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On 1 July 2020, we merged with Greenfields Community Housing to form Eastlight Community Homes. Click here for the latest information on Covid-19 service changes.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Latest update 29 March 2021

Please see below information about Eastlight’s services during the coronavirus pandemic for former Colne Housing residents. If you have further questions, please see our contact methods here: www.colnehousing.co.uk/contact

Q: What services are Eastlight operating?

Repairs

From 8 March, 2021, we are running a full repairs service after pausing some services during the third lockdown.

Safety – that of you and our staff – remains our priority and we will take a phased approach to restarting work in customers’ homes. We will continue to monitor the number of coronavirus cases in our communities to ensure it continues to be safe to carry out your services.

Understandably, our teams and contractors have a backlog of work to get through and will be working hard to ensure all repairs and improvements take place as soon as possible.

To request a repair, please call 01206 244700 and follow the instructions, or visit www.colnehousing.co.uk/customer-services/report-it. If it is an emergency, please call us.

If you require an urgent or emergency repair, our staff and contractors will:

·       Not visit you if they are showing any coronavirus symptoms – continuous cough, high temperature and loss of taste or smell

·       Call you before visiting your home to check everything is ok and help you prepare for our arrival

·       Wear surgical facemasks if their work requires them to enter your home, or if they are working outside but cannot socially distance

·       Regularly wash their hands and maintain good hand hygiene

·       Not visit homes where a resident has coronavirus symptoms unless that home requires a critical emergency. In that case, they will wear full personal protective equipment (PPE).

Our staff and contractors will ask you to:

·       Wear a face-covering during their visit

·       Follow social distancing protocols, such as socially distancing for three metres. Where possible, and for everyone’s safety, they will ask you to stay in another room while they work

·       If you refuse to follow these safety procedures, then they will leave your home without completing the repair.

Home improvements

We are beginning to offer a full home improvements service from 8 March, 2021.

Safety checks

We are carrying out safety checks, such as annual gas safety checks and electrical inspections, because they are so important. They are legal requirements and, more importantly, they help keep you safe at home.

Our teams and contractors have the personal protective equipment and guidance they need to keep everyone safe. If you are due a visit, then we will contact you to arrange it. Please accept the appointment date you are offered or contact us to rearrange or ask any questions you may have.

Customer Service

Our Customer Service Advisors are working from 9am to 5pm on weekdays to take your phone calls, emails and social media messages, and our Out of Hours service is available for emergencies outside those times.

When calling us, you may hear some lifestyle noises in the background, and you may have to wait a little longer due to technical issues as a result of all our advisors working from home. Please bear with us and do get in touch if you feel we may be able to help in any way.

Rent support

The Government has advised that you should continue to pay rent to the best of your ability.

However, if you face difficulties, then please get in touch as we can offer a range of support. Our Income Teams are available to assist you.

We have no intention of beginning eviction proceedings against you if you are having difficulty paying your rent as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lettings & Mutual Exchanges

Our lettings service is operational, with homes advertised on www.gatewaytohomechoice.org.uk as usual. We are also processing Mutual Exchange applications. Please observe social distancing when showing other residents around your home.

We will let homes safely by offering virtual viewings instead of viewings in person, carrying out tenancy sign-ups over the phone and by using key safes to hand over keys.

Please visit: www.colnehousing.co.uk/need-a-home/apply-for-a-home

We have garages for rent in Braintree district. You can express an interest in renting a garage by visiting www.greenfieldsch.org.uk/garage-tenancies and filling in the short form.

Playgrounds

Our playgrounds in Oakapple Close, Timber Hill and Poplar Hall Close, all in Colchester, have reopened! Please follow the safety measures in place and enjoy!

Support

Our support service is here for you. Whether its accessing services that help you to remain safe and independent in your home, applying for universal credit or overcoming any other support needs as a result of the pandemic, please get in touch.

We are regularly contacting residents in Housing for Older People Schemes and vulnerable residents in other homes to offer support and guidance, and this will continue. We are advising them to have only essential visits from families/friends. Visits from carers and other home based support services continue.

Home visits

Our People continue to respond to queries and offer services, but will visit your home only in exceptional circumstances.

Anti-social behaviour

We recognise there has been an increase in general household noise at the moment. However, if there are repeated issues and you are unable to resolve the situation with your neighbour, then please get in touch.

Domestic abuse

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse, then isolation rules do not apply. Police response and support services remain available. Visit gov.uk/domestic-abuse or call 999 if you are in immediate danger. You can also contact us for advice and support, as well as the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

Communal areas

Communal areas in our schemes are closed, as households are not allowed to socialise indoors during the lockdown.

Q: Are your offices open?

A: To help further prevent the spread of Coronavirus, our offices are closed to visitors.

Q: What should I do if I have to self-isolate and I’m due to see someone from Eastlight?

A: Please contact us and let us know – we all have a role to play to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading.

Q: I, or someone I know, must self-isolate and needs support. What should I do?

A: If you are or know an Eastlight resident who is vulnerable or isolated, and does not have adequate support such as family, friends or carers to help them get essential items, please get in touch. We may be able to help.

There is a Facebook group led by volunteers, backed by Essex County Council and the NHS called “Essex Coronavirus Action”. Visit www.facebook.com/essexcoronavirusaction for more information.

Further support is out there, and we can point you in the right direction. Please get in touch.

Confidential hotline

If you are a former Colne resident, contractor or staff member – we kindly ask you to let us know if you have symptoms and are self-isolating. We will ensure this information is confidential and used only to protect you and visitors to your home.

If you are self-isolating or have non-urgent concerns about a vulnerable former Colne resident please call our Coronavirus hotline on 0800 038 5776.

It’s free from landlines or mobiles. For urgent medical advice call 111 or 999.

Colne’s hotline is monitored 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.