Information and advice about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

At Ocean, we are closely monitoring the status of the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak in the UK and any impact this could have on our services.

Update 23/09/20:

Ocean’s response to PM’s announcement on stricter COVID-19 restrictions

As you know, the Prime Minister this week confirmed stricter measures to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The updated rules will be in place for up to six months, and further details on them can be read here.

At Ocean we have, as throughout, followed developments carefully, reviewing what the latest announcement means for us and the way we serve our tenants.

 A message to Ocean tenants from Mark Gardner, chief executive of the Ocean Housing Group.

“Our priority always has been, and remains, the safety and well-being of staff, tenants and their families, and others that we do business with.

Mark Gardner, chief executive of Ocean Group

The health and safety guidance that we have been strictly following is fundamental to keeping all of us safe. It has proved to be a very effective way of keeping our services moving, and ensuring that we can continue to be there for you in more ways.

We cannot be complacent however, and it is only by each and every one of us sticking to the rules that we will be able to continue delivering our services in a safe and productive way.

We care about you and all the people and communities that we serve. We understand that these further restrictions will create difficulties for some, and we are ready to help and support you through it.

Below is an update on what the announcement means for our services as they are now. In short, we will keep services going as they are now, provided that the health and safety method statements are strictly adhered to.

We will of course continue to monitor the position on an on-going basis. Staff safety, and that of our tenants and other customers, continues to be the highest priority and always will be.”

What the latest announcement means for our services – an overview:

The Office – Stennack House remains closed to the public, with most staff continuing to work remotely in accordance with Government guidance. Although our office is closed, we have been able to support our tenants throughout. Since July we have been able to organise face-to-face meetings with Neighbourhood Service Officers for tenants, where essential.

Property Maintenance – In strict accordance with health and safety measures, arrangements are in place to ensure the following will continue:

  • Health and safety property compliance works (eg gas servicing)
  • Emergency repairs
  • Urgent repairs
  • Non-urgent repairs
  • Grounds maintenance
  • Estate cleaning and caretaking
  • Planned maintenance
  • Work in empty properties
  • Property inspections and surveys

Home Visits and Neighbourhood Services – As above, in strict accordance with health and safety measures, we are currently continuing to carry out the following:

  • Home visits
  • Development/ Commissioning team site visits
  • Ocean Extra services
  • Lettings/ allocations
  • Anti-Social Behaviour visits
  • Estate inspections

Getting further information and support

If you require any further information about Ocean’s response to the pandemic, please continue to follow our updates on social media.

Also we will continue to update our dedicated page (www.oceanhousing.com/coronavirus) with our latest updates, details of support and advice, as well as links to other helpful information.

Our latest Street Talk magazine has just been published too and is full of useful material, as well as some stories of inspiring positivity through the pandemic shared by our staff and tenants. You can read an online version here.

Once again, on behalf of everyone at Ocean Housing, thank you for your support and understanding during these unprecedented times. It really is appreciated by one and all.

Update 10/07/20:

We’re pleased to confirm that we will be able to restart more services next week (from Monday July 13), in line with our plans communicated previously.

Last month Ocean Housing tenants will have received a copy of our Roadmap, which details the order we plan to restart services that are currently suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

From Monday, estate inspections will restart. Neighbourhood Service Officers will also be able to provide face-to-face home visits to tenants where essential, following strict guidelines.

Routine repairs, surveys and other property compliance work (such as boiler appliance replacements and second smoke alarm installs) can also restart.

We’re ahead of our schedule for the resumption of these services, and can still guarantee safety and thorough planning that has gone into us being able to restart them a little sooner.

However, we must stress that our team will be facing a backlog of more than 1,000 repairs. It is going to take us a number of weeks to get through them, so please continue to be patient with us.

We will be working as fast as we can while following strict guidelines to make sure we keep ourselves and our tenants safe.

As Mark Gardner, our chief executive, said in his message to tenants last month; “Once again, thank you for your support, it is very much appreciated by us all.

“If you have any questions please get in touch. Kind regards, and stay safe.”

Update 26/06/20:

A message from Mark Gardner, chief executive of Ocean Housing Group, regarding our next steps.

Ocean Housing tenants will have received, or will soon be receiving, a newsletter in the post, regarding more information on our response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The letter, which you can read in full here, features a message from our chief executive and a visual description of the services that we plan to restore in the coming months.

“Each phase will be implemented with the safety, security and wellbeing of our tenants and staff at the forefront of our minds,” said Mark.

“The dates are therefore an indication of services returning, and the exact dates will be notified on our website and social media sites on a weekly basis.”

He addded: “One again, thank you for your support – it is very much appreciated by all of us.

“If you have any questions, please get in touch.”

Update 12/06/20: 

 

 

More services, including post opening and caretaking, to resume next week

We’re pleased to confirm that several more of our services, suspended due to lockdown restrictions, will resume from Monday June 15, 2020.

Outside, our team will be able to restart work relating to our Energy Efficiency and External Decoration programmes.

External responsive repairs and development scheme site visits will also return.

Repairs within empty properties (voids) will also restart, as will our Lettings Service, Communal Cleaning Service and Caretaking.

The opening of post, received at Stennack House, is also scheduled to recommence. With no physical presence at Stennack House, Royal Mail retained all mail under their KeepSafe service, to ensure that mail was held safely and securely following the office closure.

“Following the recent update from the Government (as explained in the previous post) we’re pleased to confirm the opening of more services next week,” said David Jory, Customer Experience Manager at Ocean Housing.

The opening of post will resume at Stennack House, but the office will still remain closed for now otherwise.

“We will ensure that all work is carried out as quickly as possible, in the safest way possible. All staff involved in the process have been briefed on new health and safety guidelines and will carry out all tasks while adhering to strict social distancing and hygiene rules whilst wearing PPE.”

Regarding the resumption of our postal service, he added: “The office will remain closed to the public and other staff whilst this service is being undertaken. We are very pleased to be resuming this service as we know some tenants rely on this as a core form of communication.

“Once again, thank you for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times. In the coming weeks we will be sending you all a ‘roadmap’ of the services we hope to resume next.”

As ever, we will keep our website and social media pages updated to make sure that you are all informed.

Thank you, and stay safe.

Update 01/06/20

Impact of coronavirus on our Service Standards

Our ability to deliver all of our published service standards has been affected by the impact of COVID-19.

We have reviewed each of our standards, which you can read in the documents section on the right-hand side of this page.

We will continue to monitor the situation and update our standards in accordance with the latest Government guidance.

Update: 29/05/20

Re-starting services post coronavirus lockdown

Your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times has been very much appreciated.

We’re pleased to confirm that our Grounds Maintenance service will restart on Monday June 1, 2020.

This work will include grass cutting of communal estate areas. As you can imagine, it may take a little while for the team to catch up – but we will do so as fast as possible, in the safest way possible.

“The service is resuming in line with current Government and health and safety guidance,” said Gina Cutler, Head of Neighbourhood Services at Ocean Housing.

“We would ask that you do not approach the team whilst they are working as strict social distancing rules must continue to be applied.”

“Thank you once again for your patience over these past few months.”

Over the next few months, other services will also resume, if safe to do so.

As ever, we will update our website and social media pages to keep you informed.

Service Charges will be reviewed, as normal, at the end of the financial year and adjusted to account for any under or over spend that occurs during the year.

Update 26/05/20

Update 21/05/20

This week Christopher Pincher MP, Minister of State for Housing, is writing to all social housing residents in England.

His letter comes after the Prime Minister’s announcement on May 10, and contains further details about the Government’s steps to ‘reopen society’ – concentrating on social housing.

The letter rightly says that the safety, security and wellbeing of all social residents is a key priority for social landlords, and the Government. It explains the advice and support available. A copy of the letter can be read here.

In reference to the letter, Mark Gardner, chief executive of Ocean Housing Group, said: “As always, we are continuing to carefully consider the latest Government guidance.

“You will be aware we have been operating only core ‘essential’ services in accordance with this guidance, since social distancing measures were imposed on March 23.

“Our position has not changed significantly. We continue to put careful consideration into every decision while monitoring the situation cautiously and constantly, with the safety of residents and staff at the forefront of our minds, always.”

The key updates to our service delivery are currently:

  • Our offices remain closed to the public until further notice.
  • We continue to strictly follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Ocean staff will continue to work from home wherever possible.
  • We will continue to contact you in different ways, such as by phone or email.
  • Emergency repairs will continue this week as planned.
  • Gilbert and Goode construction sites reopened on May 11, with Government guidance measures in place.
  • Ocean staff will continue to check that you are well before entering your home, wearing the appropriate protective equipment.

Mark added: “As we have said before, although our doors may now be closed – we are still here for you. Since the outbreak, we have all been very proud of the response shown by Ocean staff and residents.

“Service updates and information about support available has been regularly updated on our website at www.oceanhousing.com/coronavirus.

“Our Customer Service advisors, working remotely, have also been doing a fantastic job to answer difficult questions and keep people reassured during these unprecedented times.”

While Ocean is of course planning for a return to ‘normal’ work across all areas, this will be done in a planned way and on a phased basis. This will be actioned only when our Executive Group is satisfied that it is safe for staff, tenants, contractors and the general public for us to do so.

When services are due to be reinstated, we will make announcements on our website and via social media.

Further information regarding Ocean’s current service delivery can be found on this page. Meanwhile, links and advice about COVID-19 related support in your area can be found here.

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Update 12/05/2020:

As you know, the Prime Minister announced the start of the easing of lockdown restrictions on Sunday May 10.

A new 60 page Government Guidance document was also released on Monday May 11.

Ocean Housing is carefully considering the guidance, and the implications for our business and our tenants and residents.

As you will be aware we have been operating only core “essential” services in accordance with Government guidelines since the restriction in movement was imposed.  We now need to look at what services we can start to provide with the safety of our tenants, residents and staff at the forefront of our minds.

Our update today, Thursday May 14, therefore focusses on the information we know now. It’s important to say that this will change over the coming weeks so please keep an eye out for updates.

In summary, our position has not changed significantly. We will continue to keep the offices closed until further notice, and continue to work remotely wherever possible, for the time being.

We have made arrangements for the Gilbert and Goode construction sites to open, but that decision was made only after a period of careful planning and we are monitoring the situation constantly.

The main points are:

  • Our offices will remain closed to the public until further notice.
  • We will continue to follow social distancing guidelines as strictly as possible.
  • Ocean staff will continue to work from home wherever possible.
  • We will continue to contact you in different ways, such as by phone or email.
  • Emergency repairs will continue this week as planned.
  • Gilbert and Goode construction sites reopened, with Government guideline measures in place.
  • Ocean staff will continue to check that you are well before entering your home, wearing the appropriate protective equipment.

The rest of this update contains more in depth details of the services that we continue to offer under the current restrictions.

Antisocial behaviour

 Please continue to report any antisocial behaviour that you are aware of to us. Any criminal behaviour should to be reported to the police. Our team is continuing to work in partnership with other agencies acting on your reports.

Contact us

Our office may be closed to the public, but we are still here to support you. Since the lockdown, all of us at Ocean Housing have put supporting tenants above everything, especially those who are older or vulnerable, and this will continue.

We encourage residents to follow our latest news and stay-up-to-date by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We’re delighted to have seen so many new downloads of our Ocean Housing app, find out how you can have access to it here.

You can also use our self-service portal MyOcean to check your rent balance, get in touch and update your contact details.

There are many other ways to stay in touch with us, click here to find out more.

Cornwall Home Choice

Our partners are considering the revised guidance carefully, even though Cornwall Home Choice remains suspended for the time being.

Domestic abuse

 If things are getting too much at home, we urge you not to suffer in silence.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is available on 0808 200 0247. We have also created a webpage with useful links to support if you need local help, find it here.

Emergency repairs

 Since the lockdown began Ocean staff have still provided emergency repairs to our residents, and will continue to do so.

You can find out how best to report them, and what qualifies as an emergency repair, here.

Estate Services

 We are following Government guidance, which is why we are unable to provide communal cleaning or our general maintenance service at the moment.

We will resume services as soon as it is considered safe to do so. Service Charges are normally adjusted each at the end of each year, once the full expenditure for that year is known.

Finance support & rent payments

Our team of Advisors remain at the end of the phone to answer any queries you may have.

It is important that, should you have any financial worries or concerns due to the pandemic, you contact us as soon as possible.

Ocean Housing will not evict tenants due to a loss of income as a result of COVID-19.

More information, answers to commonly asked questions and how to contact us about your financial queries can be found here.

View this post on Instagram

𝗠𝗲𝗲𝘁 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗖𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗿 𝗔𝗰𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 👋 All tenants and residents will be receiving will be receiving their rent statements in the coming months. ✉ 💳 Our Customer Accounts team, pictured here before social-distancing rules came in, are on hand to assist should our residents need them. 💻☎️ They have also put together a list of frequently asked questions that they hear when rent statements are sent out and have posted their answers already on our website. An example rent statement is also on that page, with detailed notes made on it to better explain the layout of the document. Simply head to oceanhousing.com/rent-statement-explained/ to find out more.

A post shared by Ocean Housing (@oceanhousingassociation) on

Fly-tipping

We understand that Cornwall Council will be opening recycling centres, for essential use and restricted items only, on Tuesday May 19.

Unfortunately, there have been reports of increased fly-tipping all over Cornwall since the lockdown began. Our Neighbourhoods team are dealing with any fly-tipping that causes a safety concern or potential fire risk.

You can continue to report fly-tipping to us on 01726 874450, email and LiveChat.

More information about the council’s update can be found here.

Hardship fund support

Ocean Housing has created a new £50,000 hardship fund, designed to support local charities and social housing tenants who are suffering due to the impact of coronavirus.

For more information, and the details on how to apply for support, click here.

Mutual exchanges and transfers

Unless already arranged, Ocean Housing is currently not taking any new home transfers or mutual exchanges at this time.

We will however review this over the coming weeks, in line with Government advice.

Reopening of construction sites

As above, the Ocean Group has made arrangements for the Gilbert and Goode construction sites to reopen.

This decision was made only after a period of careful planning, o ensure that our staff and contractors could operate in accordance with current health and safety guidance.

The sites re-opened on Monday May 11.

The safety of our staff, residents and contractors remains our highest priority.

 Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to monitor Government advice and alter our services accordingly in these unprecedented times.

Take care, and stay safe.

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Update: 07/04/2020: How you can get support and also help your community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Follow the above link to find useful advice and directions to need to know information.

Including; wellbeing and mental health tips, financial advice, help locating your nearest foodbank and details on other groups and individuals doing some incredibly inspirational things to help those in need during this time.

Update: 03/04/2020: Please be considerate towards your neighbours – more information here.

Update 25/03/2020: Service Update

As you will be aware, the Prime Minister announced a restriction on movement on Monday March 23, in an effort to slow the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

This announcement means that we have closed our offices to the public, with a large majority of our staff working remotely.

This move will affect the way that we can deliver services to you, in particular any face-to-face services such as repairs or home visits.

What this means

From Wednesday March 25:

  • We will attend emergency repairs only. You can find out what we consider an emergency repair is here.
  • Face to face meetings with Ocean staff will stop. Telephone appointments or email will be offered as an alternative, where possible.
  • We will ask tenants and residents to only contact us if it is really necessary. Our Customer Service team will still be available to take your calls on 01726 874450. We will respond to your emails to enquiries@oceanhousing.com We will continue to help through the LiveChat function.
  • You can continue to download and use the Ocean Housing smartphone app to report repairs, pay rent, as well as having easy access to our social media updates. You can download the app by searching for “Ocean Housing Association” on the Google Play and Apple App Store.
  • You can continue to pay your rent by telephone by calling 01726 874450 or using the AllPay website.

In addition to our normal advice and support services we are offering intensive support to any customer who is in serious arrears at an earlier stage. We encourage residents to contact us if worried about paying their rent.

Further external information about financial advice claiming Universal Credit can be found here: www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We will continue to keep our website updated with the latest information and advice, as well as useful links.

Our office is now closed to the public, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not here for you.

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Update 23/03/2020: Our offices are now closed to the public, but we’re still available to support you

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Update 12/03/2020: We wanted to reassure you that we have a number of measures in place that will help us to limit any disruption to services whilst protecting our employees, tenants, customers and other stakeholders should the spread of the COVID-19 virus continue.

As one of our tenants, customers or stakeholders we would like to reassure you that we have a comprehensive business continuity plan designed to ensure the services we deliver to you would experience very limited disruption.

How we aim to minimise the risk of service disruption

  • All Ocean employees are following basic hygiene recommendations as per Pubic Health England and the NHS guidelines
  • A large proportion of our workforce are able to work from home
  • Our internal communication and business networks ensures communication between departments would continue
  • Our internal and external support departments would be able to deliver most of the required services
  • We are talking with our key suppliers to discuss their business continuity plans and procedures to limit disruption to services
  • We will work very closely with all our tenants, customers and stakeholders and follow any advice from the Government, Public Health England or the NHS

How can you help? 

Please notify us immediately of any confirmed cases of COVID-19, indicating the steps you have taken to prevent transmission and details of any recent contact you have had with Ocean or its employees.

This will enable us to take the appropriate action to inform our employees and other tenants and customers.

Also:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a high temperature; a new, continuous cough
  • Be mindful of whether you have recently travelled or may have been in close contact with someone who has recently travelled or may have been exposed to the virus

If you develop symptoms at any time, you should seek advice from the NHS via https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

Only telephone the NHS 111 coronavirus service if:

  • You don’t have access to go online
  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

We will keep you updated promptly, as this situation develops further. But if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Read more: ‘A message from our chief executive – Supporting tenants remains the priority at Ocean Housing’.

Useful links

NHS 111 online coronavirus service

World Health Organisation (WHO)

Advice about staying at home

Mental Health – Looking after your mind during coronavirus

Claiming Universal Credit – Coronavirus

GOV.UK – Information on coronovirus (regularly updated)

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