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 City: Housing in Durham City and surrounding villages is now provided by Durham City Homes as part of the County Durham Housing Group.
Easington: Housing in Easington, Peterlee, Seaham and surrounding areas is now provided by East Durham Homes as part of the County Durham Housing Group.
Sedgefield: Housing 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.
Vacancies at Homegroup
We have 2 vacancies coming up at Grove Road young people’s supported accommodation in the core house in Brandon and can only be aged between 16-25. Each having their own room but with shared facilities.
We have a vacancy coming up in one of our dispersed properties based in Spennymoor. This is a supported shared property for two people aged 16 to 35 years old. Each having their own room but with shared facilities.
We offer tenancy based support in house and multi-agency work to support their needs around substance misuse, mental health, learning difficulties etc.
Please keep the referrals coming in!
County Durham Housing Group has committed to a zero-tolerance approach on loan sharks in east Durham.
The group signed up to the Stop Loan Sharks charter in Peterlee on Monday, 28 January.
The charter commits the group to encourage customers to report loan sharks, increase awareness of the risks associated with using illegal money lenders, and help tenants understand legal and affordable alternatives.
The initiative from the England Illegal Money Lending Team is being supported right across County Durham.
County Durham Housing Group has joined forces with the England Illegal Money Lending Team and organisations including Durham County Council, East Durham College and NE First Credit Union to stage a week of action in the Peterlee and Shotton area.
County Durham Housing Group’s Operational Transformation Project Director, Mick Doyle, said: “Loan sharks prey on people who are desperate and cause untold misery in our communities. People need to know that there are much more affordable alternatives where people are not exploited by unscrupulous lenders. In particular, credit unions are community-based and a great way for people to save and borrow.
“I would urge anyone who is aware of loan sharks operating in our communities to report them.”
The charter signing took place as part of a week of action in Peterlee and Shotton to ‘bite back’ at loan sharks.
Hundreds of families were provided with information on avoiding or reporting loan sharks; and local volunteers were trained to help people who have fallen prey to an illegal money lender.
Common signs that a lender could be a loan shark include:
- Being offered a cash loan with no paperwork
- Having huge amounts of interest or annual percentage rate (APR) added to a loan
- Being threatened by a lender
- Having a bank card, benefits card, passport, watch or other valuables taken as ‘payment’.
More help and support on tackling loan sharks is available at www.stoploansharks.co.uk or by calling 0300 555 2222 safely and anonymously.
Housing group releases its latest online magazine
The latest edition of County Durham Housing Group’s digital newsletter is now available online.
‘group news’ has the latest developments from right across the county, including the completion of a 40-home new-build project at West End Villas in Crook; one of the biggest social housing developments in the town for decades.
And the January edition also features the story of how County Durham Housing Group has helped to fund the installation of life-saving equipment in a Weardale village and a nutritious start to the day for primary school pupils in Brandon.
Group Communications Manager, Jill Ancrum, said: “group news is a great way for residents to find out what we’re working on right across the county. This issue includes details of how dedicated accommodation for older people in east Durham has been given a £¼m makeover and news of how we’re helping to tackle loan sharks.”
The magazine is fully responsive so can be easily read on a PC, laptop, tablet and mobile phone from www.cdhgroupnews.co.uk.
YHNE launches pioneering project to tackle youth loneliness and isolation
Youth Homeless North East (YHNE) has announced the launch of a new pioneering project to tackle youth loneliness and isolation in the North East. ‘About the Space’ will create collaborative spaces for young people to work together and develop ways to help others affected by loneliness. This program has been developed in partnership with the Co-op Foundation and will be running over the next three months.
Grove Road Young People's supported accommodation
We have 2 vacancies coming up at Grove Road young people's supported accommodation in the core house and therefore can only be aged between 16-25, but may have something free in a dispersed property in the near future and that could be people aged 16-35.
We offer tenancy based support in house and multi-agency work to support their needs around substance misuse, mental health, learning difficulties etc.
Please keep the referrals coming in!
SHAIDs 39th edition of its newsletter
Please take time to have a look at our 39th edition of the newsletter. In all the doom and gloom of the holiday period we have been able to shine a positive light on the community spirit out there and the many partners who have risen to the challenge to help the less fortunate.
Affordable homes programme hits 100
County Durham Housing Group has reached a major milestone in the creation of new affordable homes across the region.
The group has completed its 100th affordable home as part of a major new-build programme. The two-bedroom apartment in the popular Whinney Hill area of Durham city was completed today and will shortly be welcoming its first tenant.
The apartment is one of eight at the Cathedral View development acquired by County Durham Housing Group as part of a partnership with housebuilder Charles Church. The arrangement ensures that affordable homes are part of the overall development.
The high spec apartments feature two-bedrooms, plus an open plan kitchen and living area. All eight properties will be available for affordable rent
County Durham Housing Group Development Officer, Nick Bradshaw-Hughes, said: “These new apartments will provide high quality and much needed affordable homes close to the heart of Durham. They’re also an important milestone in our new homes programme.
“We’ve deliberately chosen to create new homes in as many communities as possible, rather than a few large developments, to better meet demand across the county. We’re also tailoring the new homes carefully to the needs of each area, with bungalows and family homes as well as these apartments.”
In total County Durham Housing Group will be creating more than 545 new affordable homes as part of a £54m programme running up to 2021. The group is also investing heavily in its 18,500 existing affordable homes, with a £138m programme of improvements well underway.
The group has already completed similar arrangements with house builders in Ouston, Houghton-le-Spring, Bishop Auckland, Ushaw Moor and Newton Aycliffe. Purpose-built affordable homes have already been completed in Rookhope, St Helen Auckland, Pity Me and Crook, with work on four other sites also underway.
Vacancies at Grove Road
We have current vacancies at Durham Young People's Service! We have a room available in the Core House based in Brandon, this is staffed 24/7 and provides housing related support to single young people between the age of 16-25. We also have a current vacancy at one of our dispersed properties in Spennymoor which is shared with another young person and can be a single young person from 16-35. They will still receive housing related support but this is for semi independent living and people who already have quite a few independent living skills.
If you have any questions please give me a ring on 0300 131 0403.
Moving On Durham July - September 2018 Newsletter
Please find attached a copy of the latest Moving On Durham Newsletter, covering periods July – September 2018
Welcome to DASHtalk October 2018
Everyone, regardless of circumstances, should have a fundamental right to a place of shelter, and help to rebuild their life
Click for more
New number for homes
One of the north east’s largest housing associations is launching a single phone number for all enquiries.
From Tuesday, 11 September all callers to County Durham Housing Group and its landlords will be able to get in touch by phoning 0300 1311 999.
The group, which includes Dale & Valley Homes, Durham City Homes and East Durham Homes, is advising people to come through their new direct line whether it’s a query about rent, repairs or anything else to do with their home. Existing numbers for each of the individual landlords will continue to divert to contact centres for six months while customers get used to the change. County Durham Housing Group Head of Housing Operations, Simon Bartlett, said: “Bringing all three landlords into one group has allowed us to make a huge variety of efficiencies and offer a consistent service to all of our customers. Moving to a single phone number is the latest opportunity to make it easier for all of our residents, whether they live in Wheatley Hill or Wearhead. “From now on there’ll be just one easy to remember phone number no matter what your query. Directing all enquiries through one phone number will help us manage calls more efficiently, and answer phones more quickly, for all of our customers.”
Calls to the new 0300 1311 999 telephone number will be charged at the same rate as standard landline calls.
County Durham scheme gives local groups £34k in first year
A funding programme has helped more than 75 grass root groups in 12 months. County Durham Housing Group’s ‘group grant’ scheme has helped no fewer than 77 local projects in its first year. From foodbanks in rural Weardale to boxing clubs in Durham and school projects in Bishop Auckland, the funding has helped thousands of people across the region. A total of £34,070 has been distributed, and has seen the provision of new IT equipment to help job hunters in Seaham, Christmas decorations in Stanhope and even a new play space for a school in Peterlee. County Durham Housing Group Funding Officer, Damian Pearson, said: “group grant was specifically designed to help smaller organisations improve their facilities or work with more people. The first 12 months have been hugely successful and we’re already looking at new applications for the coming year.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the huge variety of projects that have applied for group grant support. The vast amount of good work that the voluntary and community sector does in County Durham can’t be overstated. Getting the chance to work with so many local people has really demonstrated how much our communities depend on them.” 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.
New jobs club offers career guidance in Crook
A new initiative will offer support to tenants in Crook looking to find a way into work. County Durham Housing Group is launching a fortnightly jobs club to provide one-to-one support for people looking for work, including help with CV writing, completing application forms and interview techniques. Based at Wheatbottom Community Hub, just outside the centre of Crook, the free sessions are set to start on Friday, September 14 running from 9.30am to noon. Experts from County Durham Housing Group’s Employability Team will be on hand to provide personal guidance and advice to everyone attending the jobs club. Sean Robson, Community Training Coordinator at County Durham Housing Group, said: “We completely understand that there may be a whole range of reasons why someone might experience difficulties finding work or training opportunities. But these sessions have been designed to break down those barriers and offer genuine, one-to-one advice and support to any of our tenants looking for a job. “With fortnightly sessions in an easy to reach location, we’re hoping to help lots of people in the Crook area who need that little extra support to get into work.” The Crook jobs club is the latest in a series of initiatives by County Durham Housing Group to help tenants find work. The group, one of the largest housing associations in the north east, also offers an extensive range of free training courses and personalised employability support in communities stretching from the Durham coast to rural Weardale.
Free training for aspiring admin workers
A free course will offer County Durham residents the skills needed to work in business administration. County Durham Housing Group’s ‘Get Into Business Admin’ programme will help residents in east Durham keen to start a career in the sector. Running from Monday, 17 September at Horden Children’s Centre, on Ocean View in Horden, the course offers essential skills like understanding data protection, professional telephone manner and email etiquette. Designed by experts in the field and delivered by friendly and approachable trainers, sessions will focus on interpersonal skills, making a good first impression, and working effectively as part of a team. The course will run from 9.30am to 2.30pm each day. Sean Robson, Community Training Coordinator at County Durham Housing Group, said: “Our Get Into course will help people learn a range of new techniques that they’ll be able to put into practice in any business administration role, including computer skills, effective communication and professional etiquette. It’s also a great opportunity to gain a real understanding of how businesses, big and small, work. “It’s an intensive course so that within five days learners can improve their confidence and pick up the key things they’ll need when applying for a job or attending an interview. It will give a real head start to anyone looking to start or change their career.”
Affordable bungalows welcome MP
The first wheelchair adaptable bungalows to be built in the Bishop Auckland area as part of a £54m construction programme have been visited by a County Durham MP. Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland, met some of the first tenants to move into the County Durham Housing Group development at Davis Avenue near the heart of West Auckland. Four two-bedroom bungalows for affordable rent have been completed this summer on the formerly vacant plot. They were built specifically to meet demand for wheelchair adaptable bungalows in the area. Ms Goodman was able to take a tour of one of the bungalows with new tenant Mrs Brown, who has moved from a larger house to better meet the needs of her family. The Davis Avenue properties are the latest part of County Durham Housing Group’s 545 home new-build programme to be completed. The four-year programme, which began in 2017, will cover more than 20 sites in communities stretching from rural Weardale to the Durham coast. Already more than 60 families have moved into their new homes. Ms Goodman said: “County Durham Housing Group have done a wonderful job with the bungalows in St Helen Auckland. This is a great example of housing development fulfilling the local need for affordable, accessible housing that looks great and feels like home. The fact that these bungalows were built by a local construction company, T Manners & Sons, is an added bonus, helping to create and maintain jobs in the area.” Construction work on the new homes in Davis Avenue was carried out by long-established Weardale based firm T Manners & Sons, supporting the local economy. The full County Durham Housing Group new-build programme is expected to create in the region of 160 new jobs and apprenticeships. County Durham Housing Group Chief Executive, Bill Fullen, said: “These bungalows are just the first of dozens we’ll be creating in the Bishop Auckland area. Helen’s visit was a great chance for her to see these new bungalows up close, but also to meet some of the people who are directly benefiting from having homes that really suit their needs. “We see lots of figures about how many new homes this country needs, but we must never lose sight of the need to build the right homes in the right places.” Alongside the new bungalows in St Helen Auckland, tenants have already moved into completed homes in Newton Aycliffe, Bishop Auckland, Rookhope, Pity Me, Chilton Moor, Ushaw Moor and Ouston.
More homes will reach completion in Crook this month and work is due to start this autumn on sites in Bowburn, Bishop Auckland, Peterlee and Seaham.
Easington Homestay – Homegroup
Please find attached the latest addition of Easington Homestay drop-in timetable for you to circulate within your office, teams and colleagues. Please signpost any customers or clients with housing related issues to one of our drop-in’s for housing related support. We have drop in’s in Seaham, Peterlee, Easington and Wheatley Hill.
Messy kids beat isolation
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.
Housing group releases its latest online magazine
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.
Funding helps boxing club expand
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.
Kids dig new play space
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.
Housing group issues bogus caller warning
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
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.
Housing group releases its latest online magazine
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.
Dale & Valley Homes: 0800 083 0333 ·
Durham City Homes: 0800 068 0013 ·
East Durham Homes: 0800 032 0835