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Countdown to Universal Credit

From December 2017, Universal Credit will be phased in, affecting residents in Cornwall.

….It is not a choice.

….You will have to switch.

But don’t worry help is at hand!

 

What is Universal Credit?

  • It’s the new way that welfare benefits are going to be paid.
  • All benefits will be rolled into one and paid to you once a month.
  • There can be a delay of up to 6 weeks whilst the changeover of Universal Credit takes place, during which you may get no money.

We have therefore put together this simple flowchart to help you understand.


Flowchart

Take it step by step:

Step 1 – Are you of Working Age?

Yes – go to 2
No – Universal Credit should not affect you


 

Step 2 – Do you receive one or more of the following six benefits?

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Child Tax Credits
  • ESA (income related)
  • JSA (income related)

Yes – go to 3
No – Universal Credit should not affect you


Step 3 – Are you able to access the Internet?

Yes – go to 4
No – Ocean can help by offering advice. Continue to 4 and contact Ocean at the end.


 

Step 4 – Can you cope with 1 large monthly payment coming in?

Yes – go to 5
No – Ocean can help by offering advice. Continue to 5 and contact Ocean at the end.


 

Step 5 – Do you have a bank account?

Yes – Great you are almost ready! Go to 6!
No – You will need a bank account so that your Universal Credit can be paid. Continue to 6 and remember to set up a bank account when you have finished reading this.


 

Step 6 – Don’t delay, prepare today!

  1. Make extra payments to your rent (eg. set up a Hi-£5 buffer account)
  2. Top up your prepayment card for gas/electric or switch to direct debit to spread the costs
  3. Seek help budgeting – Contact Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) or Ocean’s Customer Accounts Team
  4. Use a savings card or stamps for food

 

Find out more about Universal Credit:

 

Milk of Human Kindness flows at Ocean

Ocean has trebled its in-house collections for the local food bank, in response to growing demand for the service, which supplies food parcels to local families in need.

Missing those free school dinners

As the school holidays get underway, parents on a tight budget are having to make funds stretch even further, explained Ocean Housing’s Welfare Advisor Gemma Aldin:

Children who would normally enjoy a free hot school dinner in term-time will of course need to eat at home in the holidays, which often puts parents under extra pressure financially.

This in turn increases demand at the local food banks, with the St Austell branch reporting shortages of larder essentials that many of us take for granted, such as instant mashed potato, pasta sauce, long life milk and fruit juice.

Last year St Austell Food Bank supplied food parcels for 2,617 people, 890 of which were children.

Human Kindness

I wanted to find a simple way for us all to help,” added Susan McKnight, Ocean’s New Tenant Support Adviser, who began co-ordinating the collections at Ocean in 2015, which to date have raised over 200 kilos of shopping for the food bank.

Donate

Ocean can be contacted by emailing help@oceanhousing.com.

To donate or volunteer at St Austell Food Bank, you can call 01726 65313 or message info@staustell.foodbank.org.uk.

 

Loving LiveChat!

Try our LiveChat tool now!

(Your Digital Customer Services Advisor is ready to answer your queries between 9am-4.30pm – take a look now at the bottom right of your screen!)

Feedback

You’re loving LiveChat!  That’s the feedback you are giving us as LiveChat celebrates its first birthday on www.oceanhousing.com.

It’s handy when you are on the move,” explains Emma from Newquay. “I needed advice recently on my rent so I used my mobile to live chat while on the bus to work.

Emma admits that she was nervous before her first live chat, but now she uses it more than phoning:

I find it a great deal easier than talking. You don’t have to be good at computers or worry about spelling – you just type what you want to say.

As well as answering your questions, the customer services advisor can send you web links to relevant services and information.

I also like receiving an email with a copy of the whole chat,” adds Emma. “And of course the real bonus is that you can do all this at home in the comfort of your pyjamas!

You can switch too!

For all enquiries click on the ‘Lets chat’ tool on the bottom right of your screen.

 

 

Ocean wins place on £8b HCA New Homes Delivery Panel

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The Ocean Housing Group, which includes Gilbert & Goode and Ocean Housing, has successfully secured a place as both housing developer and contractor on the South West lot of the Homes & Community Agency’s flagship £8 billion Delivery Partner Panel 3 (DPP3)  four year framework.

Homepage Carousel Development

DPP3 will be used to speed-up the development of housing sites on public sector land and for public bodies, such as local authorities and housing associations, to simplify and reduce costs associated with the procurement of housing construction. Nationally the Panel consists of 70 of the country’s leading developers and contractors of which the Ocean Housing Group is the only Cornish company to be appointed. Previous frameworks have delivered 43,500 homes nationally over a seven year period and the estimated value of work that will be carried out through the framework in the South West region over the next 4 years is £1.35bn. Continue reading

SMART Advice

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We understand how tough it can be when you have money worries, especially if you are struggling to find a job. That’s why Susan, who was previously part of our Welfare Advice Team, is now working on a new SMART Tenant Project:

“I am really excited about helping tenants in different ways – from sorting out money problems to finding employment.”

Sometimes it may be as simple as re-writing a CV, helping with a job application and practicing interview techniques.

“We may also be able to arrange for training that could help residents back into work and support with childcare during the training.”

The SMART project is for new tenants who are unemployed and have the right to live and work in the U.K.

If you are not a new tenant and you think you could benefit from this kind of support, Susan is still very keen to hear from you:

“Please contact me so we can talk about other ways of helping you.”

Susan is working on this project with an organisation called the Penwith Community Development Trust and it is funded by the European Social Fund.

Contact

Icon online form sml  Complete: Online Contact Form

Icon Email sml  Email:  help@oceanhousing.com

Icon Facebook sml  Ocean Housing Association

Icon phone sml  Tel: 01726 874450

Key Worker (Together for Families)

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**Job Alert**

Ocean Housing Group owns, manages and maintains around 4,500 residential properties throughout Cornwall.  It has a diverse range of activities within the three companies that make up the Ocean Group. 

Ocean Housing Ltd is looking to recruit a Key Worker to join their Neighbourhood Services team to deliver Cornwall Council’s ‘Together for Families’ (Multi-agency) Programme.

A new and exciting opportunity has arisen for a Key Worker to join our Neighbourhood Services team.   You will provide support to eligible families to improve their lives through the ‘Together for Families’ programme by leading on the delivery of the Programme to improve outcomes and reduce the risk of potential homelessness for families with complex needs across Cornwall.

Practical knowledge of and exceptional skills in providing personalised support to families who have complex needs is essential for this role, together with knowledge and understanding of safeguarding protocols and responsibilities for children and vulnerable adults and the ability to build effective relationships and trust.

In addition to having the ability to conduct yourself in a confident and professional manner to create a credible impression, you will demonstrate a commitment to equal opportunities and an understanding of the impact of deprivation and discrimination on local communities, families and individuals.

Substantial word processing and IT experience and good working knowledge of Microsoft Office applications is required, together with experience of managing caseloads and possession of good time management, organisational and administrative skills.

You will hold GCSE grade A-C in English and Maths or equivalent Level 2 qualification(s). Additionally you will be educated to A level standard or equivalent, or hold a level 3 qualification.

For more information regarding to specific responsibilities and knowledge and experience please refer to the Job Description and Person Specification.

Ocean is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.  

Hours

Full time (37 hours)

Fixed Term for 12 months

Application Deadline

Closing date: Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Interviews:  Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Salary

£23,555 per annum

About Us

Ocean Housing Group is a large, successful and expanding social enterprise in Cornwall, with a diverse range of activities within the four companies that make up the Ocean Group and owns, manages and maintains over 4,000 residential properties throughout Cornwall.

Ocean Housing provide social and affordable housing, we believe affordable housing is not just about the buildings, but about the people who turn them into homes.

Gilbert & Goode is one of the largest Cornish construction companies and delivers a range of construction services from major new build projects to refurbishment and maintenance works.

Information

For more details, please download the Job Description and Person Specification below or contact Ocean Group’s HR department.

Contact: Heather Taylor (HR Co-ordinator)
Email: jobs@oceanhousing.com
Tel: 01726 874450
Website: http://www.oceanhousing.com/
Twitter: @Ocean_Housing #jobs
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ocean-housing-group-ltd

Downloads

Job Description (click here)

Person Specification (click here)

Application

To Apply, please download and complete both parts of the Application Form below and email them to jobs@oceanhousing.com for the attention of Heather Taylor.

Add some Colour to your CV!

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Click on the poster to open printable version

Click on the poster to open printable version

 

Ocean Housing Ltd is keen to create more video content to inform and empower our residents and stakeholders.

Here at Ocean we are more used to making homes than films – but we know what we need to say. We just want to bring our words to life!

…That’s where you come in.

If you are studying film & media and feel you are ready to gain experience, working to a business brief (creating some videos for our website and YouTube channel) APPLY NOW!

Closing date 29th September 2017

Park House Fire Safety Awareness Event

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63 Park HouseOcean’s Head of Health, Safety and Environment, Ralph Garth, teamed up with Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service and Community Safety team to run a special fire safety session at Park House – to talk to residents, provide reassurance, advice and support.

Fire Safety Awareness Morning

20th June
9am-12pm
Park House
St. Austell

Park House is Cornwall’s only high rise residential block of flats. It is regularly inspected by our Health & Safety teams, Neighbourhood Services Officer and Maintenance Manager.

Over the last few years we have worked closely with the Fire Brigade to ensure all systems are up to date. Last October, Ocean teamed up with the St Austell fire crew to organise an exercise so they could practice possible fire and rescue situations in and around the building.

Justin Sharp from Cornwall Fire Service was interviewed on BBC Radio Cornwall about fire safety at Park House:

‘I’m comfortable we’ve worked with Ocean Housing to ensure there is a very high standard of fire safety on the premises.’

‘I’d like to reassure residents in Park House that their safety is paramount.’

‘We’ve worked with Ocean and are satisfied that fire safety measures meet today’s standards.’

The event itself was well attended and teams worked through the building visiting the majority of residents individually. Ralph said

‘we had the opportunity to speak to most of the residents about all the fire precautions and measures in place that meet current regulations,  as well as escape plans and fire safety guidance and advice.’

Residents reacted positively and were reassured in particular by the ‘passive protection’ measures that are in place.

Any concerns or queries can be raised with either Ocean or the Fire Service, and Park House residents are more than welcome to request a home visit if they were unable to meet the team at today’s event.

Please feel free to fill out the online contact form below and we’ll get back in touch as soon as we can.

Please enter your details

 

Verification

 

Bright future for St. Blazey

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Local residents are celebrating with Ocean this week, following the announcement that funding has been awarded to look into regeneration and re-development in the heart of the community.

Future options for the 8 blocks of three storey flats at Polgrean Place and the surrounding landscape will be explored, and people living in the area can expect to be asked for their views and be kept in close contact with updates on what will be a two year research project.*

Ocean’s Chief Executive, Mark Gardner, explained further:

“Ocean’s top priority is quality homes and living space for its residents and that is why we worked hard to secure this government funding, to help accelerate future plans for the Polgrean and St Blazey area.

Researching regeneration options will build upon the multi-million pound Promises Programme which Ocean has undertaken over the past 16 years, which has seen glazing, roofing and insulation programmes improve the standard of thousands of Cornish homes.”

The Managing Director of Ocean Housing, Frances Turner, added:

“Our teams have been working closely on the local Neighbourhood Plan, to retain this area as a central hub to over 6,500 people living in the Par and St Blazey area. Ocean has a strong track record of working with local partners to deliver community improvements and we look forward to once again collaborating with organisations such as Cornwall Council, so that these exploratory works can tie in with other key plans for the area, such as the STARR flood alleviation project.”

Ocean is keen to hear ideas and input on future plans for the area and will shortly begin a full programme of consultation.

Keep up to date by visiting our Polgrean News pages and contribute your thoughts by various means:

Icon online form sml Polgrean News

Icon Email sml Email help@oceanhousing.com

icon-lets-chat-sml LiveChat here on the website

Icon online form sml Online Contact Form

 

NB: * Properties designated as Polgrean Place are No’s 1 – 47 Polgrean Place – odds only, 2 – 72 Polgrean Place – evens only.

A Room with view

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A local family were celebrating after sharing their views in Ocean’s latest customer survey led to winning the prize draw for a brand new Smart TV.

As part of the plan to help the organisation and its customers get ready for Universal Credit and improved digital customer service, Ocean Housing contacted all tenants and residents to seek their feedback.

“Filling out the survey only took a few minutes over a cup of tea,” shared local mum Karin, from St Agnes. “Ocean’s Customer Accounts team have always been very helpful when we’ve been in touch with them, as has our patch officer, James. So we didn’t mind at all helping to update Ocean via this survey. We never dreamed we’d actually win the TV though!”

homepage-carousel-customer-survey-2016

Ocean’s Quality and Performance Manager, Anna Pascoe, led the project and explained Ocean’s perspective:

“Welfare reforms have been coming thick and fast over recent years and this survey was one of the many methods we are using at Ocean to help customers prepare for and understand current and coming changes, such as the digital-only Universal Credit system. We were delighted with the response to the survey and look forward to taking on board the comments shared.”

Banner-My-Ocean-GC-sign-in-sign-upCustomer Service Manager, David Jory, added:

“We are keen to be responsive to customers across new as well as traditional communications, and it was great to see over 150 survey respondents sign up to our online account service My Ocean.”

If you are an Ocean customer you can raise any issues and get assistance via the new LiveChat web tool. Simply follow the pop-up instructions when you visit www.oceanhousing.com.

 

‘Had their Say’!

Homepage-Carousel-Have-your-say

Ocean recently invited our customers to attend a couple of ‘Have your Say’ workshops – to review our ‘Service Standards’.

Getting customers involved with reviewing the way we do things and providing feedback is really important. After all, you know best what is important to you!

The team were really pleased with the sessions and felt they had been constructive and positive experiences for all.

Service Standards

These are 7 documents that set out the quality of service you can expect, the improvements we are planning and how you can judge our performance.

Each quarter, we publish a performance report for residents which is reviewed by the Tenants and Residents Panel. The report details how we are doing across each of the seven standards.

You can view the standards and the report on our website any time!

Icon online form sml Service Standards

 

The Workshops

We held two workshops, presenting our existing set of standards and outlining planned improvements, including changes to wording as well as the design and style of the documents. Everyone was given the opportunity to discuss, question and challenge the standards.

Laura Dowton, the Tenant Involvement and Social Inclusion Manager said,

“The turnout was great – there were some new faces as well as some of our dedicated panel members. 

The enthusiasm level was high – everyone was really interested and I have arranged to follow up with a couple of attendees as they asked about getting more involved.

The people I spoke to gave positive feedback and seemed relaxed and comfortable. Many said they would be happy to come along to future events.”

Where there were alterations required, the managers now have the task of making appropriate changes before we publish the final versions.

We will publish final versions on the Service Standards pages.

To view the final versions, watch this space! 

REC inspections

 

 

Ocean have commissioned a sub-contractor called REC to undertake inspections in some of our properties (to check for the presence of asbestos before any works are carried out). You should receive notification in writing if your property is due for an inspection.

REC will be contacting you to arrange a visit. Their staff all have ID cards – always ask to see their ID cards before letting them in your home. Please allow them access to your property so they can carry out their checks. If you have any concerns or queries, please contact our Customer Services Team.

Icon online form sml Visit their website http://www.recltd.co.uk/

Icon online form sml  CompleteOnline Contact Form

Icon phone sml  Tel: 01726 874450

Icon Email sml  Email:  help@oceanhousing.com