We have welcomed our new Chief Executive; Joanne Oak to the team today replacing interim Chief Executive; Duncan Forbes, who had been leading the organisation over the last 6 months.
Providing and managing nearly 6,000 homes across Bridgend, our vision is to help build a better Wales and with Joanne on board she will certainly support us to do this.
Jo is a qualified accountant with over two decades of senior leadership roles across the public and third sectors. She is experienced in leadership, change management, strategic planning, financial management and governance.
She moves from Social Care Wales where she was a Director of Strategy and Corporate Services. She has the pivotal role of driving the organisation through growth and transformation working with Welsh Government, sector partners and colleagues. Jo is also currently a Board member of Bron Afon Community Housing and a Trustee for Buildings Communities Trust.
Commenting on her first day, Jo said, “It does feel very strange still sitting in the same room I left on Friday whilst working for Social Care Wales and arrive Monday morning working for Valleys to Coast but I am absolutely delighted to have officially started. I am fully equipped to work from home and have been warmly welcomed by everyone I have managed to meet so far and look forward to settling in while supporting the organisation through this time.”
The coronavirus has led to many people in the UK being unable to work. To help save the UK economy the Government has released a grant scheme to support employers in paying salaries and retaining jobs.
To enable us to keep people safe and to ensure the continued financial viability of Valleys to Coast, we have decided to use the Government Job Retention Scheme our plan is to implement furlough leave for some staff from week commencing 20th April up to 31st May 2020 when the current Government Scheme is due to end.
What does this mean for you?
The safety of you and your households and our staff is and will remain our top priority. We have assessed our workload to ensure we can still deliver key services during this time and the current emergency services we are delivering will not change.
We will still be:
You may find that you try and contact a member of staff who is on furlough. You should get an answerphone message or email reply identifying who to talk to whilst they are not available. If you have any problems contacting an individual please call The Hub on 0300 123 2100 and they will direct you to the right person.
You can still chat to us about your situation and we can talk through how we can support you during this time. We suggest contacting us online:
You can also pay your rent over the phone and online. To make a payment online visit www.v2c.org.uk/my-home/pay and make sure you have your AllPay reference number to hand.
We will review our position regularly and update you when the situation changes.
The safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority and we have adapted our services to this situation.
Housing Minister; Julie James has outlined the support that will be given to all social housing tenants in Wales, you can read this here.
Welsh Government have also published guidance outlining the types of financial support that tenants may be able to access, what information you need and where to go to for help and advice. It also explains what emergency help people can access if they have severe financial challenges. You can access the guidance here
An update on our services so far:
Thank you for your patience and bearing with us, we are still responding to emergency repairs requests which include things like gas leaks, power cuts and broken lifts etc.
We will continue to ask whether you have any COVID-19 symptoms before the visit so we can come prepared.
Please report anything in your home, estates and communities that you see is unsafe or dangerous so we can ensure that everyone remains safe.
Call us to report an emergency repairs, if it is not an emergency we suggest contacting us online:
To enable us to fund our materials for emergency repairs, pay our invoices to contractors for their work and colleagues salaries we will need to continue to receive rent.
You can pay your rent over the phone and online if you are registered with AllPay. To make a payment online visit www.v2c.org.uk/my-home/pay and make sure you have your AllPay reference number to hand.
We are aware that customers financial circumstance may have change during this time. As always we will respond flexibly to those who have difficulty paying their rent to us and work out the best solution including advising them of benefits that can be claimed.
We will continue to allocate homes to those in need in Bridgend and support those with a place to live, especially during this time of self isolation.
To apply for housing visit: https://www.bridgend.gov.uk/residents/housing/housing-register/
Office closure: We have closed our office to reduce the risk of those affected bringing it into the office. We will continue to answer any queries via telephone and our digital platforms for the foreseeable future. We have set our colleagues up to work from home to maintain a social distance from others.
Stopped cold calling: We have stopped colleagues visiting customers’ homes to discuss our services such as new homes, their rent and any repair issues. Any meetings that are essential are pre-planned with checks being carried out on customers' health.
Repair Prioritisation: We have categorised our repairs into emergency priority to ensure these essential repairs are carried out.
Sheltered Accommodation: We are supporting people to self-isolate and maintain a social distance in our sheltered schemes to protect those who are vulnerable and over 70 years old.
Customer Contact: We are currently contacting vulnerable customers to see how they are, if we can help with any needs or concerns and just to say hi. If you would like a call from us or know someone who might like a chat please let us know.
Cancelled events: All events at present are cancelled and will be rearranged for a future date when it is safe. If an event is seen as business critical we will undertake a detailed risk assessment before it takes place.
Digital meetings: Colleagues are all set up working from home using platforms such as Google Meet, Zoom, Whatsapp for video and tele conference call.
Vulnerable Colleagues: All colleagues who are classed as vulnerable (underlying health conditions, over the age of 70 or pregnant) are working from home where possible.
Symptoms: Colleagues that report any are advised to self-isolate for up to 7 days from the first known day of symptoms in an effort to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Cleaning: We have increased our cleaning contractors within our offices and in our sheltered accommodations to ensure they remain clean and sanitised.
We will continue to monitor the situation and aim to provide services where we can. Please check back here or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for updates.
In the meantime continue to follow the advice from https://phw.nhs.wales/.
Updated 13th May 2020