News articles - 2021
Date: 20 July 2021
It feels like a lifetime ago that the country first went into lockdown and our staff settled in to working from home. However, as restrictions continue to lift and things open up more and more, we’re pleased to be able to reconnect with colleagues and residents in person once more.
For our Housing Managers, this increased freedom has also enabled them to get out and about in our neighbourhoods again.
We caught up with one of our Housing Managers, Sam, to talk about the challenges he’s faced over the past year and how he’s been reconnecting with our customers:
“Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, we would talk to residents about a whole range of things, from parking to rent, ASB to bins. Contact with our residents came by letter, phone or email, or they’d come in and visit us in the office. We’d also spend time going out to visit neighbourhoods and residents in their homes.
As the pandemic took hold and we entered a nationwide lockdown, the communication channels changed, and much of our contact with residents switched to phone, letters and email. Throughout the first lockdown, we spent a lot of time speaking to residents, carrying out welfare checks and offering help and support where needed in this way.
We had to adapt to new ways of doing our work and supporting our customers, whilst keeping our residents and ourselves safe. When visiting residents, we wore masks, used hand sanitiser, checked to see if they had any symptoms and maintained a safe distance. While we’ve continued to talk to residents throughout the pandemic, we haven’t been going into their homes. It’s not easy having difficult conversations on a doorstep.
But now, as restrictions are easing, we’re looking at how we can return to as much normality as possible, and if we can, create a better ‘normal’ than before.
In recent months, I have been going out to visit my “patches” and talk to any residents I meet to be more proactive than reactive. I have been raising repairs that I’ve seen, reporting any fly tipping that occurs and taking any opportunities to speak to residents about their neighbourhoods and their homes.
In my recent visits, I have noticed that my interactions with residents have shifted from “what are Saxon Weald going to do about this” to more relaxed, lengthy conversations. Residents have spoken to me about their homes, their families, repairs, rent or they’ve just wanted to have a chat.
I hope that our presence around our neighbourhoods can help to change the assumption that we’re only ever there because something is wrong. Hopefully, it can also help us to see if residents or neighbourhoods have any issues, and give us the opportunity to resolve the situation at an early stage.
So if you see us in the neighbourhood, do say hello, we’d love to have a chat!”