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Latest news

New portal for believe housing customers

Published: Tuesday 27 July 2021

A new online portal is set to make a series of day-to-day tasks easier for customers of one of the largest housing associations in the region. 

The web-based portal has been purpose-built to help believe housing customers carry out regular tasks like checking their rent balance from the comfort of their home.  Launched today, customers need only their tenancy number and personal details to make full use of the site. 

It is the latest digital innovation by believe housing following the pioneering use of self-help videos, video calls to help customers complete simple repairs, and the existing customer app for smartphone users.  

The new portal offers a more in-depth experience than an app, but shares much of the same user-friendly design. It offers the same functionality on PC, tablet and smartphone.  Other features allow customers to report issues in their neighbourhood and ask about support with finding a new job or accessing welfare benefits. 

believe housing Director of Technology and Digital Solutions, Colin Tempest, said: “More and more customers now choose to use digital methods of communication and that has only been accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic.  That’s why we’ve focused so much on developing new technology like this customer portal. 

“It’s been designed from the outset to make things as easy as possible for customers and will look familiar to anyone who has use our app, but the portal has many more in-depth features. 

“Introducing more digital technology, means that we also have more time for any of our customers who perhaps aren’t as confident doing things online too.” 

Earlier this year the County Durham-based housing association was recognised as one of the top-performing digital organisations in the sector by specialist outlet Housing Digital. 

For more information visit www.believehousing.co.uk  


Time running out for community grants

Published: Wednesday 21 July 2021

A deadline is fast approaching for community groups to bid for up to £10,000 from a programme that has already distributed more than £150,000 to good causes across County Durham during the coronavirus pandemic.

believe housing’s successful community programme was expanded last month with a new grant opportunity for bigger projects.  The Large Community Grants fund is designed for schemes looking for between £5,000 and £10,000 and can be used with match funding.

The deadline for applications to the first round of the Large Community Grants fund is Wednesday, 28 July.

It has been created to tackle health and wellbeing issues, improve access to employability or training, increase household income, encourage a greener and fairer future, and tackle inequalities as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  Projects that could benefit include youth engagement activities, initiatives to promote better physical and mental wellbeing through arts and crafts, or family food and activity groups to tackle holiday hunger.  Proposals must meet at least one of the criteria.

The funding is available for revenue costs and covers all areas where believe housing provides homes. It is expected that at least 30% of the end beneficiaries of the funding will be believe housing customers. All projects must also be deliverable within current government coronavirus guidance.

Damian Pearson, Community Investment Performance Team Leader at believe housing, said: “We’ve had some really strong proposals so far, but we want to give all eligible groups the best chance to apply for funding.

“The £5,000 to £10,000 range should make this funding particularly useful for bigger projects looking to match fund their work. But I think it’s also going to be of great benefit to schemes that might be limited by requirements for capital elements in funding elsewhere.

“The deadline might be looming, but there’s still plenty of time to submit a project.  Whether it’s reducing food waste or training people in practical skills that could help them find a job, we’re keen to talk about the opportunities.”

An initial £30,000 has been allocated for the Large Community Grants fund. A further call for applications is planned later this year.  Full terms and conditions, together with application forms, are available on the believe housing website.

More information on all of believe housing’s grant funding opportunities is also available from the Community Investment Team on 0300 1311 999 or CommunityGrant@believehousing.co.uk


More support for victims of domestic abuse at risk of homelessness

Published: Thursday 8 July 2021

Councils to now give priority to finding accommodation for victims who are homeless due to domestic abuse.

From 5th July 2021 victims who are homeless due to domestic abuse will be prioritised for accommodation from their council.

Under the government’s landmark Domestic Abuse Act councils will have to find accommodation for people made homeless through domestic abuse, helping to ensure victims do not remain with their abuser for fear of not having a roof over their head.

Previously, victims had to be assessed as being ‘vulnerable’ as a result of domestic abuse to be identified as having a priority need.

Under the new legislation, domestic abuse will be a standalone reason to qualify as needing this support. Please click here to view the full article.


Where and when you can get a walk-in Covid-19 jab in County Durham?

Published: Thursday 1 July 2021

JULY

Thursday 1st July, Peterlee Community Hospital, 3pm – 7pm

First & second doses of Pfizer and AZ (same second doses must be at least 8 weeks from first dose)

Friday 2nd July, Peterlee Vaccination Bus, Castle Dene Shopping Centre, Broad Close Car Park (Behind Argos) 12pm – 6pm

First & second doses of Pfizer and AZ (same second doses must be at least 8 weeks from first dose)

Friday 2nd July, Maiden Castle, The Graham Sports Centre, Stockton Rd, Durham, 10:30m – 3:30pm

First & second doses of Pfizer and AZ will be available (same second doses must be at least 8 weeks from first dose)

Wednesday 7th July, Peterlee Community Hospital, 11am – 6pm

First & second doses of Pfizer and AZ (same second doses must be at least 8 weeks from first dose)

Friday 9th July, Peterlee Community Hospital, 8am to 3pm

First & second doses of Pfizer and AZ (same second doses must be at least 8 weeks from first dose)

Friday 9 July, Shotley Bridge Hospital, Consett, 1pm-4pm

First & second doses of Pfizer and AZ (same second doses must be at least 8 weeks from first dose)

Friday 30th July, Kelloe Working Men's Club, 2pm – 6pm

First & second doses of Pfizer and AZ (same second doses must be at least 8 weeks from first dose)

AUGUST

Wednesday 4th August, Aldi Car Park, Horden, Peterlee, 2pm - 6pm

First & second doses of Pfizer and AZ (same second doses must be at least 8 weeks from first dose)

Tuesday 10th August, Ferryhill Market Place, DL17 8JW, on June 15, from 12pm - 6pm

First & second doses of Pfizer and AZ (same second doses must be at least 8 weeks from first dose)

Monday 16th August, Asda Car Park, Byron Place, South Terrace, Seaham, SR7 7HN, 12pm – 7pm

First & second doses of Pfizer and AZ (same second doses must be at least 8 weeks from first dose)

*More clinics will be added as the vaccination programme continues.


Housing association extends commitment

Published: Wednesday 30 June 2021
Housing association extends commitment

One of the region’s leading home providers has reconfirmed its support to anyone who has experienced domestic abuse.

County Durham-based believe housing has become one of the first Accredited Members of the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance.  The new membership scheme is the only one of its type in the sector and demonstrates the focus believe housing has on supporting customers in even the most difficult of circumstances.

Accredited Membership of DAHA is the highest level of commitment to tackling domestic abuse that a housing association can achieve.

believe housing was officially recognised by DAHA for its work with domestic abuse victims two years ago.  The ‘passion and drive of staff’ at believe housing to help victims of domestic abuse together with ‘top notch’ training was praised following a two-day audit.

The inspection included talking to a survivor of domestic abuse who had received support as well as scenario-based work with a range of frontline staff and a review of policies and procedures.  The accreditation process is designed to ensure that employees across the organisation have a deep understanding of domestic abuse and has robust processes in place to identify and support anyone who needs help and advice.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of social group, class, age, race, disability or sexuality of the individuals involved.  It is a pattern of behaviour used by abusers to establish and maintain power and control over another person.

Evidence suggests that people who experience domestic abuse can turn to as many as five different agencies before they find appropriate help.

Housing associations are ideally placed to spot and respond to domestic abuse as they are in contact with their customers on a daily basis.  Trained staff are able to identify the signs of a potentially abusive relationship and offer advice and support to allow the victim to remain in their home, or to move to another property if that is the most appropriate solution for them.

Safer Neighbourhoods Manager at believe housing, Karen Gardner, said: “We want to ensure that any customer who comes to us is given the best support possible.  By becoming Accredited Members of this initiative, we will ensure that we always have access to the latest training and best practice to provide that high-quality support.

“During the coronavirus pandemic there has been a rise nationally in concerns about domestic abuse, so becoming accredited members now is doubly important.”