New Website Goes Live

As you know we have been working on updating our website. There are two phases to this. The first phase to an interim mobile-friendly website to deliver a more modern look and feel alongside simplified the navigation and tidying up any out of date information. The second phase will be a fully functional site integrated into our new housing management system to offer a feature-rich experience for customers and enable more online transactions. This will be ready in 2020.

The interim site is now live.

Jo Cox House Great Get Together

Hello. A number of our people attended the Jo Cox House Great Get Together 2019 event held at the Jo Cox House in Batley, England on the Friday 21 June 2019 to celebrate what would have been Jo’s 45th birthday. We chatted to Jo’s parents & sister. Later, we met Tracey Brabin MP for Batley & Spen. Our collective thoughts of the event were – ‘a great down to earth bunch with hearts of gold’. Aw.

Malcolm East Exhibition In Thrive

Today is the launch day of Malcolm East “A Retrospective” showing 50 originals and prints from over 50 years of work. As Malcolm quotes “it shows Dewsbury as it was back in the day.”

The exhibition is divided into sections with his mining experiences and depictions starting in reception leading through Thrive café with his childhood memories, the town and its theatres and finishing within the creative space depicting the market its vibrant stalls and not forgetting “the dark satanic mills” section including the Jas Smiths Fairies.

New Technology Platform Brings Exciting Opportunities

At the heart of our Customer Care Strategy is a desire to rebuild our processes so that all of our customers are at the heart of everything we do. Choice, convenience and communication are core principles

Following a lengthy and robust procurement process we are delighted to have selected Castleton to replace our existing IT (Information Technology) system and bring about the digital transformation needed so we can provide modern, adaptable, high quality services.

We want to make it easy for you to interact with us, in a way and at a time that suits you. For example, we want it to be convenient for you to report repairs and anti-social behavior, to pay your rent and check your rent balance, to find out what you can expect from us and how you can have a say on things that matter to you. We want to be able to keep you informed e.g. about any repairs that you have reported or planned works that are due to . We want it to be easier for you to get the information that you want and need, when you want it and need it, and in a way that suits you. We want you to be able to choose how you interact with us, and so as well as enabling access to online services we still intend that you will be able to contact us in traditional ways. Where personal contact is preferred it will be available.

Implementing a whole new IT system means we have the opportunity to redesign the way we do things. You will see an article in this newsletter inviting interest in reviewing our service standards, Connect Commitments. By reviewing the service standards now, we can ensure any changes agreed are built into the new system from the start.

Implementing a new system will of course take time and whilst some changes will take place over the coming months others will take longer, we expect the whole project to take two years to compete. We will be asking for your involvement along the way to help us design the system and we will be keeping you informed of developments.

Young Families Amazed By New Swish Swinnow Homes

The new homes have had a dramatic effect on young families searching for affordable homes in Leeds. Mum, Jessica Hutchinson, who was still moving her furniture in when saying: “I was amazed at getting our new house I couldn’t believe it when I had gotten it – It’s much better than our old home and there is loads of safe space for our kids to play out and the view over the city is spectacular at night.”

New dad Scott Fletcher who lives next door added: “It’s fabulous isn’t it!? We really love the house and it is ideal for our family, my partner gave birth to our new baby last week and it’s a lovely place for the baby to grow up.”

The new homes have been creatively designed to offer high levels of energy efficiency and have been built on the site of some demolished garages. The upgrade has transformed the site with an eye-catching group of striking new homes have provided a real facelift for the local area.

ESH Construction Group were contracted to build the scheme and Connect Housing worked closely in partnership Homes England, who awarded grant funding of £400,000 and Leeds City Council.

Councillor Richard Lewis (Lab, Pudsey), who has been involved with the scheme from the beginning, says he’s ‘relieved’ to see it finally delivered. He said:

“It’s been a long hard slog with this scheme. It was even shelved for two years when government changes to housing association finance rules made it unviable. Now I’ve seen the finished product, I can say the pain was worth it.”

Director of Home at Connect Housing Martyn Broadest, added: “It’s always exciting to see the completion of the new development, and give a new group of families the opportunity. This scheme has been very challenging to put together, and we are grateful for the support of the Council, our contractors and Homes England in helping to make it happen.”

Thrive Café At Dewsbury Office Launches New Menu

Pop into the Thrive café at our Dewsbury office on Bond Street and sample the new delicious, simpler menu.

You can enjoy great food, and delicious drinks, the café is located on the ground floor of our Dewsbury office and is open to the public.

As well as a range of sandwiches, snacks, soup and jacket potatoes served over lunch, the café is open all morning for your breakfast or mid-morning snacks.  If you’re not feeling peckish, the same great coffee and a range of teas or hot chocolates are a refreshing change and a chance to meet for a catch up or a chat.

Thrive also has meeting rooms and other facilities that are available to hire at very competitive rates. If you are interested or want to enquire, please email: thrive@connecthousing.org.uk

Or check the Facebook page on: https://www.facebook.com/ThriveAtConnect/

New Homes Make A Difference To Calderdale Families

Connect Housing and Calderdale council worked together to provide the much-needed family homes for affordable rent, which are part-funded through the Homes England Affordable Homes Programme.

The houses were completed in March 2018 and families moved in from April. Since then, they have seen positive changes to their lives thanks to the high-quality, energy-efficient, three-and-four-bed homes.

One of the residents said:

“I am very pleased with this newly built property – everything is perfect for us all. It has made a huge difference to our lives. We always have a smile on our faces and my children are loving it here too.”

Two of the homes are adapted to meet the specific needs of two families identified by the Council’s Accessible Homes Team, with facilities that are suitable for residents with disabilities. Additional funding was provided through the Disabled Facilities Grant from the Better Care Fund.

Cllr Daniel Sutherland, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Housing and Environment, said:

“We’re really pleased that these new family homes are making a difference to local people and have brought a previously under-used piece of land back to life. This development has provided decent quality affordable homes and has given a boost to a vibrant sports club. It has also involved local contractors, bringing jobs and investment into the Halifax economy.”

Martyn Broadest, Director of Home at Connect Housing, added:

“This project was a joy to work on. The support and interest in these new homes from the local community has been amazing, and it’s been great to provide much-needed larger homes to meet local need and help sustain the local sports and social club. We’re now looking forward to starting on our next site nearby in the next couple of months.”

The houses were built on waste ground near to King Cross Park Social Club. Improvements to the floodlights and car parking for the Club were included in the planning application, for the benefit of members and the whole community.

The development supported local enterprise by involving Calderdale companies such as West End Joiners and Builders, Code L6 Architectureand Marshalls.

Get Connected Summer – Autumn Edition

We have released the latest edition of our tenant newsletter – Get Connected – Summer / Autumn 2018. Read the issue here.

In this version, we have enclosed a summary of our tenant report. It gives insight into how we are doing, and how the Connect Residents Federation (CRF) scored our performance.

In our involvement page we report on the CRF and what they got up to at their sprightly AGM, host a new competition, and report on our estate checklist volunteers findings.

We have a new development that we’re excited about at Bridge Street, Birstall and we’ve shared details on the availability of the homes.

Our older person’s scheme, Hawthorn Mill celebrated the royal wedding and held a 50’s style rock ‘n roll summer fete for the community.

Thrive in Dewsbury has been tantalising everyone’s taste buds and gives us a guide to what’s on therethis autumn.

We report on our annual programme of planned maintenance and how we have been improving homes.

Spice up your autumn palate with a recipe for a family meal with our new recipe feature.

We explain our new income policy and how our Money Matters Team can help with benefit changes.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Get Connected – happy reading.