Welcome to the latest Salford Community Voice Update 

This update brings you the latest discussions from our recent Community Voice meeting where involved tenants actively contribute to shaping the future of Salford.

The Salford Community Voice is a dedicated group representing people in the area, committed to keeping you informed about crucial matters that affect the neighbourhood.

We understand the importance of listening and learning from you and keeping you up to date so we can work together to take action and signpost to partners when it’s helpful.

We want you to have your voice heard and be a part of influencing what happens in your home and in the community.

Let’s dive into the essential updates from December’s Community Voice as we continue to work together to positively impact your lives.

Karen Ward Vice Chair of Community Voice

Neighbourhoods we can be proud of

We want to be proud of our neighbourhood and feel safe there. The Community Voice meeting gives myself, my neighbours and other tenants a chance to raise any concerns we may have. Members of the ForHousing team will take our views on board and work with partners in the local area to take action.

We heard in the meeting that the Housing Ombudsman may be examining pest control soon; a huge issue in the local area linked to rubbish. We have seen waste double over the past year and more fly-tipping, so ForHousing is making sure this year’s budget increases to help tackle this.

We discussed the cost and management of clearing up fly-tipping, which ForHousing works on in partnership with Salford City Council. ForHousing will look into the current costs to clear fly-tipping and keep us updated on the next steps.

There have also been several complaints about parking across pavements. Neighbourhood Officers reassured us that they will speak with the council to see if anything can be done to stop people from doing this.

Community safety

Cuckooing and domestic violence were discussed in the meeting, which ForHousing has said are important issues that need tackling. Cuckooing refers to a type of manipulation where people, often linked with criminal activities or gangs, take over the home of a vulnerable person, typically someone living alone or with additional needs.

ForHousing is committed to working with partners to tackle cuckooing and domestic violence and shared information at the meeting on the action being taken.

By us all working together as a community, we can reduce anti-social behaviour. Any incidents that involve ForHousing tenants, property or homes can be reported by completing the form on their website here, contacting ForHousing directly, or calling the police. All reports are kept strictly confidential so do speak out if you have concerns. Your voice matters.

Improving services and complaints handling

ForHousing is always keen to hear your views so they can listen, learn, and improve the services offered to us.

In the meeting, we got an update on how the Customer Connect Hub is doing. They’re making things smoother – shorter call wait times and fewer dropped calls, which is great to hear. We chatted about the improvements and the feedback clearly shows progress has been made but there’s always more to do. We are grateful to all Hub staff for providing such a valuable service to tenants.

We also talked about moving from the old Customer Connect Hub to the new one, and we were told that a lot of the calls are getting trickier. ForHousing highlighted the need for a balance between being quick and efficient on calls while still giving the best customer service.

There was a conversation in the meeting about which repairs are the responsibility of tenants and which are ForHousing’s responsibility – something many of us find confusing. To help clear this up, information explaining responsibilities will be sent out.

After listening to tenants’ feedback, ForHousing has said they are making tweaks to how complaints are dealt with – particularly the way tenants are written to. ForHousing has developed new training and toolkits so that complaint handlers are writing in a friendlier and clearer way. They are also having weekly sit-downs with the complaint handlers and the repairs and maintenance crew to make things even better and work more smoothly with Liberty. All very positive steps forward.

Supporting tenants when they need it most

A new Money Advice Service has been launched, offering free and independent advice to anyone with money worries. Two full-time members of staff are available to help and can look into existing debts and help to make an action plan to reduce them, look into benefits you might be entitled to, and apply for grants on your behalf.

ForHousing really wants to support tenants through the cost-of-living crisis, so if you have any money worries, they are there to help. You can get in touch with the Money Advice Service, by calling 0300 123 5522 or email  Money.advice@forhousing.co.uk. 

In December, The Winter Warm Campaign provided packs to those in need now the colder weather has set in. Packs contained a hot water bottle, thermos, water bottle, gloves, a scarf, and a blanket for those tenants that required then.

Making a positive contribution to the local community

Myself and the Community Voice members are dedicated to working with ForHousing and local partners to making a positive impact in our neighbourhood.

We talked about the exciting new Understanding our Communities project.

The project is creating a map of valuable places, such as our community centres, and ForHousing has hired Unlimited Potential to oversee this detailed study in Salford.

ForHousing explained that this mapping will help to figure out the existing resources, community members, and groups we have in Salford to make better use of them and use our community’s passion to address local needs and shape services available to us.

They’ve finished the first part of the project, where they learned about what resources are available, and they have identified Salford’s ‘Community Connectors’; people who know a lot of other people in the community, who will help reach out to a broader audience.

They’re keen on making sure everyone’s voice is heard, especially those who may not usually speak up. So do get in touch if you’d like to get involved. You can do this by completing an online form at the bottom of this page.

We discussed the Community Fund which offers grants to individuals and groups. There’s a standard fund with a maximum £500 grant and a Local Area Improvement Fund (LIF) with up to £3000 for small environmental projects.

ForHousing explained that Salford’s budget got increased due to high demand, but this affected Stockbridge Village’s budget so there might need to be stricter requirements for future funding applications.

Listening to tenants’ views and acting on them

The Community Voice is an important forum, bringing together tenants, partners from the community and ForHousing to make a positive difference.

We’ll continue to share future updates with you. Do spread the word about the tenant newsletter with your family and friends, this is published every three months and you will be able to view the latest version on their website here.

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