 payment’, or you can                                   with customers at King Charles Close, a resident,                                                                            The Disability Equality Panel would
 pay over the phone                                     Mrs Field, asked if an area of land which had                                                                                welcome new members. We are looking to
 on 0870 7700472.                                       become dark and shaded could be grassed over                                                                                 roll this Panel out across the Group if you
                                                        and the ivy removed.
 If you have a bank account you can also                                                                                                                                             would like to join contact your Housing
 pay your rent via a direct debit.                      We were delighted to oblige – and look                                                                                       Officer on 01905 343600
                                                        what a great difference it has made!

Acting for                                                  ARE WE MEETING OUR
                                                            SERVICE STANDARDS?

                                                             Responding to you                                                                                                      Managing Your Home
                                                             98%       of telephone calls were answered                                                                             75%          of anti social behaviour reports
                                                                                                                                                                                    (12 cases)
                                                                       within 6 rings.                                                                                                           were responded to within 14 days.

Nexus takes anti-social                                      76%       of letters and emails were answerd                                                                           100%         of harassment or racial
                                                                                                                                                                                    (7 cases)
                                                                       within 7 days.                                                                                                            harassment reports were
behaviour (ASB) very                                                                                                                                                                             responded to within 2 days.
                                                             Access to our services
seriously and recently acted                                 We received 0 requests for access to
                                                             customer files or computer records.                                                                                    50%          of harassment or racial
to solve a problem in                                                                                                                                                               (2 cases)
                                                                                                                                                                                                 harassment cases were a physical
Worcester.                                                   Repairs                                                                                                                             attack has taken place were
Following complaints from neighbours over a                  100%      of our emergency repairs were                                                                                             responded to within 1 day.
period of time, and a number of failed attempts to                     completed or made safe within 24
reach a solution, we successfully applied to the
                                                                                                                                                                                    Responding To Complaints
courts for an injunction against the resident for ASB        83%       of our routine repairs were offered                                                                          50%          of complaints were responded to
and were granted outright possession of the                                                                                                                                                      within 14 days.
                                                                       an appointment within 28 days
property by the judge.
                                                             99%       of our homes with a gas supply                                                                               Getting Involved
The perpetrator was a single person suffering from
alcoholism who used the house as a bail address.
                                                                       have received an annual gas                                                                                  81%          of the actions in the annual
This resident’s behaviour, and the behaviour of                        safety check.                                                                                                             Customer Involvement Statement
visitors to the property, caused the complainant to                                                                                                                                              have been completed.
feel persecuted.
                                                                                                      These figures are for the period April 2009 - June 2009
The house has now been re-let as a family home.
                                                                   NEXUS CONNECTS SUMMER 2009

A big 3
                                                                 We achieved this in June 2008 and our
                                                                 Customer Panels were extremely valuable in
                                                                 agreeing the content and the
                                                                 design of the new campaign

for Resident
                                                                 and leaflet.
                                                              4. Developing the role of our existing
                                                                 Customer Monitors to become

                                                                 ambassadors for their local
                                                                 At the beginning of 2008 we only had a
In 2008 we set out eight different ways                          handful of customer monitors. We now
through which we would improve                                   have an amazing 350 monitors across the
                                                                 3 Associations as at April 2009 and these                        We have achieved half of this target. We completed a
resident involvement. We are now able                            customers are helping us to manage our                           comprehensive review of Customer Involvement in
to put a big tick by almost every single                         schemes better.                                                  March 2009. The communications review however has
one. The eight targets were:                                  5. Ensuring that we have in place a regular                         been put on hold as we want to complete this
                                                                 programme of customer training.                                  with Whitefriars Housing who joined the Group
1. Asking customers to help us set the priorities                                                                                 in December 2008. We will carry this target
   for further service improvements as well as                   We haven't achieved this. Although we have carried out           forward to 2009/2010.
   the way they are involved in this work.                       lots of adhoc customer training, we haven't yet extended
                                                                 it to all customers in the way we planned.                 8. Formally launching 'Scheme Walkabouts'
   We achieved this in early 2008 via a telephone survey of                                                                    where customers are invited to work jointly
                                                                 We will carry this target
   some 400 customers and you told us that your top                                                                            with staff to improve our services.
                                                                 forward to 2009/2010.
   priorities are customer involvement and
   communication.                                             6. Ensuring that all staff are regularly updated                    We have recently achieved this and now all large
                                                                 about the benefits of effective customer                         housing schemes have scheduled walkabouts.
2. Setting up joint meetings where customers                                                                                      Now that the walkabouts are in place we know
   and Board Members review the performance                                                                                       that we need to improve the process in the
   of our services together.                                     We have achieved this by regular updates to                      coming months.
                                                                 staff and the production of a customer
   We have called these Groups 'Scrutiny Panels' and
                                                                 involvement newsletter given out to all                         We have worked hard on our Customer
   we have now set these up at all 3 Associations
                                                                 members of staff.
   during late 2008 and early 2009.                                                                                              Involvement service this year and we are
                                                              7. Delivering customer priorities set in 2007, by                  pleased to have completed 61/2 actions
3. Re-launching our 'Take heart -Take part'
                                                                 carrying out a comprehensive service review                     out of 8.
   campaign which offers a menu of opportunities
                                                                 of our customer involvement service followed
   to get involved, such as being a member of our                                                                                We will carry these 11/2 actions forward
                                                                 by a review of how we communicate with
   Telephone Panel through to Work shadowing                                                                                     to 2009/2010
   or becoming a Board Member.

  MORE SAY FOR                                                                                                              Are you a
  HOME OWNERS                                                                                                               Change
  A new Home Owner Panel has been set up to give
  home owners more of a say in our services.
  Home owners are a growing group, making
                                                                                                                            Y can make a REAL difference to the
  up 14% of our customers, and include                                                                                      quality of services that Nexus offers its
  shared owners, leaseholders who have                                                                                      residents by joining one or both of our
  bought a flat and those who have bought                                                                                   ground breaking new groups.
  the property outright, but are required to
  pay a service charge.                                                                                                     l   Scrutiny Panel
                                                                                                                            This resident-led group maintains an overview of service
  All our home owners were invited to                                                                                       delivery. Members examine the decisions made by the Board
  attend the first Panel meeting in March                                                                                   and can choose to ‘scrutinise’ them in depth and make
  and the Panel now consists of 12 members                                                                                  appropriate recommendations.
  from Worcester. We are also hoping to                                                                                     l   Customer Inspectors
  encourage owners from Bromsgrove,                                                                                         The Customer Inspectors work closely with the Scrutiny
  Redditch, Evesham and elsewhere to join.                                                                                  Panel and give an independent view from a residents’
                                                              The Panel may also look at the delivery of                    perspective to improve services.
  The Panel discusses areas of concern. One                                                                                 They can inspect any of the services by:
  of the first topics members focused on was                  the service contracts carried out on many
  a Home Owners Strategy that has been                        of our schemes and the ways that home                         • conducting face to face interviews;
  developed and has since been agreed.                        owners could become involved in the
                                                                                                                            • carrying out telephone surveys;
                                                              monitoring of these contracts.
  The strategy commits the Group to                                                                                         • shadowing Officers.
  working with home owners to improve and                                                                                   These new groups add extra accountability and challenge
  shape the service and information available                                                                               why and how Nexus does things - helping us to constantly
  to them.                                                     If you are a home owner,                                     improve.
                                                               live outside Worcester and
  The Panel was also advised about the
                                                               would be interested in                                           If you would like to join either one get in
  changes being made to statements being
                                                               joining the Panel, please                                        touch with Lindon Morgan, Customer
  sent out in October which give a
  breakdown of all elements included within
                                                               Lindon Morgan and                                                Involvement Officer on
  the charge which are based on actual costs                                                                                    01905 342 600 or email
                                                               Rose Lewis on 01905 342600.
  from the previous year.

                                                     NEXUS CONNECTS SUMMER 2009

                                                 ANNUAL REPORT
                                                 Customer Ideas Sessions
                                                 Watch out for an Annual Report with a                            YouTube style
                                                 difference after an ideas session with                           film for everyone
                                                 customers from all four of our Housing                           to watch.
                                                 Associations.                                                    The Annual
                                                 The result was a highly original idea of                         Report will be
                                                 customers interviewing Managers asking the                       completed in
                                                 questions they want answering. A final twist                     November 2009
                                                 is that in addition to the traditional paper                     and will be posted to all our customers with
Accounts that                                    based Annual Report, the interviews will be
                                                 filmed and placed on the website in a
                                                                                                                  the winter edition of the newsletter.

benefit you
There are many benefits to having a
bank account. Even a basic bank
account will give you the opportunity to
use additional ways to pay your rent
and other household bills.
All our customers can approach any High
Street bank direct and ask for information
about the different accounts and how to
open one.

 Alternatively, there is information available
 on the Financial Services Authority (FSA)
 about bank accounts and credit unions.          Residents and staff from all Associations within West Mercia Housing Group met to discuss ideas for this years Annual Report

 Monitor                                         Rent increases explained
 training                                         The Government sets guidance on
                                                  how we increase the rent we
                                                  charge every year. Following this
                                                                                                                    since we expect inflation to be much lower this
                                                                                                                    September. Unfortunately, we have been told that
                                                                                                                    this is not allowed.
                                                                                                                    “We can however assure our customers that we
                                                  guidance means that this year our                                 will use the extra money we receive from this rise
                                                  rents need to rise by the rate of                                 to make further improvements in our services and
                                                                                                                    properties. Since this year’s inflation is set to be
                                                  inflation as it was on 30th                                       much lower than last year’s, we expect that any
                                                  September 2008 plus 0.5%.                                         rent increases next year will also be lower.
                                                  Last September inflation stood at 5%                                          “Although our residents who receive full
                                                  and so, from 1st October, your rent                                                       housing benefit will have
                                                  will go up by 5.5%.                                                                                   the increase
                                                                                                                                                       paid, we realise
                                                  Since last September inflation has                                                                  that for many of
                                                  fallen considerably and so we                                                                      our residents
 A series of training sessions is being           asked if we could spread this                                                                          5.5%
 planned for our Customer Monitors – the          increase over two years.                                                                                represents a
 volunteers who review our contractors’           Unfortunately, despite our best                                                                       significant rise
 services, including cleaning of communal         efforts we have not been allowed to                                                                over and above
 areas, windows and grounds                       do this.                                                                                         any pay, pension or
 maintenance services.                            The Government has also set a target rent                                                      benefit rises they
                                                  level for social housing. For people whose rent                                              might have received”.
 The sessions will also
                                                  is currently below this level we also need to
 enable our Monitors to
                                                  increase the amount they pay each week by
 meet with the
                                                  £2. However, more than 1,800 of our
 contractors to work
                                                  properties are already at this level, so for
 towards a greater
                                                  residents in these homes this additional charge                      Our Housing Officers are available to talk
 understanding of the
                                                  will not apply.                                                      to anyone who is having difficulty paying
 contractual requirement.
                                                  Despite these increases the rent we charge is                        their rent and to help them to get financial
                                                  still lower than or the same as other housing                        advice or benefits, if applicable. You can
                                                  associations in the area.                                            contact them 01905 342600.
                                                  Finance Director, David Maitland explains:                           We will send you more information
                                                  “We lobbied the Tenant Services Authority to try                     about your rent later this month.
                                                  and spread the rent increase over two years,

                                                          NEXUS CONNECTS SUMMER 2009

MOVING                                                                                  Answering
ON                                                                                      your queries
                                                                                        There are a number of
Do you need to                                                                          topics which the Contact
                                                                                        Centre is frequently
move within Nexus                                                                       asked to respond to.
                                                                                        Here are the answers to
for any reason?                                                                         three of them:                              Elaine Cash, Contact
                                                                                                                                    Centre Manager
If you do, you will need to register with Home                                          Cracked windows
Choice Plus, a Worcestershire-wide system used
by Nexus to allocate all of our properties.                                             Our answer: If the
                                                                                        unit is double glazed,
This scheme is managed and maintained by your                                           and there are no
local authority. We no longer hold separate                                             health and safety
transfer lists for our residents. Once registered                                       issues, place tape over
you will receive a personal number which            Doreen Archer       Lynne Jones     the cracks to prevent
enables you to ‘bid’ on up to three properties                                          the window from
per week by phone, text, online or in person.                                           falling out until the repair is carried out. If there is a
                                                    All Nexus applicants
We will continue to help our residents by           must have a clear rent              health and safety issue, for example, if you are
advertising a percentage of our vacancies as        account, not in breach              unable to close the window, then the work will be
‘Nexus residents preferred’. This means we will     of their tenancy and                carried out as an emergency. However all other
consider the first Nexus resident on the Home       their current property              repairs will be done within 28 days.
Choice Plus shortlist providing that the property   must be in very good
is suitable for your needs.                         condition.                          Damaged fencing
                                                                                        Our answer: If the damage has been caused by
     For more information contact Lynne Jones or Doreen Archer on                       the customer then the cost of the repair would be
                                                                                        recharged. If the repair is required because of
          01905 342600, or visit www.homechoiceplus.org.uk                              vandalism then this needs to be reported to the
                                                                                        Police and a crime reference number obtained
                                                                                        before reporting the repair. We only have
                                                                                        responsibility for marking the boundary where

                                                                                        gardens meet pubic pathways or roads and the first
                                                                                        privacy panel between neighbours. All other
                                                                                        fencing is to be agreed and paid for between

 BANISH LITTER                                                                          Allowing Access
                                                                                        Our answer: When allowing access for our
                                                                                        workmen to enter your property, an adult of 18
 The Nexus Young Litter                              Chairperson for Blackpole          years or older must be present. If this is not the
                                                                                        case our workmen will not carry out the work
 Wardens scheme was launched                         Residents Group, with concerns     required and you would need to call the Contact
 in June, after a number of young                    about the increase of litter on    Centre to re-book a convenient appointment.

 people approached Keith Beck,                       the estate.                        Watch out for more topics in our next issue

                                                                                       Keith successfully applied for a £300 grant from
                                                                                       the Nexus Community Project Fund, and with
                                                                                       the support of Reg Blakemore of Sparkle
                                                                                       Cleaning and Malcolm Cox of Worcester City
                                                                                       Council, all Litter Wardens were supplied with
                                                                                       approved high visibility vests, safety gloves, litter
                                                                                       picking poles and black refuse sacks. Strict health
                                                                                       and safety guidelines were followed and certified
                                                                                       supervisors were present throughout.
                                                                                       The Young Litter Wardens were issued with
                                                                                       attendance cards and carried out three litter
                                                                                       picking sessions on the estate. After completing
                                                                                       their tasks they were given a £5 gift voucher as a
                                                                                       ‘thank you’ for their hard work.
                                                                                       Keith Beck said; “A big ‘Thank You’ to all the young
                                                                                       people who took part in the project, Sparkle
                                                                                       Cleaning Services, Worcester City Council and
                                                                                       Nexus Housing Association for their continued
                                                                                       support with the litter picking project.
                                                                                       All equipment was provided free of charge on a
                                                                                       hire basis.“
                                                                                       Keith Beck (far left) and the Young Litter Wardens

                                                                                                                   NEXUS CONNECTS SUMMER 2009

Winner’s  LETTINGS
The winner of the
                                                                                                              Congratulations to this month’s lettings
spring word search                                                                                            satisfaction winner, Mr and Mrs Evans of
competition was                                                                                               Worcester who have won £25 vouchers in                             their lettings pack (forms booklet). Make sure
Mrs P Goodman                                                                                                 our latest lettings satisfaction prize draw. All                   if you have recently moved into a Nexus
from Malvern                                                                                                  they had to do was return their completed                          property you do the same so your name is
who received                                                                                                  lettings satisfaction questionnaire found in                       entered in to the prize draw next time.
her £25 gift

                                                                                                                  Our very own

                                                                All you have to do is find the 15
                                                                flower names in the word search. As
     D    D   S   U   S    S    I   C    R      A   N   L       you look for the hidden words,
                                                                remember that they can be
     I    W   R   S   P    I    L   U    T      F   W   I       horizontal, vertical, or diagonal,
                                                                forward or backward.
     L    O   J   X   O    L    H   P    Z      Z   C   P       Fill in the entry form and return it by
                                                                Friday, 24th April 2009 for the chance

                                                                                                                  Master Chefs!
     S    N   Q   D   D    P    G   S    I      R   I   P       to win £25 worth of gardening
                                                                vouchers. Send your entry to:
     D    S   N   H   T    N    I   C    A      Y   H   E       Richard Hancock,
                                                                Customer Involvement Officer,
     P    K   O   M   E    Z    D   A    W      I   P   R       West Mercia Housing Group,
     BLUEBELLS    FORGET ME NOTS    LILY            SNOWDROPS   Barnsley Hall, Barnsley Hall
     BUTTERCUPS   HYACINTH          NARCISSUS       TULIPS      Road, Bromsgrove,
     CROCUS       IRIS              PHLOX           VIOLETS     Worcestershire, B61 0TX.

     Entry            Address                                                  Closing date is

     Form                               Postcode
                                                                              Friday 24th April

                                                                                                                When the heat is on, the chefs get
                                                                                                                cooking, and, in a dramatic cook-off at
                                                                                                                Regency High School in Worcester,
                                                                                                                there was little to separate our two
                                                                                                                West Mercia Housing finalists.
                                                                                                                Kemble shared owner Amanda Taylor won by
                                                                                                                just a couple of points with her
                                                                                                                crunchy rhubarb crumble, while
                                                                                                                Harden resident Enayat Ewiss
                                                                                                                stunned judges with her
                                                                                                                traditional Egyptian slightly-spicy
                                                                                                                dish of Maheshy.

REPAIRS                                                                                                         Amanda explains. “When we took
                                                                                                                on an allotment last year, all that

PRIZE                                                                                                           was on it was rhubarb so I
                                                                                                                adapted an apple crumble recipe. My
                                                                                                                children love helping make it so we

Congratulations to Mrs Barnard of
                                                                                                                usually have crumble at the weekends.”
                                                                                                                She’d even sent husband Matt out the night before
                                                                                                                the cook off to pick the last of this seasons’ stalks!
redditich, who has won £25 of vouchers in                                                                       Top Picture: Enayat and Amanda present their dishes to the judges: Denise
                                                                                                                Shuker, Housing Director; Keith Beck, Board Member and Lindon Morgan,
our latest repairs prize draw. All he had to do                                                                 Customer Involvement Officer.
was return the short customer satisfaction
survey that we sent him when he recently                                                                              You can find the recipes on our website
ordered a repair. Make sure you do the same                                                                           www.nexushousing.co.uk or pop into
                                                                                                                               our office and we will
next time you request a repair so your name is
                                                                                                                                print you off a copy.
entered into the prize draw.

Do you have difficulty
     reading Nexus
                                                                                                                If you would like
                If so, please get                                                                               this or any other
                 in touch and                                                                                  of our documents
                 request a CD                                                                                  translated please
                version of Nexus                                                                                    contact us
               Connects. You
             can do this by
calling Customer Services on:

01905 342 600                                                                                                                                                    Nexus Housing
or alternatively speak to your local
                                                                                                                         Apex 2, Apex Park, Wai n wr i gh t R o a d Worcester WR4 9FN Tel: 01905 342600
Housing Officer.                                                                                                              Email: nexus@wmhousing.co.uk Web: www.nexushousing.co.uk

Amanda Taylor’s winning: Rhubarb Crumble


1kg freshly picked rhubarb
2 table spoon caster sugar
100g plain flour
2 tea spoons ground cinnamon
100g stork margarine
125g soft brown sugar
100g rolled oats


   1. Preheat oven to 180˚C (150˚F / Gas Mark 4).
   2. Chop the rhubarb into 1-2 inch chunks and place in shallow oven-proof
      dish, sprinkle with caster sugar and mix to combine.
   3. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Using fingertips rub the
      margarine into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the brown
      sugar and rolled oats and mix together well.
   4. Sprinkle the crumble mixture onto the rhubarb.
   5. Bake for 40-50mins until the rhubarb is tender.
   6. Serve with custard or vanilla ice cream.
Enayat Ewiss’ Egyptian dish: Maheshy


1 green cabbage
300g mince meat
2 onions
3 finely chopped tomatoes
2 green chilly
300g Italian rice
½ a cup of finely chopped parsley
1 cup of chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Cooking oil


   1. Soak the rice in water for 30mins.
   2. Chop the onion finely and put it in a pan with the mince meat and a drizzle
      of oil. Leave it on a low heat to cook.
   3. Take the mince meat off the heat when it is fully cooked then add the rice,
      chopped tomatoes and the parsley. The mixture is ready now.
   4. Prepare the cabbage by separating the cabbage leaves as whole leaves.
      Then put them in boiling water for a few seconds each.
   5. Take one cabbage leaf at a time cut it in half then add one spoon of the
      mixture on to each half. Fold the sides in and roll the cabbage leaf up. Put
      the cabbage leaf into a frying pan. Repeat this until all the mixture has
      been used.
   6. Add the chicken stock then put it on the heat for nearly 20mins until the
      rice is cooked.
   7. Serve with grilled chicken and salad.

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