Welcome to the latest Stockbridge Village Community Voice Update 

This update brings you all the latest discussions that have taken place in our recent Community Voice meeting, which is a group of tenants who represent people in your area.

We understand the importance of listening and learning from you and keeping you up to date with crucial matters affecting the Stockbridge Village neighbourhood. We 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.

Lawrence MacIntosh, 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.

In the last meeting, we talked about the need for CCTV to protect local shops. We are pleased to report that funding has been set aside from the 2024/ 2025 budget.

ForHousing gave us an update on the failed sale of The Ploughman’s, which had caused concerns previously about potential fire risks to nearby homes. We’ve now been told that an application has been made to buy the Ploughman’s Pub and security precautions have been taken regarding the potential fire risk.

In the last meeting, we discussed the complaints about excessive litter near Stockbridge Primary School and Subway. We are chasing an update regarding school bins but always, we appreciate everyone who has taken the initiative to keep the neighbourhood tidy.

There has been an issue with the gates behind the shops being unlocked, which has led to trolleys being dumped there. ForHousing is speaking with the doctor’s surgery who has responsibility for the gates, to ensure they are being locked.

There has also been some concern with the shutters being left open regularly at the Subway shop. ForHousing has assured us that they are liaising with Subway directly on this. We will keep you updated on progress.

In the meeting, it was brought up that there have been numerous complaints about anti-social behaviour at St Jude’s flats, including an incident involving a young girl being assaulted. We have been assured that the police are making themselves more visible and are investigating. We will update you as soon as we can and really appreciate those of you who come forward with your concerns.      

Improving services and complaints handling

ForHousing is always keen to hear our 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.

The complaints procedure was discussed and ongoing improvements. All complaints are answered within 10 working days and tenants can make their complaint via phone, email, online here, or face-to-face.

ForHousing thanked the Scrutiny Panel for reviewing the process: they value their input and are working hard to improve things. The complaints procedure is the Executive Management Team’s top priority and 100% of the complaints have been completed on time, which is great to see.

Supporting tenants when they need it most

Food poverty was raised again as a major concern in the community. The Food Club, supported by ForHousing, is open every Tuesday from 12pm to 2pm and every Thursday from 10.30am to 12.30pm at the Community Hub, The Croft, Stockbridge Village, L28 1NR.

If you would like to volunteer or find out more, visit www.bighelpproject.com. A huge thank you to the volunteers at Food Club – your support is crucial.

The group heard there has been huge demand for white goods and ovens. So far, Knowsley Council has donated £10,000 towards the purchase of these and another order may be needed.

Food and fuel remain the top priority for funds for applicants to our Live Well support.

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. 

The Winter Warm Campaign, providing packs to those in need now the colder weather has set in, is underway, which tenants might have already heard about. Packs contain a hot water bottle, thermos, water bottle, gloves, a scarf, and a blanket. These are available throughout winter and are distributed at the Food Club and in various community groups. Do get in touch with ForHousing if you don’t have one and are in need.

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 We Make Places to oversee this detailed study in Stockbridge Village.

ForHousing explained that this mapping will help to figure out the existing resources, community members, and groups we have in Stockbridge Village 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 Stockbridge Village’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.

The Community Fund, which supports local projects benefiting the community, has excess budget left over, so we discussed which groups and organisations might benefit from the fund. You can find out more and apply for funding here.

There was debate on whether the criteria for the funding could be changed so that groups can reapply after six months, as opposed to 12 months, and it has now been agreed that groups can apply twice each year, which is a great outcome.

ForHousing let us know that after listening to tenant feedback, they are pleased to say that the reopening of the reception service has been approved so we will now be able to speak to ForHousing staff face to face. Unit 7 at the Croft shops is to be reopened for this purpose. We’ll keep you posted on when it’s due to open.

Listening to your 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 are actively recruiting new members to the Community Voice, so if you are interested in representing your local community and working with ForHousing to make improvements, please get in touch here.  ForHousing wants to understand what matters most to you. We really appreciate people giving their time and input to groups like these so ForHousing can listen and learn.

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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