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Universal Credit Workshops

Universal Credit is the new benefit replacing six work related benefits, including Housing Benefit. One single monthly payment will be paid in arrears direct into your bank account.

This means you will be responsible for paying your rent from your Universal Credit payment.

Some people have already transferred to this new benefit and depending on your situation you could be told you are moving over to Universal Credit at any time.

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Big changes

It will mean a big change so let’s prepare for the switchover!

UC its as easy as ABC Make sure you have a suitable bank account

Sliders UC talk to us Talk to our Customer Accounts Team or Welfare Advice Team about the best way of paying your rent

 Check out the Universal Credit section of our website especially the Universal Credit Survival Guide

Sliders UC making a claim Brush up on your digital skills as applications for Universal Credit have to be made online.

Universal Credit Workshops

Ocean’s Welfare Advice Team is offering Universal Credit Workshops to help you prepare.

Check our Events Calendar for details of upcoming workshops near you or contact the Welfare Advice Team

Icon phone smlTel 01726 874450

Icon online form sml Talk to us

Icon online form sml Universal Credit

 

Welcome Aboard to Ocean’s New Chief Executive, Mark!

mark-gardnerIt was the end of an era this Autumn as we waved goodbye and wished outgoing Group Chief Executive, David Renwick all the best for his retirement. But as the saying goes when one door closes, another door opens and with this Ocean are thrilled to welcome our new Chief Executive Mark Gardner to the Group.

Mark has been busy settling in, meeting staff and customers too. Having been in the housing sector from the age of 18, it’s fair to say he brings a wealth of experience with him to Ocean.

“I am delighted to be joining a great organisation that is delivering excellent results, has a track record of success along with staff who are committed to providing homes and services of the highest quality” says Mark. “I’ll be looking to build upon David’s great work and bring my own experiences and leadership to help Ocean evolve”.

There will be plenty of opportunities to meet Mark in the coming months, but for now we hope you will join us in wishing him every success for his future here at Ocean.

**Changes to HomeChoice Bidding Cycle**

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IMPORTANT NOTICE

Cornwall HomeChoice is changing the bidding cycle. Bidding will no longer start on a Saturday and end on a Wednesday each week.


From November, the bidding cycle will commence on 00:01 on a Thursday morning and finish at 23:59 on a Monday night.

The next Bidding:

Starts Thursday 3rd November

Ends Monday 7th November

Please talk to Cornwall HomeChoice if you have any queries.

‘Lifeline’ is just that, a lifeline!

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Lifeline users have an alarm system with an emergency pendant button or wrist band which is connected to a 24 hour call service, providing peace of mind and a friend at the end of the line to check on people and respond in an emergency.

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Feedback

The Ocean Extra Lifeline service deals with a staggering 300 calls per month. The team conducts an annual survey to find out how our Lifeline users are getting on with the system, check they are happy with service and whether they feel it is value for money.

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. It truly is a lifeline to many who have needed to use the emergency service to call for help when they have had a fall or accident. It is peace of mind and emotionally reassuring to both the users and their families, knowing that there is someone there at the touch of a button to respond quickly and calmly.

Thank you to those who to the time to complete the survey and write comments:

lifeline-feedback-widow lifeline-feedback-savedhusband lifeline-feedback-wouldntbehere lifeline-feedback-recommend lifeline-feedback-feelsafe lifeline-feedback-fairdistance lifeline-feedback-excellantservice lifeline-feedback-cantimagine lifeline-feedback-atnightlifeline-feedback-1

New for Old

Ocean Extra will shortly start a replacement programme to upgrade the Lifeline systems for our existing 400 users, who are mainly elderly, vulnerable or disabled.

Ocean is investing approximately £50,000 on new equipment for the 400 users to ensure they can remain and retain their independent lifestyles in their homes, close to family, friends and the many happy memories they have in their home. There will also be provision for new customers who are considering signing up to the Lifeline Service.

Ocean’s Group Chief Executive, David Renwick, said

“We have a long history of supporting people in the local community, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.  This service which is available to residents across Cornwall provides peace of mind to many people, to know that in an emergency, such as a fall, they can call for assistance any time of the day or night!”

lifeline-survey-winner-mrs-muriel-capell_2Home Visit

David Renwick, along with Dorinda Hood and Jan Rahemtulla from the Ocean Extra team, hand delivered the new Lifeline equipment to Mrs Capell’s home in St. Austell.

As part of the service, the team visit in person, set up and test the equipment and demonstrate how it works so customers are confident it will work when they most need it.  Mrs Capell, who has the Lifeline wristband, also received a gift voucher for being the first customer to receive the new equipment and as a thank you for her loyalty and for completing the feedback survey.

Sign up

Whether you are signing up for yourself, a friend or relative, signing up is easy. Simply complete the online form below and click submit. Ocean Extra will be in contact to discuss the plan.

Lifeline Service

 

About You

 

On behalf of

 

Verification

 

 

#HousingDay 2016 ‘Fresh Start’

Today, we’ve been celebrating #HousingDay on social media to try and raise awareness of the positive impact the Housing Sector has on people’s lives.

One of our Customer Accounts Advisors has put into words how she feels about her work:

melody-boyce“People often think of social housing as cheap housing for people who can’t afford the private sector.

What is missing from that is the tremendous amount of support that we offer to people to make their tenancy a success.

One of the aspects I find most satisfying is helping people through their first tenancy or with a fresh start. They may be walking away from abuse or just starting up and it can be terrifying. You don’t get that support in the private sector and seeing tenants grow and become happy in their new home is fantastic.

I am very lucky to meet people before they become Ocean tenants and work with them throughout the first few months of their tenancy helping with things like Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, benefits generally and budgeting.

Giving people the tools to turn their lives around and become independent is immensely satisfying and its lovely to speak to people a few weeks into their tenancy and hear that just having a new home has made all the difference.”

Thank you, Melody!

Budgeting Ahead

Banner Monthly Budget GC

The kids are back at school and Christmas will soon be upon us so now is an excellent time to review your finances and look at how to budget ahead more effectively.

One important part of budgeting is to ensure that your priority debts are paid on time.

Maintaining your rent payments is an essential part of managing your finances and helping you budget. Once these payments are made then it is easier to understand what money you have left over each month for your other outgoings.

To make things a little easier for you, we’ve put together a helpful guide listing ‘Ways to Pay’ – this will help you identify the best way for you to take control of your finances and make budgeting a little easier.

Click on it to enlarge.

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Autumn Preparations

Before Autumn turns into Winter, let’s work together to maintain your home and prevent putting your own health and home at risk. There are lots of things to do …before the weather turns nasty on us, not once it is here!

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Heating

Saving you ££

Visit our Heating page or talk to our Energy Advisors about saving yourself money and spreading the cost of heating your home this winter.

Efficient heating

Watch the video to understand how to set your heating system to work efficiently.

Servicing your system

Our planned maintenance team have a schedule of works to service heating systems that Ocean has installed. Please make sure you give them access to undertake this service, when they contact you.

 


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Condensation

Underheating and lack of ventilation in your home during cold and damp spells results in condensation.

Don’t fall into the trap – turning off your heating is a false economy and can put your health & home at risk.

Follow our helpful tips to avoid a build up of condensation and moisture in your home.

Consider switching energy supplier to reduce your heating costs or spreading the costs over regular monthly Direct Debit payments.

 


gsw-hero

Gas Safety Week 2017

It’s Gas Safety Week 18 -24th September – fighting for a gas safe nation!

Ocean carries out annual gas checks on gas appliances that we have installed. You will be notified when you are due a check. Please make sure you give us access to maintain your system to avoid putting your health & home at risk.

If Ocean did not install your appliance – ALWAYS USE A GAS SAFE REGISTERED ENGINEER.

 


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Smoke Alarm Testing

Ocean carries out annual checks on your Smoke Alarm.

You will be notified when you are due a check. Please make sure you give us access to maintain your system to avoid putting your health & home at risk.

 


Unblocking gutter drain

Blocked Gutters

Wind + Rain + Autumn Leaves = Blocked and dripping gutters

Let’s work together to prevent damp patches appearing due to drips and leaks.

Income Management Team – What’s changing?

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Here at Ocean we pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service and one of the teams currently doing this is our Income Management Team.

They work with our customers:

Allpay-Ocean-Payment-card-houses-icon to provide help and support when they encounter financial difficulties

Allpay-Ocean-Payment-card-houses-icon identifying additional benefits that they may be entitled to

Allpay-Ocean-Payment-card-houses-icon referring to support agencies

Allpay-Ocean-Payment-card-houses-icon working with them to help get them back on track with their rental payments.

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So what is changing?

The team are fundamentally staying the same however; there has been a change to the team name and role titles.

“Our customers are important to us and are at the centre of everything we do, we feel that the new team name and team titles better reflect what we do”

The team’s new name is the

Customer Accounts Team:

The team members are:

Customer Accounts Manager

Debbie Goodreid

Customer Accounts Advisors

Amy Coad

Kerry Smith

Loraine Hoar

Melody Boyce

Michelle Allen

Customer Accounts Assistant

Helen Bellamy

Home Ownership Advisor

Scott Burrows

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As well as helping customers when they are struggling to maintain their rent payments we are also responsible for all payments including:

  • Service charges, repair charges and other such charges
  • Garage and parking spaces
  • Shared Ownership
  • Leasehold payments
  • Freehold Properties &
  • Commercial Properties

Welfare-Team-June-2016

Did you know that we also have a Welfare Advice Team?

The Welfare Advice Team can help customers who are in receipt of Universal Credit or are affected by Bedroom Tax or Benefit Cap.

The Welfare Advice Team members are:

Welfare Advice Manager

Gill Barnard

Welfare Advisors

Gemma Aldin

Julie Cartlidge

Susan McKnight


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My Ocean – our 24/7 service

At Ocean we are constantly developing new ways of being able to keep in touch with our customers.

Did you know that you can view your tenancy details on line 24 hours a day 7 days a week?

Once registered, you can log in to your secure ‘My Ocean’ account to view:

My Ocean – latest news & events
My Account – balance & transactions
My Repairs
My Planned Upgrades.

To register, just click:

My-Ocean-sign-in-sign-up


Talk to Us

You can also access information and help:

Icon online form sml Your Money general advice

Icon online form sml Talk to us

Icon Email sml Send an email 

Icon phone sml 01726 874450

 

 

 

 

My Ocean – FREE Prize Draw

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Banner-My-Ocean-GC-sign-in-sign-up
Every day, our Customer Services team receive calls from customers asking for their rent balance. Did you know you can check your rent balance online?

My Ocean – your personalised online service

My Ocean is a personalised online service – an area of our website where you can securely log in and view your balance and transactions from the last 3 months as well as your repairs and planned upgrades, 24/7, without having to wait in the phone queue!

Continue reading

Surviving Universal Credit and the Benefit Cap

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Welfare-Team-June-2016

When you sign up to Universal Credit or UC (the new single benefit payment where 6 benefits become 1) a single monthly payment is paid directly to you.

This means that you will have to manage your money from the moment it arrives in your bank account.

This also means you will need to pay your own rent out of the monthly lump sum you receive. This should be your number one priority; you don’t want to risk losing your home.

If the idea of managing your money feels daunting, don’t panic, help is at hand.

Welfare Advice Team

Our friendly and helpful Welfare Advice Team have been helping tenants get to grips with these upcoming changes to the benefits system and what they need to do to be prepared for Universal Credit and the lowered Benefits Cap.

 

It’s really important that you tell Ocean when you have or are going to sign up to Universal Credit.

Icon online form sml  Online Contact Form

Continue reading

Get Involved – Crafty Fingers

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Residents at Prince Charles House, along with others who make up the group Active+, have been given the opportunity to get involved with something new.

Mosaic making sessions, hosted by Ocean and Cornwall College, took place over the course of three weeks and gave the group insight into designing and creating their very own bright and colourful mosaics.

“Although at first it seemed fiddly it didn’t take long to get the hang of it!” explains Christine. “The group really engaged with the activity and are looking forward to trying a different activity offered by the college and Ocean”.

Being part of a community group, tenant panel or local activity can be really rewarding – especially if you find your circumstances leaving you feeling isolated and out of touch or you can’t afford some of the expensive hobbies on offer. Continue reading

Residents at our Heart

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Steve-Williams-2016Our Tenancy Sustainment Service has been up and running for 2 years, overseeing Ocean’s work safeguarding our residents and high-level antisocial behaviour.
Providing a person-centred approach to dealing with various issues concerned with domestic abuse and vulnerable cases, Stephen Williams, our Tenancy Sustainment Co-ordinator, is committed to providing the best possible service for our residents who need us most.

“Working with other agencies including the Police, Probation Service, and Social Services we aim to support our tenants to the best of our ability, prioritising their safety is our main purpose,” explains Stephen.

“We seek, as far as we can, to address the needs of vulnerable people while at the same time using appropriate tenancy enforcement action where, unfortunately, we need to,” continues Stephen.

If you have any concerns regarding a vulnerable resident or see anything that sets off alarm bells in your mind, visit the ‘Keeping Safe’ section of our website for advice (click on ‘Safe’ below) or contact Stephen Williams directly.

Icon Email sml help@oceanhousing.com

Icon phone sml 01726 874450

 

‘Art House’ celebrates our 1,000th Home!

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Winners-with-pics

Ocean were looking for a unique way to mark the big occasion – to celebrate the completion of their 1,000th new home in Cornwall for local families – so we invited the school children of Connor Downs Academy to rise to the challenge.

The unique idea chosen was to turn the 1,000th home into a house decorated with pictures of local scenes or people painted by Connor Downs’ children along with prints of some of the world’s best known pictures, including The Mona Lisa.

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As part of the official opening, by Ocean’s Group Chairman, Dennis Spilsbury, guests entered the 1,000th home and were greeted by a wonderful sea of art from the local children within the one off ‘Art House’. Continue reading

Housing Heroes Award – Finalists!

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Congratulations to our Development team who, in recognition of all their hard work over the last year, have just been shortlisted as finalists of the ‘Housing Heroes Awards 2016’!

These national awards celebrate the ‘unsung’ heroes of the Housing world.

The team has surpassed their targets, delivered award winning schemes, created local jobs and provided learning and development opportunities for staff. Continue reading

New ALLPAY payment process

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Ocean rent payment card UPRN_Allpay_2

We are always looking for ways to improve our services to you, our customer. Ocean now has a new payment process for taking quicker, safer payments.

From 17th May, you will be asked to provide your Allpay card reference number when making a payment over the phone or in person. Please make sure you have the number ready.

Contact us if you do not have an Allpay card.

It might be easier to set up a Direct Debit so that you can manage your budget on a monthly basis.

Direct Debit

Download the Direct Debit form.

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Your rent for the whole year is added together and divided into 12 equal payments, which are collected automatically from your bank account on the first working day of the month.
Please complete the form and send it back to Ocean Housing.

Contact us

Icon Mobile Text sml Text 07971 834834

Text the word CARD – to order a replacement Allpay card.

Alternatively, please complete the online form below and we will order a new card.

Talk to Us

 

Please enter your details:

 

Please enter at least one of the following contact details:

 

Verification

 

 

Benefit rules are changing

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How Will Families Be Affected By April’s Benefit Changes?

Turn2Us FamilyBenefitsChanges_LeadThis month sees the start of changes to several welfare benefits.

Linda Gyamfi, Welfare Benefits Specialist at national charity Turn2us explains more about  some of these changes, what they mean for families, and where you can find support if you’re affected.

Changes include:

  • Freeze on working-age benefits
  • Tax credits income rise disregard
  • Universal Credit Work Allowance
  • Universal Credit – Childcare Costs element increased
  • Family Premium in Housing Benefit Abolished
  • Housing Benefit backdating
  • Support for Mortgage Interest waiting period
  • Benefit Cap Lowered  

To read the whole article and find out if it will affect you,

Icon online form sml CLICK HERE.

Icon online form sml About the changes to the Benefits Cap

Communal Cleaning Annual Survey

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New communal cleaningOcean is committed to providing good quality services and in order to ensure that standards are maintained, we need your views as a customer.

We would be grateful if you would tell us how well you think we have delivered our Communal Cleaning service over the past 12 months.

Prize Draw

As a thank you for your time, all surveys submitted or returned will be entered into a prize draw for a £25 shopping voucher. This is why it is important to provide your contact details.

Deadline

Please complete this short questionnaire by Friday 15th April to help us improve our services. Continue reading

Grounds Maintenance Annual Survey

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Sliders Estate WalkaboutEvery year, we ask residents for their views on the Estate Services that we provide as part of your Service Charge.

Your views are important as they help us make sure we provide the best service we can and identify any areas where we need to improve.

Prize Draw

As a thank you for your time, all surveys submitted or returned will be entered into a prize draw for a £25 shopping voucher. This is why it is important to provide your contact details.

Deadline

Please complete this short survey form by Friday April 15th 2016 to be included in the draw. Continue reading

Taking Pride in Your Area

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They Ride Again!

After what seems like a long, cold and wet Winter our Grounds Maintenance crew are getting ready to fuel up their mowers in preparation for the warmer weather.

Our hardworking grounds staff are responsible for looking after areas which include grass cutting, hedge trimming and maintaining pathways on approximately 160 of our estates.

It’s definitely a challenge for the team battling the Cornish inclement weather but the team are extremely vigilant when it comes to maintaining the areas where our tenants live. The dedicated team have been praised for providing the best standard of service which offers great value for money for Ocean tenants. Continue reading

LABC Award for Trevone

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Trevone GCI view 2 150408 smlThe Ocean Housing Development team are delighted to receive an LABC award for ‘Best Housing Development’ in recognition of the high standards and quality of build delivered by the team and construction company, Gilbert & Goode.

This is a highly respected endorsement, further attesting that Ocean’s strategy is paying off – that it is possible to provide quality and affordable homes for the people of Cornwall who have been steadily priced out of the market in the area where they grew up.

For further information, contact the Development team. Continue reading