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Meet Clive – a true Ocean community champion

In every community there is often an unsung hero. Somebody who goes the extra mile, purely because of their love of where they live and their neighbours.

This summer, we were incredibly impressed by one of our own residents – a true community champion. Clive, who lives in St Austell, can only be described as Chapel Fields’ own community hero.

A keen gardener, Clive has been a tenant at Ocean for many years.

Recently he contacted Arthur Robertson, who heads up the grounds maintenance service. Clive sought permission to bring the communal area, and beds, back to life with a sparkle of colour.

“I had no hesitation in saying yes,” said an impressed Arthur. “It is great to have a working partnership with tenants on our estates.”

So, with contributions and help from his neighbours, Clive soon transformed a corner of Chapel Fields into what he calls ‘The Lost Gardens of Chapel Fields’.

Community champion Clive told us: “It is surprising what a community can do when they all pull together. I’m delighted to see the results of all our hard work.”

‘Community champion’

Bird feeders, colourful flowers and even a bug hotel make for a wonderful view for those who live nearby.

Pat, another resident, is one of many who has been delighted with the difference. Due to limited mobility she is unable to help out, but she provides much-welcomed tea and cake for the workers to enjoy.

She added: “It’s been a blessing to have such a lovely outlook from my ground floor window.”

Clive is also finding time to help neighbours with their own individual gardens. Arthur has even recruited him as one of our grounds maintenance monitors, to let us know if we are providing a good job.

Would you like to be a monitor and give us feedback on our grounds maintenance service? If so, visit Tenant Monitors for more details. You can also contact our Tenant Involvement Team on 01726 874450.

We would love to hear similar stories of residents like Clive, who also go above and beyond to bring their community together. Let us know!

Happy Shared Ownership Week 2019!

Shared Ownership Week 2019 is now here and the Ocean team have been busy to make sure we mark it in style!

To better explain Shared Ownership and its many benefits, we will be sharing a series of short videos throughout the week – which runs from Thursday September 19 to Wednesday September 25.

This form of house purchase is becoming increasingly popular, and indeed Ocean Housing is offering many Shared Ownership options in Cornwall.

Our week’s coverage kicks off with a quick introduction from Nicola Mitchell, our sales coordinator, and Scott Burrows, our home ownership advisor.

They will run through the week ahead and explain how you can get involved. Above all, you can interact with our coverage on social media and follow our hashtag #SOOcean (Shared Ownership Ocean).

On Friday we will introduce you to Louise Pyle, our head of commissioning, who will explain Ocean’s personal shared ownership goals and achievements.

 

Over the weekend our first taste of Shared Ownership Myth Busting will see Sarah Pechkaytis (sales administrator) and Leanne McIntyre (home ownership administrator) discuss the facts and dispel the fiction behind Shared Ownership.

We will also post a quick interview with Bianca, one of our happy Shared Ownership buyers, who will describe how the scheme really helped her family get on the property ladder and give them greater stability.

On Monday we will welcome you to have a look inside some of our Shared Ownership properties, before returning to bust more myths on Tuesday. Finally, on Wednesday, we will hand you back to Scott and Nicola who will wrap up the week!

What is Shared Ownership?

This is exactly why we’re marking this week, to raise awareness of the benefits of Shared Ownership. Shared Ownership is essentially where you part-buy and part-rent your home.

With Ocean, you can buy between 40% – 75% of your home and pay rent at an affordable level for the portion that you don’t own. The rent will always be set at an affordable level, so you’ll never be priced out of your own home.

Shared Ownership also provides local homes for local people. This means that if you’re priced out of the area you currently live in and want to stay – thanks to local connection rules – these affordable homes are set aside for people like you. So, you can remain in the area you grew up in or stay close to work and loved ones.

Another key feature is that you can personalise your own home. You can really make it your own and a home to be proud of. Feel free to add your own wallpaper, colours and any other furnishings!

What can you expect from Ocean’s Shared Ownership service?

“As a sales team we are very approachable and incredibly friendly,” says Nicola. “We are very much open to tailoring our service to suit you. We are with you every step of the way and will happily answer any question you have, big or small.

“Quality is definitely key. We ensure value for money and the best quality – building homes and communities for the long term.”

She added: “At Ocean, we set out to make your buying experience as seamless as possible. This includes tailoring all communications for you.

“We get a real buzz from seeing the process through from start to finish. So, it is especially rewarding to hand you the keys for your new home. We are essentially silent partners in this, you are the homeowner and securing your financial future.”

Get involved!

To find out more about the scheme you can take a look at our dedicated webpage on our site. Here we have outlined exactly what you can expect from Ocean, current opportunities and the answers to common queries.

Through the #SOOcean hashtag we will be posting regular updates on social media this week. We would love to see as many comments, questions and general interaction as possible.

Our video content will be primarily uploaded on social media, but will also appear in this article.

So, Happy Shared Ownership Week 2019! We hope the following videos and information will be really helpful!

Affordable homes for local people in Praze an Beeble

Are you local to the Crowan Parish and interested in finding out more about new affordable homes being built in the area?

We are holding a drop-in event for local residents from the parish near Camborne this Thursday (September 19) from 2pm – 6pm. At the event, we hope to speak to as many people as possible who are keen to find out more about how they can access new affordable rental housing being built in the area.

Ocean Housing is currently building 16 affordable rented properties on Fore Street in Praze an Beeble; comprising eight two-bedroomed and four three-bedroomed houses, and four one-bedroomed flats.

Taking place at the Praze Institute on Fore Street in Praze an Beeble, the free-to-attend event will have representatives from Cornwall Homechoice and Ocean Housing on hand to discuss the process of bidding for the new rental properties. Plans for the scheme will also be displayed.

“We aim to ensure no local people miss out on this exciting opportunity to live within an area in which they have a strong affinity.”

Tim Boston, lettings and lifeline manager at Ocean Housing, said: “We are keen to ensure these properties go to local people with a strong connection to the Crowan parish.

“The homes are soon to be advertised on Cornwall Homechoice, and this open event aims to ensure potential applicants have a live and up-to-date application ready for when the properties become available for bidding. Cornwall Homechoice will be attending to offer advice and guidance on this.

“We aim to raise awareness of the timescales and availability, to ensure no local people miss out on this exciting opportunity to live within an area in which they have a strong affinity.”

For more information about renting or buying an affordable home with Ocean Housing, visit the Your Home section on our website.

Find out more about affordable Mevagissey homes for local people

The Ocean team will be in Mevagissey this month to talk about local shared ownership and affordable rent opportunities.

Have you ever wondered if you might qualify for affordable rented housing? Or have you considered whether shared ownership might be right for you?

If so – and you come from Mevagissey – this event could be perfect for you. Our affordable housing team will be hosting the drop-in event to explain how local residents can find out more about new affordable housing planned for the town.

Ocean Housing has previously developed two schemes in Mevagissey. Now a planning application for a third has just been submitted. Comprising of 26 new homes, the plans detail 18 affordable rent and eight shared ownership properties.

“The average house price in Mevagissey is more than £275,000*, pricing many locals out of the area.”

“We are keen that all sales and rental lettings go to local people from Mevagissey, who have a strong connection with the parish,” said Louise Pyle, head of commissioning at Ocean Housing.

“The average house price in the village is more than £275,000*, pricing many locals out of the area.

“The aim of this event is to raise awareness that local people may qualify for an affordable rented home, through the housing register or for a shared ownership home, even if they think they may not.”

The event will take place on Monday September 16, between 3pm – 7pm, at the Jubilee Hall on Chapel Street, Mevagissey (PL26 6SS).

Ocean Housing has previously developed two schemes in Mevagissey

Ocean Housing has previously developed two successful schemes in Mevagissey

This free-to-attend event requires no booking, you can simply drop-in when it most suits you. Those in attendance will also have free entry to a prize draw. The draw will see someone win a £50 shopping voucher.

We will have a number of specialists on hand to explain how shared ownership and affordable rented housing schemes work. The qualifying criteria to apply will also be outlined.

Further information about renting or buying an affordable home with Ocean Housing can be found throughout our website.

*Source: Rightmove

Ocean takes the disruption out of getting a new kitchen or bathroom

For all of us, the thought of having a new kitchen or bathroom is exciting. However, not having access to the rooms we use every day can be quite an upheaval…

It can be very daunting, especially for elderly residents. In some cases, our residents have declined to have any works done – in order to avoid the disruption.

That’s why, at Ocean, we want to re-assure our residents that we are here to make any work as easy as possible. Our tradesmen will work around you, so as not to disrupt your daily routine.

Carol from St Austell can vouch for that, having just had a new kitchen fitted.  She had previously declined the works, but this year our property supervisor Mark convinced her to agree to a kitchen refurbishment.

“I’m absolutely delighted with the kitchen and wish I’d had it done before now,” said Carol.

“I couldn’t have asked for more from Ocean”

“Steve and Louis were the tradesmen fitting the kitchen and were able to move appliances and ensure that water and cooking facilities were available at the end of each day.

“I couldn’t have asked for anymore from Ocean, they made it so easy and I just needed to empty my cupboards and clear the worktops.”

At Ocean, we replace kitchens & bathrooms on a continuous cycle. This year alone we are replacing 129 kitchens and 101 bathrooms with an investment of just under £650,000.

Carol from St Austell is delighted with her new kitchen – she wishes she’d done it before!

As tenants you have a real say with the works. You can choose the style of the cupboards, drawers, handles and worktops in their kitchens. You can also choose the colour of floor coverings in both kitchens and bathrooms.

There’s always going to be some disruption when we carry out these works, however this is kept to a minimum and we always explain what is involved. We aim to fully complete a kitchen within three to four days and a bathroom in three days.

If you would like to find out when your kitchen or bathroom is due for renewal please email help@oceanhousing.com

Live in the Hayle area? We want to hear from you!

Ocean Housing is organising a Drop In Event in Hayle. It’s so that we can hear your views on our housing management service.

The event will be held at Hayle Rugby Club, opposite the West Cornwall Shopping Park, on Friday August 30.

We are keen to meet as many of you there as possible, and answer any questions that you may have.

Don’t worry, there’s no need to book an appointment. Simply ‘drop in’ at any time between 10.30am – 2.30pm.

There will be Ocean goodies for every household who attends. Meanwhile, refreshments will be available. Entertainment has also been planned for the young ones!

A FREE ENTRY prize draw will also take place, with the lucky winner able to win a £50 shopping voucher.

To find out more about what Ocean is doing in Your Community, stay tuned to our News and Social Media updates.

Bodmin welcomes new homes on historical MPG Books site

Ocean Housing, has officially opened its development of 57 new affordable homes in north Cornwall.

The homes are part of an £8 million project to develop the old MPG Books site in Bodmin. Built on land once used as the old parade ground for the military barracks, before being transformed into the old books factory, the site has a lot of history which has been reflected in street names such as Batallion Close and Bugle Way.

“Ocean Housing’s biggest scheme to date”

This has been Ocean Housing’s biggest scheme to date, receiving funding of £685,000 from Cornwall Council and £1,050,000 from Homes England.

The development has a mix of 20 shared ownership and 37 affordable rented homes, comprising 15 one-bedroom flats, 23 two-bedroomed and 19 three-bedroomed houses.

“MPG Books is one of our most beautiful schemes, and our first in Bodmin,” said Ocean Housing’s chief executive, Mark Gardner.

“A lot of thought was put into the design, including restoring some history from the old parade ground by replacing and repairing a traditional stone wall. We also installed a park with children’s play equipment in Bugle Way.”

“Location a massive benefit to Ocean residents”

With nearly 10,000 people on the Cornwall Homechoice register, and the average house price in Bodmin being *£192,031, Ocean Housing’s development has been welcomed by the town council and local residents.

Mark continued, “The scheme has a wide mix of housing which directly relates to the housing need in Bodmin. Its location is also a massive benefit to our residents, being close to the town centre, college, leisure centre, and industrial estate where many of them work.”

The scheme was officially opened by north Cornwall’s MP Scott Mann, and Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Homes councillor Andrew Mitchell on Thursday 22 August.

Affordable housing for local people is one of Scott Mann’s top priorities. He commented, “There has been, and continues to be, huge investment in Bodmin. The MPG Books development is an example of the quality that many of us would like to see replicated on other brownfield sites in the town.”

A full list of future development schemes and new homes for rent and shared ownership can be found at www.oceanhousing.com.

Dementia Action Week – 20th to 26th May 2019

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Did you know that every three minutes someone in the UK develops dementia. Despite almost all of us knowing someone affected, two-thirds of people living with dementia report feeling isolated and lonely.

This Dementia Action Week, Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging you to start a conversation; whether it’s calling a relative with dementia or visiting a neighbour, it’s time to start talking.  To support this aim Ocean is staging a series of staff and resident events, the dates for which are below:

• Rialton Heights – 22.05.19 at 1pm prior to bingo

• Fifield House – 23.05.19 at 11am at Chatties Coffee Morning

• Prince Charles House – 24.05.19 at 1.30pm

• Windmill House – 21.05.19 at 1.30pm

We know it can be difficult to know what to say. Visit https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/dementia-action-week for more information and tips on how you can start a conversation.

Changes to the way you pay

Ocean Housing is making changes to the ways you can pay.

From March 31, we will no longer accept cash or cheque payments at our reception in Stennack House.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. We would like to advise customers that you will still be able to pay by card at reception.

Alternatively, you can pay over the phone by calling 01726 874450, online at www.allpayments.net.

For more information about direct debits, standing orders and other payment methods please visit www.oceanhousing.com

Polgrean Place: Bid, bid, bid!

Are you being decanted from Polgrean Place as a part of our regeneration project?

It can be daunting moving on to pastures new, but don’t worry, we are here to help.

Project Officer Amy Smith will be opening the Polgrean Hub every Thursday morning from 9am to 11am and have her laptop set up to enable you to bid on properties on HomeChoice.

Why not come along, have a cuppa and a catch up, and bid at the same time.  No need for an appointment.

Starts 9am on the Thursday, February 28, 2019.

Ocean invests £3.7m into home energy efficiency improvements

Ocean Housing is investing £3.7million in improving the energy efficiency of some of its homes.

Following a successful pilot, we have also been awarded additional grant funding by an energy provider which means we can carry out work to more homes. The work will include the renewal of roofs and external insulation of qualifying Cornish Units.

This will help to reduce the energy costs associated with living in this style of home and ensure residents are able to keep all rooms a comfortable temperature.

In order to be eligible for the improvements, the home must be “Hard to Heat”, as specified by the energy provider.

This means your home must have uninsulated ground and first floor walls. It may also have electric night storage heaters or oil heating.

Letters will be sent out shortly to inform those living in qualifying Cornish Units whose homes are scheduled for renovations during the first phase of improvements.

We will be contacting others who qualify closer to the time that work is scheduled to take place at their address.

Ocean Housing will work closely with you explain the whole process from start to finish.

This will begin with a meeting at your home and a survey of your property in its current condition.

Cornish Unit energy efficiency project: What you need to know

If your home qualifies for Ocean Housing’s £3.7m energy efficiency project you may be wondering what happens next.

We have put together a list of commonly asked questions to help guide you through the process.

How do I know if my home qualifies?

You should have received a letter from Ocean Housing explaining why your Cornish Unit qualifies for our energy efficiency improvement project.

As your home has uninsulated ground and first floor walls it has been classed as “Hard to Heat” by the energy provider that is part-funding our project.

But what exactly does this mean?

If your property qualifies, changes will be made to the roof and external insulation will be added to your home.

This should help reduce your energy bills and keep your family comfortable throughout the year.

What is next?

Once you have received a letter confirming that your home qualifies, you will need to arrange a convenient time for us to visit you and discuss the process and the works involved.

We will also need to carry out a survey of your property before works can begin. This will be carried out by our appointed surveying specialist Property Tectonics. They will contact you directly to arrange a convenient appointment.

You will also need to remove any personal belongings from the loft space as work cannot begin until this area is clear.

What will happen to my home?

Here is a quick step-by-step guide:

  1. A survey will be carried out on your property before any work starts.
  2. Scaffolding will be erected around the exterior of your home.
  3. All loft and mansard roof coverings (tiled sections) will be removed and insulation will be installed.
  4. Scaffolding is removed.
  5. The outer wall on the ground floor will be cladded with external insulation.
  6. Work is completed.

It is important that customers are aware that during the renovation works drilling of the exterior walls will take place, to allow the external insulation to be fitted. This will be extremely loud and can cause vibrations to be felt in the interior of the property.

We highly recommend that you vacate the property during this time to prevent discomfort. Ocean endeavors to complete all drilling within two working days.

What if my home doesn’t qualify?

In order to be eligible for the improvements, the home must be “Hard to Heat”, as specified by the energy provider.

This means your home must have uninsulated ground and first floor walls. It may also have electric night storage heaters or oil heating.

If, unfortunately, on this occasion your home doesn’t meet the criteria to qualify for this project you will be sent a letter notifying you and explaining why your home does not qualify.

We would like to reassure you that we actively continue to seek funding opportunities with the energy providers and local authority. We are hopeful that in the future we will secure funding to carry out energy measures to your home.

What if I have any questions?

Ocean Housing wants to work closely with you during this project. If you have any questions during the works please email help@oceanhousing.com.

Virtual Panel: We need you!

There’s one thing that most of us seem to never have enough of – and that’s time. We know you all have busy lives and might not be able to attend the tenant panel meetings we hold at our St Austell HQ each month – but we rely on your feedback to help shape and improve the services we offer.

So we’re creating a new online panel for residents, the Virtual Internet Panel (VIP), giving you the opportunity to have a greater say in what we do and how we do it, and influence the services which relate to the management of your homes. Your feedback is critical to understanding how we’re performing and how we can improve.

We’ll be using Facebook and email to communicate with our new Virtual Internet Panel, focusing on four major topics throughout the year, from repairs and complaints to customer engagement.  Feedback will come in many forms including quick questionnaires and Q&As. This isn’t a ‘tick box’ exercise: your views matter to us.

The first 100 people to sign up will be automatically entered into a £50 prize draw.

If you’d like to be involved, email us at help@oceanhousing.com with your name and contact details, or call the Tenant Involvement Team on 01726 874450, and we’ll be in touch.

Alternatively, you can fill in the form below.

Verification

 

Essential I.T. Maintenance

Due to routine I.T. maintenance our customer service team will only be able to assist with emergency repairs from 1pm today (1st February 2019).

If your call is not urgent, please can we ask that you wait until Monday 4th February, when we will be able to help.

We apologise for any inconvenience these essential I.T. works may cause.

Weather disruption

We are running a reduced service this morning due to the adverse weather conditions.  Our teams will be dealing with emergencies as a priority but please be patient as we are dealing with a high volume of calls.

Universal Credit: Working to support you

Welfare advisors from Ocean Housing are working from local job centres in a bid to help those struggling with the introduction of Universal Credit.

Universal Credit replaces six weekly and fortnightly benefits – including job seekers allowance, tax credits and housing benefit – with one monthly payment.

A phased introduction started in 2013 and more than 300 Ocean Housing customers currently receive the new benefit.

To help our customers make the transition to a monthly budget as smoothly as possible, two of our Welfare Advisors, Gemma and Rebecca, now work from job centres once a fortnight.

Gemma is based at St Austell job centre every other Thursday and Rebecca is in Newquay on alternate Mondays.

Gemma and Rebecca are holding fortnightly drop-in sessions for Ocean customers in local job centres

This allows them to offer more one-to-one support for our customers and – thanks to our strong working relationship with our local Department for Work and Pensions colleagues – grants the pair immediate access to the information they need to help our residents.

Rebecca and Gemma can also help with other welfare queries, such as bedroom tax, the benefits cap, Council Tax debt and water tariffs.

Sessions will initially be for drop-in advice but further home visits can be arranged where necessary.

The pair are a part of a specialist welfare team created by Ocean Housing in readiness for the roll out of Universal Credit, aimed at supporting our customers through the application process.

For more information about Universal Credit click here.

Ocean Housing ‘saves Christmas’ for more than 100

Ocean Housing carried out more than 100 emergency repairs during the festive close-down period.

In a bid to ensure customers enjoyed a merry yuletide, we attended 114 jobs and took 128 telephone calls to our emergency service number between Friday, December 21 and Wednesday, January 2.

Of these, eight were attended on Christmas Day and two on New Year’s Day.

Chief Executive of Ocean Housing Group, Mark Gardner said: “I’m very grateful to colleagues who were on call out duty over the Christmas and New Year period, ensuring essential and urgent services continued to be delivered to our tenants and residents.”

Since April 2018, Ocean Housing has answered in excess of 31,888 calls and completed 6,829 day-to-day repairs with a customer satisfaction rating of 98.1 per cent.

For more information about our emergency repairs service click here.

Our finger is on the pulse with defibrillator initiative 

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We’re delighted to unveil our latest community initiative with the installation of a portable defibrillator unit at our Head Offices in Stennack Road, St Austell.

The idea, which originated from a staff suggestion scheme, has now come to fruition thanks to the efforts of staff fundraising, matched by the Ocean Group. The device was commissioned this month by the Group’s Head of Health, Safety and Environment, Ralph Garth.

Ralph said;

‘This is a great initiative from members of staff who genuinely care about the health and wellbeing of colleagues and the wider community. Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, and a device like this can make the difference between life and dealth, which is why we were happy to support the idea.’

Nicola Mitchell, who submitted the suggestion, told of her excitement to finally see the unit in place:

‘I was delighted when Ralph confirmed they were on board with my idea. The idea originated from a first aid at work training session, and learning that early defibrillation can triple the chance of a person’s survival rate. Due to the location of Stennack House, in the heart of Holmbush, St Austell, I felt it would be a perfect spot for such important life-saving equipment, benefiting not only our office users, but also aiding the surrounding residential and commercial community’.

This device is now installed and available for use, within business hours, in the reception area of :
Ocean Housing Group Ltd,
Stennack House,
Stennack Road,
St Austell
PL25 3SW.


View Ocean Housing in a larger map

New Homes for Liskeard

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Ocean Housing have celebrated the development of 24 new affordable homes at Rowan Lane, Liskeard with an event on Thursday 14th June.

Residents, neighbours and staff came together to share coffee and cake, and see the development officially opened by the Mayor of Liskeard, Christina Whitty. Phase 1 of the site, which consists of 20 homes for rent and shared ownership sale, was built by our sister company, Gilbert and Goode. Phase 2 was sold to local builder Pearce Fine Homes who developed 16 houses for open market sale, alongside a further 4 affordable homes for Ocean Housing.

All affordable homes were completed in February 2018 and allocated to people with connections to the town of Liskeard. The scheme proved so popular that 16 of the 17 affordable rent homes were occupied the day after completion, with residents moving into the remaining home the following week. The new properties range from one bedroom flats to four bedroom houses and provide spacious accommodation for single people and large families alike.

John Miller moved into a one bedroom flat in February and said

“This property is ideal for myself as I’m elderly and disabled and is much more suitable than the property I was in previously. The standard and finish is excellent, and I consider myself very fortunate to be here as an Ocean resident.”

Ocean Group Chief Executive Mark Gardner said

“This fantastic development is yet another example of our commitment to providing high quality, affordable housing across Cornwall; we are grateful for the continuing financial support of Homes England and Cornwall Council to assist in delivering homes where they are most needed”.

We have more Affordable Rent and Shared Ownership properties in the pipeline and Gilbert and Goode are actively seeking land opportunities across Cornwall.

If you are a landowner or agent please contact our Development Team on 01726 64800.