As well as the changes we have made to our main repairs and contact services, it has also been necessary to make some changes to other services:
Drop in Citizen's Advice service
We have suspended the Citizen's Advice drop in sessions as Emily House but we are continuing to work in partnership with Citizens Advice to provide free, independent and confidential advice about benefits over the phone. Simply call us on 020 8354 5500 to make a telephone appointment (CAB will call you back) or call your local CAB directly.
- Citizen's Advice appointments are available every Thursday and Friday from 9.30am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4.30pm.
Anti-social behaviour (ASB) service
In line with government guidance we have made changes to the way we deliver our ASB service - suspending all face-to-face home visits and office interviews.
We continue to take all reports of neighbour disputes and illegal or anti-social behaviour seriously and are now using telephone and video conferencing to interview victims and witnesses of serious ASB. We also continue to offer an independent mediation service which is also being conducted using telephone and video conferencing.
Along with these changes, the introduction of the Coronavirus Act 2020 means we will encounter delays in progressing some types of legal action. We are still able to apply for injunctions in the most serious cases and, where appropriate we will also work closely with other agencies such as the Police and Local Authorities. The changes may mean it takes us slightly longer to investigate and resolve ASB cases with our aim to resolve matters without legal action.
You can report ASB via our online form, the MyOctavia app, or by calling us on 020 8354 5500.
Sales and lettings
Once the government gave the all-clear for house moves to re-commence, our sales and letting services launched a virtual viewing offer. Buyers and renters are now able to take a virtual tour of a selection of our homes which give a realistic walkthrough of the properties. We are adding virtual tours to our website one by one, so keep an eye out over the coming weeks. If you have questions regarding any of the homes you see, please contact us on 020 8354 5500. Please note that we are unable to complete any Mutual Exchange agreements at this time.
Communal cleaning services
Our caretakers are continuing with normal cleaning services as far as possible, concentrating on areas such as door handles, hand rails and lift panels. But there is some pressure on staffing resources at the moment, so if you are not receiving your normal service, please bear with us. We are working to get things back to normal as soon as we can. Our staff are issued with Personal Protective Equipment for their protection but we do ask that residents contact their local caretakers by phone wherever possible for the time being, rather trying to meet them to talk face-to-face or knocking on their doors.
Our contractors are continuing to provide our grounds maintenance service to our schemes. This will be regularly reviewed in line offical guidance and staffing levels.
Play areas/ play equipment
The use of playgrounds and play equipment is currently not allowed.
You can find frequently asked questions regarding communal services here
Extra care schemes
All non-essential visits and social activities in our extra care schemes have been suspended. We encourage all family and friends to contact their relatives via phone or video call. Please contact our individual schemes for further help, advice or updates on specific measures in place.
All group befriending sessions have been temporarily stopped. Our popular one-to-one befriending service has been replaced by one-to-one phone befriending sessions to limit face-to-face interactions and in addition we are also utilising volunteers and diverting staff to assist with shopping and basic support for those most in need. Due to an increased level of demand, we are rapidly growing our phone services as much as we can. We have been touched by the number of new people who have come forward to offer to volunteer with us since the lockdown began. We are currently training our new recruits remotely and matching them to people in need of companionship as quickly as we can. If you would like to offer help, you can find out how here.
In light of the latest advice from the Government and from Public Health England, we have decided to close our charity shops until further notice. As a consequence, we will be unable to accept donations for the time being. We kindly ask our supporters to please not leave any donations outside our shops. Thank you for your patience and understanding with this.
Youth services - Base@theReed
All face-to-face youth work activities including those delivered at Base@theReed have been temporarily suspended and replaced with virtual sessions. The team have put together some engaging online activities which are free for young people to get involved with. You can sign up with the Base and view the list of activities here.
Food Bank Referrals
We are still carrying out Food Bank referrals remotely so contact us on 020 8354 5500 if you would like to make a referral. To minimise the spread of the virus, food parcels are being delivered by the Food Banks straight to people's homes.