Announcing this year’s Denbighshire Housing Tenant Award Winners!
Our second Denbighshire Housing Tenant awards have been held and celebrated the achievements and participation of our tenants, the work within communities and showcasing projects that are happening across Denbighshire.
Over 95 guests attended this prestigious event at the 1891 Restaurant, Rhyl, including tenants, local business sponsors and key housing and council professionals. We’d like to thank our main sponsor, Brenig Construction and TPAS Cymru for compering the awards, making everyone feel at ease and enjoy the evening.
We are so proud to announce our second Denbighshire Housing Tenant Award winners!! Huge congratulations to:
- Tenant of the Year: Gwenda Williams
- Young Tenant of the Year (under 25): Makayla Flynn
- Good Neighbour of the Year: Gwyndaf ‘Jock’ Davies
- Housing Resident / Community Group of the Year: Trem y Foel Community Centre, Ruthin
- Customer Services Award for Denbighshire Housing: Owen Evans
- Community Project of the Year: Community Hwb Cymunedol Pengwern, Llangollen
- Community Hero: Jonathan Lawton
- Garden of the Year – Community area: Gellifor and Llangynhafal
- Garden of the Year – Tenant/individual: Carolyn Philips and Alun Scourfield
- Garden of the Year – Communal area: Llys Offa
- Lockdown Hero: Debbie Holmes
- Denbighshire Housing Award: Adam Garvey and Richard Jones from GCS Heating Services
Councillor Rhys Thomas, Cabinet Lead Member for Housing and Communities, said: “The Denbighshire Housing Awards continue to go from strength to strength. It’s great to bring communities and individuals together to celebrate what they have all achieved through hard work, determination and simply being great tenants.
“Day in day out we see a huge amount of positive work going on throughout our communities led by our tenants to help support and improve the quality of life for all.
“Being shortlisted for an award is an honour for those groups and individuals and our thanks go to them for their efforts in their local communities”.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 update
Changes to The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016
The Welsh Government has recently announced that it is implementing changes to The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016. This affects our tenancy agreements from the 1 December 2022. We have put together this helpful guide to help explain what these changes mean to our tenants.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act (RHA) 2016 – what is it & what does it mean?
- From the 1 December 2022, the Welsh Government plans to implement the RHA. This will change the way we rent our homes, improving the rental experience for you.
- The new act will improve the way we rent, manage, and how you live in rented homes in Wales.
What do these changes mean to you?
- You won’t need to do anything. We will provide you with new contracts/agreements in the next 6 months.
- Under the new law, you will be known as 'contract-holders'. We will replace tenancy agreements with 'occupation contracts’.
- For 'contract-holders' (you) this will mean.
- Receiving a written contract setting out your rights and responsibilities.
- Improved succession rights, these set out who has a right to continue to live in a dwelling, for example, after the current tenant dies.
- More flexible arrangements for joint contract-holders, making it easier to add or remove others to an occupation contract.
How will it affect you?
- You will receive a replacement occupation contract within 6 months of the 1 December.
- New tenants after the 1 December will sign the new occupational contract in the usual way and will receive a copy within 14 days.
- The occupational contract will be set out in a ‘written statement’. This statement will confirm the terms of the contract and contain all the required contractual terms as provided by the Welsh Government. These are:
- Key matters: For example, the names of the landlord and contract-holder and address of the property. These must be inserted in every contract.
- Fundamental Terms: Covers the most important aspects of the contract, including how we gets possession and our obligations regarding repairs.
- Supplementary Terms: Talks about the more practical, day to day matters applying to the occupation contract. For example, the requirement to notify us if the property is going to be left unoccupied for four weeks or more.
- Additional Terms: Addresses any other specifically agreed matters, for example a term, which relates to the keeping of pets.
Will I still be a tenant under the RHA?
Yes, you will still be a tenant. Your tenancy agreement will be known as an occupation contract.
What happens to my existing tenancy agreement after 1 December?
Our current tenancy agreements will convert into an ‘occupation contract’, which will replace the tenancy agreement. Many of our existing terms will stay the same but some things will change e.g., we need to give you more notice of a rent increase.
Will these changes affect my rent?
No, this has no effect on your rent or cost you any money.
What do you need to do?
When you get your new Occupation Contract, you will need to read it, and make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities.
These changes are supported by tenant organisations such as TPAS Cymru and in partnership Shelter Cymru.
For more information and some frequently asked questions created by the Welsh Government, visit https://gov.wales/renting-homes-frequently-asked-questions-tenants
Optimised Retrofit Programme (ORP) update
Phase 2 - Rhydwyn Drive, Rhyl
Work has started on the Welsh Government-funded energy improvements programme to the rest of our properties on Rhydwyn Drive, Rhyl.
- Fitting solar panels – these will generate electricity and store it in connected batteries to allow tenants to use energy in the evenings.
- Better external wall insulation – this will help reduce drafts and the energy needed to heat each home, especially during winter time.
Councillor Rhys Thomas, Lead Member for Housing and Communities at Denbighshire County Council said: “It is great to see the start of the second phase of energy improvement work at Rhydwyn Drive.
"Following completion these homes will have improved energy efficiency in times of rising fuel costs and will also better support the council’s work to reduce our carbon footprint across the county."
Canol y Dre, Ruthin:
Our second programme, that will be starting this autumn, is on 17 properties in Canol y Dre, Ruthin.
This project will improve:
- The appearance, roofs and rendering. These improvements will help reduce drafts and the energy needed to heat homes, especially during the winter.
- Improve energy measures, including solar panels, batteries and external wall insulation o four tenant’s homes. The solar panels will generate electricity, that will be stored in the batteries, to allow tenants to use energy in the evenings.
Cllr Rhys Thomas, Lead Member for Housing and Communities at Denbighshire County Council said: “We are really pleased to introduce our energy improvement works to our council homes on Canol-Y-Dre.
“Following completion, these homes will have improved energy efficiency in times of rising fuel costs and will also better support the Council’s continuing work to reduce our carbon footprint across the county.
Aberadda, Llangollen – Flat Roof Replacement Scheme
Denbighshire Housing has started working on replacing the flat roof at our Aberadda flats in Llangollen. The flats were originally built in the 1960’s, when flat roofs were popular. We have repaired the roof in the past, but there are flaws in the general design of the flats. We are now working to improve the roof and overall appearance of the flats.
We are building over the existing roof, with a steel frame pitched roof. This type of roof will get rid of all the problems the old roof had, as well as improving the thermal efficiency of the flats because we can insulate it better. The new slate like roof will also blend in better with the surrounding properties.
As part of the project, we are also upgrading and improving the outside appearance of the flats. This will modernise the look and feel, as well as improve the overall insulation of the building. We are really excited about this project and similar projects that we have planned across Denbighshire to improve the energy efficiency of our tenant’s homes.
New homes update
In our last newsletter, we shared some pictures of our new apartment development on the old library site on Nant Hall Road in Prestatyn. Since then, our contractor has been making good progress with the construction works, and the steel frame is now in place. This gives a good impression of how big the development will be once it’s finished. Construction of the fourteen apartments will be complete next spring.
Last year we told you that we’d bought the old tax office in Churton Road, Rhyl to convert it into apartments. Work has now started on site and the twelve apartments will be ready for tenants next summer.
Last year we bought some new affordable homes on the Cysgod y Graig development in Dyserth, listed on Tai Teg. We have been given the opportunity to buy some more this year, and these include three semi-detached houses and four bed apartments. We hope to be able to tell you more in our spring edition and will be available on Tai Teg soon.
In the next newsletter, we’ll be able to share with you our finished energy efficient Passivhaus houses and apartments we’ve been building in Denbigh and Prestatyn. With energy prices rising, the benefits of building this type of housing will be even more important in the future. Keep an eye out on our social media channels for up-to-date news.
Community Development Update
Our community development (resilience) team have been busy over the summer, delivering support, advice and fun activity programmes within our communities. These include:
Let’s Play Out:
During the summer holidays, we worked in partnership with South Denbighshire Community Partnership (SCDP), Denbighshire Leisure Ltd, and Denbighshire Play. Together we delivered Let’s Play Outside sessions in Corwen (Wednesday’s 10:30am-12:30pm) and Llangollen (Wednesday’s 2:00-3:00pm) for over 100 people! Activities included sports, messy play and art crafts. Families said that they really enjoyed the weekly sessions and can’t wait for them to be on every school holidays. Please keep an eye on SCDP’s Facebook page for more information.
Cost of Living Roadshows:
Working in partnership with Welsh Water, Nest, Warm Wales, Cambrian Credit Union, Citizen’s Advice Denbighshire, Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit, and Working Denbighshire, our team have been on tour across the county, advising people about the cost-of-living crisis.
We wanted to visit our communities, listen to people about their worries, offer advice and support about rising costs of energy, fuel and food. Partners were able to share ideas, hints and tips to help over the coming months.
Over 450 residents came along to our roadshows, with 26 being referred for more support. Feedback from the events showed that this is something that communities want, and we hope to be out and about again soon. Please keep an eye on our social media accounts for up-to-date information.
Eat Well, Cook Slow Project:
After a successful pilot in 2020/21, Denbighshire Housing and Citizens Advice Denbighshire came together again to deliver slow cookers to our tenants.
The idea of the project was to connect with tenants who were at risk of falling into food and fuel poverty this winter. 66 tenants were given a slow cooker, fresh ingredients, a recipe book, and a link to online demonstrations on how to prepare meals, along with energy saving measures.
We checked in with tenants to see how they were getting on, as well as having a chat about maximising household income, reducing expenses where they could, resolve debt issues, energy and utility advice, and how to apply for grants and entitlements.
As this was such a successful project, we will continue to work with Citizen’s Advice Denbighshire in the future, to help our tenants.
Pengwern Community Hub Official Opening:
This August, the Chairman of Denbighshire County Council officially opened of the new Pengwern Community Hub. Families from the local community came along to enjoy activities including arts, crafts, nature, hair braiding, bracelets, keyring making to name a few. There was also bike health checks, entertainment and refreshments.
This new hub aims to increase opportunities for people to raise skills and aspirations, as well as resources to deliver activities and services to support people.
Councillor Rhys Thomas, Lead Member for Housing and Communities, said: “We are really proud to continue working with our partner organisations in supporting the hub’s continued work to increase the overall wellbeing of the local community.”
Margaret Sutherland, Chief Executive Officer of South Denbighshire Community Partnership (SDCP) said: “SDCP are delighted to have worked in partnership with Denbighshire County Council, Denbighshire Housing and Friends of Pengwern on the development of the community hub, which will provide enhanced activities and services for the Llangollen community.
“Extensive consultation in the summer of 2021 identified services and activities that the community felt were needed. All partners have a very clear aspiration for the hub to provide a place that the Llangollen Community will embrace and actively contribute to the management and direction of.”
Keep an eye on the Hub’s Facebook page for up-to-date activities they have planned.
Cost of living crisis advice
Citizen’s Advice Denbighshire
The cost-of-living crisis has had a detrimental impact on all of us. The price of food and goods is higher, the amount it costs to heat our homes has increased (with the energy price cap set to increase again later this year), fuel is more expensive, and people’s income just isn’t stretching as far as it used to.
If you’re finding it hard to keep on top of your bills, struggling with debt management, aren’t sure whether your home is as energy efficient as possible, or would just like peace of mind knowing you’re claiming everything you’re entitled to, Citizens Advice Denbighshire is here to help.
We are able to offer free, confidential, impartial, and confidential advice and support.
With an income maximisation session, we’ll help make sure you’re claiming what is yours and that you’re receiving the correct amount of benefit, we’ll help identify and manage any debts and arrears you might have, we can refer you on to larger schemes and projects (whether that’s for new boilers or insulation through Nest, or helping with whatever grants are available), and we’ll help you with practical energy efficiency advice and small measures.
If you’re a member of the Armed Forces community, we have dedicated specialist energy advisers ready to help. Thanks to our partnership with Woody’s Lodge, with funding from the Energy Redress Scheme, our Force for Energy Project is able to offer you a home visit - alongside our usual offer of advice, support, and referral - to properly assess whether your home is as energy efficient as possible and give you small measures to help towards that.
With the cost-of-living set to increase, it’s important that you have access to all the support you need before crisis, so get in touch today for free, independent, impartial, and confidential advice.
Call 08082 787 933 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. See an adviser in our virtual waiting room (Monday-Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm) >>> https://attenduk.vc/area-1
Here are some helpful websites for more advice and support:
Denbighshire County Council - www.denbighshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living
Money Helper UK - https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en. MoneyHelper joins up money and pensions guidance to make it quicker and easier to find the right help, MoneyHelper brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.
Turn2us - https://www.turn2us.org.uk/. Turn2us is a national charity, which tackles financial insecurity. It offers services to calculate what benefits you may be entitled to and runs a helpline to give support and information to people who don’t have access to the internet or find it hard to get online. Their helpline is 0808 802 2000
StepChange - https://www.stepchange.org/. StepChange provides free, expert debt advice either online or via the phone. You can speak to them about your debts, and they will look at your financial situation and advise you on what you can do next. Their debt advice helpline 0800 138 111
Mental Health – Samaritans - https://www.samaritans.org/?nation=wales. If you think it’s an emergency or you would like to speak to someone on the phone, call the Samaritans. You can call the Samaritans helpline 116 123 Monday to Sunday at any time, calls are free from mobiles and landlines.
Keeping warm this winter – heating benefits advice. Did you know that there are a number of payments, advice and support available for you over the winter months for heating your home? Here are just a few things to consider:
Winter Fuel Payment: If you were born on or before the 25 September 1956, you could get between £250 - £600 to help you pay your heating bills. You would normally get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you are eligible and you get a State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit). For more information call 0800 731 0160 or visit https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment (Welsh https://www.gov.uk/taliad-tanwydd-gaeaf)
Cold Weather Payment: You could get a payment of £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. The average temperature in your area must be recorded as or forecast to be zero degrees or less for 7 consecutive days. If you’re receiving one of the benefits below, then you should be paid this automatically.
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Support for Mortgage Interest
For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment
National Concessionary Fuel Scheme: You could get free solid fuel or cash allowance for fuel if you’re an ex-employee of the National Coal Board (NCB) or British Coal Corporation (BCC). You need to qualify to get the fuel allowance through the National Concessionary Fuel Scheme (NCFS), and you can only get the cash allowance if you’re already getting fuel through the scheme. To check if you’re eligible contact NCFO on 0345 759 0529.
For more information about any of these heating benefits, please visit https://www.gov.uk/national-concessionary-fuel-scheme or speak to your housing officer on 01824 706000
For more information about support schemes available at the moment, please visit https://www.denbighshire.gov.uk/en/benefits-grants-and-money-advice/benefits-grants-and-money-advice.aspx