Connecting with you
Welcome to our new customer online magazine. We are excited to share with you the latest news and updates from our neighbourhood teams. We have created our new magazine because our customers told us they would like more updates about the work we are doing across our communities.
Click on a heading below or scroll through the page to read the updates.
Please note that images on this page were taken before Covid-19 social distancing was introduced.
Thank you for your patience
As we resume our services, we want to say thank you for your patience during these difficult times. Our teams are now completing 2,000 repairs every week as we continue with our phased approach to bringing back our services.
In line with government advice, we have expanded our repairs service and there are plans to increase this further in the coming weeks.
We are now into stage two of our reintroduction of services which means as well as being here for your emergencies, we can now help with more types of repairs and services inside your home and in communal areas.
If you have raised a non-emergency repair with us, and we have not already done so, we will be in touch to arrange an appointment.
As a result of the Covid-19 lockdown we still have a considerable backlog of repairs, but we wanted to let you know that we are working our way through this.
Additional resources have been put in place with a target to clear our backlog by October.
To help us do this, we are grouping the backlog of repairs by geographical areas as this allows us to work through them more quickly.
For support with simple things like resetting your boiler and lots more handy trips, why not visit our Solve an Issue page.
Please click here for our latest customer information.
£80,000 in grants to more than 500 households
Our Grants team provides support for our customers and projects that will directly benefit our customers or communities. We are currently focusing on customers facing a crisis or emergency situation. Click read more to find out how we have been supporting our customers with grants during Covid-19 and how you could apply.
If you are a LiveWest customer and are struggling to afford food, energy costs or other one-off costs as a result of changes in your circumstances, we may be able to help you by signposting you to support, or through our customer crisis and hardship fund. Find out more about our grants and how to apply here.
Areas we can help include:
- Providing support and advice related to benefits
- Linking with external support agencies
- Helping vulnerable people who are struggling to access food
- Helping to deal with specific emergency one-off costs
Since lockdown, we have issued grants to more than 500 households, totalling more than £80,000.
One of our customers is a single parent of three young children under the ages of five and has found it difficult to provide home schooling support during lockdown. The family is also struggling financially.
But they spotted our crisis and hardship grant offer on Facebook and, after applying, were awarded shopping vouchers to buy essential food for the family as well as some arts and crafts which were well received by the children.
Our customer said:
“The help and support from LiveWest has been truly invaluable. It has been a huge relief to have help with my shopping.
“I feel as a company you have really gone above and beyond, you have stepped up when you didn’t have to of course.
“It has really restored my faith in humanity.”
Our Grants and Social Value Manager, Tim Wotton, said: “We recognise that many residents are now feeling the impact of Covid-19 in a direct or indirect way and we are pleased to be able to offer them additional support at this time, where specific needs have been identified.”
Community Investment team supports our emergency response
Our Community Investment team consists of 11 Community Connectors who work in neighbourhoods alongside individuals, families and whole communities to bring about positive change. Their aim is to inspire and support our communities to achieve what matters most to them. Find out how they have adapted their roles to help with our emergency coronavirus response by clicking read more below.
Last summer our Community Investment team launched its Neighbourhoods in Focus programme.
It is a new focused approach to working in neighbourhoods where we listen to customers and use our experience and data to help us identify which neighbourhoods to focus on.
We believe the customer voice is crucial and we are constantly seeking customers views to help shape our priorities. We are then able to create an annual community plan for each priority area.
It has been great to see partnerships flourishing between us, our customers, wider partners and stakeholders – all of whom have a part to play so that together we are able to able to make a difference.
Every day we see the skills, experience and passion that exist in our neighbourhoods and our Community Connectors work with you to harness this.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March, our Communities team paused its community-based work and has been helping with our emergency response to support customers.
This includes making welfare calls to elderly and vulnerable customers, helping customers access food, prescriptions and social support, volunteering at foodbanks and other community projects and providing support at our sheltered and supported housing schemes.
The team also quickly identified the community-based resources available to support our customers during lockdown.
Using their knowledge across all of our communities, the team created an online resources site to ensure our customers had access to a number of support agencies and Covid-19 mutual aid groups.
As well as maintaining existing and establishing new partnerships, the team has also been helping to secure LiveWest grant funding for a range of community projects.
Win your share of £500 Love2Shop vouchers
A day in the life of our Housing Officer, Maya
My name is Maya and I am trainee housing officer in Taunton and part of an amazing team of housing officers across Somerset and Mid Devon. Find out more about my day below!
For us mobile workers, lockdown has presented some challenges to the way we work as we are used to meeting people face-to-face. So we are coming up with solutions to ensure that we can still provide the very best services for our customers.
Here is a flavour of my day as a housing officer during lockdown.
8.30am: I sit down at my desk in my spare room and check emails and my calendar for any call backs or meetings already arranged. I draw up a to do list and the priority is to respond to any urgent or emergency cases.
10am: I log into my Microsoft Teams meeting with the North Taunton One team which sees professionals such as the police, social services, local schools and mental health professional join together to talk about any ongoing issues we all need to be aware of. The partnership helps us to be able to support our customers in the most effective way.
12pm: During lockdown we have experienced a rise in anti-social behaviour (ASB) and my next task of the day is to contact two customers to try and resolve a dispute. Both households involved have signed a Good Neighbour Agreement so I am calling them to talk about a way forward.
12.45pm: As an organisation, we have made over 11,000 welfare calls to ensure our vulnerable customers are safe and well in these challenging times.
The calls help us to establish our customers’ current situations, deal with any queries and refer them to an appropriate team for more specialist advice.
It has been great to have been involved with these calls and today I am ringing an elderly lady to check on her welfare and ensuring her needs are met. I have received really good feedback to these calls and the customers have really appreciated it. Thankfully, the elderly lady is well and the conversation was positive.
1.30pm: After lunch I have a call to make following reports of some ASB at a block of flats, where visitors have been pressing the buzzers of different residents at unsocial hours to gain access to a particular property. I set out an initial action plan to with clear steps to tackle the issue.
3pm: In January, we purchased new homes from another landlord and we are looking at ways to improve the experience of the residents who have joined LiveWest. It’s great to work for an organisation that listens to its customers and requests have been made for us to repaint the lines of the communal parking spaces. I spend some time looking at which parking space relates to which property by checking multiple tenancy and estate plans and the next stage is to go and visit the properties.
During my research, my phone rang four times and I have been able to help customers who had questions about mutual exchanges, rent, housing options and trees.
4.30pm: At the end of the day, I like to make sure that all my notes are up to date, and urgent emails are responded to. So I usually take half an hour to summarise the day and get ready to do it all again tomorrow. I love the variety of my job and feel lucky to work for an organisation whose number one priority is the safety and welfare of its customers.
To get in contact with your housing officer, use our 'Find my Housing Officer' tool.
Keeping you safe in your community
Our neighbourhoods teams are there to support with a whole range of tenancy related matters. We have a team of experienced staff who specialise in all aspects of housing management. Click read more below to find out what they have been doing and how they may be able to help you.
Supporting our customers during crisis
We have completed almost 11,000 welfare calls to customers during the Covid-19 lockdown to ensure our vulnerable customers are safe and well.
They also help us to deliver support and essential supplies to our customers who need them most.
We recently contacted Janet, a customer who lives in Cornwall. When we spoke to her she was extremely upset as she had no money or food and it was her daughter’s 12th birthday.
We quickly arranged for an immediate grant and our Housing team delivered a birthday package, a gift and snacks so her daughter could enjoy her big day.
What we are doing to keep our communities safe and ensure they are great places to live?
Our aim is to create more cohesive communities and promote positive neighbourly behaviours.
Over the last year we have also been successful in resolving a number anti-social behaviour (ASB) cases. None of these actions would be possible without the support of local residents as well as close ties to our partner agencies, including the police, Cornwall Council’s ASB team, social services and the mental health team. We continue to work together to build strong relationships with customers to make our communities great places to live.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, our teams have successfully tackled ASB and secured a number of successful outcomes in North Devon, Cornwall, Torbay and Penzance.
We are currently processing mutual exchanges that were in progress at the time of the lockdown. New mutual exchange requests are on hold to allow us to work with local authorities to provide homes for those in urgent housing need and to make sure we have the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep everyone safe. Please visit our website to keep updated on our plans to resume non-urgent work.
Read more updates from our Neighbourhood teams including: Communities in Focus- Roscadghill Parc, find out about our coaching service, and learn more about tenancy fraud and county lines.
How our Tenancy Sustainment team could help you
Our Tenancy Sustainment team work closely with other departments at LiveWest and external agencies to ensure the best possible outcomes for our customers. Click read more to find out how they could help you.
We can assist you with your finances, including guidance on budgeting, benefit claims, grant applications and signposting you to specialist debt advice where appropriate. We also offer support with difficulties you might have in managing your home and any wellbeing issues impacting you or your community.
We work together with you to help you maintain your tenancy, improve your sense of wellbeing and provide guidance and support wherever possible. Our officers can provide up to 12 weeks of one-to-one specialist support, which are constantly reviewed to determine next steps. To find out more and to contact our Tenancy Sustainment team, please visit our support for you page.
We have recently created a revamped Be Money Ready section on our website designed to provide with you with helpful advice and practical tips on how to manage your finances in your day-to-day life. From how to budget to top tips for saving energy, we have explored some useful resources which can help you Be Money Ready.
You can also find information around the use of credit unions. LiveWest is part of a unique project with nine of the largest housing associations in the South West working in partnership with the credit union Westcountry Savings and Loans. They are an alternative home for savings and source of affordable loans that help to tackle the high cost of credit being faced by many households.
Solve an issue
Use our property help tool to get quick answers to your problems.
A thank you from our Estate Services team
Our Estate Services team aims to work towards ensuring our estates stand out from the rest and are kept clean, tidy and safe for our customers and visitors to live and enjoy. Click read more to find out more about what our Estate Services team has been doing so far this year.
Our Estate Services team delivers grounds maintenance, communal cleaning, window cleaning, tree management, estate safety and compliance services with the combination of dedicated frontline staff and contractors.
Our Estate Services team is always looking at ways to improve its performance and receives valuable and regular feedback from its estate champions.
The safety and welfare of our customers is our number one priority.
We have carefully followed government guidance throughout lockdown and continued to provide essential services.
Our team of estate supervisors and estate safety officers have been delivering frontline services to our estates to ensure our customers have a safe, clean and tidy environment to enjoy and use as exercise.
At the end of March we asked you to respect social distancing so that our colleagues and contractors could work in a safe environment.
We would like to say a big thank you to all of you for your cooperation and support during these challenging times.
We are now into stage two of our reintroduction of services which means as well as being here for your emergencies, we can now help with more types of repairs and services inside your home and in communal areas. Please click here for our latest customer information about our phased return to resuming services.
Our grounds maintenance contractors are now delivering full contract specifications but it will take a little time to catch up with our programme of work so please bear with us.
Our team is now delivering full services for grounds maintenance, communal cleaning and window cleaning. Our Estate Safety team will continue to monitor fire alarms, scheme risks inspections and visual fire safety checks.
We are asking all of our customers to follow these guidelines to reduce the risk for our colleagues and themselves.
- Please do not approach our colleagues and contractors while they are cleaning
- Please practice social distancing and stay at least two metres away from them
- Please avoid using the area while cleaning is progress
Helping our older customers
We have been working to create a consistent specialised service which reflects our older customers’ needs. This has involved looking at how we can make immediate improvements and how the service will look moving into the new digital era.
We want to future proof our current schemes, while at the same time bringing them into the 21st century. We have set up several project working groups to look at how we do things now but also planning for the future.
What have we been doing?
Our team has been working incredibly hard since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown. You will have noticed that the Scheme Managers’ presence at schemes has been reduced in line with the NHS and government guidance. But they have continued to work from home with real commitment to support you through this crisis.
To date 11,000 welfare calls have been made to ensure our vulnerable customers are safe and well.
We are delighted to share that a recent survey into satisfaction at our extra care schemes has revealed that 100% of our customers are either very or fairly satisfied with their home. Read more about this here.
Our Scheme Managers have been volunteering to help with things like shopping and pharmacy deliveries, demonstrating the importance we place on the safety and wellbeing of our residents.
We have seen a rise in anti-social behaviour and neighbourhood disputes across our sheltered homes in the South West. Our team is working hard to tackle these issues and working with the police to seek resolutions.
You will have seen from recent communication we sent out that the communal lounges in our schemes will continue to remain closed for the time being in line with government guidelines. Once we have reached stage three of our approach to resuming normal services, this will be reviewed. We would like to thank you all for the co-operation you have shown during this challenging time.
Sheltered Project group
Future plans: Our sheltered team managers have come together with other colleagues from around LiveWest to review and create a better service for you. This work is not yet complete, but we are excited with the progress so far. We feel an enhanced service for all of our sheltered customers will really help create better communities and ensure the sheltered schemes are great places to live.