As part of our special 'summer campaign' our teams have been getting back out and about on your schemes and estates.
There was a lot to catch up on after almost 18 months of not being able to see you during the restrictions, but we've been here, there and everywhere over the past few weeks and it's been great to see so many of you again. It wasn't just about saying hello, however, there were a few other things we wanted to share with you - and a quite a few things you wanted to share with us.
Our plan was to:
- Say 'we're here' and explain more about Accent to the many new residents who joined us during Covid restrictions.
- Introduce our new customer partners and contractors - we've welcomed quite a few new faces over the last 18 months.
- Improve how we talk with and involve you - and help you get the most from your services.
- Improve customer safety and anti-social behaviour. This is a top priority for you and us. We wanted to be sure we were getting things right and understand what we needed to do better.
- Understand where we needed to improve our estate services so you are happier with the quality of service. We've seen a drop in satisfaction during the restrictions and we want to know why and make sure we improve this in the future.
- Improve our local partnerships and promote who we work with why we work with them, like charities and voluntary services for instance, so we can offer you help and support whenever you need it.
- Promote MyAccount and our other online services. We are seeing much more people use our website and we want to make sure everyone gets the most out of it.
- See where we might have possible future customers and explain what Accent has to offer.
We had a lot to get through!
How did we get on? well, here is a quick roundup:
North East Region
In Hartlepool at Glamis Walk, our cleaning contractor, Ideal, talked with residents about the standard of cleaning in the communal blocks, so we could understand the issues residents had. We are now working on improvement plans and we'll share these with residents soon.
Across at Shepherdson Court, South Bank, our team were able to see the amazing improvements residents had made to their gardens with funding they got before lockdown, but they'd only just had chance to use. The transformation has been amazing. Well done to everyone involved.
On our Woodhouse estate in Bishop Auckland, we were joined by the local council and the police, who were suitably impressed with our work to improve the appearance of the estate. Residents told us fly tipping had reduced dramatically. We also arranged a community litter pick day with the local councillor, who was great, and set up a new partnership with the local college which will help students gain valuable work experience.
While all this was happening, the team were also awarded the Crimestoppers certificate, confirming that we are now an official Crimestoppers Community Ambassador. The Community Ambassador Programme is designed promote the work of Crimestoppers by spreading the word about how they help to protect people, places and communities from crime. This is great result, well done to everyone involved.
It was the turn of our residents to be busy on our Eaglesthorpe estate in Peterborough. The residents of this independent living scheme used their newly opened communal lounge to raise money for Parkinson's and Cancer. Lots of people from the surrounding area came and a fantastic £629.07 was raised. Added to anonymous donations of £1,500, a total of £2,129.07 was raised for both charities. A cracking well done to everyone involved.
Over at St Neots in Cambridgeshire, residents were delighted with the chance to talk with our local team about improvements they'd like to see. We served fish and chips, drinks and chocolate and even managed to fix a resident’s bike. Residents said they’d like to see many more of these events.
Meanwhile across at Townsend Close, Stanwick Close, Cotton End, Earls Close, Yarwell Court and The Cloisters, the local team were busy raising our profile and collecting feedback from customers on how we can improve our communal services, including our grounds maintenance service. All the events were well attended, and residents appreciated our visits and really enjoyed our activities, especially the fish and chips and chocolate! There will be more of these events to come in future.
North West Region
Across in the North West, on Burrans Meadow in Colne, Kent Street, Burnley, Robin Hey, Leyland and Ramsey Park, Barrow, the local teams organised litter picks and talked with residents about what they wanted for their schemes. They discussed estate services improvements, including replacing fencing, and residents had the chance to have their voices heard before more formal consultations about future improvements are made. We were also joined by Mears and Greenfingers who completed odd jobs at the same time, which went down really well. The events were all a great success, with residents appreciating the chance to meet and talk with us in person again.
In response to the crisis in Afghanistan, we were delighted to welcome five families from the resettlement programme to our temporary homes in Camberley. The local team worked hard with Surrey Heath Borough Council to make these homes, which are meant to be used until a more permanent home can be found, look welcoming for the new families who have since settled in nicely. Our new families now have a chance to settle and forge new, happier lives after leaving their homes and facing an uncertain future.
Elsewhere across the region, our teams were out on the Old Dean estate, at Bagshot Green, Franklands, Albion Court, Orchard Court and Suffolk Court, with various activities to engage with residents after what felt like a very long time. It was our chance to say "we're here and we can help" while asking, and listening to, what we need to do to improve residents' satisfaction with our services. We collected a lot of feedback and we'll certainly be putting that into our future improvement plans. Watch this space!
In Bradford at Thornville Court, St Blaise Court, Stanley Road and Shirley Manor Gardens, our team were busy with customer care checks and financial, fuel, recycling and anti-social behaviour advice. Some unreported repairs were done there and then and there was the chance for our new customer partners to introduce themselves. The local team collected feedback on how we can improve estate services, including plans to improve fly-tipping, and are continuing to work closely with residents and local partners to make sure everyone continues to enjoy their homes and their communities. Similar events took place across the region, giving the local team chance to meet with lots of residents and gather lots of feedback, which they will turn into improvement plans where needed.
These are just a few of the things we've been up to. It's been a busy few weeks, but we've really enjoyed it and it's great to be able to see you all again.