In these trying times we hope everyone is keeping safe and well and doing the best they can. We are still working with as many of you as we can to, get people housed and working with Landlords and Letting Agents to keep as many people registering with us on into new properties. We are keeping our social media feeds open with news and information where possible and everyone currently receiving a Bond Board service can expect a call over the next few days and weeks as we look to ensure we can keep working with you. In the meantime you can still contact us on 01706 342404 or via the contact us section on the website.
Please be aware that due to limited numbers of staff in the office, our telephone lines will now be open 10am – 4pm every day for you to contact us. We will return all calls on our answer machine during this times in case of lines being busy.
Unfortunately the Bolton HUB will be closed to the public from Monday 23rd March and we will also be temporarily suspending our weekly drop-ins at the One Stop Shop until further notice. We continue to offer a service to all our bonded clients and landlords. You can contact us by phoning 01204 546130, email firstname.lastname@example.org or by using our website contact form.
Sadly due to current health concerns we have had to close our offices to new enquiries and interviews. If you have an existing appointment at our office please do keep this. For any new appointments we will contact you via telephone to register you. For any general enquiries please call the office on 01706 342404
Taking on board the latest advice and health issues raised by the Government we’ve sadly had to suspend our Quids In coffee morning next Weds 18th March and until further notice. We appreciate this is sad times for many of you who enjoy these popular groups but we have to do our best to ensure everyone’s health and well-being. We hope to see you all again very soon!
We have been busy last month and this month recruiting for new staff members to join our growing organisation. There were numerous roles which included: Housing First – Maternity Leave Cover, Project Worker in Bolton, Support Workers in Rochdale, Private Rented Tenancy Officer, Volunteer Coordinator, Housing First Project Workers.
We were excited to participate in the GMCA “Opportunity Knocks” Landlord event at Manchester Art Gallery, alongside Andy Burnham. 100 Landlords attended the event which highlighted how the Private Rented Sector can help solve the housing crisis in Greater Manchester. Ross from The Bond Board spoke about how landlords need not be isolated and showcased the help, advice and support available for them.
The Bond Board really values the support we get from our fabulous volunteers. We recently became a charity partner with Room to Reward a great charity that rewards volunteers with a hotel break in recognition of the invaluable contribution they make. Here’s one of our long term volunteers receiving her award from our Chief Officer. Sue has been giving up her time to support our Rochdale team for more than 5 years. THANK YOU SUE!
Here’s The Bond Board’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Beeput, who welcomed the opportunity to be part of a panel of speakers celebrating 30th years of the Cranfield Trust. They are a leading charity providing free business skills and support for the Voluntary Sector. The event brought together leaders from across the sector to discuss the future of charity leadership. You might also spot a famous face too!
We have also been working with KYP Rochdale to create promotional films with some of our fantastic Bond Board Landlords. We hope the films will showcase the services and support available to landlords at The Bond Board and encourage more landlords to rent to people on low incomes who are in need of a home.
Over 30 people got into the festive mood at our Christmas Quid’s In coffee morning in Rochdale today. People tucked in to a buffet and fab pies from Whippey’s and there were plenty of free raffle prizes as well as chatter and smiles all around. A big thank you to everyone who donated prizes and to those who attended-what a lovely morning.
We also had a very positive response to our Christmas shoebox appeal with local people, organisations and businesses dropping off shoeboxes of food, toiletries and new home starter packs for our homeless service users over the Christmas period. We are really grateful for the support from within our local community and the boxes helped to raise a smile and provide some comfort for many people in need over Christmas.
As we approach the festive season and the colder weather, we have been working hard to raise extra funds and donated items for people in hardship/crisis. We have launched our Christmas Shoebox appeal and received our first donation from this thoughtful young lad. What a lovely start to the appeal!
Further details about our Christmas shoebox appeal can be found HERE
Ross, a Bond Board employee and over 300 other runners also took part in the Manchester Run Against Homelessness to raise awareness and funding for Homeless projects in the Greater Manchester region. The event was organised by Manchester University and involved relays of 5k laps every 30 minutes for 24 hours, with all funding going towards the A Bed For Every Night scheme. What a great effort! So far over £1800 has been raised.
We’ve also been out sharing our skills and knowledge. We delivered a training event in Manchester highlighing how the Private Rented Sector can assist in the delivery of the Housing First Pilot Project across Greater Manchester. Staff from several different organisations learned more about how there is good quality and affordable housing available, the work we do with and on behalf of landlords and also how Universal Credit need not be a barrier to accessing housing.
The National Energy Action quiz at Quid’s In was a great success, with service users getting advice about reducing energy use and their energy bills in their homes. There was a quiz, refreshments and a free prize draw with one lucky service user winning a slow cooker and other energy saving devices.
Thank you to National Energy Action for providing the session, along with 1-1 specialist advice for our service users afterwards.
Our fortnightly ‘Quid’s In’ coffee mornings in Rochdale continue to be a popular and an accessible way for homeless and private rented tenants to get advice whilst socialising over a brew and bite to eat. Bringing services such as Council Tax, Living Well health checks and the Council’s Community Connectors to the sessions also helps to break down barriers and enable people to get advice and support in a environment they are comfortable with. We have recently developed a new relationship with National Energy Action who will be providing an advice session for Quid’s In service users on the 27th November.
We have also been working with local landlords in Rochdale and Bolton, delivering training about Universal Credit and running landlord feedback sessions and focus groups so we can better understand landlord issues and ensure our services continue to provide specialist support to help landlords let and manage their tenancies successfully.
We have also launched our Christmas Shoebox appeal. We are hoping that local people, businesses, organisations, schools and faith groups will help provide essential items for our service users in need over the festive period. Further information about the appeal can be found HERE
We are pleased to have expanded the support we can offer vulnerable households at The Bond Board. We have recently launched an Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support Service which supports people in the Borough of Rochdale who have been given Leave to Remain in the UK. This includes support with Universal Credit, learning English, job applications, understanding letters, opening a bank account and more.
Please see here for how to contact the service.
We are also seeing an increase in vulnerable households taking advantage of our newly located drop-in computer suite. This service provides access to free computers with support alongside to enable vulnerable households to get online and access Council services and the DWP, including Universal Credit. Here’s one of our service users looking pretty pleased about this service!
We have completed the filming with Homeless Stories and are delighted with the films. They are powerful and emotive and give some of our service users the opportunity to share their stories and have their voices heard. The films have been watched almost 20,000 times on social media, which also increases awareness of The Bond Board and the services we can offer to people. You can watch all four films here
We were also delighted to attend an event in Rochdale, along with other local charities, to thank a group of young National Citizen Service activists who presented the funds they had raised for the local community initiative, Real Change, and to celebrate youth engagement in local issues. Real Change is an initiative linked with Manchester’s ‘the big change’. Real Change is a fund for Rochdale that pays for items that local people need to end and prevent homelessness. It is run by a series of local charities and community groups (The Bond Board, The Sanctuary Trust, Angie’s Angels, Action Together) and supported by MP Tony Lloyd, Rochdale Council manager of homelessness Ian Jolly, Councillor Linda Robinson and has been visited by the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham.
Most recently, the initiative has teamed up with the National Citizen Service to engage young people in the initiative. Over 2 weeks they met the charities involved, met volunteers and service users, then planned and executed their own campaign to raise funds. At the finale event they delivered the results of the campaign and had raised over £200 for the cause! This money is vital for local services to have a shared pot of money to deliver change. The advantages to sharing this pot mean more charities have access to money to ensure borough wide, instantly accessible money to be able to help people instantly, preventing homelessness and vulnerability. They also delivered a presentation on that they had learnt whilst raising awareness for homelessness issues. Many said they were shocked by the facts and extend of homelessness, especially in their local community of Rochdale. Being able to give back on these issues was something which was now important to them. They also spread the word amongst friends and family about the Real Change and hope they can continue to be involved. Having the next generation involved in community initiatives has been a win for both the charities and young people, and hopefully it leads the way for more young people to become aware and involved in local issues and campaigns.
The Bond Board has been working with the team from Homeless Stories who spent time with us, filming the personal stories of some of the people we support. We will be releasing these highly emotive short films on our Facebook and other social media every Thursday for the next 4 weeks, starting from the 18th July at 5pm. The first film is Dave’s story of homelessness and how he turned his life around. We are asking you to watch these films and share them with your friends and families, and by doing so, give insight into the work we do and the hopes and aspirations of homeless people beyond the stereotypes. We thank our funders Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales for making this possible.
The Bond Board is working with Regenda Homes to roll out the third phase of Greater Manchester Housing First (GMHF) across Bolton, Bury and Rochdale.
Endorsed by the Greater Manchester Housing Providers and led by Great Places Housing Group, the consortium also includes Riverside, Jigsaw Homes Group, Stockport Homes Group and Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Trust and will help to deliver over 400 new homes for people previously sleeping rough, or at risk of homelessness, across all 10 local authority areas of Greater Manchester.
Housing First uses housing as a platform to enable individuals with multiple and complex needs to begin recovery and move away from homelessness.
The Housing First approach was first developed by Pathways to Housing in New York in the early-1990s. It has since been adopted in several major cities in the United States as well as in many other countries, including Denmark, France and Finland.
The project is already seeing great results in Manchester, Oldham, Stockport and Tameside and will soon be rolled out in Salford, Trafford and Wigan.
Regenda Homes is the zone lead for GMHF in Bolton, Bury and Rochdale, with Petrus Community and The Bond Board providing accommodation and support to people who use the service.
Andy Carberry, Director of Care and Support at Regenda Homes, said: “We’re delighted to be a part of the Greater Manchester Housing First consortium, who bring together significant experience and expertise to help tackle homelessness and support people off the streets.
“We’re particularly excited to be working with Petrus Community and The Bond Board across our zone and are looking forward to contributing towards Housing First’s international success”.
Rekha Patel-Harrison, Head of Petrus, said: “There is a growing number of rough sleepers in Rochdale and across Greater Manchester, and we want to be a part of a bigger solution and help find everyone a home. Housing First is based on people’s strengths, goals and aspirations, which we already believe is key to success. We can’t wait to implement this across our zone”.
Andrew Beeput, Chief Officer of The Bond Board, said: “‘Housing First provides a great opportunity to work together to deliver much needed accommodation and support to some of our most vulnerable residents. Everyone needs a place to call home and we look forward to being part of a Greater Manchester wide effort to make a real difference to the lives of the homeless so they can re-establish themselves in the community and move forward in their lives”.
For more information about GMHF visit: www.gmhousingfirst.org.uk
We have been bust recruiting new support staff for our Lottery Community Funded Homeless Advice and Resilience project and are pleased to welcome Miranda De Blasio and Karen Shanks to the team. They will be providing intensive 1-1 support to our most vulnerable service users and supporting people to recognise the strengths and resources they can draw upon to deal with crisis and move on in their lives.
Our From My Place to Yours project is going from strength to strength. The project supports people in hardship to get used essential household items from people in the community who want to pass them on. We have a team of volunteers, most of them being service user volunteers who have experienced homelessness/hardship themselves. They have been busy picking up and delivering items and helping homeless people turn their new houses into a home.
The volunteers are also gaining new skills and qualifications whilst volunteering. Three volunteers have successfully completed manual handling training. Two volunteers have been supported to enrol on a Digital Inclusion course, with one completing the course and receiving a free lap top. Two volunteers have completed a range of other free courses via our relationship with the Sanctuary Trust, including Fire Warden training, First Aid in the work place, Computer Security and Health and Safety in the office.
Two volunteers have been supported to complete Customer Service Level 2 NVQ’s with Derby College. One of them was even awarded student of the month award and a £20 gift voucher in recognition of her achievement!
The Bond Board Chief Officer, Volunteer Co-ordinator, Volunteer and representative from Derby College.
We have been reviewing our impact over the last 12 months, looking at the difference our work has made to people’s lives. One area which has seen a massive change over the last 12 months is the amount of money we have supported our service users to gain in benefit and grant entitlements and debt reduction. In 2017/18 the figure was a healthy £690,270.52. This year, 2018/19, that figure has more than doubled to £1,659,681.96. This is just one example of how our services can make a real difference to homeless households and vulnerable tenants in hardship. We will shortly be publishing our full impact statement for this year, which can be found on the ‘About Us’ page of this website.
We have become partners of the Real Change initiative in Greater Manchester. This is a fantastic opportunity for The Bond Board to provide even more support to homeless households. Having some funds in place to provide seemingly small items, but which can make a big difference to someone finding or keeping a home is very welcome. We hope that people will give generously to the fund to support some of the most vulnerable to cope and move on. For more information, watch the Real Change video HERE
Following the Christmas break, demand for our housing and support services has been extremely high. Across Bolton and Rochdale, we have received 116 new referrals from organisations on behalf of homeless/threatened with homeless households who are in need of accommodation. We are working hard to offer assessment appointments to all those in need.
We are also recruiting for our Homeless Advice and Resilience Project. We’re looking for two dynamic support workers with relevant experience to provide intensive, person centred support to challenging, vulnerable and excluded homeless people in crisis. We’re looking for enthusiastic people who see solutions instead of just problems!
Further details can be found here: HARP application details
We’ve had a busy month in the run up to Christmas, with some kind donations and great results for our service users. The Tesco Bags of Help vote is ongoing in Tesco stores up to the 31st December 18. Here we are promoting the work of The Bond Board and asking people to support our cause at one of our local stores.
After a successful bid for support, we have also been awarded 15 vouchers worth £30 each from Human Appeal UK to be spent on food and household essentials for homeless service users and people in food poverty.
Our volunteers have been rolling up their sleeves and donating their time to help us send out over 1000 Christmas newsletters to landlords and Bond Board tenants. The newsletters contain useful information about the services and support we offer and changes to rules and legislation that will affect both landlords and tenants in the coming months.
Here are Alice and Rizwan hard at work. We are really grateful to them for their support.
We are received a delivery of shoe boxes and bags filled with essential items for some of our homeless service users this week, thanks to the kindness and generosity of some of the staff at Zen Internet, who decided to donate items to The Bond Board rather than do their usual ‘Secret Santa’. It is great to have the support of people in the community, who understand and empathise with the difficulties homeless people face.
Our From My Place to Yours project is going from strength to strength and achieving some great outcomes for people. We supported a homeless family to move out of temporary accommodation into their own home, just in time for Christmas. As well as providing a Bond Guarantee for them, so they didn’t have to find money up-front to move in, we were also able to help with furniture, utilising donations from people on Gum Tree amongst others. From only having one mattress to move in with, we have managed to almost furnish the entire house with donations of furniture, all moved from the donator to the family in need on the same day, using our new van.
Here is a before and after picture of the family’s living room. We’ve supported them to not only end their homelessness by getting housed, but equally important, to turn that house into a home.
Our Big Lottery funded ‘From My Place to Yours’ Project is up and running. We have a Volunteer Co-ordinator in place, some willing service user volunteers and our own van. We can now pick up free furniture/household goods that people are advertising online as they no longer need it and deliver it straight to someone in need. A great way to recycle items and help someone else to get back on their feet.
Click on the link below to check out our From My Place to Yours film to see how it works!
Here’s our Volunteer C0-ordinator, Tom with volunteer Nathan and Michael, the founder of Reuse Littleborough.
We’ve been working together with Reuse Rochdale, helping to deliver furniture and white goods to those in need. We delivered 2 single beds, a dining table and chairs and a double bed and large freezer this week, all made possible by our new van. We used both our own volunteers and reuse volunteers to work together to make a positive impact on those facing poverty across Rochdale and little borough .
Next week we plan more deliveries and we are also moving two people who are fleeing domestic violence in the area. This partnership means we can offer a more holistic service, incorporating housing, support and furniture in a multi agency approach.
After a successful application, we are in the customer vote for a Bags of Help grant from Tesco. It’s a scheme which gives community projects like us grants of up to £4,000 – all raised from the sale of carrier bags in Tesco stores. The public will now vote in store during November and December 18 to decide who should receive the awards. Please support us in your local store. Ask for a token at the checkout and put it in The Bond Board box! You can vote in stores in Rochdale, Middleton and Bolton, including Tesco Express stores. Any money we receive will go towards supporting homeless people and those in hardship-a worthy cause!
We welcomed the Red Cross to The Bond Board who delivered first aid training to some of our service users. Feedback about the course (and the lunch!) was positive and we hope repeat the training again so that more people can get involved and learn new skills.
Our Quid’s In events are going from strength to strength. Held fortnightly in Rochdale, they give the opportunity for vulnerable households to get advice and meet services that can help them in an informal setting with a free brew and bite to eat. An average of 25 households are attending each session, with new people coming along each time. As well as advice, we are regularly consulting with attendees to find out what other support they need.
We recently commissioned an artist to work with the group asking them what it feels like to be helped by The Bond Board and what they get out of attending Quid’s In. Here is the result! Its great to know we are making a positive difference to people’s lives. (Click on the picture to enlarge it).
The Bond Board staff team and the services we deliver for homeless and vulnerable households has grown again! We are really excited about The Bond Board’s new ‘From my place to yours’ recycled furniture project, funded by The Big Lottery. We know from consultation that this is a service our client’s said was important to them. It involves matching donators of used furniture with newly housed and/or vulnerable people in need, with The Bond Board providing free collection and delivery. We will shortly be launching a Facebook group dedicated to this new project, allowing people to donate and request items via social media, as well as in person and over the phone. We will also be creating a range of volunteer roles to support the running of the project and will be actively seeking to recruit volunteers from our service users and the wider community.
We are pleased to welcome a new worker to co-ordinate the project;
“Hi, My name is Tom Starkey and I have recently been appointed Volunteer Project Coordinator for an exciting new service at The Bond Board. Over the next month I will be working away behind the scenes with the team to get the ‘from my place to yours’ furniture recycling scheme up and running, so keep tuned! My background has been in launching new charity funded projects in developing countries, such as Liberia, India and South Africa. However, I am really looking forward to getting started on something close to home and strengthening the range of services the Bond Board can offer in Rochdale and beyond.’’
We have completed our latest round of recruitment and now have a new member of our Letting Out team.
“Hi, My name is Molly Vickers I have recently taken up the role of Project Assistant within The Bond Board. I will be joining Ross and Emily in the Rochdale office on the Letting Out project. I’ve done a lot of work previously face to face helping people but this is a whole new career path for me so I look forward to getting to know new people alongside working to improve the homelessness within the borough”.
We will also shortly be welcoming a new member of staff to the new role of Volunteer Coordinator, who will be launching our innovative online, door to door furniture recycling project and creating opportunities for service users to get involved in voluntary roles at The Bond Board.
We are pleased to welcome a new member of staff at our Rochdale office who will help us to meet the demand for support for homeless households and those needing help to maintain their tenancies.
“ Hi, my name is Yvonne Kirkbride and I have taken on the role of Project Worker with The Bond Board. I will be joining the Making the Link Support Team. I come to the Bond Board from Tekoa House (Supported Accommodation). Prior to this I worked for the Prison Service. I very much look forward to supporting people within the private rented sector and am motivated in helping and making a difference in people’s lives”.
We have been working on preparing ourselves for the wide scale changes to Data Protection laws brought about by the General Data Protection Regulations and the UK’s Data Protection Act, which will be passed into law shortly and which take effect in May 18. We have been auditing all the personal information we receive, creating new policies and procedures and reviewing our approach in team meetings. We want to make sure that we maintain high standards and that everyone we deal with knows why we ask for their information, what we do with it and what their rights are. Maintaining confidentiality and being transparent are important principles at The Bond Board and help to ensure we keep a trusting relationship with those who use our services, as well as with our volunteers and employees.
We are also recruiting for 2 new roles at The Bond Board. A Lettings Assistant and a Volunteer Coordinator. Please see the front page of the website for further information.
We were very fortunate to be successful in an application we made for support to Big Picture Charity Films. They are a charity who makes professional films on behalf of organisations to help them to demonstrate what they do and who they help. They travelled to Rochdale from Essex and spent two days with us and our service users making short films with a focus on hearing from our service users and the impact The Bond Board has had on their lives. We are looking forward to seeing the finished results and sharing them on our website and social media pages. We hope they will give people a real insight into the problems people face and the impact that both housing and support can have on a person’s life.
Further information about Big Picture Charity Films can be found HERE
Here is a sneak preview picture from one of the films!
We are also working on a variety of newly funded projects for 2018/19. We have consulted with our service users and are thrilled to be planning new services which they have said they need. Watch this space for further details which are coming soon!
We’ve been getting feedback from our Service Users about their experiences of attending our Quid’s In groups. You can view the videos on our Facebook page. Search ‘The Bond Board Ltd’. It is great to hear how much people we support value what we do and the difference it has made to their lives.
We’re back after the Christmas break and working hard. January is a busy time at The Bond Board with increased demand for support, especially for those on low incomes who are struggling after the expense of Christmas. We are in the process of recruiting of a new Project Worker in our Rochdale Office. This should help us to meet the ongoing demand for Bond Board Services. Details about the role and application process can be found on the from page of this website.
What a great month. We have been overwhelmed with the generosity of individuals and community groups in response to our shoebox appeal. We’ve had a huge donation from The Yearsley group in Heywood as well as further donations from local people and the women’s group at St Andrew’s Church, Rochdale.
Here’s two of our homeless gents receiving their boxes just before Christmas. A little kindness really does help to show homeless people they are not forgotten, especially at this time of year.
We were also delighted to receive a donation of £1500 from Rochdale Remploy which we will use to support service users in need and sanitary packs from a brilliant local organisation called ‘Crimson Wave’, which helps to support homeless women to retain their dignity whilst homeless.
We are pleased to announce that The Bond Board is going to be part of a partnership of Greater Manchester housing providers, charities and social investors that have been selected to deliver a Government-funded programme worth up to £1.8m. The programme will help around 200 rough sleepers in Greater Manchester to start a new life off the streets. The newly established Greater Manchester Homes Partnership will work with ‘entrenched rough sleepers’ – people who have regularly slept rough over the past two years and/or are well known to homelessness services – over a three-year period. People who may have struggled with tenancies in the past will be given a second chance to have a home. We cannot wait to get started to ensure that people who have found themselves back on the street time and again have the chance to start a new life in the right kind of home with the right support.
Wow! A week later and here is a picture of the donations made by the children! What an amazing effort. Thank you so much to all the children at Cherry Tree Primary on behalf of the homeless and vulnerable people we support. Your kindness will be much appreciated by those who are struggling or who have nothing.
Here’s The Bond Board’s Ross Giles preparing to do a school assembly about homelessness at Cherry Tree Primary School, Bolton. The children there have been kindly bringing in donations for our shoebox appeal to help the homeless and those is crisis. They were interested to know about the numbers of children in their area that are affected by homeless and very keen to help. A big thank you to all the children at the school (and their parents and teachers) for their enthusiasm and willingness to support homeless and vulnerable people in their area.
Introducing our new Welfare Rights Worker, Andy Fitton
Hi I’m Andy. I have taken on the role of Welfare Rights Caseworker with The Bond Board. I will be assisting service users with challenging unfavourable benefit decisions and sanctions and assisting with appeals submissions and representation at Tribunal Hearings. Hopefully this will help with getting decisions overturned and benefit payments back in place.
I come to The Bond Board from Shelter Manchester Targeted Advice Service. Prior to Shelter, I worked for the Citizens Advice in Rochdale, so here I am returning to Rochdale with comprehensive knowledge and experience in Welfare Rights advice, support and guidance.
I’ve worked in the advice sector for over 15 years and have lived experience of claiming benefits due to disability in the family.
Here is me and Jackson on a recent visit to Land End. I’m the one on the right!
A big thank you to Wilko for supporting our shoe box appeal! They have kindly donated a Wilko voucher to The Bond Board so we can buy toiletries and household essentials for those who have nothing and are in need. Great to see a big businesses like Wilko supporting the homeless and vulnerable. Well done Wilko! Here are a couple of their lovely staff who presented the voucher to us.
We are starting to prepare for the changes to Data Protection rules brought about by the General Data Protection Regulations 2018. These regulations replace the Data Protection Act and have wide ranging implications for charities. We want to make sure we understand all the changes as soon as possible, so that we can make any necessary changes to how we work before the law changes in May 18.
We are also eagerly awaiting the arrival of our new Welfare Rights Worker, a much needed role for our clients in crisis. Watch this space for further information.
We are so pleased that people are getting behind our shoebox appeal. Just a small shoebox with a few essentials in it can make a huge difference to someone in need. Here are the latest boxes we have received.
We have launched our shoebox appeal this month, calling on local schools, faith groups, businesses and the wider community to support our service users in need. We are hoping for much needed donations of food and toiletries and new home starter packs. We have already had a positive response from one of our local junior schools and hope more will follow. For further information about our homeless shoe box appeal, click here
We received our first two shoeboxes from these two lovely little girls. They made a starter pack full of household essentials and a toiletry box too for homeless people in need. What a lovely start to our shoebox appeal!
We have been continuing to consult our service users, local landlords and organisations who work with The Bond Board about what they think of our services and what they need from us going forward. This has included groups and questionnaires with service users as well as surveys online to landlords and partner agencies.
We are looking forward to receiving and analysing all the latest feedback to make sure we are meeting the needs of those who come to us for help, as well as the landlords that work with us and our partner agencies.
Once all the information has been collected and analysed, we will be able to make decisions about any changes we need to make now, as well as plan for the future. The views of all those who work with The Bond Board remain a priority for us, particularly those most vulnerable service users,who often struggle to get their voices heard.
25 households attended our ‘Quids in’ group on the 17th May. Numbers are growing each month and we think this is a great way to get advice and support to those who need it, right in the heart of the community. Rochdale Council were on hand to deal with Housing Benefit queries and Living Well also attended to do health checks and advise on healthy lifestyles. Free fresh fruit was provided and the tea and coffee was flowing.
As we start a new financial year, we have been spending time looking at our impact and achievements over the last 12 months. We will shortly be publishing our 2016/17 impact statement. To give you a sneak preview, one of our achievements is that we have significantly increased the amount of money we have been able to support clients to get through activities such as resolving benefit problems, applying for grants and switching energy tariffs. The total financial gain for our clients this year is a very healthy £1,126,513.03 an increase of more than £283,000 compared to last year. 46% of our clients say they are choosing between heating and eating, so increasing the incomes of those who need it most can make a big difference to people’s wellbeing and quality of life.
Being mindful of the problem of fuel poverty amongst the people we work, we were pleased when we were accepted to organise and host an energy awareness training session delivered by the fuel poverty charity ‘National Energy Action’. The session was attended by Bond Board staff along with members of staff from partner agencies, including Petrus, Great Places and the Women’s Housing Action Group. The trainer, Ian Hutchinson, was very informative and helped to raise our knowledge and awareness of fuel poverty issues and the steps we can take to support clients in fuel poverty.
We have been finalising our new case management system-Lamplight. This will change the way we work across the organisation. Once in place from April 17, we will be able to capture and record more of the work we do and the outcomes that we achieve for our clients. We will be attending training on the new system in March so that we are ready to go from the beginning of April 17.
We are happy to welcome another two staff members to The Bond Board. Meet our new Trainee Support Worker, Yasmeen and our new Young Person’s Progression Coach, Mary: Yasmeen: ‘Hi my name is Yasmeen Hasnain and I have taken up the role of a Trainee Support Worker at The Bond Board. I come to the organisation with previous experience in Housing Management and Tenancy Support. I will be working with a strong team of support workers to assist and help clients who have a support need. In this role I hope to learn many new skills and use my existing skills and experience to become an asset to the organisation’. Mary: ‘I am a fully qualified Careers Advisor and Youth Worker who has over 15 years’ experience of providing information, advice and guidance to vulnerable young people in a variety of settings. My role involves working with young people aged 18-24 from Rochdale who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. I will be offering individual coaching to individuals who have complex needs as well as facilitating a variety of workshops for young people. This is an exciting opportunity to support young people in Rochdale to make a successful transition into adulthood whilst ensuring that they are aware of all housing options available to them’.
Our Quids In Group held two Christmas events in the run up to Christmas. Over 30 households attended, including some very excited children. They enjoyed games, festive food, and goody bags to take home. We were grateful to be supported by Adsa Rochdale who funded the events and attended to help out.
The Bond Board, in conjunction with Rochdale Borough Council Landlord Accreditation Scheme, recently held our own annual Landlord Forum. The emphasis of the event was on promoting local services available to landlords in the borough. A range of exhibitors attended including GMFRS Fire Service, Pinpoint, Landlord Advice and The Bond Board floating support service along with many others. Advice and information was also given to landlords, with a particular focus on the impact of welfare reform and the newly reduced Benefit Cap. Over 50 local landlords attended and we have already had positive reports from schemes noting an increase in demand, so it was worthwhile for everyone. Thank you to all those attending.
We are also pleased to welcome Reginald Opara to our Rochdale Team. Reginald is working on our Benefits Cap project, providing advice and support to Private Rented tenants in Rochdale. This includes helping those affected by the Benefit Cap to maximise their incomes, budget their reduced income, find employment and supporting with benefit and housing issues.
The Bond Board was invited to a Crisis event in Scotland, helping Local Authorities and housing providers develop a Social Lettings Agency. With Letting Out identified as a leading PRS Social Letting Agency, Ross went up and discussed some of the pitfalls and successes of developing such a model. Covering topics such as shared housing models, financing such a scheme and giving some case study examples, the showcasing went well. Some excellent feedback from Crisis again evidenced The Bond Board as a leading market expert in use of the PRS.
We have been busy making plans for out new Homeless Advice and Resilience Project-HARP. The service is funded by The Big Lottery Fund and is being delivered in partnership with Petrus. It will offer support for vulnerable and excluded homeless people, immediate crisis solutions, specialist welfare rights advice and an innovative peer-led research project.
We are happy to welcome a new staff member, Paul Walmsley, to our team in Bolton. Paul is our new Private Tenant/Landlord Advice Worker. He will be working with private sector tenants and their landlords, mediating where the relationship has broken down and providing specialist advice/support to both parties with issues such as rent arrears, benefit problems, repairs and notices to end tenancies. He will also work proactively, educating landlords and tenants about the impact of welfare reform, housing law and tenant/landlord rights and responsibilities. This work aims to reduce and prevent homelessness.
We’ve been continuing our Empty Property works, where properties that have been empty for a few months or more are bought back into use through our Small Works Initiative scheme. With a new kitchen,windows or new boiler, The Bond Board can provide interest free loan assistance, with the loan being recouped out of the rent once the property is tenanted. This also helps someone in need of housing to move into good quality, affordable housing. For more information on the Empty Property Small Work Initiative please contact the office on 01706 342404
Staff training on the Care Act at our team meeting, ensuring we are all up to date.
Staff and volunteers collecting donations and raising awareness of the homeless at Christmas at our local Asda Store. Asda staff supporting The Bond Board with our Christmas event. 42 service users attended, enjoying a hot lunch and festive treats. Rochdale MBC Council Tax staff were also on hand to give advice. Raising funds and awareness, whilst having fun at our Bond Board Quiz night. Our Chief Officer, Andrew Beeput with Quizmaster Andrew Kelly. The event was held at The Flying Horse pub in Rochdale and supported by landlord Ben and his mum, Pat.
Over 40 landlords attended our Landlord’s Forum at Milnrow cricket club. Getting up to speed with the changes to Housing Law brought in by the Deregulation Act 2015 and finding out about empty property initiatives available from Rochdale Council.
The Bond Board facilitated a training event alongside Social Welfare Training “An Introduction to Welfare Benefits”. It was designed to help build expertise in welfare benefits in the community. It was offered to community centres in order for them to be able to offer peer to peer mentoring with the rolling out of Universal Credit in the borough. Ten attendees from six different organisations attended. Feedback from Course Attendees 9th June 2015 Which part of the course did you find most useful? Enjoyed the course, got a lot of information from it. RWWA All were very useful, particularly breaking down the different groups of means tested and non means tested. Sparth CC Universal credit and means and non means tested benefit. Excellent course for front line advice worker with good reference handout. KYP