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Ocean Group Chair retires

This December, we bid a very fond farewell to our Group Chair, Dennis Spilsbury.

There isn’t much Dennis doesn’t know about housing after spending the last 55 years of his career in the industry starting at Plymouth City Council back in 1962. Dennis joined Ocean Housing in 2002 as a Neighbourhood Services Officer. At that time, he was told his time with us was just for a few weeks; little did he realise it would turn into nearly 16 years.

“The best part of the role was getting out and about, meeting and helping residents. No day has ever been the same in my job and that’s why I’ve loved it,” says Dennis.

From Neighbourhood Services, Dennis then joined the Ocean Board back in 2006 and took up the Deputy Group Chair role in 2009 followed by Group Chair in 2011.

Mark Gardner, Ocean Group’s Chief Executive said
“Dennis demonstrates everything that’s good about Ocean Group. His commitment to us and especially the promotion of tenant and resident involvement is second to none. He will be greatly missed.”

Everyone at Ocean Group would like to thank Dennis for his long service and commitment to continually improving the service we provide. We wish him and his wife Gloria, a long, happy and healthy retirement.

Having a Lifeline

Many people enjoy the independence of living at home and just need that little extra support.

Our Ocean Extra Lifeline services give reassurance to residents and their families that they are not alone, and someone is at the end of the phone.

The Lifeline pendant or bracelet works anywhere around your home and outside in the garden. Just press the button and you are connected to a local 24-hour call centre and it costs just £3.95 per week.

In addition, we also offer a visiting service starting at £7.80 a week including Lifeline, and you decide on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly visit.

Our trained staff can help you with housekeeping, shopping, doctors’ appointments and much more.

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Universal Credit is here!

If you receive any of the following benefits, you will be going onto Universal Credit:

  • Job Seekers Allowance (income related)
  • Employment Support Allowance (income related)
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit

Roll out

Universal Credit is already live in Cornwall and the Full Digital Service is being rolled out from this December, starting with Liskeard, Launceston and Bude.

There have been some changes to the roll out dates:

May 2018 (was Feb) – St. Austell, Newquay, Bodmin and Truro

June 2018 (was March) – Penzance, Helston, Bodmin and Penryn. Continue reading

Moving Home with Mutual Exchange

Katrina is thrilled with her new home thanks to a mutual exchange;

“The swap was very easy to arrange and it has made a huge difference to our lives. My son Kian can now walk to school and spend more time with his friends.”

A home swap or mutual exchange happens when tenants of Registered Social Landlords such as Ocean Housing, swap properties with each other. This can only happen if both tenants have their landlords’ consent and meet the mutual exchange criteria.

Home Swapper

You can register free of charge with Home Swapper which is a national database of social housing tenants looking to swap their home. As a tenant, you can register whether you wish to find a swap locally or nationally should you wish to move outside the area. Once you register with Home Swapper, we check your eligibility to make sure your tenancy allows you to swap. Once you find a swap, you need to contact us and ask for a mutual exchange application form. We will then need to carry out checks, such as inspect your home and check your rent account. You cannot move if you have rent arrears.

Register

Icon online form sml  www.homeswapper.co.uk

Contact

Contact your Neighbourhood Services Officer

Icon phone sml 01726 874450

Icon Email sml help@oceanhousing.com

December brings Christmas spirit for local partners

Ocean Housing took part in its first public event with new corporate partner, St Austell Foodbank, at the Tesco Holmbush store last weekend.

By kind permission of Tesco and with support from the Trussell Trust, teams of volunteers from the Foodbank and Ocean greeted shoppers with information about the work of the Foodbank and accepted donations over the course of three promotional days.

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Ocean heads West with another delivery of Affordable Homes

St Austell-based housing provider Ocean Housing has celebrated further success on its mission to deliver quality new homes across Cornwall.  Residents of the Water Lane development of affordable homes in Hayle were joined by Ocean’s Board members, Dennis Spilsbury and Chris Durkin as well as Deputy Mayor Clive Polkinghorne, to share in the moment as Councillor Andrew Mitchell, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Homes, officially opened the scheme.

The 20 new properties have provided a real boost to local residents keen to obtain a place they can really call home. Mr Power, who has lived in the parish for many years confirmed:

‘“My new home has really changed my life, I feel secure in a great neighbourhood”. Continue reading

Back to School approach is a winner for Ocean

Ocean Housing brought a top national award home to the county this week after clinching the Best Partnership accolade at the Inside Housing Development Awards, at a glittering ceremony in London.

The Pras an Ferla scheme in Camelford, North Cornwall was the product of a creative and determined approach between lead partners Ocean Housing and Cornwall Council, in order to deliver much-needed homes in the market town and additional school places in nearby Indian Queens.

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Blackwater arrival

St Austell-based housing provider Ocean Housing has completed a development of new homes in Blackwater, providing 12 Affordable Rent and 4 Shared Ownership homes for local people. The scheme was delivered in partnership with their sister company Gilbert and Goode, who built 8 homes for open market sale on the same site. All of these homes are already under offer.

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Rural Life 2017

The National Housing Federation has recently launched its report confirming that Housing Associations providing affordable housing have assisted in halting the decline in rural services and communities. The arrival of Ocean’s North Hill Gardens development in Blackwater is a great example of delivering homes for young people, ensuring the future of the village and surrounding rural area. Continue reading

Design of the times for Ocean residents

Staff and customers from St-Austell-based housing provider Ocean Housing made the trip to Plymouth recently to help design homes of the future at the South West Residents Design Conference 2017.

The event brought together social housing customers from around the region and gave the opportunity to learn everything you never knew had to be borne in mind when starting a new development! Participants heard about the nature and wildlife considerations which housing associations work with when planning new communities and went on virtual tours of properties via Virtual Reality Headsets. Continue reading

Website maintenance

Please be aware that our website host company will be working behind the scenes to upgrade their systems later on this month. This will mean our website will be affected and will momentarily be offline over the weekend of 25th and 26th November.

We’ll post up emergency contact details on our Facebook page just in case you need anything while the site goes offline.

You won’t be able to check your My Ocean account while the website is down so if you need to, take a look beforehand or check back in again on the Monday.

Thanks for your understanding!

Team Leader required

These jobs don’t come up very often and this one is definitely worth shouting about.

Ocean Housing Ltd are looking for a team leader to take on the role of Senior Property Services Manager within our in-house Property Services team.

Take a look at the information below and click on the Job Description and Person Specifications for more detail.

Senior Property Services Manager

Ocean Housing is recruiting for a Senior Property Services Manager, which will offer a unique and exciting opportunity for an individual who will play a key role in delivering Ocean Housing’s Company Plans and progress the objectives of their large in-house Property Services Maintenance Team.

As the leader of approximately 60 maintenance team staff, you will ensure the efficient and effective delivery of a high quality and cost effective day to day repairs, voids, cyclical M&E maintenance and planned works teams to approximately 4,000 tenants homes, spread geographically throughout Cornwall.

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False alarm highlights strong partnership between Ocean and Cornwall Fire Service

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service were called to the county’s only high-rise block of flats, Park House on Saturday 28th October, to investigate a fire alarm activation. Upon arrival it was alleged that the fire alarm was activated due to a resident smoking a cigarette in a communal area, which activated the smoke alarm. The fire brigade in attendance searched the building and no fire was found.

As owner of the Park House building, Ocean liaises regularly with Cornwall Fire and Rescue and conducts familiarisation and evacuation exercises.

Access to all areas within Park House is available to the Fire and Rescue Service if required during an emergency. No issues or concerns have been raised by the Fire and Rescue Service in relation to access or any other fire safety concerns at Park House.

Ocean’s Chief Executive, Mark Gardner, spoke of his commitment to resident safety across the Group’s properties:

“Ocean has a robust fire safety process in place within Park House and resident safety is paramount in all our schemes. A joint six monthly fire safety inspection is carried out with the Fire and Rescue Service and a full-time caretaker is employed to maintain the building and ensure meticulous compliance checks in liaison with our dedicated Health & Safety, Neighbourhood Services and Property Services teams.”

Rising to the Challenge!

We all know that here in Cornwall our homes need regular maintenance to ward off that weathered look the traditional Cornish weather can bring!

Ocean ensures that the outside walls of all our homes are given a wash down or fresh coat of paint on a rolling basis, as part of our routine £4million annual investment in property maintenance.

In August, 83 year old Ocean tenant and Scrutiny Panel member Ron Deacle turned his attention to Ocean’s external decorations service and threw down the gauntlet to Nick Reeks (Planned Maintenance Co-ordinator) claiming “I can do it quicker” …and so the challenge was set… Continue reading

Ocean heads Northbound with Camelford wave of new homes

It’s been a flying start to the year for Ocean Housing, with our Development Team recently handing over the keys to a suite of new affordable homes in North Cornwall.

The Pras an Ferla development in Camelford features 21 homes for rental, 11 homes for shared ownership and 8 open market units. The latest opening sees Ocean reach the halfway point on its mission to provide 150 local families or individuals with quality new homes this year. Continue reading

#HousingDay – Emergency call out

As part of #HousingDay, we invited customers to tell their stories.

We had two real life stories from Jan Faulkner, our customer and Tenant Panel Chair (on right in photo), who gave us an insight into day to day experiences of our services, from a customer’s point of view.

Here is Jan’s 2nd story #RealPeopleTrueStories:

“It always happens when it’s least convenient, and a Friday evening is one of those times.

The hot tap in my kitchen would not turn off and when the flow of hot water suddenly increased I panicked and got wetter.

I rang the emergency number who advised me to turn the water off at the stop-cock, and they would call Ocean staff to report it for me.

About 15 mins later I received a call and they told me that someone would be there to sort the tap out.

Within the hour my tap was isolated and the problem found. Then the water supply restored to the rest of the house. They replaced the tap washer on the following Monday, and things returned to normal.

It may seem like a small problem to many, but when your health impacts on how you cope it is a huge relief when someone takes that problem and resolves it for you. Everyone involved from the call center to the young man who fitted the washer were polite, respectful and kind while helping me during my emergency.

Thank you.”

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#HousingDay – Gas leak discovery

Ocean tenant and Chair of the Tenant panel, Jan Faulkner (on the right) has just emailed us because she felt you should hear her story.

“Each year, we allow Ocean into our homes to carry out a gas safety check, which is a legal and a tenancy requirement.

This year, the engineer called to my home to complete the necessary test. However, towards the end of this test he asked if I had smelt gas, and I had to say that I had.

Six months earlier I had to replace my gas cooker, and arranged for a qualified fitter to put it in. Since then, there had been a slight smell of gas but I failed to take any notice as I trusted the qualified fitter and thought it was normal for a new cooker. I had suffered headaches and nausea but I had not connected it to the smell.

I was informed that there was a leak from the pipe to the cooker and this was impacting on mine and my family’s health.

Thankfully, the Ocean engineer put it right for me there and then. I was so relieved.

My home now has a clean bill of health for another year, and no smell of gas.

We may feel that it is inconvenient and not necessary but knowing that my home is safe for another year is so worth it.”

This experience has been a real eye opener for her. It just goes to show that many of our customers could potentially be putting themselves and their families at risk because they are failing to give our engineers access to carry out their annual gas service.

#HousingDay 2017 – Going the Extra mile

On 18th September, we celebrate #HousingDay on social media to try and raise awareness of the positive impact the Housing Sector has on people’s lives, especially with the latest report that Housing Associations relieve the pressure on the NHS.

Banner Independence Extra SH

Our Ocean Extra team gave us an insight into a regular day, supporting our vulnerable customers:

“Tracy has been dealing with a vulnerable person who lives on his own and is socially isolated because of his mental health condition and appearance.  He always greets her with a smile and accepts all her help with real gratitude.  That’s because, without her intervention, he would have died of malnutrition.

Yesterday, she was visiting another client when she came across Nigel in the corridor who’s neck had spasmed, literally stopping him in his tracks. Nigel’s disabled partner was unable to help him move. Tracey helped him there and then but also went on to liaise with the NHS to ensure his Parkinson’s medication was adequate.
Ocean Extra tracey

Jan has assisted with a coffee morning activity at Prince Charles House which brings tenants and people from the community together.  During that weekend this group raised £355.17 for Little Harbour Children’s Hospice.”

jan

All in a day’s work. Thanks ladies for your insights.

Ocean Extra also deliver a Lifeline service and have asked their customers recently if they were satisfied with the service. Their feedback was heartwarming. You can click on each one to view it larger.

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

 

Apprentices set sail at Ocean

The start of August saw six fresh faces arriving at St Austell-based Ocean Housing Group Ltd to take up their apprenticeships.

Skills and Employment

Ocean has now supported over 100 local people to complete apprenticeships and gain skills and employment in Cornwall and is looking forward to working in partnership with Cornwall College to train these latest recruits.

Daisy Herdman shared her excitement at gaining an apprenticeship place:

“Carpentry was a trade I had been dreaming about, so it’s a great opportunity and a dream come true!”

All the apprentices will now benefit from an intensive period of induction to help them settle into their new roles.

Career Pathways

Mark Gardner, Group Chief Executive spoke of his passion for creating career pathways for local people:

“Ocean wants to be an employer of choice and create training opportunities for people and our apprenticeship programme is a key part of this and is always very competitive to secure a place.”

 Apprentices

The apprentices embarking on their new career are:

Daisy Herdman        
Apprentice Carpenter for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Property Services)

Christian Adams 
Apprentice Electrician for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Property Services)

Will Chapman      
Apprentice Plumbing & Heating for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Property Services)

Emelye Thomas   
Apprentice Business Administration for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Customer Services)

Emily Bowler    
Apprentice Business Administration for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Neighbourhood Services)

Chad Hughes
Apprentice Plumbing & Heating for Gilbert & Goode Ltd

Ocean takes on apprentices each year and anyone interested in an apprenticeship at Ocean, the next applications will open in April 2018, so keep an eye on www.ocean-group.co.uk/apprenticeships.

#JoinourBoards

We’ve just launched our #JoinourBoards campaign as we have several fresh openings on our Boards & Committees, ready and waiting for new Non-Executive Director applicants.

Ocean Housing Group Ltd are looking to recruit new Board Members to join our talented team of non-executives and to help to drive our business forward.

This is an exciting time for Ocean, with a new Corporate Strategy and Business Plan.

We have ambitious plans to develop new homes and to invest in our existing homes and communities.

We are looking to recruit new Board Members to join our talented team of non-executives and to help to drive our business forward.

Why Join?

The role of a Board Member is diverse, complex, challenging and incredibly rewarding.

We work together as a strong team and support our Executive Team in the delivery of our agreed strategies and plans.

About Ocean Group

Chairman of the Ocean Group Board, Dennis Spilsbury, introduces the Group, who we are and what’s coming up for the Ocean group of companies over the next 5 years:

Our Board Members develop and shape our business strategy to:

  • Drive improvement
  • Shape customer-focused services
  • Identify and mitigate risk
  • Define strategic priorities
  • Make a difference

Vacancies

Ocean Group Board Member

Meet the Deputy Chair of the Ocean Group Board, Debbie Wilshire, who explains the role of a Board Member:

 

Ocean Housing Board Member

Chair of the Ocean Housing Board, Chris Durkin, outlines what we do, the challenges ahead and exciting plans for growth over the next 5 years:

 

Gilbert & Goode Board Member

Chair of Gilbert & Goode, Jonathan Adlington, explains how Gilbert & Goode fits within the Group as a commercial enterprise:

 

Group Audit, Risk & Assurance Committee Member

We would also welcome applications from candidates with internal or external audit experience to join our Group Audit, Risk & Assurance Committee.

Apply

For more information regarding specific responsibilities and knowledge and experience, please click HERE to visit our Board Member job listing and complete the application forms in full.

http://www.ocean-group.co.uk/join-our-boards

 

That calls for a coffee!

70 homes

4 schemes

1 School expansion

…and maybe an award

– that calls for a coffee!

Phase 4 Fraddon resident welcomes Mark Gardner (Chief Exec Ocean Group) and Kate Kennally (Chief Exec Cornwall Council) for a cuppa.

Fraddon

St Austell-based housing provider Ocean Housing welcomed delighted new residents and Cornwall Council Chief Executive Kate Kennally to their latest housing development in Fraddon.

Welcome Day for Fraddon residents, Ocean Staff, Tenant Panel members and Cornwall Council dignitories

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