Coronavirus updates and information

icons relating to exiting lockdown

As lockdown measures are eased, we are really pleased to be able to restart more services, in line with the latest government guidance. We are now ready to take repairs requests online and by email from 10 August 2020.

(View the latest service update in PDF format)

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, our primary focus has been on delivering essential services to customers, while keeping each other safe.

Our services are being restored in phases. In phases 1 and 2 our teams have been working flat out to complete repairs for customers who have been waiting since before lockdown; completing outdoor works to properties; and getting empty homes ready to let. Your patience and understanding during this period means we are now ready to restore other services and move to phase 3.

10th August calendar icon  From 10 August

• you can report non-emergency repairs using myGreenSquare, our website, and by email to info@greensquaregroup.com

• our standard adaptations service will resume

• we will accept written requests by email or letter for tenant alterations

17th August calendar icon  From 17 August

• new mutual exchange applications will be accepted

24th August calendar icon  From 24 August

• you will be able to report non-emergency repairs by phone to our contact centre on 01249 465465

7th September calendar icon  From 7 September

• our full range of services will be available by phone

• major works (kitchen and bathroom upgrades, for example) will restart

 

GreenSquare staff member working in neighbourhood

Estates services: Due to lockdown we are experiencing high volumes of items left in communal areas; our teams are in the process of removing all fire risk items in order to ensure the safety of customers.

55+ services: We are putting measures in place to restore on-site services and reopen communal areas within our sheltered housing and extra care schemes in September.

* All dates are subject to there being no change to the government’s advice in relation to coronavirus; our priority will always be to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

Our offices and Chippenham reception remain closed.

 

Keeping customers and staff safe while working in your home

If you have developed Covid-19 symptoms, or had a confirmed case, within the last 7 days please contact us straight away so that we can update our records. We ask this to ensure we are protecting our staff and other customers and reduce the risk of transmission.

When you contact us to report a repair, our contact centre staff will ask you some additional questions, and so will our operatives when they visit your home. When our operatives arrive at your home, they will be wearing uniform, gloves and a face mask. They will knock on your door and stand two metres back. Once they have all the necessary information, they may change their personal protective equipment to ensure it is more suitable for the task they have to do.

Find out more about how we are keeping you and our staff safe while working in your home.

 


 

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 Customer service

Our current contact centre hours are Monday to Thursday 8am-5.30pm, Friday 8am-5pm. Remember you can get in touch with us using myGreenSquare, email, or phone (full details are on our 'Contact us' page). At other times calls will continue to be handled by our out-of-hours provider.

Our customer reception at Methuen Park, Chippenham, is closed until further notice.

 

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 Repairs and appointments

During lockdown, we have been prioritising essential health and safety-related work (including gas safety inspections and other compliance work) and services to our most vulnerable. This helped ensure we could target and use our resources in the most effective way.

Emergency repairs include (but aren’t limited to):

  • total loss of electricity
  • total loss of water supply
  • any loss of heating or hot water
  • any serious leaks in your home
  • any unsafe or insecure external window, door or lock.

This means that when you contact us, we will ask you some questions to assess and prioritise your repair, so that we can find out the best way to help you, while doing what we need to do to keep everyone safe.

From 10 August, you can report non-emergency repairs using myGreenSquare, our website, and by email. From 24 August, you will be able to report non-emergency repairs by phone to our contact centre.

Keeping you safe in your home remains our priority. We have recently updated the fire and electrical safety section on our website; please take the time to read this important information here.

We ask all customers requesting emergency repairs, or other essential visits, to please let us know if they are self-isolating or otherwise affected by coronavirus as we need to protect our colleagues too.

Find out how we are keeping you and our staff safe while working in your home.

 

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 Letting and viewing process

Once your local authority has nominated you for one of our properties, or you have made a successful bid through their choice-based letting system, we’ll contact you to complete an application and needs assessment over the phone.

We’ll ask you about your income and expenditure, and ask you some questions about your family’s needs. This is to make sure the property is suitable for you. We’ll ask you to send us copies of identification, and any immigration documents, for you and anyone 18 or over, who will be part of your household by email, text or post to check your right to rent. This is important as we cannot complete your application until we have all the information we need to do this.

Once we’ve completed the application process, and know the property is likely to be suitable for you, we’ll arrange a viewing.

Viewing your home

Your safety and that of our staff is extremely important. Our colleagues will be wearing masks and gloves and following social distancing (as per national guidelines). Please bear in mind we can allow only one person, or two if this will be a joint tenancy, to view the property.

Please don’t bring any children with you as our colleague at the property won’t be able to let you in. In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible for an occupational therapist to accompany you if needed, but this must be arranged in advance.

  • You will be asked three Covid-19 screening questions before we arrange an appointment with you to viewing.
  • We’ll give you a phone number to call to let us know you have arrived.
  • We’ll open doors before inviting you into the property but won’t accompany you inside. Please sanitise your hands before entering and try not to touch any surfaces unless this is essential.
  • When you have left the property the member of our team will phone you. They will answer any questions or queries you have and will let you know what should happen next.

Signing your tenancy

  • We’ll arrange an appointment with you to go through the documents over the phone. And we will email the documents needed for your sign-up appointment to you in advance.
  • Our housing officer/community officer/house manager will call you to go through the documents with you and any joint applicant. They will provide any additional information you might need.
  • Joint applicants both need to sign the tenancy agreement and return copies via email.
  • After your tenancy agreement is signed, we’ll give you the code to a key safe (and let you know where the safe is), where you will find a key to your new home.

Follow the link below to download this information for future reference:

Letting and viewing process (PDF)

 

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 Financial support

We know that these are frustrating and unsettling times for everyone.

If you are worried about financial difficulties, we encourage you to get in touch with us straight away – by either emailing us at info@greensquaregroup.com or by sending us a message via myGreenSquare – so that we can offer help and support as soon as possible.

Government information to explain furlough and other benefits during this time can be accessed here: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support

 

 

 

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 Foodbanks

We know it’s a challenging time for everyone at the moment as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds. Foodbanks are community organisations aimed at supporting people who cannot afford the essentials in life.

Foodbanks work with referral agencies to provide food vouchers for people in crisis – please don't contact a foodbank directly yourself. Instead, in the first instance, please contact the Citizens Advice Bureau, or your local council, to get a voucher for your local foodbank, and for further information about what to do next. If you're a regular user of a foodbank, please contact your usual voucher provider.

Once you have been issued with a voucher, you can exchange this for three days’ emergency food at your nearest foodbank centre. (If you are not given a voucher or voucher number, you will be given alternative guidance/instructions.)

Please be aware that foodbanks are making every effort to stay open during this crisis, but many are largely dependent on volunteers, so their service might also be affected at this time.  

If you can afford food but are unable to get it due to self-isolating or for another reason, please contact your local council or Citizens Advice.

 

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 Community groups, support and information

Communities across the country have risen to the challenges presented by the coronavirus to make sure people are supported through this very difficult time.

To find local community support in your area, please visit one of the following (we will continue to update this information if and when it changes):

Oxfordshire

Wiltshire

Swindon

Gloucestershire

 

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 Domestic abuse support

SafeLives have published a guide on staying safe to support victims of domestic abuse through this challenging time. Read it here.

Always call 999 if it's an emergency or you're in immediate danger.

Wiltshire

The Phoenix Project
Tel: 01225 775276
Email: helpdesk@splitz.org
Website: https://www.splitz.org

Gloucestershire

GDASS
Tel: 01452 726570
Email: support@gdass.org.uk
Website: https://www.gdass.org.uk

Oxfordshire

Domestic abuse support services in Oxfordshire

 

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 Working safely during Covid-19 – risk assessments

Our working arrangements during this period are guided by a series of specific risk assessments which can be viewed here.

 

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 Useful resources

GOV.UK – Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance

NHS – Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for everyone

Universal Credit – Coronavirus and claiming benefits

Citizens Advice – Free, confidential information and advice

 

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