Housing News from across Co Durham

 
Former council housing Council housing in the following former districts is now provided by registered providers:

 Chester-le-Street: Housing in Chester-le-Street, Sacriston, Great Lumley, Pelton and surrounding areas is now provided by Karbon Homes (was Cestria, Derwentside and Isos). 

Derwentside: Housing in Consett, Stanley, Lanchester, Langley Park and surrounding areas is now provided by Karbon Homes (was Cestria, Derwentside and Isos). 

Durham CityHousing in Durham City and surrounding villages is now provided by Durham City Homes as part of the County Durham Housing Group.

 EasingtonHousing in Easington, Peterlee, Seaham and surrounding areas is now provided by East Durham Homes as part of the County Durham Housing Group

SedgefieldHousing in Sedgefield, Newton Aycliffe, Spennymoor and surrounding areas is now provided by livin.

Teesdale: Housing in Barnard Castle, Cockfield, Evenwood, Etherley and surrounding areas is now provided by North Star Housing Group. 

Wear Valley:Housing in Crook, Bishop Auckland, Coundon and surrounding areas is now provided by Dale & Valley Homes as part of the County Durham Housing Group.
Moving On Newsletter April - June 2018 **New**

Good afternoon . Please find attached a copy of the latest newsletter from Moving On Durham. It’s been quite a few months for our organisation, and fingers crossed we continue to have further good news stories in the months to come.

Kind regards Mark Administrator Moving On Durham

Welcome to DASHtalk June 2018 **New**

DASH began life as the Durham Cyrenians in 1972, part of the national Cyrenians organisation. It was founded by people who were concerned about the plight of single homeless men.

Click for our Website

Messy kids beat isolation **New**

Young children in Wingate and Station Town will be able to help their parents beat isolation and stress with new messy play sessions thanks to funding from a social landlord. Wingate and Station Town Family Centre has introduced new weekly sessions of messy play activities for young children thanks to a grant from County Durham Housing Group. The sessions have been specifically designed to help babies or young children prepare for nursery, and support disadvantaged families. Around 30 families are expected to benefit from the new sessions, which run every Friday. They will allow youngsters to experiment with all elements of play, including a new jelly pit, in the safety of the centre. Volunteers qualified in childcare and education are on hand throughout to allow youngsters to learn and to help their parents find out how to encourage their child’s development. The sessions are expected to offer a valuable social outlet for parents too, reducing isolation and improving mental health. Volunteers at the centre will also help parents by providing opportunities to engage with education or training that could boost their employment prospects. County Durham Housing Group provided £500 to enable the sessions to take place through its ‘group grant’ programme. The programme has helped more than 50 grass roots organisations since it was launched in summer 2017. 

Damian Pearson, County Durham Housing Group Funding Officer, said: “Kids do love to make a mess, whether it’s with paint or indeed jelly, so it’s easy to see how the children taking part in these sessions will benefit. But, it’s important not to underestimate the impact that these activities will have for their parents too. They’re an opportunity to meet new people, share experiences and discover new opportunities. “Projects like this that have such a big impact at a very local level are exactly the kind of activities our group grant programme was created to support.” Alison Nutter from the family centre said: "Grants that respond quickly to local needs make a big difference to small charities and the communities they support.” The application process for ‘group grant’ has been kept deliberately simple and funding decisions will be made monthly to ensure local groups are not waiting for lengthy periods to find out if they have been successful. 

Full details of the group grant scheme are available at www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk/groupgrant, by calling 0191 349 7777 or emailing groupgrant@cdhg.co.uk

Open day for available homes in Wheatley Hill **New**

House hunters are being invited to an open day for immediately available properties in Wheatley Hill. County Durham Housing Group is opening the doors to a two-bed property in Wheatley Terrace to highlight the variety of affordable homes available immediately. The show-home will be fully-furnished for the open day, which takes place from noon until 5.30pm on Wednesday, 20 June. The group has a wide variety of properties in Wheatley Hill ranging from one-bedroom flats to three-bedroom family homes. The event is intended to give home seekers the chance to discuss available properties face-to-face with officers from the group, and find out how they could potentially get the keys to a new home within one day. 

County Durham Housing Group Head of Housing Operations, Simon Bartlett said: “Many people looking for a new home don’t think to look at social housing. There’s a misconception that you have to go on a waiting list and wait ages for a property; and that you have to be on benefits to qualify. This isn’t the case. “We’ve got a huge variety of different types of home right across the county. It doesn’t matter if you’re in work, whether you’re single or have a family; there’s a very good chance that we’ll have a property suitable for you. “And because we’re a social landlord, we can offer very affordable rent, with no need for a bond. We’ll provide help and support to help people move in and offer much more security than is available in the private sector.” Wheatley Terrace is located to the west of Wheatley Hill, but within easy reach of local amenities. The village also has transport links to Durham, Peterlee and the surrounding area. 

More information on the event is available by calling 0800 032 0835, or emailing lettingseast@cdhg.co.uk

Housing group releases its latest online magazine **New**

The latest edition of County Durham Housing Group’s digital newsletter is now available online. ‘group news’ has all the latest developments from right across the county, including details of how the first tenants are settling in to new-build homes in Newton Aycliffe; and how a £138m home improvement programme has picked up national awards, at www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk 

The magazine also features details of how a variety of groups in east Durham have made use of support from the ‘group grant’ funding programme. Group Communications Manager, Jill Ancrum, said: “With new homes being completed right across the county and an ever-growing list of community groups we’re supporting, the group is having making a real difference. This issue also has details of our next open day for immediately available properties in Wheatley Hill and information on training courses coming to Bishop Auckland.” The magazine is fully responsive so can be easily read on a PC, laptop, tablet and mobile phone. 

Anyone wanting a printed copy should email communications@cdhg.co.uk or contact: · Dale & Valley Homes: 0800 083 0333 · Durham City Homes: 0800 068 0013 · East Durham Homes: 0800 032 0835

Funding helps boxing club expand **New**

Funding from one of the region’s largest social landlords has helped a successful boxing club expand its facilities to meet demand. Brandon Boxing Club has been able to increase the space available for its 100 members to train thanks to support from County Durham Housing Group. The club has extended its gym flooring to provide extra accommodation for the ever-growing number of boxers coming through its doors. Specialist matting has been installed to provide a suitable surface for training and exercise circuits. The matting is essential to ensure that boxers aren’t injured during their exercise and practice sessions. The club has outgrown the space previously covered by specialist surfacing. The expansion has been made possible thanks to £450 of ‘group grant’ funding from County Durham Housing Group. County Durham Housing Group 

Community Investment Team Leader, Angela Stobbart, said: “Everyone involved in the club is so passionate. It’s easy to see why more and more people of all ages are keen to come along to have a go. “I’m really pleased that this funding will be able to make the continued growth and success of the club possible. This is exactly the kind of project we had in mind when we created the ‘group grant’ programme. It might seem like a small amount of money but it’s clear to see what a big difference it has made here.” Alex Oliver from Brandon Boxing Club said: “We are very grateful for the grant, without the support from organisations like County Durham Housing Group clubs like ourselves would struggle to survive. It was great that Angela came along to see the club in action and to see the difference this support means to us.” The application process for ‘group grant’ has been kept deliberately simple and funding decisions will be made monthly to ensure local groups are not waiting for lengthy periods to find out if they have been successful.  
Full details of the group grant scheme are available at www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk/groupgrant, by calling 0191 349 7777 or emailing groupgrant@cdhg.co.uk

Kids dig new play space **New**

Youngsters at a Peterlee primary school are enjoying a new play space thanks to funding from one of the region’s largest providers of affordable housing. Pupils at Howletch Lane Primary School have extra play opportunities with their new gravel pit, constructed through funding from County Durham Housing Group. Children aged 4 to 5 are taking full advantage of the new amenities to learn all about teamwork and communication. 

County Durham Housing Group provided £500 through its ‘group grant’ funding programme to pay for materials in the new facility, which was built in-house by the highly-skilled school caretaking team. More than 50 reception pupils each year are expected to benefit from the playtime addition, which also aims to help develop strength and coordination.

County Durham Housing Group Funding Officer, Damian Pearson, said: “I’ve seen first-hand just how much the pupils at Howletch Lane have taken to their new gravel pit. They’re having a great time digging and measuring. “This is a great project and it’s clearly made an immediate difference to the children. It’s exactly the kind of scheme that group grant was created to help.” 

Howletch Lane Primary School Head Teacher, Helen Adair, said: “We are over the moon with our new gravel pit for the Reception class children and are extremely grateful to County Durham Housing Group for providing the funding. Budgets are tight for a lot of schools at the moment and we often have to cut back on all but essential spending on resources. “The gravel pit is a very welcome addition to the outdoor play area for some of our youngest children. Not only is it great fun for the pupils but it also allows staff to enhance the teaching of basic skills such as counting, measuring and development of gross and fine motor skills.” 

The application process for ‘group grant’ has been kept deliberately simple and funding decisions will be made monthly to ensure local groups are not waiting for lengthy periods to find out if they have been successful.

Full details of the group grant scheme are available at www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk/groupgrant, by calling 0191 349 7777 or emailing groupgrant@cdhg.co.uk

Housing group issues bogus caller warning **New**

County Durham Housing Group is asking tenants to be on their guards for bogus telephone callers following a suspected scam by cold-callers. A caller claiming to be from Dale & Valley Homes is suspected of making attempts to defraud tenants earlier this week. The caller asked for credit or debit card details to make a refund payment into the customer’s account. The incident is currently being investigated, but the group have asked all tenants to be vigilant. No representative from any of County Durham Housing Group’s landlord, including Dale & Valley Homes, Durham City Homes and East Durham Homes, will ever ask for such details over the phone. 

 County Durham Housing Group Financial Controller, Keith Nelson, said: “We use an automated telephone system for card payments, so no member of staff will ever directly ask a customer for their card details. Specifically, we will never ask for your card number or three-digit security code.” “We’d urge anyone with suspicions about who they are speaking to, or why they are being asked for personal details, to hang up and call us back via our customer contact centre.” 

Tenants with concerns can call: · 0800 083 0333 for Dale & Valley Homes · 0800 068 0013 for Durham City Homes · 0800 032 0835 for East Durham Homes. 

County Durham Housing Group is one of the largest providers of affordable housing in the North East with over 18,500 homes stretching from the Durham coast to upper Weardale.

Youth bus project finds new audience **New**

A youth bus project will be picking up rather different passengers thanks to funding from one of the region’s largest social landlords. The DERIC (Durham Education Resource In the Community) project will now be working with older people in Ushaw Moor and Bearpark every week thanks to funding from County Durham Housing Group. DERIC aims to tackle isolation and improve wellbeing for older people. Ushaw Moor and Bearpark suffer from a lack of dedicated facilities for older people and the projects new minibus, which was funded by UK Government (Department for Transport), is seen as the ideal solution. It provides transport to safe and secure venues for socialising. County Durham Housing Group provided £500 through its ‘group grant’ programme to help make the project possible. It is expected that around 60 older people will benefit from a new programme of activities every week using the bus. 

County Durham Housing Group Community Investment Team Leader, Angela Stobbart, said: “This is a really innovative project to tackle a very specific issue in Bearpark and Ushaw Moor. I have to applaud the vision of the team at DERIC and hope that they’ll be able to improve the lives of many older people in these communities. “Projects like this one are the very reason we set up our group grant programme. By providing relatively small amounts of funding for grass roots projects like these we can make a significant impact in communities across County Durham.” Caroline Jackson, Business Manager from DERIC, said: “Our project is grateful for the support from County Durham Housing Group due to these grants we are able to expand our community based activities and tackle isolation and loneliness so the elderly can form friendship groups and receive advice and guidance.” The application process for ‘group grant’ has been kept deliberately simple and funding decisions will be made monthly to ensure local groups are not waiting for lengthy periods to find out if they have been successful. 

Full details of the group grant scheme are available at www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk/groupgrant, by calling 0191 349 7777 or emailing groupgrant@cdhg.co.uk

Housing group releases its latest online magazine **New**

The latest edition of County Durham Housing Group’s digital newsletter is now available online. ‘group news’ has all the latest developments from right across the county, including the first pictures of new affordable homes in Pity Me and information on how home repairs are now being carried out in house across the Bishop Auckland and Weardale areas, at www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk The magazine also features details of the ‘group grant’ funding programme and its help for boxers in Belmont, a roller hockey team in Willington and new age kurlers in West Auckland. 

Group Communications Manager, Jill Ancrum, said: “With our £32m new-build programme in full swing and our growing support for communities right across County Durham, the group is having a real impact. This issue also has details of our successful open day for immediately available properties in Coundon and planning approval for more new affordable homes in Peterlee. “Plus we’ve got an update on our £138m home improvements programme as it reaches Ushaw Moor.” The magazine is fully responsive so can be easily read on a PC, laptop, tablet and mobile phone. 

Anyone wanting a printed copy should email communications@cdhg.co.uk or contact: · 
Dale & Valley Homes: 0800 083 0333 · 
Durham City Homes: 0800 068 0013 · 
East Durham Homes: 0800 032 0835

Housing group brings more repairs in-house **New**

County Durham Housing Group has brought repairs in the Bishop Auckland and Weardale area in-house with the transfer of more than 40 staff. The group will be carrying out repairs and maintenance for around 4,200 homes stretching from Willington to Wearhead from this month. Work has been brought in-house following the end of a 10-year contract with Gentoo. All of the 40 staff who worked on the contract have been transferred to County Durham Housing Group’s maintenance division, Group Property Services (GPS). Employees transferred include highly skilled joiners, plumbers and heating engineers, who provide emergency callout cover as well as regular repairs and maintenance services. The team also carry out work to properties before new tenants move in. GPS already handle the repairs and maintenance for more than 5,000 properties in and around Durham city. The transfer brings the total number of homes maintained by the group itself to more than 9,000 for the first time. Operations Manager, Gary Bolton, said: “This move secures years of experience in maintaining homes in the Wear Valley area. These are dedicated people who know our properties and our customers very well. “Bringing all of those skills in-house will help us to ensure we can continue to provide the same high-quality service for all of our tenants in these parts of the county.” The transfer came into effect on Tuesday, 3 April. County Durham Housing Group tenants are expected to notice little difference to the service, with contacts for reporting and requesting repairs remaining unchanged. 

County Durham Housing Group tenants can report a repair at www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk/contact

Dozens discover affordable housing in Coundon **New**

An open day showcasing social housing in Coundon has been a resounding success with new tenants even picking up the keys to their new homes on the spot. The event was staged by County Durham Housing Group in Eden Close, near the centre of Coundon. It gave home seekers the chance to look around a two-bed show-home and learn more about the variety of other properties available to rent immediately from the group; from one-bedroom flats to three-bed family houses. With experienced housing officers on hand the event was also a great way to learn more about social housing and potentially apply for a new home straight away. Two households even signed up and collected the keys to their new home on the same day thanks to the streamlined application process. In the nine months since County Durham Housing Group launched its new approach to providing immediately available properties, the group has helped around 250 customers pick up the keys to their new home within days. 

County Durham Housing Group Head of Housing Operations, Simon Bartlett said: “Many people looking for a new home don’t think to look at social housing. There’s a misconception that you have to go on a waiting list and wait ages for a property; and that you have to be on benefits to qualify. This isn’t the case. “We’ve got a huge variety of different types of home right across the county. It doesn’t matter if you’re in work, whether you’re single or have a family; there’s a very good chance that we’ll have a property suitable for you. “And because we’re a social landlord, we can offer very affordable rent, with no need for a bond. We’ll provide support to help people move in and offer much more security than is available in the private sector.” 

More information on County Durham Housing Group’s immediately available properties is available at www.countydurhamhousing.co.uk/properties, by calling 0800 083 0333, or emailing lettingswest@cdhg.co.uk.

Current vacancies **New**

We currently have 2 vacancies now at Durham and Chester-le-Street Young People's Service (Grove Road) in the core accommodation. The criteria is single homeless aged between 16-25 for the core house in Brandon 3 miles away from Durham City Centre. We also take referrals for up to the age of 35 in our dispersed properties. We have two dispersed properties in Spennymoor and another property in Durham (Newton Hall) which two customers share. 

If you have any customers that may be suitable for supported housing please made a referral. Please submit your referral to the gatewaydurham@homegroup.org.uk
Alternatively if you wish to discuss your referral before submitting an application please feel free to give me a call on 07464 491141 - 07793 305 241 
Thanks Robert Ingham

Rural Housing Spotlight April **New**

A quarterly bulletin facilitated by your membership of the Rural Services Network and produced in partnership with the Rural Housing Alliance, highlighting a selection of current rural housing issues and opportunities.

Moving On Newsletter Jan - Mar 2018 **New**

Please find attached the latest newsletter from Moving On Durham. Kind regards. Mark Administrator Moving On Durham

Click here for the Newsletter 

Welcome to DASHtalk March 2018 **New**

Click for our Website

Affordable homes in Peterlee given approval **New**

Planning permission has been granted for new ‘Rent to Buy’ houses in Peterlee. County Durham Housing Group has been given permission for the construction of 12 three-bedroom family homes in Matterdale Road as part of a £32m investment programme across the county. The development has been designed specifically to meet demand for affordable homes in the Peterlee area. 

The new homes were given unanimous approval by Durham County Council’s Area Planning Committee on Tuesday, 10 April, subject to completion of a Section 106 agreement. Construction is expected to start later in 2018. All 12 new houses will be offered under the government backed ‘Rent to Buy’ scheme. Rent to Buy is designed to ease the transition from renting to buying a home by offering a reduced rent, usually around 20% below the market rate. The aim is to give people the opportunity to save for a deposit at the same time and buy their home after five years. The homes will feature high levels of insulation, the latest heating systems and double glazing. They are expected to bring big savings to residents when compared with older properties in the area. 

County Durham Housing Group Head of Development and Commercial Property, Kate Abson, said: “This project has been created to help Peterlee families get their first foot on to the property ladder. We understand that demand for affordable homes in east Durham is strong and it was great to hear passionate support for this scheme from the council’s Area Planning Committee members. “We’re already working on preparations for construction and are very much looking forward to starting work on site later this year.” The Matterdale Road development is part of a programme of construction across the region by County Durham Housing Group. In total 300 new homes will be built by the group on 17 sites between now and 2020. Each site is being tailored to the needs of the local community with properties ranging from wheelchair accessible bungalows to three-bedroom family homes. As well as rent to buy opportunities, many homes will be available for affordable rent too.

Cash kits out café **Current**

Funding from one of the region’s largest providers of affordable housing has helped to create the first community café in a County Durham village. A new community café has opened its doors in Easington Colliery thanks to funding from County Durham Housing Group. Easington Social Welfare Centre has created the facility for the village. The café is expected to give a boost to a variety of community groups as well as providing low-cost refreshments. Already local knitting and St John Ambulance groups have expressed an interest in using the café to hold their meetings. A host of other groups are also considering the new facilities on Seaside Lane as a base. County Durham Housing Group provided £500 to the community café project through its ‘group grant’ programme. 

The funding has kitted out the café with furniture, meeting around half of the set up costs. County Durham Housing Group Funding Officer, Damian Pearson, said: “Easington Social Welfare Centre spotted a clear need in their community and found a solution that didn’t need a huge amount of funding to bring to fruition. It’s exactly the kind of project that our group grant programme was created to help. “I’m sure the café will be a real boost to Easington Colliery. It’s great to know that we’ve been able to play such a significant role in making this opening possible.” Stephen Fergus, Secretary of Easington Social Welfare Centre said: “The support from this grant has helped us to build a sustainable future. It might have been a relatively small amount but the impact it has already had has snowballed and benefitted the whole community. ” 

The application process for ‘group grant’ has been kept deliberately simple and funding decisions will be made monthly to ensure local groups are not waiting for lengthy periods to find out if they have been successful. 

Full details of the group grant scheme are available at www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk/groupgrant, by calling 0191 349 7777 or emailing groupgrant@cdhg.co.uk

Innovative Willington project gains funding **Current**

Willington residents have the chance to improve their health, build confidence and learn new skills, thanks to funding from one of the north east’s largest providers of affordable housing. The ‘Our Confident Community’ project, based at Willington Open Door Methodist Church, has been awarded £4,650 by County Durham Housing Group to boost opportunities in the town. 

The project, which will work alongside Willington Food Bank, will help local people with issues ranging from health and self-confidence to computer skills, budgeting and improving work prospects. Local organisations including Road (Reaching Out Across Durham), Wellbeing For Life and Go Ahead Training are also supporting the project. The project has accessible computers to enable people to access job searches, benefit support and information. Volunteers behind the project are establishing links with six local businesses, which will help to provide mentoring, identify skills and training needs and work experience opportunities. Students from Parkside Academy have also got involved by developing the name, logo and marketing materials for the project. 

County Durham Housing Group Community Investment Officer, Debbie Howe, said: “This project has been designed to offer high quality practical support and guidance for local people in a welcoming environment. I’m confident that the extensive support and opportunities on offer will help dozens of Willington families become healthier and happier.” Willington Open Door Methodist Church has rapidly become a focal point for the community since its 2016 opening, which included a well-equipped kitchen, conference facilities and high-speed internet access. Sue Hine from Willington Open Door Methodist Church, said: “We believe local people have really good ideas on how they want to improve themselves and their community. This project aims to listen to others ideas and help all to achieve their best” On Wednesday afternoons in March there will be free taster sessions on Circuit Training, Building Robots and Computer Skills. 

The sessions are open to all and take place from 2pm to 4pm at Willington Open Door Methodist Church. The Our Confident Community project is the latest in a series of grass-roots schemes to benefit from funding by County Durham Housing Group. The group provides 18,500 affordable homes stretching from rural Weardale to the Durham coast and has identified Willington as a priority area for investment during 2017/18. Other priority areas include Horden Crossroads, Deneside in Seaham, West Auckland, Gilesgate and Woodhouse Close in Bishop Auckland.

Funding for Durham communities tops £17,000 **Current**

From Stanhope to Seaham, nearly 40 community organisations have received a welcome cash injection thanks to a recently launched funding scheme. A total of £17,500 has been distributed to worthy projects by County Durham Housing Group since the launch of its ‘group grant’ scheme just over six months ago. Funding has been awarded to projects ranging from sports activities for young people, to a clothing bank and has even helped repair a sleigh for Santa Claus. Support from the group, one of the region’s largest providers of affordable housing, has already enabled Air Cadets to pick up new skills, kitted out sports teams for winter weather, and brought educational drama to Bishop Auckland. But the programme is still on the lookout for more worthy causes during 2018. 

County Durham Housing Group Funding Officer, Damian Pearson, said: “Our ‘group grant’ programme was created specifically to help smaller projects in County Durham that can have a big impact on wider communities. We’ve made the whole process as simple and speedy as possible so that almost any group with a constitution can apply. “Helping such a wide range of projects, and so many people, has been great. What community groups in County Durham achieve should never be underestimated. The programme is far from over though; we’ll be awarding right throughout 2018. If your group hasn’t put in application yet, we’d love to hear from you.” 

Groups can apply for funding of up to £500 each. In order to ensure a balanced range of projects, any community organisation, non-profit making group, charity or school working in the areas served by County Durham Housing Group is eligible to apply once every 12 months. 

Applications can be made online at www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk/groupgrant, or for more information call 0191 349 7777 or email groupgrant@cdhg.co.uk

Permission granted for affordable homes in Willington **Current**

Planning permission has been given for 16 new affordable family homes to be built in Willington. County Durham Housing Group will develop the three-bedroom houses using currently vacant land on Bourne Way, between Park Street and Railway Terrace, in the north of Willington. 14 of the new homes will be offered under the government backed ‘Rent to Buy’ scheme, 2 will be available for affordable rent. Rent to Buy is designed to ease the transition from renting to buying a home by offering a reduced rent, usually around 20% below the market rate, and providing people the opportunity to save for a deposit to buy their home after five years. 

Permission for the new homes was granted, subject to a Section 106 agreement, by Durham County Council planning and development committee on Thursday, 22 February. Construction is expected to start later this year. All of the homes will feature high levels of insulation, the latest heating systems and double glazing. They are expected to bring big savings to residents when compared with older properties in the area. 

County Durham Housing Group Head of Development and Commercial Property, Kate Abson, said: “Demand for high quality affordable family homes has probably never been higher. We’re really pleased to have been given planning permission for this development in Willington and I’m looking forward to seeing ground work start later this year.” The homes in Willington are part of programme of construction across the region by County Durham Housing Group. In total 300 new homes will be built by the group on 17 sites between now and 2020. Each site is being tailored to the needs of the local community with properties ranging from wheelchair accessible bungalows to three-bedroom family homes. As well as rent-to-buy opportunities, many homes will be available for affordable rent too.

Funding to help mental health through art **Current**

A Durham charity is looking to tackle social isolation with an innovative arts project thanks to funding from one of the region’s largest social landlords. Gilesgate based charity RT Projects has been awarded £5,000 by County Durham Housing Group for its ‘Arts for Health’ project, which will help dozens of local people tackle depression and improve their mental health. The 10-year-old charity has a track record of delivering projects that improve mental health and, thanks to County Durham Housing Group, can now provide a weekly meeting point for isolated local people. 

The regular sessions are will cover activities like printmaking, sculpture, woodcarving, creative writing and textiles. However the remit goes beyond this, with the aim of the programme designed to encourage interaction, participation, social contact and boost confidence. They will be led by specially trained mental health facilitators with all materials provided. County Durham Housing Group Community Investment Officer Amy Glendinning said: “The link between art and improving mental health might not be immediately obvious to many, but RT Projects has a history of using creativity to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable people. “This funding will provide new opportunities in Gilesgate to tackle isolation, reduce anxiety, improve self-esteem and enhance wellbeing. Friendship and support from these sessions will have a lasting impact on the lives of dozens of people.”

Beano from RT Projects said: “Anxiety or depression can make life an uphill struggle. Each day can become something to try and get through rather than something to be enjoyed. “The causes of poor mental health can be deep rooted and complex. However, with the right support, recovery is possible and indeed those affected can become stronger through their journey. “This funding will enable us to reach out to some of our most vulnerable local people. The impact will be life changing and in some cases lifesaving.” 

Gilesgate is one of six communities across the county that have been given priority status by County Durham Housing Group. Each of the areas will receive funding for projects that will improve opportunities for residents and extra support for those looking to start or improve their careers. Horden Crossroads, Deneside in Seaham, West Auckland, Willington and Woodhouse Close in Bishop Auckland are the other priority areas during 2017/18.

Housing group releases its latest online magazine **Current*

February’s edition of County Durham Housing Group’s digital newsletter is now available online. ‘group news’ has all the latest developments from right across the county, including resident feedback on plans for 200 new homes in Bishop Auckland, at www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk 

Group Communications Manager, Jill Ancrum, said: “We’re working really closely with communities across County Durham to provide high quality homes and support neighbourhoods. In this issue we’ve got news of how we’ve helped to fund exciting projects that are tackling issues ranging from isolation to hunger. “And we’ve got details of how Geoff from Meadowfield managed to pick up the keys to his new home in just hours thanks to one of our immediately available properties.” The February issue of ‘group news’ also features details of how tenants can take advantage of free English and maths courses and the latest advice on Universal Credit. The magazine is fully responsive so can be easily read on a PC, laptop, tablet and mobile phone. 

Anyone wanting a printed copy should email communications@cdhg.co.uk or contact: · 
Dale & Valley Homes: 0800 083 0333 · 
Durham City Homes: 0800 068 0013 · 
East Durham Homes: 0800 032 0835

Grub will help tackle poverty **Current**

A new community café that provides low cost, or even free, food in Horden is proving a hit thanks to funding from one of the region’s largest affordable housing providers. With breakfast costing just 50p and tea just £1, the volunteer run ‘Hub Grub Community Café’ has been created to offer advice and support for local residents as well as good food. The project is the brainchild of East Durham Trust and has been made possible thanks to more than £4,500 of funding from County Durham Housing Group.

Based in Horden Youth and Community Centre on Eden Street, the café is an informal and friendly space that offers a warm welcome, as well as warm food. It has been designed to look like any normal café, to avoid any stigma of using the facilities. Local people with specific needs can even be referred to the café for free meals, but will be treated exactly the same as paying customers. The cafe is opening initially on Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons, as research has shown that there is the greatest need for extra provision in the Horden area. Volunteers have all been recruited from the local community and have received extensive training in food hygiene as well as cooking and preparing meals. All of the skills learned by the volunteers are easily transferable to their home lives, or even into employment. Some of the volunteers will also be trained to provide advice in areas such as budgeting and accessing Universal Credit so that they can offer extra support to anyone who comes into the café. 

County Durham Housing Group Community Investment Officer, Kimberley Batey, said: “A good meal can make a huge difference to the whole day, but we know that so many families struggle with the cost, and often the logistics, of preparing healthy food. When we heard from East Durham Trust about their ideas for this project, we knew that we’d be very keen to support it. “The volunteers are so enthusiastic and have learned so much already. The café is going to make a huge difference during the average week, and even more so during school holidays when many families struggle with the cost of food.” The café serves breakfast every Monday from 9am to 10am, and tea every Thursday from 4pm to 5pm. East Durham Trust Chief Executive Malcolm Fallow said: “This initiative ticks all of the boxes when it comes to supporting communities - as well as providing a nutritious meal we are also improving social engagement in a traditional local venue. We commend County Durham Housing Group for providing the funding to help make this happen”

Karbon Homes Update **Current**

The new name for the combined organisation of Isos, Derwentside and Cestria.

Karbon Homes is all about providing foundations, about the importance of a home for enabling people to lead successful lives. We believe having a strong foundation offers the possibility for people to develop the life they want, and this is the opportunity we aspire to offer all our customers. We are a not-for-profit housing association, so every penny we generate through commercial activities is re-invested to support our core purpose. 

We work hard to balance a strong business head with a strong social heart, to ensure we are a successful, sustainable business and a values-driven organisation. We provide strong foundations through providing affordable homes, supporting our communities and making a lasting difference in our neighbourhoods. We are one of the largest housing associations in the North, owning and managing nearly 24,000 homes regionwide and employing almost 800 people. These are times when our sector is being challenged to think about its core purpose, how we contribute to the economy and how we support the people who make the economy work. As a successful housing provider, we are ideally placed to do more to support and enable our customers and local communities to succeed in life.

Vacancy at Homegroup **Current**

We currently have vacancies coming up at Durham and Chester-le-Street Young People's Service ( Grove Road) due to positive move on's. We have vacancies coming available in our core building which is staffed 24 hours a day. If you have any clients aged between 16 and 35 that would be suitable for supported housing that is in need of accommodation please make a referral. 

Please submit your referral to the gatewaydurham@homegroup.org.uk Alternatively if you wish to discuss your referral before submitting an application please feel free to give me a call on 0300 131 04 03

Open day opens doors for Geoff **Current**

A man from Meadowfield picked up the keys to his new home within hours thanks to an open day run by one of the region’s largest providers of affordable housing. Geoff Oudnie was searching online for a home in Brandon when the two-bedroom flat from County Durham Housing Group caught his eye. Thanks to an open day at Vicarage Flats on January 24, he was able to take a look at the property and talk to housing officers from the group at the same time. Geoff turned up at the event just after noon, and by 3pm he had the keys to his new home and was making preparations to move in. 

Geoff knows the area well and described the flat as ‘perfect’. County Durham Housing Group Lettings Team Leader, Julie Duckling, said: “Lots of people think getting an affordable home has to take a long time. That’s quite often not the case at all. It was great to be able to help Geoff move into his new flat so quickly. “The open day was a great chance for anyone to take a look at what we have available immediately and speak to our team about how we can help. Geoff’s case is the perfect example of just how quick the process can be. “And because we’re a social landlord, we can offer very affordable rent, with no need for a bond. We provide support to help people move in and offer much more security than is available in the private sector.” 

More information on County Durham Housing Group’s immediately available properties is available at www.countydurhamhousing.co.uk/properties, by calling 0800 083 0333, or emailing lettingswest@cdhg.co.uk.

Housing group releases its latest online magazine  **Current**

January’s edition of County Durham Housing Group’s digital newsletter is now available online at www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk ‘group news’ has all the latest developments from right across the county, including how one rural village has ended a 50 year wait for new affordable homes. Group Communications Manager, Jill Ancrum, said: “We’re making great strides in our work to improve life for thousands of social housing tenants across County Durham. In this issue we’ve got news of our £138m home improvement programme and how we’re investing in communities, alongside more on our ambitious new build projects. “And we’ve got details of how we’ve been rated as one of the top three housing associations in the UK following an independent survey of our customers.” The January issue of ‘group news’ also features details of a new pilot scheme that could help some of those hit hardest by welfare reform, and information about support for tenants looking to get into work or change their career path. The magazine is fully responsive so can be easily read on a PC, laptop, tablet and mobile phone. 

Anyone wanting a printed copy should email communications@cdhg.co.uk or contact: · Dale & Valley Homes: 0800 083 0333 · Durham City Homes: 0800 068 0013 · East Durham Homes: 0800 032 0835

Funding helps veterans in Bishop Auckland **Current**

Young air cadets are supporting veterans thanks to funding from one of the region’s largest providers of social housing. Members of 2505 (Bishop Auckland) Squadron Royal Air Force Cadets have been able to host an event for local veterans and their families thanks to funding from County Durham Housing Group. Working with the armed services charity SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association), the cadets were able to host ‘Operation Red Velvet’, a drop-in café for veterans in the Newgate Centre of Bishop Auckland. County Durham Housing Group provided £460 towards the session through its ‘group grant’ scheme. The funding also helped the cadets gain formal qualifications in food hygiene so they were able to get hands on with serving refreshments. The Mayor of Bishop Auckland, Councillor Adam Zair, and Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Mrs Sue Snowdon, were both in attendance. 

County Durham Housing Group Funding Officer, Damian Pearson, said: “These dedicated cadets were very keen to support local veterans and just needed a little extra help to make it possible. “The group grant funding not only ensured that an event could take place, but it has also given the young cadets an extra string to their bow. Now they have a useful qualification that will stay with them for many years to come.” Flight Lieutenant Ian Pepper RAFAC, Officer Commanding 2505 (Bishop Auckland) Squadron said: “It was great to meet the military veterans and their families in the ‘pop up’ café, with the cadets doing a fantastic job hosting the event” The application process for ‘group grant’ has been kept deliberately simple and funding decisions will be made monthly to ensure local groups are not waiting for lengthy periods to find out if they have been successful.

Full details of the group grant scheme are available at www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk/groupgrant, by calling 0191 349 7777 or emailing groupgrant@cdhg.co.uk 

2505 (Bishop Auckland) Squadron Royal Air Force Air Cadets meets on a Monday and Thursday from 7pm to 9.30pm in the Reserve Forces Centre Centre, St Andrews Road, Bishop Auckland. For more information about 2505 Squadron Royal Air Force Air Cadets see: www.facebook.com/2505aircadets/ or email 2505@aircadets.org

Work starts on new affordable homes in St Helens Auckland **Current**

Construction of four new bungalows specifically designed to be adaptable for wheelchair users has begun in the heart of St Helens Auckland. The two-bedroom bungalows are being built for County Durham Housing Group on a vacant site in Davis Avenue and are due for completion by summer 2018. All four homes will be available for affordable rent. Featuring the latest standards in heating and insulation, the bungalows will provide substantial savings for tenants; particularly when compared to older, private rented properties.

The new homes are part of a £30m project bringing additional affordable homes to County Durham. A total of 300 new homes will be created on 17 sites for County Durham Housing Group by 2020. The investment is also creating hundreds of jobs and apprenticeships, supporting the local economy. County Durham Housing Group Development Manager, Tom Winter, said: "This may seem like a small development, but these new homes are allowing us to meet a very specific demand for accessible and affordable homes in the St Helens area. "The bungalows are part of our ongoing plans to build the right homes in the right places to support communities and improve lives." Construction work on the new homes in Davis Avenue is being carried out by long-established Bishop Auckland based firm T Manners & Sons. Wayne Harris, Contracts Manager at T Manners, said, “I started as an apprentice joiner with T Manners in the 1980’s and worked on many similar projects building affordable homes for local people. It’s great to be involved again in such a worthwhile development. I hope we can continue to work with County Durham Housing Group, providing more affordable homes in the area.”

Supported Accommodation **Current**

We currently have vacancies coming up at Durham and Chester-le-Street Young People's Service ( Grove Road) due to positive move on's. We have vacancies coming available in our core building which is staffed 24 hours a day. We also have a vacancy coming up in our new assessment bed which is an 8 week licence agreement where we can support the young person with benefits claims and sourcing a longer term supported tenancy whether it is with Stonham or an alternative agency. 

If you have any clients aged between 16 and 35 that would be suitable for supported housing that is in need of accommodation please make a referral. 

Please contact us to discuss your referral Stacey.Anderson@homegroup.org.uk

County Durham landlord ranked top three according to independent survey **Current**

A tenant survey has graded County Durham Housing Group in the top three of UK social landlords, according to TLF Research. 1,000 customers were selected at random to take part in the group’s annual Survey of Tenants and Residents (STAR) and asked for views on day-to-day housing services and estates and neighbourhoods. The questions included HouseMark’s, the industry’s benchmarking provider, core STAR requirements to ensure they were reflective of the sector. When compared with TLF Research’s league table of 114 housing associations, the group was placed third on its customer satisfaction index score and was above average in every housing requirement. All areas scored eight out of 10 and above, and improved upon 2016’s survey, with key statistics showing: · 92.8% of customers were satisfied with the overall service (+4.4%) · 93.0% were satisfied that we listen to views and act upon them (+8.3%) · 93.0% felt that their rent provides value for money (+7.5%) · 84.7% of customers were satisfied with the repairs and maintenance service (+2.7%). Customers also told researchers that they highly regarded the attitude of group employees and the ease of making contact when they had a query to raise.

Louise Taylor, Head of Strategy and Performance, said: “We are delighted with outcomes of the survey and that improvements have been made overall since last year. “What is particularly pleasing to hear is that customers hold the attitude of our teams in high regard, which complements the dedication our employees have to delivering an effective service and positive experience. “But of course our work is not done. Customers have told us that ease of making contact, safety and security, and being treated fairly are all of paramount importance. We will now use this feedback, together with other key highlights of the report, to develop our plans and work to improve satisfaction in our homes and neighbourhoods in the years ahead.” 

For more information about the group’s work visit www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk, facebook.com/countydurhamhg or follow @countydurhamhg

Pilot scheme could ease housing costs **Current**

One of the region’s largest providers of affordable housing is trialling a new scheme that could give a welcome boost to some of those hit hardest by welfare changes. County Durham Housing Group has introduced a fund that could help new tenants who are affected by the so called ‘bedroom tax’ (or ‘spare room subsidy’). The group’s ‘Local Discretionary Housing Fund’ will cover the cost of the subsidy for up to three years for eligible customers on certain properties, if they agree to take part in extra employability support and training alongside their standard tenancy agreement. The scheme will to apply to up to 100 two and three-bed homes in the Durham city area initially; with the group making up the shortfall if an eligible customer signs a tenancy for a property that is larger than their specified needs. If successful, the pilot scheme could be expanded further. 

County Durham Housing Group Head of Neighbourhoods, Ian Porter, said: “This scheme could make a real difference to people who are currently struggling to find an affordable home that meets their needs due to welfare changes. “We know that there are many properties in and around Durham that were once very popular, but are currently just out of reach for lots of potential tenants due to the ‘bedroom tax’. We hope this trial will be able to make a difference to many people.” The first properties to benefit from the pilot include homes in parts of Brandon and Durham city centre with two and three bedrooms. New tenants will need to demonstrate that they are actively seeking employment or receiving training and support. The Local Housing Discretionary Fund will provide assistance to cover ‘bedroom tax’ in Housing Benefit payments until the tenant finds work. If the trial proves successful, it could be introduced in some areas where Universal Credit has already been introduced. 

To apply for a home where the pilot scheme is in operation visit www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk/properties, or email lettings@cdhg.co.uk

Weardale village ends 50 year wait for new affordable homes **Current**

The first new social housing in the remote village of Rookhope for over 50 years has been completed, as part of a £30m project bringing affordable homes to County Durham. A pair of two-bed bungalows in the heart of Rookhope have been officially handed over to County Durham Housing Group. The new homes are the first new social housing of any kind in the upper-Weardale community, which has a population of fewer than 300 people, since the post-war era. 

The bungalows, on Boltsburn Crescent, are also the first of 300 new purpose-built affordable homes being constructed on 17 sites between now and 2020 by County Durham Housing Group. County Durham Housing Group Chief Executive, Bill Fullen, said: “We hear lots of talk about the housing crisis in big cities, but affordable housing is just as much of an issue in a small rural village like Rookhope. “These bungalows might seem like a drop in the ocean to some. But to the families who will be able to live in this village, they will mean everything. “I can’t imagine the circumstances where a private investor would be able to deliver a project like this, which the community wanted and knew that there was demand for. But, this is exactly the type of project where County Durham Housing Group can come into its own.” The bungalows feature high levels of insulation, the latest heating systems powered by solar panels, and double glazing. They are expected to bring big savings to tenants when compared with older homes in the village. Demand for modern bungalows in Rookhope is high as most properties date back to the area’s lead and ironstone mining heyday, well over 100 years ago. 

County Durham Housing Group is one of the region’s largest providers of affordable housing. Alongside the new properties in Rookhope, the group’s £30m new-build programme is creating new homes in communities like Pity Me, Bowburn, Crook and Seaham. As well as traditional affordable rent, construction is delivering ‘Rent to Buy’ homes, which will help hard-working families take their first step on to the property ladder. The programme is also expected to create around 100 new jobs and apprenticeships. Construction at Rookhope was undertaken by Bishop Auckland based contractor T. Manners & Sons, further supporting the Weardale economy. 

Simon Manners, Joint MD at T Manners & Sons Ltd and the fifth generation of his family to run the 157 year-old business commented: “It has been a real pleasure to work with County Durham Housing Group and deliver affordable homes in Rookhope. Our craftspeople are all locals to the county and so it feels special to be involved in this much needed project. We are pleased to be continuing our relationship with the group, building more bungalows at West Auckland and hope to do more in the future.” Rookhope, which sits high in Weardale above Stanhope, was a busy centre for the buoyant lead and ironstone mining industries until the early 20th century. Once known as Boltsburn, the village expanded greatly to serve the industry; criss-crossed by railways and dominated by chimneys. Nowadays the peaceful village is perhaps best known for its position at the foot of the fearsome Bolts Law incline on the popular Coast to Coast cycle route from Cumbria to the north east.

Welcome to DASHtalk December 2017 **Current**

Welcome to our Winter newsletter

Planning permission granted for affordable homes in Bowburn **Current**

Construction of 10 new affordable, family homes in a popular County Durham village could start within months after planning permission was granted today. The three-bed homes are part of a project to give hard-working families the opportunity to take their first step on to the property ladder and will be available under a rent-to-buy programme by County Durham Housing Group. Rent-to-buy is a government scheme designed to ease the transition from renting to buying a home by providing subsidised rent; usually around 20% below the market rate. Being built in Surtees Avenue, near the centre of Bowburn, the homes will feature the latest standards in heating and insulation, reducing energy costs for families. 

County Durham Housing Group Development Manager, Tom Winter, said: “Bowburn has been chosen for the development due to high demand for affordable homes in the area. “By offering these rent-to-buy properties we are able to help families who aren’t quite able to buy their own homes using traditional methods to take a step on to the property ladder. They’ll be able to build a long-term future in Bowburn, contributing to the future of the village.” County Durham Housing Group will start the process for appointing a contractor in the New Year and will work closely with the successful contractor to ensure that disruption to nearby residents is kept to a minimum during the work. Work is planned to begin during summer 2018, with completion expected in 2019.

The homes in Bowburn are part of programme of construction across the region by County Durham Housing Group. In total 300 new homes will be built by the group on 17 sites between now and 2020. Each site is being tailored to the needs of the local community with properties ranging from wheelchair accessible bungalows to three-bedroom family homes. As well as rent-to-buy opportunities, many homes will be available for affordable rent too. It is anticipated that the £32m investment in new homes across the region by County Durham Housing Group will create 100 jobs and apprenticeships.

Work starts on 40 new affordable homes for Crook **Current**

 Construction is underway on 40 new affordable homes in Crook. Groundwork has started on a variety of two and three-bed houses and bungalows at West End Villas, in the heart of the town. The development is being spearheaded by County Durham Housing Group as part of a £30m investment programme to deliver 300 new affordable homes on 17 sites across the region. Construction is being carried out by leading regeneration specialist Galliford Try Partnerships North, which has contributed £1.2 million to the project from its 2015-18 Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) grant, secured from the Homes and Communities Agency. All 40 properties will feature high levels of insulation, the latest heating systems and double glazing. They are expected to bring big savings to tenants when compared with older homes, particularly those in the private rented sector.

County Durham Housing Group Head of Development and Commercial Property, Kate Abson, said: “It’s great to see work get underway on this development. These 40 new homes will help to meet the high levels of demand for housing in the Crook area. “The mix of properties on this site is a great example of what a social landlord can do. Not many private developers build new bungalows, despite the number of people they make an ideal home for.” Building work is expected to be completed in stages during 2018, with the first families moving in shortly after. All of the new homes in Crook will be available for affordable rent. Alexandra Ross, Business Development Manager with Galliford Try Partnerships North, said: “Working closely with housing provider partners to improve the quality and choice of homes across the North East is a core aim and we are delighted to have begun work on this exciting project. “We look forward to completing these modern new homes and seeing the positive benefits they deliver to residents.”

St Peters Court Newsletters **Current**

Tony has asked me to forward you the attached newsletters. 

Issue 6Newsletter
Issue 7Newsletter

Kind Regards Tina Burrell Administrator 

Address: St Peters Court, Sacriston County Durham DH7 6FB Tel/Fax: 0191 3719813 
Website: www.stpeterscourt.org/ 

SHAID Ltd is a registered charity, number 1074505 and a company limited by guarantee number 3659370.

Moving On Durham Newsletter**New**

Please find attached the latest newsletter from Moving On Durham.

Kind regards Mark Administrator Moving On Durham

Welcome to DASHtalk November 2017 **Current**


Youth Homeless North East Newsletter**Current**

Kieran Platts has now left YHNE for a fantastic opportunity with Who Cares? Scotland. Kieran was an integral member of the YHNE team and has played a massive role in shaping the charity to date. We wish him all the best in his new role! We are currently in the process of employing a new Regional Project Officer but in the meantime, please send any enquiries to arron@yhne.org.uk

Click for the Newsletter

Funding brings theatre to Bishop Auckland **Current**

Dozens of youngsters have had the opportunity to enjoy an inspiring stage show in their own community thanks to funding from one of the region’s biggest social housing providers. 

Children from Woodhouse Close Estate and King James I Academy in Bishop Auckland enjoyed the show, performed by Mad Alice Theatre Company, thanks to a grant from County Durham Housing Group. ‘She wins all the races’ – which draws upon the experience of actor Shelley O’ Brien – is described as a ‘heartening one-woman show’ celebrating the courage and resilience of one little girl. Funding for the play came from County Durham Housing Group’s ‘group grant’ scheme, which provides funding for small projects in County Durham. Mad Alice Theatre Company was awarded £500 to help make the shows in Bishop Auckland possible. 

Mad Alice’s Artistic Director, Shelley O’Brien, said: “We are extremely grateful for this funding as it helped us to purchase a projector – a vital piece of equipment needed for the show, where digital imagery is an integral part of the design.” County Durham Housing Group Funding Officer, Damian Pearson, said: “This performance was a fun way of getting across a serious message about how we can all cope with adversity in our lives. Bringing a play like this into the community in Bishop Auckland will, I hope, prove inspiring and entertaining. “It’s the kind of project that ‘group grant’ helps to make possible, where a small amount of funding can make all the difference.” Any community organisation, non-profit making group, charity or school working in the areas served by County Durham Housing Group is eligible for the ‘group grant’ scheme. 

Full details of the group grant scheme are available at www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk/groupgrant, by calling 0191 349 7777 or emailing groupgrant@cdhg.co.uk

Permission granted for affordable bungalows in Bishop Auckland **Current**

 Planning permission has been granted for a dozen new wheelchair accessible bungalows to be built in Bishop Auckland. The 12 new two-bed bungalows are set to be constructed on vacant land at Howard Close, in the Woodhouse Close area of Bishop Auckland. All of the new homes are being built by County Durham Housing Group for affordable rent. The bungalows are being constructed from the outset with features that make them well-suited to the needs of wheelchair users. They will include purpose built wet rooms, level access throughout and extra wide doorways. 

Permission for the development has been granted by Durham County Council, subject to a section 106 agreement. Construction is expected to start in spring 2018 with the first families expected to move in by early 2019. Featuring high levels of insulation, the latest heating systems and double glazing, the new homes are expected to bring big savings to tenants when compared with older homes; particularly those in the private rented sector. The Howard Close project is the latest part of a £30m investment in new homes across the region by County Durham Housing Group. 

The programme will see around 300 new homes built and is expected to create 100 new jobs and apprenticeships. County Durham Housing Group Head of Development and Commercial Property, Kate Abson, said: “These new homes have been conceived specifically to meet the needs of the Woodhouse Close area. Demand for bungalows in the area is high. These homes are being constructed to a high standard with a number of features that will make them ideally suited to the needs of wheelchair users too. “As one of the region’s biggest social landlords, it’s great to be able to provide homes like these, that the private sector would struggle to deliver.”

Housing group joins fight against fly-tippers **Current**

One of the region’s largest social landlords is increasing its efforts to tackle fly-tipping. County Durham Housing Group is on a quest to rid streets, back lanes and footpaths of dumped sofas, fridges and other waste. Fly-tipping costs the group thousands of pounds every year, but through a partnership with Durham County Council enforcement action is being ramped-up; with customers being called upon to report any incidents they encounter. New highly-visible response methods have been introduced to help demonstrate how seriously the issue of fly-tipping is being taken. It is hoped this will act as a deterrent and encourage members of the public who spot fly-tippers to report what they see anonymously. 

The maximum fine for fly-tipping is £50,000, vehicles used can be seized for up to 15 days, and on-the-spot fixed penalty notices of up to £400 can also be issued. County Durham Housing Group Estates Team Leader, Peter Black, said: “Dumped furniture, electrical items and waste is not just an eyesore; it can be a real safety hazard too. We won’t accept any fly-tipping in our neighbourhoods and don’t hesitate to use all of the powers available to us and our partners to tackle any offenders.” County Durham Housing Group is responsible for more than 18,000 properties stretching from rural Weardale to the Durham coast. Neighbourhood and estates teams from the group are working to ensure that all tenants understand the laws around dumping waste and fly-tipping, as well as how to report any problems. “The law around dumping rubbish is very clear. It’s the responsibility of households to dispose of their waste legally. That includes what is known as the ‘duty of care’, to check that anyone you pay to remove rubbish for you, is disposing of it legally too.” Peter added. Durham County Council operates 13 household waste recycling centres right across the county. 

Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “The vast majority of people do the right thing and get rid of their waste legally, but there’s a small minority who continue to blight their communities. “There is never an excuse for fly-tipping, especially when there are a number of ways to dispose of rubbish and waste responsibly. “People also have a responsibility to know where their waste is going to end up, and sometimes when the price is too good to be true – it is just that. “If your waste is fly-tipped and traced back to you, you could be taken to court and prosecuted.”

Contract signed to bring £30m new homes programme to Crook **Current**

A County Durham town is to get 40 new affordable homes as part of a £30m investment programme, creating more than 100 new jobs and apprenticeships. The new properties in Crook will include two and three bedroomed houses, as well as two and three bed bungalows. Contracts have been signed for the project at West End Villas, in the heart of the town, which is being delivered by a partnership comprising one of the region’s largest landlords, 

County Durham Housing Group and Galliford Try Partnerships North. Featuring high levels of insulation, the latest heating systems and double glazing, the new homes are expected to bring big savings to tenants when compared with older homes, particularly those in the private rented sector. Construction work is expected to be completed in stages during 2018, with the first families moving in shortly after. All of the new homes in Crook will be available for affordable rent. County Durham Housing Group Development Manager, Tom Winter, said: “We all know that demand for affordable homes is really high right across the country at the moment. This new project in Crook will help to deliver new, high quality homes to families that really need them. “We’re particularly pleased to be developing bungalows for customers that need them too. As a social landlord it’s great to be able to build homes that the private sector would not ordinarily be able to deliver. 

The Crook properties are part of a major house building project by County Durham Housing Group that will see almost 300 new homes built on 17 sites stretching from rural Weardale to the Durham coast. Galliford Try has contributed £1.2 million to the project from its 2015-18 Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) grant, secured from the Homes and Communities Agency. Alex Ross, Development Manager with Galliford Try Partnerships North, added: “Working closely with housing provider partners to improve the quality and choice of homes across the North East is a core aim and we are delighted to have been selected to deliver this project.”

Free advice on Universal Credit rollout **Current**

Weekly face-to-face advice on the rollout of Universal Credit is being offered in Peterlee and Seaham thanks to one of the region’s largest social landlords. County Durham Housing Group’s dedicated Universal Credit Team will be on hand to support tenants in Jobcentre offices on a weekly basis. Officers will be taking appointments in Seaham Jobcentre, St Johns Square, from 9.15am to 1pm every Monday; and at Peterlee Jobcentre, St Cuthbert's Road, from 10.15am to 2.15pm every Friday. 

Universal Credit is a single payment scheme that will replace several benefits including Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. From this month (October 2017) all claimants under pensionable age in Peterlee and Seaham will be affected by the digital rollout of Universal Credit. This includes couples and families. 

Appointments to discuss Universal Credit in Peterlee and Seaham can be made by calling 0800 032 0835 or by emailing universal.credit@cdhg.co.uk Anita Lowther, Universal Credit Team Leader, said: “We’re here to help our tenants through these changes. “Many of our customers feel like they don’t have all of the information they need, or are confused by how Universal Credit will work for them individually. “We can offer one-to-one guidance and support, and to ensure that if mistakes have been made, they can be corrected by working with the Department for Work and Pensions.” Anita and her team have already helped several tenants whose Universal Credit payment had been underpaid, leading to hardship. In one case a customer had received £1,700 less than they could have claimed. By working with the Department for Work and Pensions, the tenant is now in receipt of their full entitlement and they have received a backdated payment too.

Social landlord tops £3k in charity cash **Current**

County Durham Housing Group’s fundraising efforts have helped to raise more than £3,000 for three national charities. Through bake sales, raffles, tombolas, dressing down and up, £3,023 has been collectively raised so far this year for Macmillan Cancer Support, British Heart Foundation, and Cancer Research UK. Each year County Durham Housing Group staff select three charities for their fundraising efforts. 

Group Communications Manager, Jill Ancrum, said: “The generosity of our employees seems to know no bounds. Our teams are always so enthusiastic when it comes to finding ways to raise money for the charities they have chosen.” County Durham Housing Group is one of the north east’s largest landlords, with around 18,400 homes in communities stretching from Rookhope in upper Weardale to Seaham on the Durham coast. The group also operates a funding scheme, known as ‘group grant’ to provide small grants for charities and community organisations operating in the area. Since launch this summer dozens of groups have benefited from funding, ranging from clothing banks to dance clubs. 

For more information visit www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk

Apprentices celebrate full-time jobs **Current**

A group of apprentices with a leading social landlord are celebrating after securing full-time jobs at the end of their training. County Durham Housing Group has offered full-time employment to no fewer than five of its apprentices after they completed their extensive on-the-job training. The group, which offers apprenticeships in areas as diverse as plumbing and customer service each year, invests heavily in training and development of its local workforce. All five demonstrated their abilities during an open recruitment process and have now begun their full-time roles in various parts of the business, which has bases in Bishop Auckland, Durham, Peterlee and Seaham. 

The apprentices will join the group’s 450 other members of staff to provide homes and support for no fewer than 22,000 tenants in communities from Rookhope to the Durham coast. Meghan Taylor has just started in her new position as an Administration Assistant after undertaking a business administration apprenticeship. She said: “The best thing about doing an apprenticeship for me is that you can learn while earning money. There’s no need to go to college all week and then have to do a job as well. Apprenticeships make it all fit in together, with much less pressure.” 

Another former apprentice celebrating is Deborah Woods. She has just begun her new career as a Community Investment Assistant. “Although I have qualifications, I didn’t have work experience due to bringing up a family. So getting an apprenticeship has been a ‘foot in the door’ to employment. It opens up career opportunities I never thought I would have.” 

Deborah said. Louise Shillinglaw, Head of People and Organisational Development at County Durham Housing Group, said: “Apprenticeships form a key part of our business and are a tangible way for us to ensure we are supporting the communities we operate in. “We’ve found some phenomenal talent through our programme and some of our previous apprentices have already progressed into management level roles in the group. “I’m really pleased for our new recruits and I hope they go on to have long and successful careers in the housing sector.” 

Since being formed in 2015, County Durham Housing Group has created a number of apprenticeships. The group is currently expanding with a £30m programme of new house building delivering nearly 300 homes across 17 sites throughout the region.

Latest housing magazine only a click away **
Current**

The latest issue of County Durham Housing Group’s digital newsletter is available online. September’s edition of ‘group news’ can now be found at www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk Readers can find out about how the group performed during the latest financial year, why youngsters from Dawdon will be dancing their way around the country thanks to a new funding scheme, and where County Durham Housing Group’s latest affordable housing development is set to be built. 

Group Communications Manager, Jill Ancrum, said: “From supporting community groups to building new homes, we’ve got so much going on right across County Durham. “Our online newsletter is fully responsive, so all of the latest articles can be read on a PC, laptop, tablet and mobile phone.” August’s edition – which also includes news about face-to-face advice sessions on Universal Credit, plus the latest employability and training courses – can be found at www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk 

Anyone wanting a printed copy of the magazine should email communications@cdhg.co.uk or contact: 
· Dale & Valley Homes: 0800 083 0333 
· Durham City Homes: 0800 068 0013 
· East Durham Homes: 0800 032 0835

Permission granted for affordable homes **
Current**

Nearly 50 affordable homes are set to be built in Seaham after planning permission was granted for new family houses and bungalows in the Parkside area of the town. The new homes are part of a £30m development project by County Durham Housing Group to bring more affordable homes to communities across the region. 

The development, on a brownfield site near Laburnum Crescent, will provide 30 new three bedroom houses and 18 bungalows that offer a mix of two and three bedrooms. Permission for the development has been granted by Durham County Council, subject to a section 106 agreement. Construction is expected to start in Spring 2018 with the first families expected to move in in early 2019. When complete, all of the bungalows will be offered for affordable rent and will be available to let via Durham Key Options. The houses are all set to be offered on a rent-to-buy basis, offering a vital first step onto the housing ladder for 30 families. The houses are part of a major programme of new house building by County Durham Housing Group, which will see around 300 new homes built on sites between the Tyne and the Tees. County Durham Housing Group Head of Development and Commercial Property, Kate Abson, said: “This project has been designed to deliver the affordable homes that Seaham needs. We expect interest in the rent-to-buy properties to be very high and we know there is also strong demand for affordable bungalows in the area. “The Parkside site is a very important development for us, and shows our commitment to providing affordable homes where they are most needed in the county. We can’t wait to get started on site.” Featuring high levels of insulation, the latest heating systems and double glazing; the new homes are expected to bring big savings to tenants when compared with older homes, particularly those in the private rented sector. 

Moving On Newsletter **Current**

Good morning, Please find attached the latest newsletter from Moving On Durham. Kind regards, Holly, Administrator, Moving on Durham

Report outlines housing group's year of success **Current**

A report detailing a housing provider’s successes during the last financial year is now available. County Durham Housing Group has produced its annual report for 2016/17, highlighting the work of local landlords Dale & Valley Homes, Durham City Homes and East Durham Homes. 

The 24-page report, available at www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk/annualreport1617, showcases the group’s achievements over the last 12 months, how it meets the Homes and Communities Agency’s seven national housing standards, and what’s planned for the year ahead. Bill Fullen, County Durham Housing Group Chief Executive, said: “2016/17 saw significant changes for the country; most notably the resultof the EU referendum, and thereafter a change in political leadership. “And within the housing sector we have continued to respond to the ongoing implications of welfare reform, with changes to the local housing allowance and rollout of Universal Credit. “Over the last 12 months we have continued to transform the way our business works so that we are modern, flexible and confident that we will continue to make a difference across the county for years to come.” 

Customers without access to the internet can request a printed copy of the report by calling 0191 349 7777.

New guide to help boost skills in County Durham **Current**

A new guide from one of the region’s largest social landlords will help residents find ways to boost their skills and job prospects. County Durham Housing Group has produced the pocket sized ‘go group’ booklet, which is full of free ways that tenants, and other residents, can improve their qualifications or gain new knowledge. ‘go group’ contains everything from English and maths courses to opportunities to learn about mental health, and includes details of the innovative ‘Stepping Stones to Employment’ programme that aims to enhance jobseekers’ prospects. 

Thousands of guides are being distributed throughout the county, which are also available from all County Durham Housing Group offices, by calling 0191 349 7753 or by emailing training@cdhg.co.uk County Durham Housing Group Community Investment Team Leader, Angela Stobbart, said: “We offer a wide range of courses and learning opportunities right across the county. This new guide brings details of everything we offer into one place, making it much easier to find the course or training that could make a big difference to your skills. “As a housing association, we can go further in what we offer to our tenants, and others living in the area. So much of what we provide is free and in easy to access locations in communities across Durham. There really is something for everyone.” 

For more information about County Durham Housing Group visit www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk

Clothing bank flushed with funding success **Current**

A volunteer-run clothing bank that provides vital support to vulnerable people across the north east, has picked up funding from one of the region’s leading landlords to help provide toiletries to those in need. 

More than 1,000 tubes of toothpaste, hundreds of bottles of shampoo, dozens of bars of soap, and other essential toiletries will be provided to vulnerable and unemployed people across County Durham. County Durham Socialist Clothing Bank has been awarded £500 by County Durham Housing Group to buy and distribute the toiletries. The funding will also allow the group to purchase everyday items such as nappies and sanitary products, which will help families to function normally during times of hardship. The clothing bank was set up in 2014 to support north east people who were out of work, facing problems with welfare benefits changes, or in low paid jobs. County Durham Housing Group provided the funding for the toiletries as part of its new ‘group grant’ programme, which is distributing £20,000 to good causes in the county. Dawn Wilson from County Durham Socialist Clothing Bank, said: “If it wasn't for the donations of money and clothing, and the great work from our regular volunteers, we couldn't do what we do, and have been doing, since October 2014. I'm just pleased we can help as many people as we do.” The clothing bank is based in Brandon, just outside of Durham, and operates a fortnightly drop in service on Tuesdays staffed by the 18 volunteers involved in the project. 

Angela Stobbart, Community Investment Team Leader at County Durham Housing Group, said: “The volunteers at the clothing bank do an amazing job, helping some of the most vulnerable people in the county. “We’re really pleased to be able to support their work, and of course ensure that this lifeline for many families can continue to operate so successfully.”

Grant keeps Dawdon kids dancing **Current**

More than 70 youngsters will be dancing their way to competitions this year after securing a grant from one of the region’s largest social landlords. Dawdon Welfare Disco Dancers will be representing the Durham coast village at competitions right across England after securing a grant from County Durham Housing Group. The 34 year old club has been awarded a £500 ‘group grant’ - a new scheme that aims to support local organisations across the county. 

The dancing club will use the money to ensure their talented youngsters, who range from two to 25 years old, can continue to showcase their skills on a local level, as well as competing up and down the country. Janice Purdy, Dawdon Welfare Disco Dancers Leader, said: “We meet to practice five times a week, it’s a great way for our young group to have fun, learn new skills and keep fit. It gives them something really positive to do with their spare time. “Competing also gives the dancers something to aim for and builds their confidence, but it’s expensive and we’re always looking to raise funds to make it possible.” “We’re all volunteers, even our dance teacher Danielle, so funding like this can make a big difference.” The Dawdon Welfare Disco Dancers will be familiar sight for many in the Dawdon and Seaham area. The group take part in carnivals and other events as well as giving dance displays to community groups and nursing homes. County Durham Housing Group Community Investment Team Leader, Angela Stobbart, said: “The dancers clearly love what they do; it’s great to be able to support them and allow them to demonstrate their talents to audiences in all parts of the country. “The group has obviously been making a big impact in their community for many years and I hope it will be able to continue to do so for many more.” 

Any community organisation, non-profit making group, charity or school working in the areas served by County Durham Housing Group is eligible to apply for a group grant. For further information visit www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk/groupgrant, by call 0191 349 7777 or email groupgrant@cdhg.co.uk

Team brought together to help tenants through Universal Credit launch  **Current**

A new team of advisors will help County Durham tenants during the digital rollout of the government’s Universal Credit system. County Durham Housing Group’s dedicated Universal Credit Team has been established to advise and support tenants through their Universal Credit claim; with the changes set to roll out in areas such as Peterlee and Seaham will roll out in October. Universal Credit is a single payment scheme that will replace several benefits including; Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. From October all claimants under pensionable age in Peterlee and Seaham will be affected. 

The Bishop Auckland and Crook areas will see the changes roll out in December; and Durham and Spennymoor in early 2018. Anita Lowther, Universal Credit Team Leader, said: “We’re here to help our tenants through these changes. “We know that many of our customers feel like they don’t have all of the information they need, or are confused by how it will work for them individually. “We can offer one-to-one guidance and support, and to ensure that if mistakes have been made that they can be corrected by working with the Department for Work and Pensions.” Anita and her team have already uncovered several tenants whose Universal Credit payment has been underpaid, leading to hardship. In one case a tenant had received £1,700 less than they could have claimed. By working with the Department for Work and Pensions the full amount is now being claimed and the tenant has received a backdated payment too. “I really would urge anyone who isn’t certain of their entitlement to get in touch. The team are not here to judge, we’re just here to offer independent advice and support.” Anita added. County Durham Housing Group is the parent company of landlords East Durham Homes, Dale and Valley Homes and Durham City Homes. 

To contact the Universal Credit Team, Dale and Valley Homes tenants can call 0800 083 0333; Durham City Homes tenants can call 0800 068 0013; and East Durham Homes tenants can call 0800 032 0835. Tenants from all three landlords can also email universal.credit@cdhg.co.uk

Latest housing magazine only a click away **Current**

The latest issue of County Durham Housing Group’s digital newsletter is available online. August’s edition of ‘group news’ can now be found at www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk 

Full to bursting with the latest information, readers can find out about support available during the introduction of Universal Credit, how youngsters in Trimdon have become the first to benefit from a new small grants scheme, and why the group’s first homes in Sunderland have transformed one family’s life. Group Communications Manager, Jill Ancrum, said: “From our work in the community to the latest on our new homes building programme, we’re doing a huge amount of work right across County Durham … and beyond. “Our online newsletter is fully responsive, so all of the latest articles can be read on a PC, laptop, tablet and mobile phone.” To read August’s edition, which also includes news about the latest training courses and employability support the group offers, plus how a man moving from Scotland became the 15,000th tenant to use Durham Key Options to find a home with the group’s landlords, visit www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk 

For a printed copy of the magazine email communications@cdhg.co.uk or contact: · Dale & Valley Homes: 0800 083 0333 · Durham City Homes: 0800 068 0013 · East Durham Homes: 0800 032 0835

Housing group looking for ‘VOCAL’ tenants **Current**

Social housing tenants are being sought to take a formal role in shaping the future direction of the organisation. 

County Durham Housing Group has opened itself up to scrutiny and engagement from customers, who in turn will have direct input into the board and operations committee. The panel, known as the Voice of the Customer And Leaseholders, or VOCAL for short, already includes tenants with a wide range of skills, but is now open to new recruits. Those appointed will ensure that customers’ needs are always considered when decisions about the organisation’s direction and the services offered are being made. County Durham Housing Group Community Investment Manager, Rachel Edmunds, said: “VOCAL has a wide range of skills and talents and uses them for the benefit of all of our customers and for the organisation. We’re looking for new recruits to make the panel even stronger and help to ensure that customers, and their needs, are at the centre of the organisation. “The panel already has plans to look into how the group achieves value for money and engages within our communities. 

More information on the VOCAL vacancies, and details of how to apply, is available at www.countydurhamhousing.co.uk, by calling 0191 349 7629 or email jean.steel@cdhg.co.uk. The closing date for applications is Friday, 20 October. 

Trimdon kids are first for funding **Current**

Children from a County Durham village are the first beneficiaries of a new grant from one of the region’s largest social landlords. Up to 50 children from Trimdon are set for a bumper summer thanks to a £500 ‘group grant’ from County Durham Housing Group. Trimdon Summer Breakout programme, which arranges activities for local youngsters during the school holidays, will now be able to take involved youngsters to Beamish Wild treetop adventure course and Maiden Castle sports complex during August. Annette Donohue from Trimdon Community College Association said: “It is only when our communities work together and gain this wonderful support from local organisations that we can continue to offer a fabulous programme for our young people.” 

Trimdon Summer Breakout is the first of dozens of projects to benefit from the recently launched ‘group grant’ scheme, which provides funding of up to £500 for community projects within the area. County Durham Housing Group Community Investment Team Leader, Angela Stobbart, said: “This project is a perfect example of how a relatively small amount of funding has made such an impact. “We’ve had a lot of interest in the ‘group grant’ scheme already, so I’m confident that we’ll be making a real difference to many more communities in the future.” Any community organisation, non-profit making group, charity or school working in the areas served by County Durham Housing Group is eligible for the scheme.

Full details of the group grant scheme are available at www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk/groupgrant, by calling 0191 349 7777 or emailing groupgrant@cdhg.co.uk

Residents invited to drop-in with their housing queries **Current**

A local landlord’s weekly housing surgeries will answer tenant queries. County Durham Housing Group hosts regular three-hour drop-ins at Durham County Council’s Customer Access Point in St Johns Square, Seaham. 

Customers can call in on Wednesdays between 2pm and 5pm to talk to a County Durham Housing Group officer about their rent, repairs, antisocial behaviour concerns, and find out about other support services. Gary Lormor, Customer Services Manager, said: “These informal sessions are a great way for people to talk to one of our advisers face to face if they are in the Seaham area.” 

For more information call County Durham Housing Group on 0800 032 0835 or email info@cdhg.co.uk

Latest housing magazine only a click away **Current**

The latest issue of County Durham Housing Group’s digital newsletter is available online. July’s edition of ‘group news’ can now be found at www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk 

Packed with the latest information from the group, readers can find out about the latest apprenticeship opportunities, the launch of a new small grants scheme, and all about the first new homes to be built in a rural Weardale village for more than 50 years. 

Group Communications Manager, Jill Ancrum, said: “From supporting community groups and providing new local job opportunities, to building more homes and providing advice to tenants, we’re doing so much right across County Durham. “Our online newsletter is fully responsive, so all of the latest articles can be read on a PC, laptop, tablet and mobile phone.” 

To read July’s edition, which also includes news about the latest training courses and employability support the group offers, visit www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk 
For a printed copy of the magazine email communications@cdhg.co.uk or contact: 
· Dale & Valley Homes: 0800 083 0333 
· Durham City Homes: 0800 068 0013 
· East Durham Homes: 0800 032 0835
New social homes are first in rural village for decades **Current**

Work has started on the first new social homes to be built in a small upper Weardale village for more than 50 years. New two-bed bungalows are being developed in the small community of Rookhope, five miles from Stanhope, thanks to County Durham Housing Group. The development has been described as ‘vital’ for the future of the village, which has a population of under 300 people. 

Ground was broken on the site in Boltsburn Crescent during a formal sod cutting ceremony by County Durham Housing Group and T.Manners & Sons Limited. The last new social housing to be built in the village dates back to the post-war period. The bungalows will feature high levels of insulation, the latest heating systems powered by solar panels, and double glazing; and are expected to bring big savings to tenants when compared with older homes in the village. Demand for modern bungalows in the area is high as most properties date back to the area’s lead mining heyday.

County Durham Housing Group Chief Executive, Bill Fullen, said: “These new bungalows are being built as the direct result of calls by local people and councillors to provide affordable bungalows in Rookhope. “We’ve worked closely with local residents to make these vital new homes possible. Demand for affordable homes in rural areas has probably never been higher. By working with the local community and a range of partners in the public and private sector, housing associations like ourselves are best placed to deliver the new affordable homes that hard working families desperately need.” 

The bungalows are being constructed as part of a major programme of new house building by County Durham Housing Group, which will see 297 new homes built on 17 sites between the Tyne and the Tees. T. Manners & Sons Limited have been appointed as building contractor by the group; the homes are expected to be complete by early 2018. Once ready, the homes will be offered at affordable rent with priority given to the local community. Simon Manners, Joint Managing Director of T Manners and Sons Ltd commented: “We are delighted to be working with County Durham Housing Group in delivering these much needed new homes and as a local company, it is particularly pleasing to see investment like this in our County. This is our first project with County Durham Housing Group and I hope it is the start of a successful local partnership to deliver the social homes our area so desperately needs.”
First homes in £30m housing plan **Current**

Work is underway on the construction of new affordable homes in a County Durham village as the first part of a £30m investment across the region. Ground has been broken on the site of eight two and three bedroom homes in Pity Me. The high quality properties on Woodbine Road on the western side of the village will be available for affordable rent. The houses are being built by County Durham Housing Group as part of a major programme of new house building, which will see 297 new homes built on 17 sites between the Tyne and the Tees. The Pity Me homes are the first being purpose built for affordable rent by the group. Featuring high levels of insulation, the latest heating systems and double glazing; they are expected to bring big savings to tenants when compared with older homes, particularly those in the private rented sector. County Durham 

Housing Group Chief Executive, Bill Fullen, said: “These new homes are the first of almost 300 that we’ll be building over the next three years. We’ll be bringing high quality, affordable homes to communities’ right across the region. “Demand for affordable homes has probably never been higher. By working with the local community and a range of partners in the public and private sector, housing associations like ourselves are best placed to deliver the new affordable homes that hard working families desperately need.” Last year housing associations like County Durham Housing Group built 40,000 new homes – 29 per cent of all housebuilding in England, contributing £1.9bn to the economy. Construction work at the Pity Me site is expected to be completed by spring 2018 with the first families moving in shortly after. 

Jason Green, Director of Operations at contractors Strategic Team Group, said: “We are delighted to be appointed to deliver one of the first projects as part of this programme of new build housing across the region. We are looking forward to working collaboratively with County Durham Housing Group to provide much needed energy efficient new homes for affordable rent to the community in Pity Me.” Close to transport links to Durham city centre and other parts of the region, as well as being at the heart of Pity Me, the new homes are expected to be in high demand.

Latest housing magazine only a click away **Current**

 The latest issue of County Durham Housing Group’s digital newsletter is available online. June’s edition of ‘group news’ can now be found at www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk 

Packed with the latest information from the group, readers can find out about how County Durham Housing Group is supporting Durham’s hugely popular Lumiere Festival, the latest welfare benefits advice, and how the group is giving tenants a stronger voice and a formal role in the running of the organisation. Group Communications Manager, Jill Ancrum, said: “Whether it’s building new homes, or providing training to help our tenants get into work, we’ve got lots of exciting projects all across the region right now. “Our customer magazine, group news is the best way to find out about them all in one place. 

Our online newsletter is fully responsive, so all of the latest articles can be read on a PC, laptop, tablet and mobile phone.” To read June’s edition, which also includes news about the how tenants could save money on their winter energy bills, visit www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk 

For a printed copy of the magazine email communications@cdhg.co.uk or contact: · Dale & Valley Homes: 0800 083 0333 · Durham City Homes: 0800 068 0013 · East Durham Homes: 0800 032 0835 
Sowing The seeds of Success **Current**

Local social landlord DISC Housing is aiming to help tenants spruce up their gardens, back yards and their local community spaces this summer by sowing flower seeds. The Newton Aycliffe-based Registered Social Landlord successfully applied for garden packs to Big Lottery funded Grow Wild, the UK’s biggest-ever wild flower campaign, which aims to bring people together to transform local spaces with native, pollinator-friendly wild flowers and plants.

Sam Palmer of DISC Housing, said: “We’re thrilled to have got the packs from Grow Wild. “They’ve donated a wide variety of garden seeds which we are planning to work with our tenants to encourage them to brighten up their gardens, back yards other relevant spaces by helping them to plant these seeds and improve their homes and the areas in which they live”

Residents invited to drop-in with their housing queries **Current**

A local landlord’s weekly housing surgeries will answer tenant queries. 

East Durham Homes hosts regular two-hour drop-ins at Durham County Council’s Customer Access Point in St Johns Square, Seaham. 

Customers can call in on Mondays and Thursdays between 10am and 12pm; and Wednesdays between 2pm and 4pm to talk to an East Durham Homes officer about their rent, repairs, antisocial behaviour concerns, and find out about other support services. 

Gary Lormor, Customer Services Manager, said: “These informal sessions are a great way for people to talk to one of our advisers face to face if they are in the Seaham area.” 

Further information is available from East Durham Homes on 0800 032 0835 or email enquiry@eastdurhamhomes.co.uk

Housing staff have raised more than £600 for a cancer charity in remembrance of a colleague **Current**

Workers at East Durham Homes raised £645 for Macmillan Cancer Support in just one day in memory of Tom Croft who passed away in December 2016 following a battle with the disease. Led by staff in the Peterlee based rent team, the money was raised through raffles, donations and a dress down day. 

 Jayne Adamson, senior income management officer from East Durham Homes, said: “Tom was a popular member of the team and is greatly missed. We all wanted to do something in his memory and raising money to help Macmillan Cancer Support continue their good work was the perfect way to do that.” County Durham Housing Group, the parent organisation of East Durham Homes, has also chosen Macmillan Cancer Support as one of three charities it actively raises money for.

Historic Durham homes given new old look **Current**

An historic Durham building dating back to 1759 has been returned to its traditional appearance after careful work by one of the north east’s largest landlords. 

The Georgian building on Church Street in the heart of Durham city centre has been disfigured for decades by unsympathetic 1980s windows. But now County Durham Housing Group has restored the 18th century structure to its former glory. After detailed research new timber framed sash windows have been produced to closely match the original style of the building. The new windows however feature the latest thin double glazing technology so that the building regains its traditional appearance, while tenants benefit from warmer homes and lower energy bills. 

Tenant Margaret Bottoms, who has been living in Church Street for seven years, said: “The new windows are absolutely brilliant; we’ve been looking forward to having this work done for a long time. It feels so much warmer inside the house now.” 

Although the majority of the grade II listed building is owned by County Durham Housing Group, arrangements were made for all of the premises to be improved at the same time by working closely with two other owners. Building Surveyor from County Durham Housing Group, Daryl Reed, said: “The property is a really attractive example of Georgian construction. But, probably in the 1920s, some of the windows were replaced and repaired using more modern materials and techniques. “When the more modern windows reached the end of their life we decided that it was only right to go the extra mile and do as much as we could to put the building back to its traditional appearance. We’re really pleased with the high quality of work we’ve been able to achieve.” 

The windows were produced in County Durham by Coxhoe Timber Services, supporting local jobs. Roland Cubello, from Coxhoe Timber Services, said: “This has been a very complicated job needing a lot of detailed work; liaising with heritage experts, meeting the requirements of planning for a listed building and working in partnership with County Durham Housing Group. But the end result has been more than worth it, we’re very pleased with the job.” Installation and repairs to the walls of the building were done in house by staff at County Durham Housing Group.
Centre Honours Community Figure **Current**

A centre in Belmont dedicated to a popular County Durham community leader has been officially opened. 

Lynn Jordison House on Broomside Lane was inaugurated on Wednesday, 12 April by the late County Durham Housing Group Board member’s family and former colleagues. The community centre has been completely refurbished by the housing group prior to taking on its new guise, with space for events, meetings and other activities. Six local groups including a residents association, a choir and a child health group have already signed up to use the facility. Ms Jordison passed away in June 2016 after a short illness. A plaque bearing the new name of the centre was unveiled by her husband, Clive, during a brief opening ceremony. He described the naming as ‘a wonderful tribute to Lynn’s memory.’ 

Lynn Jordison had been a key member of County Durham Housing Group’s Board; and also served as chair on the board of Durham City Homes. County Durham Housing Group Head of Housing Operations, Simon Bartlett, said: “Lynn was a highly respected member of our board who cared deeply about the communities we worked with. Naming this centre in her memory is a great way for us all to remember her. “I’m sure the centre will be well used and appreciated by many groups in the area.”

New homes bring affordable living to Ushaw Moor **Current**

Twenty five affordable homes in Ushaw Moor are welcoming their first residents after a major investment by one of the region’s largest landlords. Families are now moving into the new properties constructed for County Durham Housing Group on the Middlewood Moor development in the popular village. 

The homes, a mixture of two and three bedroom properties, have been built by national house builder Taylor Wimpey specifically for social rent by the housing group. The homes represent an investment of more than £1.7m by County Durham Housing Group to provide affordable homes in the area. Homes at Ushaw Moor feature high levels of insulation, the latest heating systems and double glazing; all expected to bring big savings to tenants when compared with older homes, particularly those in the private rented sector. The development forms part of an overall 297 home new build programme by the group between the Tyne and Tees across a three year period. By 2020, County Durham Housing Group will have invested £32m across 17 sites providing a significant boost to employment in the area. Ged Walsh, Director of Assets and Regeneration from County Durham Housing Group, said: “It’s great to be able to see tenants settling into their new home. 

These houses have been hugely popular because we’re able to offer a brand new property in a really great location at an affordable rent. “Our programme of new build homes is helping to meet demand for affordable homes in many parts of County Durham.” County Durham Housing Group, which is the umbrella organisation of landlords Dale & Valley Homes, Durham City Homes and East Durham Homes, owns around 18,400 properties. This month marks the second anniversary since its establishment.

Housing group introduces new website **Current**

One of the north east’s largest landlords has launched a new website to help tenants access housing related information more easily. County Durham Housing Group has unveiled its new web platform, which brings together information from its partner landlords – Dale & Valley Homes, Durham City Homes and East Durham Homes.

www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk has been designed to provide a one-stop shop for all social housing related matters in a clearer, easier to navigate format, that is fully responsive to mobile, tablet, laptop and PC devices. 

Jill Ancrum, Group Communications Manager for County Durham Housing Group, said: “We want to deliver the same great service for customers across all parts of County Durham Housing Group. Our new website is a key part of that. “Popular customer information like how to pay rent, how to report a repair, and how to find a home are all easily accessed from the homepage, as well as top news stories from across the county.” The new site is expected to receive more than 25,000 visits a month from new and existing tenants. 

Customers searching on previous landlord URLs will be redirected to www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk

The new DASH website has gone live! **Current**

It has been designed and built with grateful thanks to the Transform Foundation who have provided the funding. The new site was much needed as the old site had become tired and dated and was not particularly user friendly. The development of the new site started in August 2016 when our application for funding was approved. 

The design of the site has been carefully managed in order that we provide clear, accurate and accessible information to referral organisations, stakeholders and potential service users. A lot of thought was put into ensuring the site is personal and engaging and easy to manoeuvre and that news and events can be reported on in a timely and interesting way. There was also a lot of thought given to promoting fund raising, donations and other support for the valuable work we do. 

We hope you will find the new site interesting, engaging and easy to use and we would very much appreciate your feedback on anything you particularly like about the new site or anything you think we could improve on. 


Opening the door to fire safety **Current**

A new initiative involving one of the north east’s largest landlords and the fire and rescue service aims to raise awareness of fire safety around the home. County Durham Housing Group and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service have agreed a project that will see the fire service working more closely than ever before with tenants. One of the first initiatives of its type in the region, the new closer working relationship will enable experts in fire safety to visit homes that could potentially be at risk to give advice, guidance and implement preventative measures. Up to 18,500 families living in the homes of landlords Dale & Valley Homes, Durham City Homes and East Durham Homes, as part of County Durham Housing Group, could benefit from the new work. 

Tenants can expect a knock on the door from fire safety officers to carry out an assessment of the property, discuss the steps they could take to reduce fire risk; and at the same time hear about suggested health and lifestyle changes. County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service Community Safety Manager, Andrew Allison, said: “This new initiative helps us to meet tenants face to face in their own home. “Our local knowledge, combined with the insight of County Durham Housing Group, will help us target the homes that we believe to be at greatest risk of fire. “We’ll be able to carry out fire safety checks and talk about early interventions we can carry out, as well as offering other advice to tenants about their health and wellbeing.” 

The initiative is covered by a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ between County Durham Housing Group and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service. County Durham Housing Group Chief Executive, Bill Fullen, said: “The safety of our tenants and their property is paramount. “By working more closely with County Durham Fire and Rescue Service our tenants will be able to benefit from expert advice in their own home. “We’re always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to protect our communities and this new partnership will do just that.”