Coronavirus - a message from Paul
(Sent to customers at 10am on Monday 20 April 2020)
Can you remember a time like this when our ability to live our lives has been impacted in such a way? I have to admit I can’t. In my 20 years of working in housing I have never encountered a period where our customers, colleagues and our business has had to radically change in such a short period of time, and in many cases within 24 hours.
As you would expect, the Bromford team has adapted quickly and risen to the challenge and I am hugely grateful and impressed with how they have done this and in the way they continue to deliver services and keep people safe in their homes. They are our keyworkers and like those brilliant people who work in the NHS and other essential services, I applaud each one of them every Thursday at 8pm.
Our keyworkers are truly fantastic. Let me tell you about Adam, one of our gas engineers, who replaced a boiler over the Easter bank holiday to ensure a customer, working on the NHS frontline, could come home to relax and have the bathing facilities she really needed at this moment in time. There have also been inspiring tales of customers going above and beyond to support families in need or volunteering within the community to help those self-isolating get vital supplies of food or medication. These stories are simply brilliant so please keep telling us about them.
We have also heard instances of people struggling and I know many of you have concerns over your health, employment situation, finances, and feelings of loneliness. I want to reassure you that we are absolutely here to support you and I wanted to take a minute to quickly outline some of the things we have been doing so far.
- Our neighbourhood coaches continue to provide focussed support to customers and in just four weeks have made direct contact with 15,000 older and vulnerable customers, checking on their wellbeing and offering support. If you are worried by anything, please call your neighbourhood coach and if you don’t know who your coach is, you can find out here on our website
- Our specialist support teams and care partners continue to work in our older and vulnerable people’s schemes providing advice and other essential services. We follow government guidance and continue to provide a range of activities including meal services, activity programmes and wellbeing checks
- We continue to complete emergency repairs and health and safety checks, keeping you safe in your home. All engineers are equipped with the latest Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which includes gloves and hand sanitiser and they have changed the way they work such as travelling individually to a customer’s home. The team are doing an amazing job and we would love to hear your stories – please post your experiences on social media using the hashtag #supportourengineers
- Our customer services team have moved from working in an office to working from home, and did this within 24 hours. The team are handling 4,000 calls a week from the comfort of their own home and continue to provide expert advice and guidance
- Our coaches, specialist income and customer services team continue to help with your money worries. We know circumstances for some people are difficult at the moment and the team are here for you. They can provide you with some great help and advice to manage through this period so please do speak to us if this applies to you
- Whilst the number of people moving home has reduced significantly, our empty homes team have been busy working with partners to support the homeless and those in need of emergency housing to move to new, and much needed, homes. Sadly, domestic abuse cases have increased but the team can help, just contact your neighbourhood coach. In the past two weeks we have helped 20 households move into a new home.
Find the answers to your questions
- A list of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) can be found on our Coronavirus Hub to answer any queries you may have and this is updated regularly. If you still can’t find the answer you need, you should call 0330 1234 034, 0300 123 2222 (for customers with a Merlin tenancy), or 01684 272727 (for customers with a Severn Vale tenancy) as we are here to help
- There is also a wealth of handy tips, advice and information on our new Coronavirus Wellbeing Guide with everything from virtual tours, to arts and culture, to guidance on how to ease anxiety and stress. We hope you find this useful.
We also need you to let us know if you or a member of your household is self-isolating, or if you have received a letter from NHS England advising you to shield yourself for at least 12 weeks. If this is the case, please fill in the form on this page.
Stay safe, look after yourself, and please continue to follow the latest government advice around hygiene and social distancing as this is important in helping to protect the NHS and save lives. And finally; a huge ‘thank you’ to you, for your stories and your ongoing support and patience during such an unsettling period, it really is appreciated and helps energise our brilliant colleagues to keep delivering the best possible services for you and your neighbours.
We are here for you, best wishes and take care,
Executive director of customer experience