I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well. Further to the Prime Minister’s latest statement on Thursday, 28 May 2020, I wanted to update you on our plans for the reintroduction of some of our services.
Over the last two weeks we have been planning how we can bring more of our services back safely. We have sought the views of our customers through focus groups and an on-line customer survey. I would like to thank everyone who shared their views with us.
The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority. You share this view and agree that we should only carry out work where it is safe to do so. Over 90% of the customers who gave us their feedback agreed with our approach which is below.
We are now in the first stage of our plan and it is likely that you are already seeing more of our teams working out and about as we begin to undertake external repairs to homes and in communal areas. Our contractors are starting their grounds maintenance services again but, it will take a little time to catch up with our programme of work so please bear with us. As more people are now able to move home, to do this safely we will be carrying out viewings and signing up tenancies remotely where possible to ensure your safety.
As we move into stage two of our reintroduction of services, we will begin to book appointments for non-safety related repairs inside your home. We anticipate that we will start to make appointments over the next two weeks and begin carrying out internal work to properties from the middle of June.
I am sure you will appreciate that over the last 10 weeks a backlog of repairs has built up due to the lockdown measures introduced. We have brought in extra staff to help us manage this but, understandably, it will take us some time to clear the backlog. I understand that this might be frustrating but, I want to reassure you that we are working as quickly as we can.
I also know from your feedback that many of you still feel uncomfortable at the idea of us carrying out works in your home. Whilst I would stress the importance of us continuing to complete emergency and essential safety work, we are happy to delay the completion of non-safety related work where you are shielding, self-isolating or feel uncomfortable at this time.
We know that most of our customers are actively following the government’s guidelines around social distancing and I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for keeping both our staff and your neighbours safe and well.
We are still receiving calls from worried customers informing us that they are seeing people breaking the social distancing rules and as a responsible landlord, and employer, we must reinforce the message and urge everyone to follow the government’s rules on social distancing. This is particularly important as we reintroduce services and more people are working in and around your home.
I told you previously that no LiveWest customers will lose their home if they cannot pay their rent because their financial circumstances have changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. I would like to thank all of our customers who have continued to make payments and those of you who proactively contacted us to explain that you are having financial difficulties. I hope you feel that we were able to help and remove some of the worry you must feel about your situation. If you haven’t spoken with us yet I would urge you to do so, we are able to provide advice and support and help you access the right welfare benefits.
Last month we launched our COVID 19 crisis and hardship grants and I wanted to let you know that we have already awarded over 250 grants to LiveWest customers. Our fund remains open so if you are struggling please speak with us or complete the application available on our website.
We are continuing to prioritise wellbeing calls to our most vulnerable customers. This means that some other services are not available for the time being. I appreciate that this may be frustrating to you but, hope you understand and appreciate that our focus at this present time is on supporting the most vulnerable in our communities who have significant concerns about their safety and wellbeing.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those of you have who have been providing support to your neighbours. I know that many of you have been checking in on, shopping, collecting prescriptions, posting letters, and generally being there for the older and vulnerable people who live in your community.
The last 10 weeks have been a difficult time, but we have shown how quickly we can adapt and support each other. No doubt in the months ahead we will face more challenges. I am confident that by working together we can make a positive difference.
LiveWest Chief Executive