A new animation shows customers how we will keep them and our teams safe when we visit their home.
As lockdown restrictions continue to ease and we start to get our services back up to speed, we’re launching the animation to reassure customers before we attend a repair or another appointment in their home. It will also remind customers what we need them to do to help to protect themselves and our teams.
The animation is on our website for customers so they will see it when they book a repair and it will be sent to all customers when they have booked a repair and in reminder text messages when their repair is approaching.
Steve Hayes, our Head of Communications, said: “Though lockdown continues to ease we know that for some customers the thought of having someone in their home could be worrying.
“We’re pleased to be able to launch this new animation which we think is a simple, effective way to reassure customers about the steps we are taking to keep them safe.
“Likewise, we also want to make sure that customers understand what we need them to do to protect themselves and our teams when we visit their home. So, this is also about making sure our teams on the frontline are protected.
“We will also look at opportunities to use it to support our communication around gas servicing and other visits to our customers’ homes.”
This week is National Carer’s Week and as part of this we have signed up to Harry’s Pledge.
Harry’s Pledge is a series of commitments we are making to support those who need care, and to help those who provide it.
The social housing sector is committed to caring for our communities and carers undertake vital work – which has been highlighted by the outbreak of Covid 19.
By signing up to Harry’s Pledge we are agreeing to:
Be supportive employers to people that have caring responsibilities
Make offices and community spaces as accessible as possible
Build more fully accessible homes
Further professionalising and promoting care as a career and lobbying for changes in pay and rewards for carers.
Housing associations across the UK have joined the Chartered Institute of Housing, the National Housing Federation (NHF), Inside Housing, Harry’s Pals (the Trust that supports parents caring for children with disabilities, run by Hayley Charlesworth, whose five-year-old son Harry has quadriplegic cerebral palsy), Inside Housing and PlaceShapers, supported by Carers UK in signing up to the pledge.
Our Director of Care and Support Martyn Hale said it is important for people working in social housing to do what they can to support carers.
He said: “Carers in social housing do such an amazing job and it’s incredibly important that we provide all the support we can.
“We don’t employ carers directly in our organisation, but some of our Care and Supported Housing schemes are run by partners who do employ carers for the individual schemes.
“Therefore, by signing up to this pledge we will be helping our customers as well as the people who provide a lifeline for them.
“Many carers have helped our customers through lockdown whether that’s organising and taking part in activities or just being there for our customers. Our carers deserve to be supported and that’s one of the reasons why we are signing up to Harry’s Pledge.”
Harry’s Pals is the trust that supports parents caring for children with disabilities by providing a counselling service, it is working with the housing sector to improve the lives of disabled people and carers.
Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the NHF, added: “Everyday paid and unpaid carers across the country do an incredible job supporting people with physical and mental health needs. Whether they’ve continued to go to work during lockdown or helped loved ones at home, the vital role of carers has become even more apparent during the current crisis.
“Through our support for Harry’s Pledge, we want to show our commitment to carers. We know housing associations are doing so much to deliver on these four pledges already, and it’s brilliant to be able to make a renewed and public commitment to this work on behalf of the sector.”
Customers at one of our Care and Supported Housing schemes in Herefordshire have buried a lockdown memory capsule to remind themselves of this unusual time.
Ambito Care Hereford run the scheme and they organised events for customers in lockdown to keep them busy and help them look forward to the end of restrictions.
Our residents filled the capsule with memories of the 75th anniversary of VE Day, salt dough hand prints and other items relevant to their time spent in lockdown.
They also made a wish box which contains their wishes for when lockdown is finished – this included seeing family again and enjoying a Mr Whippy ice cream.
Residents Iris Williams, John Davis and Lorraine Jones all created and buried the memory capsule.
Iris said: “I wanted to be reminded of my 71st birthday in lockdown, as we had a Victorian style tea party. John made my birthday cake, so I wanted to put my candles from my cake in it.
“I also find it funny with staff walking round with masks on as they sound different and look funny, so I wanted to put a mask in there to be reminded of what they looked like!”
John added: “I wasn’t sure what a time capsule was to begin with, but my support worker explained it and I got really excited about what we could put in it.
“I wanted to be reminded of our Easter tree competition which we won, so when this lock down is over, we are going on a trip to the seaside! I put in some of the decorations we made for the tree and I also put in a tv magazine with the date and year on.”
Lorraine said: “I played 52 card pick up with a support worker who had never played it before, I laughed so much watching her pick them all up, so I put the Joker cards in out of the pack of cards.”
The time capsule will be dug up and opened in 2025.
Our Supported Housing Coordinator Rob Breeze said: “It was brilliant for our residents to take part in these activities during lockdown. This has been a particularly difficult time and it is good that our customers have been able to take part in some fun activities which they really enjoyed.
“It was lovely to hear what our residents are most looking forward to when lockdown ends thanks to the wish box too.
“I am sure our residents will enjoy remembering this time when the capsule is dug up in five years’ time.”
Our Head of Housing Support Elizabeth Carroll added: “We love seeing our residents taking part in activities like this during lockdown, it’s very important that they stay positive during these unusual times.”