Diary of a decent home
In east Hull, site manager James Hawker, who works for one of Hull City Council's partnership contractors, Kier Building Maintenance, is getting ready to visit his teams on Greatfield
Accompanied by customer liaison officer, Sam Clark, he visits a house on Dodswell Grove, which is at the beginning of the 20-day kitchen renovation work cycle.
The builders had already removed the old plaster back to the brick, straightened a wall, removed old units and floor boards, and the electrician had started the rewiring.
Owners of McHugh Building Services (MBS), Patrick (Paddy) and Jimmy McHugh, were on site with their workers to begin the plastering.
"We've worked with Kier for over a year and completed decent homes work in around 250 properties in this area and carried out repairs on empty properties," says Paddy.
"The council and its contractors have built up good relationships with local businesses."
Sub-contracting to small Hull firms means that work gets done by people who know the area and the properties and investment goes to local enterprises.
For tenant Doreen Hairsine having no kitchen was initially difficult.
"The first week was the worst with the mess, but it's going to look nice when it's finished," says Doreen.
"I'm satisfied with the work that's been done so far and Sam has reassured and helped me a lot.
The lads have done what I've asked and moved things for me – they're marvellous." At Bideford Grove, another property is close to being finished, with joiners and plumbers on-site for the finishing touches.
Plumber Ken Markham is fitting the radiator in the kitchen and linking it to the rest of the central heating system.
Westlink joiners Kevin Broxham and Carl Dean are putting in a new doorway.
The old one was moved to create a better layout with more space in the new kitchen for cupboards.
In addition to the decent homes work, Kier is refurbishing a 'respite' house on Stockwell Grove, to provide a place for tenants, like Doreen, to spend time whilst their property is being modernised and to host community events.
For more information about Decent Homes work in your area, call 300300.
Hull City Council has awarded the Goodwin Development Trust the contract to provide independent support to Tenant and Resident Associations (TARAs) in Hull until 2011.
The Trust takes over the contract and role performed by Hull United Residents' and Tenants' organisation (HURAT) for the previous three years.
As part of their contract the Trust will:
- publish newsletters
- support an agreed programme of tenant inspections
- develop regional links and networks for community involvement
- help people from all communities to become more active in helping to make changes to services with their dedicated workers
- work with BME (black & minority ethnic) communities to improve their involvement with the Housing Service
- ensure that issues raised by TARAs are heard by the Housing Service
- support TARAs so they are long-lasting, representative of the local population, aware of national and local issues and have opportunities to influence and improve service delivery
- increase satisfaction levels for tenants
For more information about the Trust, TARAs and tenant participation ring the tenant participation team on 300300.
Betty Smith has been a council tenant for almost 60 years
Betty and Jack Smith first became council tenants in 1952.
For 45 years they lived in their three-bedroomed house in the Preston Road area, raising 10 children.
Four girls shared one bedroom, four boys shared another and, with Betty and Jack in the other bedroom, the two eldest boys had to sleep in the front room.
"Without my council house I would have been stranded," says Betty.
"We couldn't afford to buy a house because we had so many kids – they always came first."
Betty laughs: "When they all eventually left home they still came back with their own families every Christmas!
"Years ago you could leave your rent or insurance money on the table when you went out and it would be collected.
Sometimes you shed buckets about who you had to pay and who you had to miss, but you got by.
Times were hard," explained Betty.
"Clothes were handed down or you went to jumble sales or second hand shops.
Nowadays, everyone wants everything new."
Eleven years ago, the couple moved to Bransholme as part of the Preston Road area clearance scheme and the council adapted the house to meet Jack's needs, inluding the addition of a stair lift and a seat in the bath.
Besides creating a welcoming home, knowing all her neighbours and making a lot of new friends, 86 year old Betty appears regularly on Radio Humberside with her friend Beryl.
Busy Betty also fills her time with activities like compering at her local club or going to bowls and bingo.
"I don't know why people bother putting these lonely hearts ads in the paper," she says.
"They should just go out to a local club or community centre and meet people."
Over the years Betty has seen a great deal of development in Bransholme and Preston Road and has created her own photographic record of Northpoint Shopping Centre being built.
She strongly believes that: "Hull is a damn good place to live.
It is one of the nicest places I have ever been – home is home!"
If you would like to find out more about the services we can offer you, such as aids and adaptations for your home, call 300300.
You told us...we did
YOU TOLD US... it was difficult to find information about HomeSearch on the council's website.
WE DID... we have now set up a direct link from the council homepage to make access easier at www.hullcc.gov.uk
TARA notice board
New Bilton Grange Residents' Association meeting changes
The Association has changed the times of its October 2008 to March 2009 general meetings, to the first Tues of every month.
Meetings will start at 2pm and will be held at St Phillip Church, Amethyst Road.
December's meeting will however, be an evening Christmas party.
For more information, ring 715352.
The next Tenants' Forum meeting is an evening meeting on Thurs October 30 from 7pm – 9pm at the Guildhall.
If you want to attend, call 300300 to book your place.
New members are always welcome.
Did you know...?
That ivy and other climbing plants can cause serious damage to your property.
If you are considering growing plants on your property walls you should think about taking professional advice.