Update from Ashton Pioneer Homes – 26th March 2020

Since our last letter to everyone on the 20th March, Ashton Pioneer Homes has continued to follow the Government’s direction that all employees that can work from home should work from home. The majority of our APH colleagues are now working remotely and the plans we have been developing over the past few weeks have now been implemented.

This means that we are operating a telephone only service for all customer contacts. However, we are still operating a 24/7 neighbourhood service for emergencies only and we will aim to continue to provide this service whilst we have reasonable resources to continue, or the Government directives tell us otherwise.

As you know from the daily National TV and radio news, the Government are announcing changes and restrictions on almost a daily basis and we will continue to adapt and review APH services to ensure we continue to safeguard you, our customers, colleagues, contractors and members of the public.

As we promised, we have been keeping residents informed with on-line updates and general advice where possible, from Government and Health organisations.

The impact on our Services is as follows…..

Essential Repairs and Servicing – We continue to provide emergency repairs and gas servicing / breakdowns. You should be aware however that for any resident who provides false or misleading information to get operatives to attend during this time of “lock-down”, there will be a £50 recharge as non emergency repairs will not be completed. All non-essential repairs will be carried out once the Government advises it is safe to do so and relax the existing physical isolation measures.

Housing and Money Advice – Our Housing Officers and Welfare Advice Officer are still available to deal with any rent payment queries and provide advice or signposting to Government support and deal with any urgent tenancy matters. There will be no new tenancies created during the Government lockdown period but we will commence the allocation of empty properties once the Government restrictions are lifted.

Communal Areas and Cleaning – We are continuing to provide an urgent cleaning service only where there is a health and safety hazard to communal areas. This will only be where hazards have been identified or reported. We are very grateful to those tenants who have carried out their own clean in their immediate communal areas. It has been heart warming to see the number of resident volunteers who have stepped up and offered their services.

Greenscape will review grass cutting at end of this lockdown period and the Children’s Park has been closed for the duration of the lockdown period.

Older and Vulnerable Customers – We are contacting older and vulnerable customers to check on their welfare and ensure they have family, neighbours or other support to help with shopping. We will also be signposting residents to the West End Mutual Aid Volunteer Group who will be offering support emotional support over the phone or support getting essential supplies including medication where possible. More details regarding this group will be sent out in the coming days.

Ellison House – At the moment, the Government are not restricting contractors working externally on buildings and are permitting them to stay on site, whilst also exercising social distancing recommendations. For our tower block render replacement programme this means that Caseys have decided to continue the works to Ellison House rather than leave the site, unless the Government direct them otherwise. They have provided full safety risk assessments to the Architects and this will continue to be monitored. They have advised that they are not intending to be working internally.

 

Some of our small builders and sub-contractors are leaving sites on their own decision, regardless of that requirement.

 

The position with building contractors in Tameside and around the country will no doubt change if fresh restrictions and or support packages for the self employed are rolled out by the Government at any date.

 

Note: a Government announcement on self employed people is anticipated today (Thursday 26th March).

 

You can continue to reach our Customer Service Team between the hours of 9.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, on the following three numbers:-

  1. 0161 343 8128
  2. 0161 308 5411
  3. 0161 308 5415

Neighbourhood Services can still be contacted out of hours 0161 339 9377.

Other useful websites:

www.tameside.gov.uk/coronavirus

www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

111.nhs.uk/covid-19

www.ashtonpioneerhomes.co.uk

www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

I would also like to thank all our volunteers and key workers who are continuing to work during this time. I am sure we all would like to extend that sentiment to our NHS colleagues too.

Regards

Tony Berry

Chief Executive – APH