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Who's New? Meet the Team

I was the Assets and Compliance manager at Taff and was lucky enough to be successful in being promoted to the head of position.

 As head of property services, I have the pleasure of looking after the assets, compliance and repairs teams.  But what does that mean?  The assets team are the team that does all of the planned replacements of things in our homes, such as kitchen, bathrooms, windows, doors and roof, to name a few.  They are also the team that are looking at making our homes as carbon friendly as possible over the coming years.   Compliance looks after all items of health and safety within your homes, that’s your gas safety check, your electrical check, and also some checks you may not be aware of, such as asbestos, legionella and fire-related item (alarms, emergency lights etc) This team make you and your home are safe.   Last, and by no means least, is the repairs team, these are the team that carry out repairs to your home and the people who book those appointments with you.  

When I am not working at Taff, you can find me playing taxi driver to my little girl.  Her social life and out of school activities is almost a day job in itself. 

I lead on delivering a safe, efficient & quality multi-trade repair service and ensure that our homes are well maintained, safe and attractive places to live. I’ve recently helped update our ‘how to’ video guides which will be live very soon on our website and social media channels.

A bit about me…I Currently play outside the centre for my local rugby club & enjoy golfing during the week. I also enjoy a good audiobook during my commute to work. I also once played an extra in the Paul Potts film “One Chance”.

I understand that life, in general, is difficult right now and many people are struggling financially, which is why our approach to income collection should be always empathetic, professional and with sustainability at its core. My focus as Income Manager is to support colleagues to deliver an exceptional income collection service to you.
At Taff we are proud that we have not carried out any evictions for the past 3 years and we want for this to continue. To get there, it’s important that we maintain good relationships where you feel comfortable contacting your Income Officer.
I am relatively new at Taff and I am eager to speak with as many of you as possible. So, if you have recently had contact with our Income Team, I would love to hear your feedback both positive and constructive. You can contact me in the following ways: Call, Text or WhatsApp; 07976983929 Email; Ryan.Miles@taffhousing.co.uk

Unknown Fact – On many occasions I find myself watching Paw Patrol even when the kids have gone to school, to see if they actually save the day!

you can now see details for your Housing and Income officer by using the MyTaff app.

Homes

Having a nice, safe place to call home is the most important thing.

Recently Taff went out to tender for contractors who help provide some essential services to you.

Following a tough selection process, Taff is delighted to have appointed the following companies as service contractors.

  • Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance – CW Countrywide
  • Window Cleaning – Supacleen
  • Pest Control – Aderyn
  • Electrical Certification – Shineforms

You may see some of these teams around your properties, so please do not hesitate to say ‘hello’.

We also encourage feedback so we can ensure that our service contractors are meeting your expectations. You can get in touch using our app ‘My Taff’ or through our portal.

We would like to also take the opportunity to thank our Tenant Reflections Panel for their involvement in the selection process.

As ever, if you are unsure of a person’s reason for being near your property you are encouraged to call the office as your safety is our priority.

Taff has been granted planning approval for the development of 10 affordable flats & 1 retail unit at the former Radiocraft store on Cowbridge Road East.

The scheme will be built to EPC A standards in line with the decarbonisation agenda, including Solar PV Panels and battery storage. There will be no gas in this scheme. The scheme will also incorporate Sustainable Urban Drainage and is currently in the SAB Application process.

Although most would believe this site to be Canton, it actually sits in the Riverside Ward and is 1.3km west of Cardiff City Centre. Cowbridge Road East hosts a diverse mix of commercial and residential uses and is a primary bus route into the city centre, thus it is a highly sustainable area. The site measures approximately 0.06 Hectares.

We all want to do our bit for the environment. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Welsh Water to trial sustainable water products in our homes.

This will keep the planet happy and also help you save money on your
water usage. If you would like a kit, please get in touch.

Mary Hayes

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Mary Hayes earlier this month. Throughout her 43 years as a Taff tenant, Mary was committed to making services and communities better.

Mary was born in Treherbert, and moved with her parents to London when she was a child during the war. She returned to Wales when she got married and moved into Ethel St in Victoria Park where

the housing conditions were very poor. She joined a number of local activists who were determined to do something about the city’s housing conditions but were against large scale demolition. Instead, they wanted to keep communities like Ethel Street together so they started talking to local residents about setting up a Housing Association. Since then Mary’s name has been synonymous with Taff Housing Association and in 1998 the then ‘new’ offices were named Hayes Place in her honour.

Her dedication and determination for safe homes and supporting communities saw her collect many special recognition awards at both a regional and national level and she’s helped to shape policy across Wales.

She will be missed by everyone at Taff who are sending their deepest condolences to all Mary’s family and friends at this sad time.

Mary made such an amazing contribution to tenant engagement at Taff and across Wales… Thinking of, and sending love to Mary’s family at this sad time. – Helen White, Chief Executive of Taff

Mary was a one-off, and it was a real privilege to know her. She would always cut right to the heart of things, a real gem. And above all, a lovely, kind lady. – Elaine Ballard, Former Chief Executive of Taff

Mary served as an active member of TPAS Cymru board between 2004 – 12 and is remembered fondly by TPAS Cymru staff and those who served with her on the board. Mary was a true champion for tenant engagement and was always a strong advocate for ensuring that the voice of tenants was heard in issues and decisions that affected them. – TPAS Cymru

Mary will be missed by all the ladies at Taff’s Knitters and Natters. It won’t be the same without Mary – Knitters and Natters Group

Recently, a resident at Ty Seren ran a photography competition. She said

“I started this competition at Ty Seren because it was a distraction from my dark times. I love looking at nature so I thought that staff and residents could take part in a photography competition about nature and encourage

adventure for the perfect shot! I was really surprised how many people have taken part and there are so many beautiful and textured shots. I’m really hoping to do this again to see what other amazing pictures everyone can bring. “

The collage of all images is now being displayed in Ty Seren, making a beautiful piece of collaborative art to hang in place.

Do you want to manage your Taff tenancy on the go? Then My Taff, our mobile app for Apple and Android devices, is perfect for you!
On MyTaff you can:

• Check your rent balance, statements and set up a direct debit • Request repairs
• Notify us of any anti-social behaviour
• Contact us

• Update your contact details

• And so much more…
To register, we’ll need you to provide some basic details along with your tenancy reference number – you can find this on your rent statements.

Following your feedback, changes have recently been made to the App that makes it even easier for you to pay your rent.

This is an exciting time for Taff as we are about to adopt a new Strategic Plan that will shape and direct our way forward. We will be focused on providing great quality homes and services to our tenants and supporting communities to thrive. The Board will play a key role in making sure we deliver our commitments, by holding the Executive team to account with the right balance of both support and challenge. 

Over 30% of our tenants and customers are from non-white backgrounds. We are committed to making sure our Board reflects the communities we serve. We are therefore particularly interested in encouraging, supporting, and recruiting people of colour. This isn’t about ‘tick box’ representation – it’s about making sure we have the right skills and lived experience around the table. Achieving a  Board reflective of the communities we serve, will not only help us make better decisions but will also send a clear message that we are an organisation that values diversity and is taking positive steps on our journey to become a truly diverse and inclusive organisation. 

Ideally, on this occasion, we are looking to recruit Taff tenants to our Board, however, we are interested in hearing from anyone passionate about delivering great homes and services and who can demonstrate our values of; 

TRUST 

AMBITION 

always LEARNING, and 

KINDNESS 

We know some people feel nervous about applying to become a Board Member, especially if this is the first time you have applied. Please rest assured we will support you through the application process and help you every step of the way.  

Taff Board members are paid £2,000 per year. Please download the advice document below. 

For an informal and confidential conversation about becoming a Board member, and for an application pack,  please call our Chief Executive Helen White on 07376 013111. 

Below are some links telling you more about being a Board member and working in social housing. 

 

The closing date for applications is 11/06/2021 

Getting Involved

We need to make sure that we are continually improving tenant participation and how we listen to, and act upon, advice and views from our tenants to ensure we are providing great services to everyone. Working with TPAS Cymru, we are just embarking on a full review of our tenant engagement strategy that will ask the question, how can we better get tenants involved in helping us shape our services? Who are we not reaching, and why? Tenant engagement is a key deliverable for Housing Associations from Welsh Government so it’s important we get it right. The project will involve views from everyone across the business, our tenants and wider communities.

Who are TPAS?

TPAS are a small Wales-wide organisation that is part-funded by Welsh Government. Their primary focus is to support landlords in helping to create great places to live through engagement and having a voice.

What will be happening?

We don’t quite know where the project will take us but it is
an exciting partnership and one that we are confident will help us become a more inclusive, accessible and transparent organisation.

The Reflections Panel

“We have just changed the name of the Scrutiny panel to the Reflections Panel as we believe that looking back and reflecting on services and making suggestions for improvement is a much more positive approach. The word “Scrutiny” conjures up scary pictures of people with magnifying glasses finding fault with everything just for the fun of it. I think it is great that Taff asks us to examine the services they deliver. I was only too happy to join and give feedback. The panel has actually won prizes for their scrutiny results and change has happened where possible.”

The Interview Panel

“I joined the panel because I felt it was only right that tenants have a say about who delivers services to us. I have enjoyed taking part and learned a lot. One candidate commented how comfortable he felt having a Person of Colour on the panel and I think the diversity of the panel is a credit to Taff.”

The Allotment Group

‘Well if I hadn’t I honestly don’t know where I would be today. I was living alone, never went out socially and feeling depressed. Then, someone took me to the allotment and it changed my life. I am now there almost every day come rain or shine. I have made some great friends and am growing my own produce.’

So you see the reasons are varied but equally rewarding. As for Taff, we get to hear first hand from tenants and residents who have got involved how we are doing in regard to our services to you. From this information, we know where we have to improve, make changes or keep things as they are for the time being. It’s all about you! And that’s how we like it.

If you would like to be a part of any of Taff’s groups please get in touch with our community investment team.

In November 2020 we sent all of our tenants a survey, asking them how they felt about our services. Over 450 tenants responded to this survey and we are extremely thankful to everyone that took part. Getting feedback helps us to improve and offer better services. The report from this survey can be viewed on our website.

Initial assessments of the results show us that while overall satisfaction is around average for the sector and in some areas tenants feel happier with our services than other Housing Associations, there are some areas we need to be doing better on. For example:

• We know our services have not been as accessible as we would like during the pandemic and too many people have struggled to get through on the phone. This is why we have just upgraded our phone system, have launched our Tenant App and now have a chat function on our website. We are also reviewing when it will be safe to reopen our reception service as we know many of you have missed being able to come and talk to us.

• We are really concerned only 80% of our tenants are satisfied with the condition of their home and we will be working hard with our Tenant Reflections Panel and some of the respondents to this survey to understand how we can improve in this area so we offer everyone a home they can be proud of.

• We also know that we need to do much more work on ensuring we offer value for money service charges, keep the charges down and focus on what matters to tenants on estates.

Following further work by our Tenant Reflections Panel we expect to publish a full action plan in response shortly.

Studies undertaken in Wales and England show Boards lack diversity and that cognitively and demographically diverse Boards perform the best. Housing Associations in Wales have been trailblazers in redressing gender inequalities on their Boards and within their Senior Management Teams but have been less successful in addressing inequalities associated with ethnicity.

Taff is involved in an exciting new project to tackle this issue. Keep an eye on our website and social channels for more information.