For information on what you can and cannot do during the pandemic and how to keep yourself safe, please visit  https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Easy read information about COVID-19 

Paying your rent

We are sorry to hear that you have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) and are here to offer support and advice.
Please contact us as soon as possible so we can assist you in considering what other financial support may be available to you.
We can also discuss a payment plan that is affordable and reasonable to maintain payments on your account through this period.

Yes, you should continue to pay your rent. We appreciate that this is a worrying time for many people with lots of uncertainty and external influences affecting people’s circumstances.
If you are struggling to pay your rent, please do contact us and we will provide support and advice based on your individual situation.

We will not evict anyone who is in arrears as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). Please contact us if you are struggling to pay your rent so that we can advise and support you based on your individual situation.

There are a number of alternative methods available, payments can be made 24 hours a day via the customer app, via our website or our automated payment line. Alternatively customers can call Progress Connect and set up a direct debit.

Repairs to your home

We have advised all our operatives to maintain a safe 2m distance at all times, preferably with no-one in the room during the repair.  If you refuse, we will be unable to complete your repair.  This is for your own safety and that of our colleagues.

All repairs have recommenced and are subject to social distancing and risk assessments to ensure that your safety is our first priority.  

Yes, we are now carrying out all non-essential repairs. We will continue to follow government guidelines and will be maintaining social distancing (two metres) at all times. 

We will also be wearing PPE if and when required.

We are continuing to operate our emergency repairs service and will attend to any emergency repair within 24 hours.

Please note, emergency repairs are those repairs which if not completed, carry the risk of immediate injury to people or major damage to property. These include:

Gas leak

These should be reported immediately to the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.

Heating

Total failure of heating system and no alternative source of heat or hot water (ie. no fire in the property or no electric shower).

Electricity

Total loss of electricity or a dangerous electrical fault with electric sockets or lights.

Live or bare wires or electricity in contact with water.

Breakdown of white goods within our independent\supported living schemes.

Heating

Total failure of heating system and no alternative source of heat or hot water (i.e. no fire in the property or no electric shower).

Major incident involving emergency services or safe systems

Structural damage caused by fire, flood or high winds.

Any repair that poses a risk to the customer, the public or to the structure and security of the building.

Plumbing

Total loss of water supply or a major leak.

If you only have one toilet and you cannot use it, and you have tried to unblock it.

Security

External (outside) doors and windows (ground floor) not secure.

Stairs

Damage to staircases or bannisters that post a risk to you or anyone in your home

As we are now delivering non-essential repairs again, we would ask that you only report emergency repairs if they are listed above.  Please do not ask us to attend within emergency timescales if your repair can wait.  Emergency repairs should not be reported out of hours, unless there is the danger of immediate injury to people or major damage to property.

We can carry out all type of repairs.

The government is clear that we must continue to follow Public Health England guidelines about social distancing and that no work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency repairs. No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, however mild.

 

Internal planned works 

We will contact you in advance if work is planned at your property to ensure that you are comfortable with the work taking place.

All works undertaken will be in line with the latest Government guidance. We ask if you can help us maintain social distancing and not enter the areas where work is taking place.  

Where two-person working is essential, our contractors and operatives will be working in ‘bubbles’.  Some work may take longer than usual due to new working arrangements, and we ask that you remain patient during this time.

Planned external works New working arrangements, safe systems of work, and risk assessments have allowed our roofing, re-pointing, external painting, and window replacement programmes to continue —thank-you to all customers for assisting our operatives and contractors during this work.

Notice of suspension of planned works in Supported Living 

With effect from 1 February 2021, for the wellbeing of our tenants, we have taken the decision to pause all planned works to our Supported Living properties.

We will only be working on planned programmes within our general needs and independent living homes (with agreement from tenants).

This decision has been made to protect our most vulnerable customers as operatives are in their home for longer periods (fitting kitchens, bathrooms etc). We will be making contact with any tenants who may be impacted by this decision.

Please note, all other services (responsive repairs and all compliance-related gas and electrical safety checks) will continue across all our homes.

Yes, we are following Public Health England guidance and are making sure all our operatives have all the necessary safety equipment they need. This includes gloves and masks to protect you and them. If an operative visits your home to carry out repairs, we are also asking that you leave the room while they do the work, closing all doors. Operatives are also washing their hands before and after every repair. Any staff who are affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) and need to self-isolate will not visit your property. Additionally, we ask that you tell us if anyone in your household is self-isolating.

No, we have a legal obligation to carry out all compliance safety checks in your home. We class these checks as essential repairs, and we are asking that you allow us access to your home to complete these. We may wear gloves and masks for your protection and will be washing our hands before and after we carry out the checks. We ask that you please leave the room the operative is working in and close the doors; this will help reduce any risk.

Yes, please let us know if you are self-isolating. We may ask for more details from you, such as when you started self-isolating. This is to make sure we take additional precautions for the safety of all our colleagues and customers.

 

 

We are carrying out daily checks with all our repairs team, and any of our operatives who may have been in contact with someone with coronavirus (COVID-19) are being asked to self-isolate and not come to work. If anyone shows any symptoms (such as a cough or high temperature), they are being advised to stay at home and not come into work.

This is to ensure we reduce any risks to you, our customers, and our colleagues. All our operatives have been provided with personal protective equipment, including wipes, gloves, coveralls, and masks. Please don’t worry if you see them wearing any of these; they are precautionary measures.

You can help us by following government advice and maintaining social distancing when we attend your property.  We have put together a video which shows you what you can expect if we visit your home to carry out a repair.

Please help us to help you by keeping your distance from our operatives, do not stay in the same room while the operative is carrying out the work and allow the use of your washing facilities to ensure they can follow strict handwashing procedures.

The health and safety of our colleagues and customers is of paramount importance, especially at this time during the pandemic. To support our approach, you may find our colleagues wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during their visit and sanitising their hands before and afterwards. PPE isn’t always necessary, but where it is, colleagues will be wearing it.

PPE isn’t required for visits to your home if 2m social distancing can be maintained and no-one in the household is shielding or isolating. If a repair or planned works is taking place, we ask that customers wait in another room and do not offer any refreshments or stand to chat. If possible, please open windows to allow fresh air into the room where the work is taking place.

If the task that the colleague is undertaking requires PPE or someone in the household is shielding or isolating, then this will be worn. Different tasks require different PPE, but generally for our Trades Operatives this may include a reusable respirator or disposable face mask, goggles, gloves, coveralls and overshoes. Officers conducting home visits will be following the same principles and be wearing suitable PPE dependent upon the household circumstances.

We will also be wearing disposable face masks if this is required as part of any localised lockdown.

Thank you for supporting our colleagues to work safely for their protection and the safety of us all.

For more information please see our video on how we are reducing the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19).

Yes – works are continuing in line with government guidelines, the grounds maintenance service provided in the majority of our operational areas for general needs and independent living properties has been limited but is now fully operational.  . This could be subject to change dependent on any further guidance received from the government.                       

If you have any concerns relating to grounds maintenance, please contact us on 03333 204555 by web chat on our website wwww.progressgroup.org.uk, or email enquiries@progressgroup.org.uk

 

Community safety

Yes, we will still log all calls concerning ASB, and a community safety officer will contact you by phone or email to discuss and take further details from you and explain what will happen next. We will only visit a site or people’s homes when essential to do so and taking all necessary precautions.  

Please note - if you are reporting serious crime or acts of violence, you should first report these to the police and, if possible, obtain a log number, and the details of any police officer involved so we can contact the police to work with them.

We will continue to support you to log statements, receive nuisance logs, or send out more logs as required. We will continue to engage with statutory agencies as and when required to support case management.

For the latest information on what you can and can't do, please visit the Government's website.

The government has instructed that you must not leave or be outside your home except where you have a “reasonable excuse” (please visit the government’s website for advice on what constitutes a “reasonable excuse”).  The police can take action against you if you leave home without a reasonable excuse  and you must not visit friends or family inside their home (unless they are part of your household or support bubble) or any other indoor place, including communal lounges.

 • If you have to go out, stay two metres (6ft) away from other people at all times

Everyone must comply with these measures. Should we be notified that people are not respecting these rules at specific properties or within communal areas managed by us we will work with the police if necessary to prevent this happening for the safety of all concerned.

If you need any additional support during this time please contact Progress Connect on 03333 204555 and they will be able to put you in touch with our Here to Help service

Please be aware that due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, other agencies may be operating a reduced service or may even close their service, which will limit our ability to engage with them to provide evidence or support.

Benefits and financial advice

You can visit www.gov.uk/browse/benefits to check what you are entitled to claim. However, our Financial Inclusion Team can support you through this worrying time. We can arrange a convenient time for a telephone appointment.

 

 

For people employed but cannot work due to having to stay home under the government social distancing and isolation rules, for example, who:

• are in the ‘at risk’ group and have been told to isolate for 12 weeks

• cannot work as they have children

• live with someone who is in the ‘at risk’ category

• have an employer whose operations have been severely affected, i.e., temporarily halted such as restaurants, entertainment, retail, etc.

These groups of people can ask to be furloughed through the Job Retention Scheme. They may be able to receive 80% of their earnings. They should be advised to contact their employer to request this. The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme for the employee as of 28 February 2020. It will be up to their employer to claim this.

The scheme was originally set up to cover March – May 2020, to pay 80% of their contracted wage

The scheme has now been extended further as follows:

 

The scheme has been extended. If you were not eligible for the first and second grant based on the information in your Self Assessment tax returns, you will not be eligible for the third.

HMRC expects you to make an honest assessment about whether you reasonably believe your business will have a significant reduction in profits.

To make a claim for the third grant your business must have had a new or continuing impact from coronavirus between 1 November 2020 and 29 January 2021, which you reasonably believe will have a significant reduction in your profits.

The third taxable grant is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.

The online service to claim the third grant is open. Make your claim from the date we give you either by email, letter or within the service. If you’re eligible, you must make your claim for the third grant on or before 29 January 2021.

The grant does not need to be repaid if you’re eligible, but will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance and must be reported on your 2020 to 2021 Self Assessment tax return.

You must keep evidence to support your claim.

 

People receiving benefits do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for three months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020.

People will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended.

If you are not in receipt of benefits, please visit www.gov.uk/browse/benefits, or telephone Universal Credit on 0800 328 5644.

Anyone already claiming Universal Credit who thinks they may have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), should contact their work coach using their online journal, or calling the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

If you are an existing Universal Credit claimant you will be paid as normal, you do not need to contact us. Our online service is working as normal and everything you need should be available in your account.


Although staff are working on our Universal Credit telephone lines as normal, we are exceptionally busy. You do not need to call us unless you are not able to use your online account. It is important that our telephone lines are available for our most vulnerable customers, using your online account as much as possible will help protect this service.
People can still make applications for benefits online if they are eligible. Read more about making a new claim.


If you’re already claiming Universal Credit and think you may have been affected by coronavirus, please contact your work coach as soon as possible. You should do this using your online journal.

Universal Credit and tax credits were increased by £20 a week for one year from 6 April 2020.

If your income drops you may see an increase in your Universal Credit payments

Yes:

Marys community food bank - Broadfield drive

Monday  – Thursday 10am – 12pm

Referral needed for new customers. Referral form to be sent to  administratorstmarysleyland@btconnect.com

Wade hall community association

01772465006 Food bank still open.

Tenants to call 01772 465006 and foodbank will make arrangements with the tenant to collect items

Lostock Hall and Penwortham - awaiting confirmation

Tell your supplier if you can’t get to a shop to top up because you are ill with coronavirus (COVID-19) or following guidance to self-isolate. You will find their contact details on their website or your bill.
They will try to help you find other ways to keep your energy supply connected. For example:
• let someone else top up for you
• add funds to your account
• send you a pre-loaded top-up card
You will need to pay back any credit your supplier gives you - ask them when and how you will need to do this.
If your meter is outside and it is safe for you to get to it, it is a good idea to leave it unlocked. This means someone else could top it up for you.

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/ provides useful information for people who are financially affected by Coronavirus

Aids and adaptations - major adaptations

We are still accepting requests for major adaptations with a recommendation from an Occupational Therapist who you can contact on  0300 1236720 which covers the county of  Lancashire.

 

In normal circumstances this can take up to 12 months in South Ribble and 6-8 months in the Fylde.  However,  due to COVID 19 there is a backlog of work and  this will have a knock on effect to the wait period. 

A  An application will be sent to the Aids and Adaptions Officer and  the Council, the Council  will be in touch to do an assessment for a Disability Facility Grant DFG.   The Aids and Adaptation Officer will write to you to acknowledge  the recommendation from the OT,  and then your name will go on the waiting list.  Plans will be drawn up at a later date by the Council and an asbestos survey ordered where necessary, the surveyor and contractor will inform you when work is imminent and visit you to arrange a date and survey.

 

Aids and adaptations - minor adaptations

Please contact us and we will put you through to the Aids and Adaptation officer or ask the Aids and Adaptation Officer to get in touch with you.

In the case of grab rails /half step the Officer will need to measure where they are to go and then organise the work men to fit them, all the others can be arranged over the phone.

We are working with residents on an individual basis to only complete work during the current climate that Health & Safety related.

Usually this process takes up to 28 days, however these works have been suspended from March to June 2020.

We are pleased that these works have now recommenced, and thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we work through the backlog.   

If you have any questions you speak to Diana Lord, Assessment Officer direct on 01772 450600.

We are recommencing minor adaptation works externally and internally from 15 June 2020.

We will continue to follow government guidelines and will be maintaining social distancing (two meters) at all times.

We will also be wearing PPE when required.

You will be contacted as soon as possible to discuss your situation and whether or not you are happy not for us to visit your home.

Supported living

Yes, however, please make sure you follow government guidelines to wash your hands regularly and do not touch your face.

No, you do not have to stay in your bedroom to eat, but please make sure you wash your hands before and after eating.

For the latest information on what you can and can't do, please visit the Government's website.

 

For the latest information on what you can and can't do, please visit the Government's website.

Your support staff will make arrangements with you about how they will support you. They may visit you, or they may contact you by telephone or video call.

The new guidance means that home visits by contractors should only be for ‘essential services’. We will continue to undertake any emergency health and safety repairs. However, we will be unable to carry out non-urgent repairs and services in this period. Non-urgent services include gardening and any planned maintenance. Any non-essential repairs will be scheduled once the restrictions are eased.

We understand the importance of having a working cooker and washing machine. We have been able to maintain this service during the lock down. Please continue to report any repairs required to your white goods in the normal way.

Report a repair. 

Independent Living

Where possible we will avoid face to face contact and you will be contacted by your scheme coordinator by intercom only rather than by a personal visit. This also applies to tenants who have signed a disclaimer and will continue for the period of this pandemic.

If the rules allow you to meet with others outside your household, your risk of catching COVID-19 is lower if you meet them outdoors. If you meet indoors, keep the area well ventilated with fresh air, for example by opening the window. You can also go out and exercise in an outdoor public place; further information on how you can keep fit and healthy is available. Continue to observe strict social distancing with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. The more you socially distance from others, including your own household, the less likely you are to catch COVID-19. You should always stay at least 2 metres away from other people visiting your home.


Try to reduce the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing, or where other people’s activities may reduce the likelihood of individuals maintaining social distancing.

Please note that the coordinator is visiting a number of schemes so I ask that you respect that the scheme office is for their use only and if you require to talk to them please use the phone or intercom.  This is to ensure social distancing in line with government guidelines. 

In order that you are able to speak directly to your scheme coordinator they will provide you with their works mobile telephone number so you will be able to contact them during the working hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Public Health England and NHS advice is on display in Independent living communal areas, however communal areas are now closed, and should not be used at this time.

We are continuing to carry out cleaning duties on each scheme. The cleaning staff are ensuring that they continue to clean the door handles and railings throughout the buildings. 

We are strictly following the Public Health England guidance on self-isolation if a member of staff has potentially been exposed to the virus or is feeling unwell.

You can contact us in a number of ways including email, website, social media and web chat.

You can also activate your online tenancy account for managing your rent and reporting repairs.

Your scheme coordinator will have provided you with a contact mobile number that can be used during working hours for non-emergency matters during the hours of 8.30am to 4.30pm.

If you have an emergency please pull your chord for immediate assistance.

A large proportion of our housing operations teams are now working remotely to help minimise the transmission of infection and any impact on our service delivery due to staff absence.

Unfortunately we have postponed all tenant and customers involvement meetings, events, training and conferences until further notice to comply with social distancing and to ensure the wellbeing of staff and customers.

Yes, please speak to either your scheme coordinator or a member of the Progress Connect Team on 03333 204555.

You can also activate your online tenancy account to manage your rent and report repairs.

Yes – please only use the communal facilities for laundry purposes when it is your own turn, and comply with social distancing guidance.

To prevent the spread of germs in communal areas it is advisable to use facilities and toilets in your own properties.

If you need to use the communal bathing facilities, please speak to your scheme coordinator. 

If you have returned from any of the affected areas abroad - or you have family members or friends recently returned from these regions – you should follow the advice of Public Health England on self-isolation.

If you feel unwell, please refer to the NHS website for guidance and the recommended periods of self-isolation for individuals and households.

If you are worried about managing your income or paying your rent due to the situation, please contact us for guidance.

Information on claiming benefits is available on the Universal Credit website.

The coordinator will make contact with all tenants irrespective of whether they have asked for an intercom call, personal visit or disclaimer. 

We want to ensure that we can offer support to our tenants at this difficult time. They will also be carrying out health and safety checks of the building and other duties as required in these exceptional circumstances.

The government advice for those aged 70 and over continues to be that they should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household. If they do go out more frequently, they should be careful to maintain distance from others. They and everyone should continue to comply with any general social distancing restrictions. We know that those aged 70 and over can be absolutely fit and healthy and it’s not the case that everybody over 70 has a chronic health condition or an underlying disease.

But unfortunately, we also know that as you get older, there is a higher risk of coronavirus having a more serious impact with infection. Complications and deaths are more common in the elderly, even those without pre-existing conditions.

National Lockdown 3 – same as tier 4.

You should only receive visitors in the scheme in line with Government Guidelines in the tier system. 

Tier 3:  You must not meet socially indoors with anyone who you do not live with or is in your support bubble.  However, you can see friend/family  you do not live with in outdoor places in a group of up to 6 – but must still adhere to socially distancing. 

Tier 4: You must not meet socially indoors with anyone who you do not live with or is in your support bubble.  However, you can see 1 other person in an outdoor place, such as park, countryside, private garden – but must still adhere to socially distancing.

 

No.  According to government guidance all tenants should be remaining in their own homes which means your flat. 

The only times that tenants should enter the communal facilities should be when they are going to the laundry at their specified time and in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

No. You should self-isolate for 14 days in your own property and request for assistance to carry out shopping. This can be through your family or from volunteers working for agencies such as Age Concern. Your scheme coordinator will be able to advise on their contact details. All communal centres are currently closed in line with government guidance. 

Yes. You are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Without symptoms

For residents with no symptoms of the COVID 19 the Independent Living Coordinator or a Progress Lifeline responder will attend the property, open the door and shout to ask if you are ok. If reply that you are ok then they will inform the control centre of this.

If you reply to say that you are on the floor or need medical assistance then they will contact ask you to confirm if you have symptoms before entering, contact 999 and be guided by the emergency services as to the necessary action that they need to take.

With symptoms

For residents with symptoms we will contact 999 and ask for the ambulance or police to respond.

Yes we are aware how important it is that communal areas such as doors and handrails are kept clean. For this reason we are reviewing the level of our staff resources to be able to maintain a high level of cleanliness on the scheme.  We would ask that all tenants use their own toilet facilities during this time in order to keep the communal areas as clean as possible.

Progress Involvement

We are following the guidance provided by the government, and have started holding some involvement activities digitally. If you would like to be involved, please contact us at Progress Connect on 03333 204555 or community@progresssgroup.org.uk

Do you have a project that can help our most vulnerable, our older people, and help people through the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Please apply to our Community Investment Fund for Emergency Community Support funding. We have made it quick and easy to apply. Further information can be found on this page of our website www.progressgroup.org.uk/emergency-fund

Progress Futures

We are now meeting customers face to face at the booth in Sumner House Reception. These meetings are by appointment only. Please contact Progress Futures to make an appointment. We are still continuing to meet customers face to face outdoors with PPE and ensuring social distancing rules.

Being in employment has many benefits not least of all financial. Organisations still need people to keep operating. Many organisations have created new posts. The current situation will end and when it does being in employment will be beneficial.

We cannot give specific benefit advice. Please contact your local Job Centre and one of their team will be able to assist with advice specific to your situation.

This is an online facility Learning Curve are using currently. Enrolments can be done by smart phone

Learning Curve are currently only delivering courses online. Enrolments can be done by smart phone. 

We cannot give specific benefit advice. Please contact your local Job Centre and one of their team will be able to assist with advice specific to your situation.

There may be part time work that can fit around school. One of our Progress Futures Officers can help you with your CV and job searching.

General questions

We continue to provide all leasehold services however, where possible we will replace face to face meetings with telephone/video conferencing.  There are a range of means by which you can contact us as outlined here https://contactus.progressgroup.org.uk/contact-us/

In line with government guidelines we have now commenced grounds maintenance and communal cleaning where it is safe to do so.

Yes and No – In general the bulky items service is now up and running and the ordering of collections can be made through our Progress Connect Team, however we are currently unable to collect environmental items such at TV’s, Fridges, Computers.   In the meantime the local tips have re-opened and you can find more information through the council website. 

The Neighbourhood Caretakers are currently adhering to social distancing rules and are working on our estates to carry out inspections, make improvements and ensuring customer safety through compliance checks such as fire alarm testing.    

Our Progress Connect Team can provide advice using our main number 03333 204 555 or via webchat on our website.  If they are unable to assist then they will arrange for someone in our Neighbourhoods Team to contact you to discuss the matter further. 

Where we can answer your questions over the phone or by letter we will aim to do this in the first instance.  However, we are now able to complete home visits / door step visits for occasions when this is not possible. This is in line with government guidance and we will risk assess each visit. 

 

Notice of suspension of planned works in Supported Living and Independent Living properties from 1 February


With effect from 1 February 2021, for the wellbeing of our tenants, we have taken the decision to pause all planned works to our Supported Living and Independent Living properties.

We will only be working on planned programmes within our General Needs homes (with agreement from tenants).

This decision has been made to protect our most vulnerable customers as operatives are in their home for longer periods (fitting kitchens, bathrooms etc). We will be making contact with any tenants who may be impacted by this decision.

Please note, all other services (responsive repairs and all compliance-related gas and electrical safety checks) will continue across all our homes.