National Lockdown – Service Update from CEO

Dear Resident,

You will no doubt be aware that the new Government Lockdown was announced on Monday 4th January 2021. It is expected to last at least until 13th February 2021, but this could possibly be extended according to Ministers.

The new Lockdown is expected to be approved in Parliament on the 6th January when it will become law. The Government instruction states that: –

You may only leave home for limited reasons permitted in law, such as to shop for essentials, to work if you absolutely cannot work from home, to exercise, to seek medical assistance such as getting a Covid test, or to escape domestic abuse.

It is important that everyone at Ashton Pioneer Homes (APH) does everything we can to support the Government locally and nationally by helping to minimise risk and reduce transmission rates.  It is also important we do everything we can to keep customers and colleagues safe, whilst safeguarding our service.

With immediate effect APH will be delivering an “Essential Housing Service” only during this new lockdown period.

APH Offices will remain closed and all colleagues who can work from home will be doing so. All office-based staff have been equipped with laptops to access APH IT systems. We do recognise that to deliver an effective housing service, some colleagues may need to attend the office from time to time to maintain essential services, however, this will be kept to an absolute minimum.

Our Customer Services colleagues will be working remotely but they can answer the phones, assist with your enquiries and update our computer system. They will be making courtesy calls to our most vulnerable residents and they will be in constant dialogue with colleagues across the organisation digitally. They will also be working closely with the volunteers at the West End Mutual Aid (WEMA) group to co-ordinate support to those tenants that may need some additional help. You can also contact WEMA direct if you need assistance on 07787375147

APH will still be delivering a Maintenance Service with only essential repairs being actioned during the lockdown period. Gas servicing and electrical checks will also be continued in a Covid safe manner. However, all non-essential repairs will be recorded onto our system and will be actioned as soon as possible after the current lockdown is relaxed, as we did during the short relaxation in restrictions last Autumn.

The Housing Management Team will also be working remotely and will be contacting residents via the telephone or via e-mail. Any empty properties will have work carried out safely (with PPE and Covid precautions) but, will not be let to new tenants until after the lockdown period unless it is by special arrangement with the Local Authority.

You will be comforted to learn that, as they did during the previous Lockdowns, our Neighbourhood and Estate Services colleagues will continue to provide our 24/7 neighbourhood service. However, they will be carrying out essential services only. This will still involve CCTV, concierge and existing cleaning and run-down schedules. They will not be visiting residents’ homes unless it is in an emergency.

I understand that this is not the news we wanted to hear but we have all shown that as a community we can respond and pull together, to make it work for our residents and the communities we serve. We are proud to have worked with and supported the WEMA volunteers and the efforts of residents in supporting their neighbours.

The Board and Senior Management Team are extremely grateful and very proud of the way our APH colleagues have risen to the difficult challenges we have faced. We particularly want to thank all the APH colleagues classed as “Essential Workers” who will be delivering these essential services in and around residents’ homes during the lockdown period.

We will of course be keeping residents informed of any issues via social media and we will keep notice boards in and around the estate updated. Residents can of course call our normal telephone lines if they have any queries.

Thank you for your patience and continued support.

Stay safe!

Tony Berry

Chief Executive