Linkup Spring 2005
The following stories are extracts from our quarterly tenants' newsletter. If you would like a full paper version then please contact Cath Lee.
Times are changing so come on in.....it’s just starting to get exciting!
If you’ve been following the progress of the Tenants’ Consultative Committee through these pages over the past year or so, you’ll know that it’s been going through a development programme. The TCC has reached a stage now where its members have started to discuss some radical changes designed to modernise the role of the Committee, making it more relevant to tenants at United Welsh, to playing a bigger part in tenant participation and to dealing with wider tenant issues.
Links with the active Tenants’ and Residents’ Associations will be developed, there will be more formal arrangements for representation from TCC at relevant forums such as at the Tenant Participation Advisory Service and Welsh Tenants’ Federation and there is even a proposal that future representation at TCC should be geographical.
The changes are more real and imminent than ever. There was an appeal in Linkup in Spring of 2004 for new members to step forward for election which resulted in a ballot of fifteen people last year. The time has come again to make the same appeal. Unfortunately we have lost some of our members this year and the TCC is currently under-strength. If you feel you can give what is needed and want to be involved in the Committee’s development, or you know someone else who does, complete a nomination form by contacting Cath Lee and return it to United Welsh.
Happy Birthday 5 Star!
The 5 Star Loyalty Scheme is two years old and since we introduced the scheme in February 2002 more than £24,000 has been paid to members in competition prizes and incentives – were you one of the lucky ones?
So far there has been:
Seasonal prize draws
2 tenants have won £1000 prizes
3 tenants have won £500 prizes
3 tenants have won £200 prizes
18 tenants have won £50 prizes
In December ALL 5 Star Loyalty members received a £5.00 Argos Vouchers as a Christmas gift.
There have been two garden makeovers and one room makeover competitions - each winner getting a £500 makeover.
Last year 200 tenants benefited from free home contents insurance and in our latest competition a further 200 tenants have won free home contents insurance.
And there’s lots more planned! So if you are not already a member WHY EVER NOT? Look what you’ve been missing. It doesn’t cost you anything but you can gain all this! If you have a clear rent account and keep to the terms of your tenancy agreement you can join. All you have to do is simply fill in the tear off slip at the bottom of the page and return it to us and we’ll do the rest. In the next few weeks we will be writing to all 5 Star Loyalty members to ask them what they’ve liked best about the scheme so far, what they didn’t like and what they’d like to see in the future. We’d really like to know what you think.......
Community News Roundup
WINDSOR QUAY, CARDIFF
Even in the depths of winter there was no real let up at Windsor Quay - the pictures here show volunteers working in January, fitting a new gate to one of the communal gardens at the heart of last year’s environmental project! Attention has turned to indoor projects for the time being and the Tenants’ Association has announced to residents that the wireless Internet access network is now on line at the estate. This means that anybody at Windsor Quay with a computer fitted with a wireless card can get access to the Internet through a communal link without having to be wired up to it.
There are more computer building courses planned at the Community House to increase the numbers of people with access to their own PC and funds are currently being applied for to help residents buy the wireless cards to be fitted to their existing machines.
Roger Dafydd, Chair of the Windsor Quay Tenants’ Association said that “although there were times since we first decided we would like to run this project that it seemed we were never going to get the access network together, thanks to help from United Welsh and from the Scarman Trust it’s now up and running. The task for us now is to make sure that any tenant who wants one can get easy access to a computer and that the wireless network is well advertised to people living at Windsor Quay.”
COLE COURT, CAERPHILLY
Explore the world...With the Computers in Sheltered Schemes (CISS) pilot project already underway at Cole Court in Caerphilly, the Community Services Team is taking CISS to more areas. Consultations have taken place at Fitzroy Lodge in Blackwood and at Wesley House in Brynmawr and projects will be starting at both schemes in the next few weeks.
Melanie Smith, Community Participation Officer leading the CISS project for Community Services is very pleased with the response so far. “At Wesley House in particular, residents are very enthusiastic about the opportunities they can see CISS bringing and some of them are already planning their Internet shopping trips!”
The project is being expanded to eventually include all of the United Welsh sheltered schemes who wish to take advantage of it. If you live at a sheltered scheme and would like to know more about the project you can contact Melanie Smith or David Williams who can arrange to visit individuals or groups who wish to learn more about CISS or are keen to become part of the project.
SAXON COURT, BLAENAVON
Tsunami Appeal...In response to the appeals made for money to help with relief efforts in areas affected by the disastrous tsunami in December, the Tenants’ Association at Saxon Court in Brynmawr elected to donate the whole of their social fund. Residents of the sheltered scheme were so touched by the stories of hardship and loss coming out of the aftermath of the disaster that they all felt that making the donation was the least they could do.
One of the Saxon Court residents told us that “it was such a small amount compared to the money they are going to need to provide relief and rebuild homes and businesses, but we felt that everything would be of help”.
It may not have been a donation of millions but it was all the Tenants’ Association had and for that they should surely be admired and applauded.
Well done Saxon Court!
New tenants' group...Dennis Baigent, Chair of the Dinas United Tenants Association tells us how the new group started.
Towards the latter part of 2004 it became clear that there was a need for a tenants association in Dinas Powys. Consequently meetings were held between several interested tenants, and a committee was formed with the support of the UWHA.
The Committee’s aim is to give the estate a better all round image and to promote goodwill amongst tenants.
The committee, therefore, will be available to assist tenants with any problems they may have. We will also be liaising with UWHA with a view to obtaining more facilities for young people locally. We hope to publish a newsletter shortly, in which we will introduce the committee members and outline our intended activities. Our sincere hope is that we will receive the backing of all tenants in our efforts to enhance the estate’s image.
Family Spring Fun Competition
With Christmas a distant memory already, these pictures brought it all right back. Congratulations to our competition winners, prizes are on their way.
Get those pencils, crayons and paints out one more time - we’re looking for entries that tell us that spring is here. We’ve already had some entries on a St David’s Day theme before we even asked!
You will have received a letter by now about United Welsh’s proposals to change the way it allocates accommodation.
Until now, we have used a points-based waiting list in an attempt to prioritise those people in most need of housing. The disadvantage of a points system is:
that the people at the top of the list do not have much choice about where they live;
the people at the bottom often do not have any realistic chance of being rehoused.
It is hoped that, by changing to a Choice Based lettings system, housing applicants may have more choice about where they live.
We have written to all applicants currently on the housing waiting list as well as all our existing tenants and the responses we have received are overwhelmingly in favour of a change to Choice Based lettings.
So, from May/June 2005, we will be changing to a new system of housing allocations to be known as Select a Home.
Everyone on our housing waiting list, including transfer applicants, will be provided with an information leaflet about how the new changes will affect them. However, if you have any comments or queries then please contact Mark Butler.