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Tenant magazine summer edition 2017

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news | SUMMER 2017THE BATTLE BEGINS read more on page 3www.weslo-housing.orgweslonewsWelcome to the summer edition of your tenants’ magazine. Unfortunately,…
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news | SUMMER 2017THE BATTLE BEGINS read more on page 3www.weslo-housing.orgweslonewsWelcome to the summer edition of your tenants’ magazine. Unfortunately, we’ve had a typical Scottish summer with more rain than sunshine. So if you’re looking for something to do while you wait for the rain to stop, why not try out one of our tasty recipes featured on pages 14/15, or get your pencils out and enter our exciting Christmas Card competition. This year, we’re looking for one of our tenants to design our Christmas card. The winning entry will receive a £50 gift voucher, great for helping with the Christmas expenses. They’ll also receive a few cards to send to their family and friends. Further details are on page 18. We’re going to be running cookery classes, where you can get to make tasty healthy meals that don’t cost the earth. The classes are free and you’ll get an ingredients bag so that you can try the recipe out at home. Further details on page 15. We hope you are enjoying our new look magazine. Our aim is to provide guidance and information on services that we offer, together with items of interest. We’re also looking to dedicate a section to you, our tenant, and are looking for ideas of what you would like to see featured. It may be pictures of neighbourhoods and residents from years gone by, or useful gardening tips, tasty recipes, your favourite coffee shop or activities going on in your area. If you’d like to contribute, please send your ideas to corporate.services@weslohm.co.uk We can provide this magazine in larger print. If you have access to the internet you can also log onto our website www.weslo-housing.org where you will be able to view, listen to and even translate the articles you are interested in.WE’RE SUPPORTING SCOTTISH HOUSING DAY 21st September is Scottish Housing Day – why not come along to our special event and let our team tell you what YOUR housing options are. Watch out for further details on Facebook.2Well done to the tenants of Bathville Court On a recent inspection Nicola Hughes, Housing Officer, noticed that the communal stairwells were becoming rather dirty and grubby. However, after some quick communication with the tenants, it’s apparent they’ve got together, pulled on their ‘marigolds’ and got to work cleaning. So thank you and well done to all involved – the building is once again looking clean and tidy for everyone to enjoy.Like us on Facebook follow us on Twitter We’re looking to improve how we communicate using social media. Facebook is a great place to get regular upto-date information – why not like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and help us to improve how we communicate with you. Weslo Housing Management Weslo Property Management @weslohousing @weslolettingCOMING SOON ... • Report Card – our official Performance Results will be available soon – Watch out for your copy in the coming months. • Tell us your views – we’ll be contacting you shortly in relation to the 2018/19 rent increase. Further information will be issued soon advising how you can give us your views.www.weslo-housing.orgLet the Games begin… The sun shone brightly for Weslo staff as they headed out on their annual staff fun day. The aim of this annual event is to promote teamwork and collaboration and raise funds for our nominated charity. The theme this year was Clan Games, with staff divided into eight teams. Each team had to come up with a name, a dress theme and a chant to prepare for the challenges which comprised: playing the bagpipes, Highland dancing, tossing the caber, farmer’s dash, hammer throwing, wet wellie throwing, and Glengoyne Malt Challenge. The venue was Kingsfield Golf and Leisure in Linlithgow and the Kingsfield events team ensured a great day was had by all.“TeamKingsfield were amazed at the team work each of the Weslo Clans put into their Clan Costumes and participation in the Clan Activities. The Braveheart Clan were especially well 'Presented' ready for the Clan Games to begin!” Ronnie Bamberry from Kingsfield EventsMike Bruce said …“This is always a great event in our calendar. The nature of what we do mean staff teams are dispersed over different locations, this event allows them to come together and work with people they wouldn’t normally interact with on a day to day basis helping to promote teamwork and collaborative working as well as having a bit of fun”.3weslonewsEstate Inspection hailed a success Following the findings of our Tenant Satisfaction Survey, carried out in 2016, the first ever joint Estate Inspection involving tenants and owners was carried out by Weslo recently. The purpose of the Estate Inspections is to ensure our Estates are clean, tidy and safe, providing a secure environment for all. During the inspection, Weslo properties are checked externally for repairs and gardens are checked to ensure they are being maintained. Other areas inspected included: grassed areas, shrub beds, trees fences, steps and railings. Any items identified as requiring attention are prioritised accordingly.4Weslo tenant Mrs Catriona Watson-Brown from West Calder said:“I was delighted to be given the opportunity to be included in the estate inspection this year for the first time. I found it to be informative particularly with the feedback received from staff which gave me an understanding on why Weslo do what they do within the estate. Allowing tenants to attend future inspections is beneficial as we respect the area we live in.â€? This is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference to your estate. Details of where and when our Estate visits are taking place are available on our website. We value your feedback. If you would like to be involved, please contact us on enquiries@weslohm.co.uk or contact your Housing Officer.www.weslo-housing.orgIn the spring edition of our magazine, we highlighted that we are looking for volunteers to join our Tenant Scrutiny Panel and help us to improve the services we offer you, our tenants. We are pleased to announce that Drew Balfour and Eileen Porter, formerly two Tenant Directors of Weslo Housing Management Board, have now joined our Tenant Scrutiny Panel after resigning at the recent AGM. They will now work closely with us to look at our services with the aim of improving them overall.Tenant Scrutiny– help us make a differenceEileen Porter said: “At the recent AGM I resigned from my position as Tenant Director to join the newly formed Tenant Scrutiny Panel. I’m really looking forward to taking up a role on the Scrutiny Panel. It’s an important role and a great opportunity to work closely with staff at an operational level to review key services that Weslo deliver to tenants, helping to shape future improvements. I can’t wait to get started”.If you have a spare hour or two per month, why not consider joining our Scrutiny Panel. It’s a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference to the services that affect you, our tenant. We work hard at being a great landlord by involving people and working together. We listen, we learn and we aim to do better. We place people and the communities we work in at the heart of everything we do. Further information is available in our Tenant Participation Strategy available on our website or on request from our Bathgate or Bo’ness offices or alternatively e-mail enquiries@welsohm.co.uk and help us to make a difference.REASONS TO GET INVOLVED • Develop new skills and abilities • Free training • Meet new people • Help us to improve our services for everyone • Get to know us better✔ 5weslonewsweslo works Gas and electrical inspections go mobile As part of our continuing IT programme of mobile development, our tradesmen will shortly be using iPads and wireless printers to carry out gas and electrical inspections. This improvement will allow our engineers to produce a completed certificate after finishing an inspection, meaning tenants have a clear and concise digitally created certificate immediately.6replace any parts and order them online, speeding up the repair process and ultimately improving the service to our tenant.” Kevin Cairns, ICT Manager, adds:As well as producing the new certificates via the tablets, our gas engineers will also be able to access boiler manuals to assist them in identifying necessary parts to aid in the completion of their inspections/ repairs along with also being able to carry out precise radiator and general heating input/output calculations.“This is the next phase in the development of our mobile strategy, in conjunction with our partner 1st Touch and will result in reduced costs. It is another step in our journey to facilitate full remote working for housing officers, inspectors and tradesmen.”Gordon Raymond, one of Weslo’s gas engineers, explains what affect the devices, and app, will have for him. “This will allow us to complete the service and give our tenants a copy of the gas service certificate immediately after we’ve finished, so we won’t have to send the certificate out afterwards. We now have the ability to search for part numbers if we need toIn terms of timescales, we aim to go live with the gas and electrical forms in late summer, thereafter the development of a new tenant smartphone app, and the introduction of the 1st Touch 360 App for Housing Officers will follow, but more information will be available in relation to these developments nearer the time.www.weslo-housing.orgKEEPING YOU SAFEIt’s important to let us check your gas TIPS FOR FIRE SAFETY IN YOUR HOME By taking a few simple precautions, you could prevent a fire in your home:We are legally responsible for carrying out a yearly gas safety check/service in your home. We’ll send you a letter with an appointment around ten days before we are due to come to do the gas check. If you have given us your mobile number, we’ll text you a reminder two days before your appointment. If we can’t get access, we’ll leave a card to remind you that you have seven days to contact us to re-arrange your appointment. If for any reason you can’t be in for us to carry out a gas check, please call our Repairs help desk as soon as possible on 01506 639144.The recent tragedy at Grenfell Towers in London has left us all shocked. Weslo Housing Management does not have any multistorey tower blocks and has not used the cladding system that was seen in Grenfell Towers. As part of our continuous improvements to ensure our properties are well maintained and meet the current energy standards, however, we do carry out External Wall Insulation. The cladding system we use meets all current building standards in terms of fire safety, passing all of the regulatory standards required by Building Regulations in Scotland. The system has been specifically designed with fire prevention in mind and has measures put in place to prevent fire spreading on the exterior of a building should a fire occur. During these works, additional measures are carried out by us to ensure that all of the required safety, quality and technical standards are met.1. Make sure your smoke alarms are working, test them once a week 2. Keep matches and lighters well out of reach of children 3. Never turn away from hot fat 4. Don’t overload your sockets, one plug per socket and check for loose wires 5. Don’t leave lighted cigarettes – make sure they have been put out properly 6. Don’t leave lighted candles on their own 7. Keep clothing away from heating appliances 8. Make sure everyone in the home knows how to escape if there is a fireThe Scottish Fire Service provides great advice on fire safety, including how to make an escape plan to ensure you and your family keep safe. You can access their information on their website: www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety.aspex They also offer free home fire safety visits.7weslonewsTHIS IS RUBBISH! AND IT’S A CRIME! BE A CONSIDERATE NEIGHBOURDid you know that litter and fly-tipping costs the Scottish Government £53M each year? This is public money that could be spent on other things such as the NHS, Education and housing. We all have a responsibility to ensure that the waste we produce and any unwanted items we have are disposed of properly and legally. This is called “Duty of Care” and applies to individuals and businesses. • Litter is waste in the wrong place. It can be any man-made material or item associated with food. It includes banana skins, apple cores, food and drink packaging, cigarette butts and chewing gum. • Fly-tipping is also waste in the wrong place – from a bin bag of household waste to large quantities of domestic, commercial or construction waste. • Almost 250 million visible items are littered each year and there are at least 61,000 incidents of fly-tipping.8• Litter ruins the look of our environment, kills wildlife, cause fires and damages cars. • Discarded food such as apple cores and banana skins attracts rats, mice, gulls and pigeons. • Litter can affect our health and local environment – that’s why people risk an £80 penalty for littering or £200 for fly-tipping. • We should all do the right thing with our litter. There’s no excuse, bin your waste or take it home if a bin is unavailable. For information on how to correctly dispose of larger amounts of waste, please visit the Dumb Dumpers website. We’ll be reporting in a future edition what illegal dumping is costing Weslo and what this equates to in terms of the services we could offer.We have recently seen an increase in complaints relating to inappropriate disposal of household waste, particularly in mixed tenure flatted developments. If you live in a street property, you will have a wheelie bin. If you live in a block, there are communal bins for your rubbish. We ask all residents to dispose of their rubbish and waste responsibly and for you to consider your neighbours.Make sure you put all your rubbish in the correct place. Do not leave it on the street, at the side of the bins or outside of your block on the landing. Do not throw waste out of windows or over the balcony. Wrongly disposed of rubbish attracts vermin and is harmful to the environment. The council will collect your rubbish and recycling on a weekly basis. Please present your rubbish for collection on the designed date. If you are unsure when this is, please ask a neighbour or alternatively please contact the local council. Further information can be found on West Lothian Council website: https://www.westlothian.gov. uk/binswww.weslo-housing.orgJUST A MINUTE News in brief... Jade Cook, Property Officer Describe your role in five words Busy, satisfying, diverse, challenging, enjoyable.What advice would you give your younger self? Not to take things personally.What was your background before joining Weslo? I studied Business Management at Napier University. I successfully graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, which I’ve put to good use in my current role.What is your job title? Property Officer – I currently deal with repairs and maintenance for Weslo’s private rented sector properties and properties on behalf of landlords.Outside of the office, how do you spend your free time? Gym and swimming in preparation for my wedding next year! What is your desk essential? Post-its! Couldn’t do without them.Describe your organization? Property Management and letting in the private rented sector. We offer a management service to landlords in West Lothian and Falkirk, as well as providing good quality affordable lets for tenants. Describe your surroundings right now? Light, bright blue office, great atmosphere and spacious!9weslonewsWeslo Property Management Weslo Property Management is a letting agent with a difference. As a subsidiary of Weslo Housing Management our profits are gift aided back to our parent company and used to benefit the wider community. Our number one aim is to deliver exceptional Customer Service.PIONEERING GROUP GET TOGETHER AGAIN What our Customers say . . . We been voted the Best Letting Agent in Scotland – here’s what our customers say about us:“I highly recommend Weslo Property Management, their experience and knowledge in this field is second to none. Their staff are a pleasure to work with, always helpful. I have felt I have built up a true partnership with them and they appreciate the objectives of my business as well as their own.” (taken from all the agents June 2017) “Professional & helpful at all times, renting my property through Weslo was very easy and no trouble at all. Ashley and Jade are available to answer any queries at any time.” (taken from Facebook June 2017.10Weslo Property Management tenants got together on the 8th of June for their second tenant participation group meeting. Since their first meeting in March 2017 the group, the first private sector scrutiny and development group of its kind in Scotland, have been working on a range of topics such as private sector housing policy, property condition and service and tenant scrutiny. Ashley Millan, Head of Private Rented Services, said, “Tenant engagement is fairly unusual in the Private Rented Sector and, unlike our parent company, there is no legal obligation for Weslo Property Management, as a private sector landlord/agent, to engage with our tenants on areas such as tenant scrutiny. However, Weslo PropertyManagement aims to mirror, albeit on a smaller scale and without formal regulation, the requirements which our parent company, Weslo Housing Management, has set out in its tenant participation strategy.” The group, which is currently made up of eight tenant members, will also consult on Government Consultations, championing best practice within the sector and act as a community anchor amongst their private tenant peers. Robert Sharp, tenant member, said, “I’ve been renting in the private rented sector for seven years and this is the first time I’ve ever been asked for my opinion. I think this is a great idea, it’s helpful and informative and it’s great to be part of – that’s why I got involved.”www.weslo-housing.orgPROPERTY PROFILE – AVAILABLE SOON We have a range of properties for rent. If you are interested, please contact us on 01506 639168Eagles View, Livingston Weslo Property Management is delighted to bring to the market this stunning two bedroom apartment, in sought after Deer Park Heights, Livingston. The property, which is situated adjacent to the prestigious Deer Park Golf and Country club, boasts: • Master en-suite bedroom with large built in wardrobes/storage • Second double bedroom with built in wardrobes/storage • Good sized family bathroom • Open plan kitchen/lounge with beautifully fitted kitchen and ample living space The property further benefits from integrated white goods, quality flooring throughout, secure entry system, bike storage, private allocated parking and stunning views. The grounds are maintained by a private factor and the factoring fees associated with this property are included in the advertised rental amount. Viewing of this fantastic rental opportunity is highly recommended. Landlord registration: 204029/400/20120 EPC – B11weslonewsBee nice to bees! Bumblebees need our help! Bumblebees are one of the most endearing insect visitors to any garden. Their furry, colourful bodies and clumsy flight always raise a smile, but they also do an essential job. Without their pollination services many flowers would produce no seeds, and fruit and vegetable yields would suffer. Bumblebees are mainly under threat because of changes to the countryside in the UK. Changes in agricultural techniques have meant that there are far fewer wildflowers in the landscape than there used to be, meaning that many of our bumblebee species are struggling to survive. They are also under threat from the use of “neonicotinoids” which are insecticide used to protect our crops but are harmful to bees and other wildlife.What can we do to help? Create a “bee friendly” garden. There’s lots of information on how to go about this, you don’t need muc
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