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Leading the way in keeping residents fire safe

Fri 14 June 2019

Ground-breaking fire safety initiatives are being led by Colne Housing in order to raise awareness with its 4,000 customers.

The Essex-based housing association is committed to reassuring its customers that the safety of them and their homes is their number one priority,

Since the Grenfell Tower fire in London – two years ago (June 14 2019) -   the 3,000-home landlord has expanded the ways customers in Essex and Suffolk can raise concerns more effectively and find out how to keep their household safe.

Colne does not have high rise blocks like Grenfell, however they are raising awareness of the landlord’s and residents’ health and safety responsibilities.

Colne has introduced:

  • A ground-breaking new telephone hotline direct to its Chief Executive Sara Thakkar for residents to voice their concerns and ‘whistleblow’.

  • Fire practice drills and health and safety training for residents.

  •  ‘At a glance’ customer posters to show the outcomes of annual Fire Risk Assessments in blocks of flats. No other local housing association in the region is believed to be doing this.

  • Regular health and safety meetings with residents living in Housing for Older People accommodation.

  • A staff campaign to develop a more effective culture of health and safety - focusing on Basics, Education and Discipline – called Back to BED.

  • A new training programme for staff, with many taking the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IoSH) qualifications and refreshed staff forums.

  • New Property Compliance Officer roles have also been introduced to bolster Colne’s focus on health and safety compliance.

Sara Thakkar, Colne’s Chief Executive, said:  “The affordable housing sector is united in learning lessons from the tragic fire at Grenfell. We have always taken health and safety very seriously at Colne and are committed to listening to residents’ concerns and helping them feel safe in their homes.

“The tragic events at Grenfell have shown that there are lessons to be learned in many areas including helping ensure residents are kept informed and listened to.

“We have stepped up the ways we do this so we can provide greater transparency with our customers and create more ways for them to have their voice heard. “

Colne, has been supported by experts from Colchester-based health and safety specialists Park City Consulting.

Oliver Southgate, of Park City, said: “Colne has taken a very forward-thinking approach and is leading the way regionally developing its health and safety culture and responsibilities.”

Colne’s staff campaign on health and safety was shortlisted at the UK Housing Awards 2018 for its outstanding approach to communication.

Colne is a 3,000-home housing association which provides a range of housing solutions in Essex and Suffolk to enable independent living.

Residents can find more about health and safety responsibilities here.

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Leading the way in keeping residents fire safe

Colne's Stacey Wagner displays the new fire safety posters for customers