Frank Rymes 1Me and my family became part of Grampian Housing Association (GHA) some 7 years ago and we were given flat in Aberdeen city centre, Torry area. istorically, Torry did not have a good reputation and we were not sure what was ahead of us. We moved to a 2 bedroom property on the 3rd floor. GHA was always helpful with our needs, serviced our heating, looked after grass and parking area, cleaning all communal areas. We spent 6 lovely years there. Although we had all we needed, we decided to move on and in October 2019 we moved out of city. GHA owns houses in Aberdeenshire and when the opportunity came up, we took an offer and moved to a little house in Newburgh.

Our lives completely changed. From the rush and lights of the city we moved to little quiet but lovely village. It was big change and GHA helped us to settle in. As a new build it has its prons and cons but with help and guidance it all helped a lot. Obviously, we are also part of little GHA community in Newburgh, getting know our new neighbours.

What nobody expected was Covid-19 coming to our lives in March 2020, just 6 months after we moved in. Everybody’s lives were turned upside down and the country kind of stopped. We were not furloughed or paid off (yet) in our jobs so we worked through the pandemic as normal. I cannot comment on help from GHA as we were fortunate enough and did not needed any. But we were assured via post and by our housing officer if anything was needed or not in order, we could get in touch anytime.

Here we experienced that the move to the countryside was not only changing our lives but also changing the quality of our lives. We are lucky enough to live near to the beaches and nature reserves where we spend a lot of time. Great outdoor activities also supporting social distancing. We also got a dog. Our lives got crazier in a good way. Plenty of needed exercise on daily walks.

Overall, I think we are lucky enough to be part of GHA community. Healthier, happier and maybe smarter.

 

 

For Scottish Housing Day I have been asked to share what my home means to me, especially during this unprecedented time of a world pandemic caused by Covid-19. The way we feel about our homes changes over time and under different circumstances. I have been a Grampian Housing Association tenant for the best part of twelve and a half years, my mother and I moved into the house in Findochty during May 2008. Mum has since passed away after a three-year battle against cancer. During this period, our home was a refuge and a place of comfort to mum and that feeling of comfort remained in the familiar surroundings after her passing. 

This year we have all, out of necessity, spent more time in our homes than we normally would. For those of us that had to shield the experience of lockdown may have been different than the majority. I have been fortunate to have had a lot of assistance with shopping, carried out by neighbours if needed but in the main by my immediate neighbours’ son and daughter in law. Medication prescriptions were arranged by the pharmacy to be delivered; both were a concern at the outset. My home became a safe place, a refuge, a sanctuary from the onslaught of a killer that we cannot see and that would be a struggle for my body to deal with. My front door became a barrier to the outside world which was and still is having extreme difficulty getting the virus under control.

One of the things I like about the house in which I live is the dedicated drying area. My family have always been keen gardeners, in fact I come from a line of market gardeners traced to the Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire areas. The area around the house has lent itself well to plant containers and an area has been converted to host wildflowers, my bit for pollinators, with no insecticides. This gives me opportunities to get outside and potter about, which certainly helps to maintain a healthy mind. The house is situated in a quiet landscaped area composing of 7 bungalows and 8 apartments. We have had loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and photovoltaic panels installed, which has helped with reducing our energy costs. Last year our bathrooms were upgraded which has made a huge difference to my mornings because it is light and bright and does help set my mood for the rest of the day especially as the wet room was reinstated. This year we are having our windows and doors replaced, Covid-19 restrictions permitting.

Simon RogersYes, I like my house and where I live and I am always conscious that without so many people working hard in the background none of the above would be possible. I like that Jenn, our housing officer, and Katie, tenant participation lead, called to make sure I was okay during lockdown and that made and makes a difference.

 

We have been advised that Aberdeenshire Council has suspended all special collections for bulky items such as washing machines.  If you live in Aberdeenshire you can only dispose of large items at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs).


Please do not leave bulky items outside on the street or in communal bin areas within schemes as they will not be collected even if you are willing to pay for the uplift. 
 
For more information please follow this link:
 
https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/waste/waste-covid-19/#recyclingcentres
 
Don’t have internet access?  You can phone the Wasteline on 03456 08 12 07 and book a HWRC slot to dispose of your bulky items.
 
Alternatively Association tenants can contact us to uplift and dispose of bulky items.  We would not be able to confirm at the time of your call the cost to you until we have checked with our contractor.
 

Click here to access the Report.

Recently, we asked you to tell us about the impact Covid-19 has had on you and your family and how it has affected your personal circumstances.  Thank you to the 43% of tenants responded.  We really appreciate this response which provides us with insight into the human cost of the pandemic. 

By sharing your experiences you are helping us to understand the huge effect Covid-19 has had, and continues to have, on you and your family, including issues around mental health, employment and incomes.  We will be using your feedback to continue to improve and enhance our services so they best meet your needs.

If you reported exposure to Covid-19, over the next few weeks our staff will call you to find out how you are and to see if Grampian can offer any further advice, assistance or support.   Similarly, some of you told us you had applied for Welfare Benefits or feared slipping into rent arrears so our specialist staff will contact you to offer further help, including information about our money advice, housing support and energy advice projects. 

Lastly, we are grateful to the tenants who left feedback telling us they are disappointed with aspects of Grampian’s services, so we’ll be in touch to see what we can do to address those concerns and work towards a better outcome for you.

Look out for further updates here, and in Keynote, around how we’ve responded to the information you’ve given us and our ongoing work to support tenants.  Look out for information on how we will use your feedback differently, to perform better, to communicate more effectively with you and to improve your satisfaction with us as your landlord.

 

UPDATE AS OF 12 AUGUST 2020

For the latest information regarding current services offered by Grampian Housing Association please click here.

 

Following the Scottish Government announcement advising of Aberdeen's lockdown, Grampian Housing Association have put the following restrictions in place:

Temporary suspension of all general lets and mutual exchanges within both Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire;
Carrying out only emergency repairs in Aberdeen City (we will call in advance to make sure that neither you nor members of your household have any symptoms)

These measures will apply for at least 1 week.

For full details on local lockdowns click here.

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