Social landlord Aspire Housing has warned only emergency repairs will be carried out on its properties during the coronavirus pandemic.
The housing association – which looks after 9,000 tenants – is no longer doing non-emergency work to limit contact between staff and the public during the Covid-19 emergency.
Aspire Housing is part of We Are Aspire, which also includes apprenticeship training provider PM Training, and community-support charity Realise.
Group chief executive Sinéad Butters said: “The safety and wellbeing of our customers, learners, apprentices and colleagues will always be our top priority, and our actions will reflect that.
“We’re in uncertain times right now, but we’re doing everything we can to offer support to those who need it and to keep our services running as smoothly as possible.
“Unfortunately, we have to adapt some of our services to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and to account for colleague resources, which may be more limited in the coming months.
“All of our essential services will continue, essential visits to meet customers when they need us, safety checks to keep people safe, sharing money and employment advice, completing repairs, continuing the vital education of our learners and apprentices; these things will all continue. However, we will need to change the way we provide some of these services.
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“We’re moving to more telephone calling than face-to-face, our office at Castle House has been closed, and in the interest of public safety Aspire Housing will only be making emergency repairs and essential safety checks. PM Training has closed its training centres, although learning will continue remotely.
“We are also focusing the support we offer through our businesses and Realise charity. We are diverting funds to where they’re needed most: supporting vulnerable people and their families.
“These are unprecedented times, but we’re working hard to deliver the best service possible for our communities.”
Here’s what’s classed as an emergency repair:
- Total loss of power;
- Communal lights not working;
- No hot water;
- A blocked toilet or drain;
- No heating;
- A fire alarm failure;
- Structural issues sparking a safety concern;
- An uncontrollable water leak;
- A broken door entry system.
Aspire tenant Kim Doyle, of May Bank, said: “I understand why Aspire is doing this and I appreciate any repair has to be an emergency only. I’m fine with that while everyone is on lockdown.”
Apprentices are being sent learning materials and resources on a weekly basis. They have remote access to assessors, tutors, and mental health counselling. Learners on study programmes will be paid as normal by PM Training.
Meanwhile, Realise charity is now funding new activities to support customers most affected by the coronavirus outbreak to help deliver food and essential items and to make sure everyone has someone to talk to during their time of need.
Aspire Housing customers who need additional support or have any questions should call 01782 635200.