Thank you to all our customers who continue to be patient with us and our contractors to help keep everyone safe during the pandemic.
Since the Government issued new lockdown rules at the start of this month there have been further and stronger warnings from scientists, medics and public health professionals about the acceleration of the virus. The message is clear in that we must ‘Stay at Home to Save Lives’. There are also significant concerns about the new variant and current level of reproduction rate locally, so we are now in a place which is worse than it was in spring 2020 when we reduced our service offer to you to essential services only.
The situation in Cumbria and North Lancashire, where we operate and where the bulk of our workforce travels within, is particularly concerning. Over the past few days we have discussed our response to the pandemic with the Tenants’ Committee and others on social media and with our colleagues and contractors. We collectively agree that now is the right time to go further to protect colleagues, customers, contractors and of course the NHS and other local public services.
The vast majority of our services can still continue to be delivered remotely, and the majority of staff are continuing to work from home. For services like repairs and maintenance, things will look a bit different and has need to be scaled back to the level of service that we provided back in the first lockdown of spring 2020. This is to reduce the potential routes of exposure between you and any trade person that comes into your home.
So until further notice, over the coming weeks, our service offer to you will include;
- Essential repairs where it is safe to do so
- Essential health & safety work, such as gas and electrical servicing
- External work where there is an urgent need to fix something and which cannot wait e.g. leaking gutters, blocked drains, slipped slates, trip hazards
- Extra support will be in place for any vulnerable tenant requesting a service, where waiting would be detriment
- Some work in empty properties where there is a tenant to move in
The safety and wellbeing of our customers, colleagues and contractors is at the heart of this decision, and whilst many will agree with our approach because of significant concerns about the coronavirus, we recognise that this impacts on many of you. Unfortunately this will mean that you will experience delays in accessing services or getting repairs done and we apologise for any inconvenience that this might cause. Please contact us if you want to talk about how this is impacting on you, our teams are here for you.
SLH will continue to regularly review the Government rules and the impact of the virus locally and will continue to listen carefully to the views of our customers, colleagues and contractors. At the time of writing, the service as set out above is likely to continue for several weeks but we also want to use this as an opportunity to ask you what do you think about the level of service we are offering during these difficult times. You can do this by contacting our customer services team or on our social media channels (Emily link in here).
To protect you, our colleagues and to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we have safe methods of working in place that follow the guidelines set out so you can be confident that if we come to your home, we have taken robust steps to keep you safe.
- Call ahead to check if anyone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms
- Always stay at least 2 metres away,– please respect this when someone is in your home – if you and your children cannot maintain social distancing while our operatives are in your home then they are under instruction to leave the property
- Sanitise our hands before entering and when leaving your home
- Wipe down any surfaces we touch
- Ask that you and other members of your household, including children remain in another room while our trade colleague is in your home
- Complete any work as quickly as possible
- Wear appropriate PPE
Please keep safe.
Cath Purdy, CEO of South Lakes Housing