The team continued to focus on viewings and sign-ups throughout the year. During the last year, 150 properties were let including 11 new properties at Walker’s Meadow in Presteigne. The team also focused on preparing tenants and allocating 12 new properties at Glan-y-Dwr in Newtown, 22 new properties at the Tabernacle in Aberystwyth and 30 new properties at Cwrt Cei Coed in Newtown in readiness for handover in the early part of 2018/19.
Work towards combatting and dealing with anti-social behaviour on our estates continued throughout the year. Following continued work over the last three years, the team achieved ‘substantial assurance’ following the internal audit conducted by the Association’s internal auditors, TIAA. This confirms that our processes and the way in which we deal with anti-social behaviour is robust and we are working in the most effective way to deal with breaches of tenancy.
CCTV equipment was installed at two further locations in Newtown and Llandrindod Wells, with CCTV footage provided to Dyfed Powys Police assisting in both successful arrests and prosecutions of tenants causing persistent nuisance and anti-social behaviour on our estates. The installations have also assisted in cases where we believe that individuals are subletting their properties.
The team have attended training sessions to improve both awareness and understanding of the issues affecting our tenants including Mental Health, Adult Safeguarding and Restorative Approaches training in order to deal with situations and communicate more effectively.
The team continued with “Love where you Live” events, holding community events throughout our estates. We held a football event in Newtown, held ‘skip days’ on numerous estates, facilitated arts and craft and cookery days for children, held fun days, flower arranging classes and afternoon teas. Our focus has been on bringing together communities that have been adversely affected by anti-social behaviour.
New Scheme Manager, Roy McGuiness, had a very successful first year in our leaseholder schemes in Aberystwyth. Activities have taken place at both schemes throughout the year including art classes, film clubs and coffee mornings.
The team’s focus of listening and responding to tenants has seen established community groups, led and driven by tenants, make real differences to their estates and surroundings. Working with tenants to provide services that are both relevant and cost effective has contributed to an increase in the tenant’s satisfaction in relation to the area in which they live. The 2017 Tenant Survey results show ‘Neighbourhood as a place to live’ scored 91.3% (up from 86.6% in 2016).
Acting Director of Customer Services
The role of Community Participation continues to involve tenants and residents from all over Powys and Ceredigion, through monthly Chips and Chat meetings, Tenants’ and Residents’ Forum (TaRF), Tenant Involvement Group (TIG), Community Development Fund Projects and Community Benefits as well as opportunities for tenants and residents to get involved in training and fun estate events.
Chips and Chat
Chips and Chat is a monthly meeting held in different areas across Powys and Ceredigion. It is a good opportunity to talk about the things that are important to residents regarding their homes, and a chance to hear about the activities of Mid-Wales Housing Association. Since July, we have held Chips and Chat events in 11 areas, with 88 tenants attending sessions.
Feedback from tenants and residents has been positive:
“I think that this meeting of Mid-Wales Housing tenants is an excellent idea. All credit to Mid-Wales Housing. Very helpful and extremely sociable.”
“Great meeting, wish more tenants attended.”
“Nice to sit around the table and discuss any problems in a relaxed way.”
“Highly useful, provided us with useful information and advice.”
Tenants’ & Residents’ Forum (TaRF)
Tenants’ & Residents’ Forum (TaRF) is a group made up of tenants and residents, who meet bi-monthly to review policies and discuss issues relating to the running of Mid-Wales Housing Association. We have had six TaRF meetings since July last year. We have recruited a young tenant onto the Forum, and we now have eight tenants who regularly attend meetings. We have also changed alternate TaRF meetings to an evening meeting to try to be more inclusive for those tenants who either work or have other commitments during the day. We always welcome new members to this forum and would encourage interested residents to contact us for further information. I would like to thank current members for their commitment, hard work and dedication to improving services.
Tenant Involvement Group (TIG)
The Tenant Involvement Group was created this year, for tenants to look at particular service areas in more detail. In January, tenants decided that they would like to review heating systems and in particular, storage heaters. These meetings are in the early stages of development, but we hope to continue these so that services can be reviewed and feedback submitted to Mid-Wales Housing, in order to improve tenants’ home experiences.
Community Development Fund
The Community Development Fund’s aim is to support communities to work together to improve the environment in which they live. Residents can apply for up to £5,000 to develop their project ideas.
This year we will be funding two projects: a garden re-design at Bodlondeb in Llanidloes, and a project to change a rubbish bay into a flower bed in Trecastle.
Community Benefits are additional services provided by companies who are contracted to install new components e.g. kitchens, bathrooms, boilers, windows and doors etc. This year, Community Benefits are being managed by the Community Participation Officer in order to support further projects in communities. We have undertaken a garden re-design, replanting and rail painting at The Berkeley in Llandrindod Wells, in conjunction with Solar Windows and outside painting at Croco-doco-dile playgroup in Llanidloes, with PH Jones. We also delivered Application and Interview skills training with Solar Windows in Llandrindod Wells.
Tenants and residents have asked for training in particular areas, and as a result we have organised sessions in order to meet these needs. This year we have established an additional computer course, which now runs every Tuesday in Llandrindod Wells, as well as the course that runs every Monday in Newtown. In response to tenants request for first aid training, we asked St John’s to deliver First Aid training to 8 tenants in Llandrindod Wells. We also held a mindfulness session.
Fun Days and Events
We organise trips and fun events across Powys and Ceredigion for tenants and residents. Since July last year, we have held pottery sessions in Caersws for our young tenants. We have also held an Arts and Crafts session in Newtown and a fun day for families in Llandrindod Wells which included a bouncy castle. Last year we also organised a trip on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. Christmas flower arranging and spring flower planting sessions were held in Bodlondeb, which is one of our supported schemes for older people. This year we also held a coffee and cake morning for residents in Llanfyllin.
Canal Boat Trips
The Heulwen Trust run canal boat trips from Welshpool providing an opportunity for our supported housing residents and their support workers to enjoy a day out on the Montgomeryshire canal. Both canal boats have hydraulic lifts, to enable easy access for wheelchair users. Mid-Wales Housing have arranged four canal trips for our residents at which over 60 people attended.
The feedback received was extremely positive:
“Very enjoyable and relaxing.”
“A peaceful day trip.”
“Chips and Chat was really helpful, and helped me to get a better service.”
“Would like to say how happy we are with our new housing officer, very helpful and on the ball, approachable and understanding.”
“Absolutely amazing, brilliant housing officer, always there to listen, this has been the best housing association I’ve ever been with.”