As lockdown continues across the UK due to coronavirus, I sincerely hope that you are managing to stay safe and keep well.

As you will be aware, we were required to change the way we operate to work within the government guidelines, whilst continuing to deliver services.

Can I take this opportunity to thank you for your support and understanding of the necessary adjustments to services we have had to make.

What have we been doing since lockdown?

The majority of services have continued to operate, but have just been delivered in a different way.

This has involved using more technology and less face to face contact.

We have had to restrict delivery of repairs and maintenance services in line with government guidelines which has meant that only emergency repairs, compliance and health and safety works have been carried out.

This is to ensure the safety of both customers and staff at all times.

How have we been supporting customers?

We have been doing a lot to support customers directly as well as in partnership with others, including:

  • Dedicated Here to Help service
  • Welfare calls to tenants and customers
  • Emergency Community Fund available
  • Women’s domestic abuse helpline and website
  • Dedicated resource and help centre on our website
  • Critical tenancy support / financial inclusion services
  • Key providing food parcels

Since lockdown, we have made over 20, 000 welfare calls to customers, and it’s good to report that the majority of you are managing in the circumstances.

We have provided support through Here to Help to those tenants who needed that extra help.

What is going to change as lockdown is eased?

We are currently planning to resume the small number of those limited service areas which have been disrupted.

This includes, for example, letting of properties, community engagement as well as the repairs and maintenance service.

Letting properties

Following government guidelines, people are now able to move home again, as long as the guidance is followed to maintain social distancing.

We will, therefore, be resuming our full allocations service with immediate effect, advising you of safe operating procedures.

Community Engagement

We have held a number of digital meetings with our engaged tenants, and it has been lovely to see familiar faces and receive feedback from you.

If you would like to be involved in our community engagement activities, please do get in touch by contacting community@progressgroup.org.uk

Repairs and Health and Safety Compliance Work

The majority of tenants have allowed access to their properties to complete the required emergency, compliance or health and safety works.

We really appreciate your cooperation and understanding at this time and value the safety of staff and tenants in completing these essential works safely.

If you do have an outstanding safety check or remedial works we really need to arrange an appointment to complete these as soon as possible.

Please be assured that we are adhering to all government guidelines, including social distancing and your safety is our most important consideration.

Still, if we assess that your property is high risk, we will have to continue with any works and hope that you will continue to work with us and allow us access, even where you are shielding or self-isolating.

Before lockdown, there were a number of non-emergency repairs that we were unable to complete due to the restrictions in place.

We are currently in the process of contacting those who had an outstanding repair to discuss whether it is now safe for us to visit your property and complete the repair.

This may take some time, so please bear with us, and note that it may take longer than usual whilst we follow strict safety guidelines to protect both you and our staff.

If you have a new repair, you can now report these in the usual ways as detailed below.

Please note that we will need to assess each job to see if we are able to complete it at this time, due to the ongoing restrictions, and it may take us longer than usual to complete the works.

Planned works

External planned works will commence as soon as possible. This will include works such as painting, pointing, roofing, groundworks.

Internal planned works such as boiler replacement, kitchen or bathroom replacements will not be resuming straight away.

However, if you were due any of these works, we may contact you in the next few weeks to check if you would be happy for these to continue when we are in a position to do so safely.

Government message

You may have seen that the Housing Minister has written a letter to all social housing tenants.

You can find this letter at www.progressgroup.org.uk/govt-letter

If you would like a copy sending to you, please contact us, and we will post one out to you.

Further information

Please note that our offices remain closed to the public and will remain so until at least July, but we will keep this under review.

If you require any further information, please do check our dedicated pages on the website www.progressgroup.org.uk/coronavirus, or contact us by telephone on 03333 204 555.

Finally – a word of warning – please do watch out for scams and be aware of fraudulent operations.

There is a section on our website about scams, but also www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk has some useful tips and advice operated by National Trading Standards.

So just a final thank you to you all for your continued patience and cooperation throughout this pandemic, which has meant that together we continue to provide services safely for tenants and customers.

Yours sincerely

Jacqui De-Rose
Chief Executive Officer

How to report a repair:

Online: 24 hours a day via your online tenancy account
Email: enquiries@progressgroup.org.uk
Webchat: on our website between 8am and 5pm.
Phone: 03333 204 555 between 8am and 6pm (this number is also available 24 hours a day for emergency repairs)