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COMPRESSED 210917SHDTimFletcherCOMPRESSED 210917SHDJohnLeHuquet

A day in the life of....
our Caretaker in Moray 

Hello, my name is Tim Fletcher and I have the job title of Caretaker.  My role is to carry out Factoring duties in the Moray area on behalf of the Association and the department I work for is Property and Estate Management.

So I start my day with bundling my piece break flask and sandwich for lunch into my day sack, unplug my works phone and lone working device, as I refer to as " my tracker " as this alerts GHA should be involved in an accident, fall ill and identifies my location at that time and make my way to the works van to meet my assistant John and load up the equipment we'll use during the course of the day.  We connect a trailer that carries a number of bins, mowers and other gardening equipment.  The vehicle is loaded by 8.30am and we start our day.

First location today is out to Lossiemouth, once on site and parked up we set about picking litter, hand grabbers and black bags at the ready.  This large scheme of 120 properties and a lot of open space takes on average 30 minutes to collect about 2 bags full each.  Back to the van where we start to prepare for the cleaning of the communal landings and stairs of 7 blocks of flats.  If we find any damage or lights not working we report this back to the Elgin Office to get fixed.  The work is interrupted with the morning piece break.  Everything stops for tea or so the saying goes, but we also need to check our phone for calls and emails.  We finish the work, store all the equipment away back in the van and unload the lawn mowers from the trailer, check them over, fill and start what seems like the never ending job of grass cutting, ear protectors on.  Thank goodness for headphones and a portable radio, as we start our daily 7 km walk, up and down, up and down, well you get the idea.

The morning soon passes and around 12.30pm lunch is eaten in the van, 1 o'clock comes around too soon and back to work.  One of the shrubbed flower beds has a number of annual weeds trying to take over, so some work is needed to clear the ground of  these, gardening forks out of the van along with a couple of small rubble bags to collect the weeds in, some areas we spray a weed killer, but this is not one of them, so back to basics and hand digging and removal of the weeds.

Once done its back to the van and head back to Elgin to start a number of gardens that are part of our assisted garden maintenance programme for tenants unable to look after their gardens.  We pull up at a property unload a mower and strimmer, one of us will mow, the other strimming the edges and then with the use of a blower clear any grass or debris from paths etc, load everything back up and off to the next property.  Here the tenant wants to be notified of our arrival before any work is started, we ring the bell and a very short time later the door is answered with the usual comment " you two again", same day and time each visit "like clockwork you two" and so the process is repeated.   Five properties need to be completed and this takes us up to the end of the day around 4.30pm when we start to head back.  Once back we check our phone for any emails or calls that need a reply, then unload the van and store the trailer safely away and  confirm the next day's work and discuss any issues.  At 5 o'clock it's time to set off home. 

Until tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

Day in The Life

Progression within housing 

Name: Carol Reid
Age:
45

Employer:
Grampian Housing Association
Role:
Housing Manager

Morning: I enjoy beginning my day with a swim, but it does mean an early start! I try to arrive at the pool for 6.30am, then after swimming I make my way home to organise my 5-year-old son for school. Once Ihave dropped him off I get to my desk at 9am to start work.

I usually spend the morning checking my emails, reviewing my diary and catching up with staff about any pressing issues in respect of rent management and lettings.  I have regular one to one sessions with senior housing officers who in turn meet with housing officers.  This helps to promote teamwork and good communication which in turn ensures the effective delivery of services to our tenants. . I occasionally travel to our Elgin office to meet with the team there too.

I have been working in housing for 25 years now, with 16 of those spent at Grampian Housing Association. Throughout that time, I’ve progressed from housing assistant, to housing officer and senior housing officer, before being promoted to my current role earlier this year.  This means I have a good understanding of the responsibilities and roles of my colleagues and they know they can approach me for advice on anything. 

I also use my time in the morning to catch up with external contacts, for example HomeHunt - the choice based lettings system we use to advertise our properties for social rent. They advertise fortnightly so we need to plan our adverts in advance and arrange the letting of properties.  I regularly meet with the HomeHunt partners to discuss its future strategic direction.

Lunchtime: At lunch I take the opportunity to go home and walk our fox red Labrador Indy, having a dog certainly keeps me fit! We have a quick run around the block and I usually grab something to eat before heading back to the office.

Afternoon: My role within Grampian Housing Association is more strategic now and I’m responsible for writing policies on topics such as rent management, anti-social behaviour and lettings. We have legislation to adhere to and we also consult our customers on how policies should be shaped, so quite often I’ll spend my afternoon meeting with our operational service development manager and property services manager, discussing the content for certain policies and how they interlink across departments.  

Another big part of my role is report writing and I try to commit some time each afternoon to collate and analyse our Key Performance Indicators.  Our performance results are submitted annually to the Scottish Housing Regulator as well as being used in quarterly benchmarking exercises.  It’s important that I keep on top of our performance trends to ensure that Grampian continues to be a leading housing provider in the North East.  

I’ll then catch up with our business development team for updates about plans for new developments. At the moment we are working towards unveiling new homes in Dubford and Mugiemoss in Aberdeen and Peterhead It’s a very exciting time but there’s a lot of preparation involved.

Evening: I finish work at 5pm and after I collect my son we head home. My evenings usually involve making dinner and helping my little boy with his homework. To relax I enjoy making costume jewellery. It’s a hobby of mine which I have been doing for years. I sometimes get requests from friends and colleagues looking for an accessory to match a particular outfit. It helps me switch off in the evening.

 

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London, Grampian Housing Association (GHA) is working with partner agencies, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to provide reassurance to our tenants and residents and provide safe homes.

We have no properties fitted with the external cladding used in London.  However, we fully expect changes in the law about fire safety in the future.  In the short term GHA is determined to ensure residents and visitors are safe in their homes by letting you know about what we currently do and the changes will be introducing to enhance fire safety.   

GHA will review procedures and policies based on the investigation by the fire service in London and will continue to work with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service colleagues locally to ensure our tenants and householders receive fire safety messages.

Our communal buildings will have the following: 

Weekly checks on smoke alarms (carried out by trained members of the Mobile Cleaning Team)

Block inspections every month

An annual Fire Risk Assessment carried out by a competent independent assessor

Information on every floor about evacuation procedures

An up-to-date Electrical Condition report

A program of servicing or checks for any safety equipment (fire panels, sprinkler systems etc)

Our tenants and homeowners in communal or factored buildings will receive a letter in the next few days offering assurances for their safety and outlining any planned procedural changes. The letter will outline requirements and responsibilities relating to keeping stairwells and fire escapes clear and the associated hazards of dumping potentially flammable materials in storage and communal areas.

The GHA contact number for tenants or residents with concerns is 01224 202900.

To book a FREE Home Fire Safety Visit and get fire safety advice specific to your home from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, call 0800 0731 999, text ‘FIRE’ to 80800, or visit www.firescotland.gov.uk.

 

 



 

 

Local Government and Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart MSP, officially opens new homes for rent by Grampian Housing Association and Let’s Choose

Grampian Housing Association and its subsidiary, Kirkgate Developments, are today celebrating the completion of their latest development of affordable homes, increasing the group’s portfolio of properties for rent throughout the North-east to more than 3,100.

It coincides with the launch of Let’s Choose, the new brand for Kirkgate’s properties for mid-market and market rent in preparation for future expansion of its services.

To mark the occasion, Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing is today (Friday) officially opening the 31 houses, a mix of 14 two and three bedrooms for social rent and 17 three bedroom houses for mid-market (below private sector) rent at Osprey Heights, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire. The Minister will be meeting local residents who will directly benefit from additional affordable homes in the area and will be shown around the new development itself.

The minister will officially declare the affordable housing open, along with Norton Bertram-Smith, Chairman of Grampian Housing Association, Richard Dodunski, Chairman of Kirkgate Developments and Neil Clapperton, Chief Executive of Grampian Housing Association.

Grampian Housing Association received over £1.8million of funding from the Scottish Government, along with a grant of £65,000 from Aberdeenshire Council.

The £3.7 million development was completed in partnership with Barratt Homes and builds on the Association’s successful and long-standing relationship with the leading five-star housebuilder.

Greentrees Gardens in Inverurie provides 31 two and three bedroom houses aimed at families seeking affordable housing in the Aberdeen housing market area. In an earlier phase of the development 10 houses for social rent were built at Threave Circle, bringing the housing group’s total provision in Osprey Heights to 41 homes.

The development is part of Aberdeenshire Council’s Strategic Housing Investment Programme (SHIP) agreed with the Scottish Government. Osprey Heights contributes to Aberdeenshire Council’s aim to increase the supply of affordable housing to meet local housing need

Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing, said: “I’m delighted that our investment has helped to make affordable housing a reality in this rural area. This latest development in Inverurie is a great example of how partnership working can deliver good quality homes that suit the needs of individuals - allowing them to remain within, and sustain, their communities.

“Affordable housing in the Aberdeen area is a priority and we’ll continue to work with local partners to deliver the much-needed affordable homes that people across the country need.”

Norton Bertram-Smith, chair of Grampian Housing Association, said: “We are working hard to lead the sector in the development of significant affordable homes in the Aberdeen housing market area. There is still work to be done, but today’s additional homes is another ambition realised.

“Grampian Housing Association is one of the three locally based Registered Social Landlords who are committed to contribute to the provision of up to 2,000 affordable and low cost homes in Aberdeenshire over the four year period, 2016 to 2020. The properties at Osprey Heights and at our other developments across Aberdeenshire built since 2015, will mean Grampian Housing Association starts its commitment by delivering a total of 91 new affordable homes by the end of 2017. More new homes will follow thereafter.”

Richard Dodunski, Chairman of Kirkgate Developments, said: “The launch of Let’s Choose is a milestone for Kirkgate Developments. The company is gearing up to offer wider services in the future and the Let’s Choose brand will give it a distinct image and capture the imagination of house seekers looking for quality affordable housing.”

“Many working households in Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen are on moderate incomes and do not qualify for social housing but cannot afford to buy or rent in the private sector, resulting in limited housing options. In addition, in the current economic climate where a household’s income could be at risk, renting offers more security. Our homes for mid-market rent provide a solution for these households.”

Looking to the future, Grampian Housing Association and Kirkgate Developments are an important part of the regional mix to encourage economic development and support a healthy economy. The Scottish Government recognises that the supply of new affordable housing needs to be a high priority. The Grampian group is keen to support this by working with the public and voluntary sectors to bring forward affordable land for development, as well as private house builders and developers to source opportunities and seek funding to develop more social housing in the North-east.

Rob Simpson, head of housing, Aberdeenshire Council, said: “Increasing affordable housing remains a top priority for Aberdeenshire Council. The Osprey Heights development will further increase the range of housing available in the Inverurie area and we are pleased to work with partners in order to achieve this. Only by working with others will be able to deliver the housing required across Aberdeenshire.”

David Stewart, construction director, Barratt North Scotland said: “We are very pleased to have developed such a positive partnership with Grampian Housing Association and to continue our support for the communities in which we build.

“The new properties help to increase the number of low cost homes in Aberdeenshire and we very much look forward to playing our part in realising the Scottish Government’s new housing ambitions in collaboration with our Registered Social Landlord (RSL) partners in other areas of the North of Scotland too.”

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