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Coronavirus update – Tuesday 24 March

Yesterday the Government told everyone in the UK to stay at home to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

The vast majority of our staff did this as they are able to, and have already been, working from home. The exception to this was those staff members needed to carry out emergency safety repairs and others providing essential services.

We will be continuing with this arrangement tomorrow (Wednesday 25 March) but will continue to review the services we can provide based on Government rules and the availability of our staff.

Below is an update for residents about the services available and reminders about what everyone needs to do during the three week lockdown.

Emergency repairs

We continue to provide the emergency safety repairs detailed in the list below:

  • Carbon monoxide alarm activation
  • Fire alarm activation
  • Loss of heating where vulnerable or no other form of heating
  • Loss of hot water where no showering facilities
  • Being locked out of your home
  • Window replacement or boarding up of windows where necessary
  • Total loss of power
  • Faulty electrics
  • Complete loss of water
  • Unstoppable water or roof leaks
  • Repairs to careline units
  • Blocked sinks, baths, drains or toilets where there are no other facilities available

We’re are sending out texts to cancel routine repairs due to take place over the coming weeks.

If you have an emergency repair, please call 0808 230 6500.

Safety and hygiene steps

We have implemented the following safety and hygiene steps:

  1. Residents contacting us for emergency repairs will be asked whether anyone in their household is ill or self-isolating before appointments are booked.
  2. Appointment texts will be issued before an operative arrives at someone’s home double-checking if anyone is ill or self-isolating. 
  3. Any staff arriving for an appointment should ask residents if anyone in the household is ill or self-isolating before entering a home. 
  4. We please ask residents to leave the room the repair is happening in and open any windows.
  5. Our staff have been asked to wash their hands before they enter your home and any time they leave your home.

Environmental services

We are prioritising the work we do to manage our estates and buildings due to the availability of staff and in light of Government announcements yesterday:

Services continuing: 

  • Opening and closing laundries, including safety checks
  • Pulling out communal bins (from Wednesday)
  • Cleaning of Sheltered Schemes
  • Tree management for dead, dying or dangerous trees

Services closed:

  • All playgrounds are now closed
  • Grounds maintenance works stopped - grass cutting of communal areas
  • Assisted gardening scheme is closed
  • Stairwell checks have stopped

Keeping your distance

Our staff are very friendly and helpful, and they are regularly approached by residents in our buildings, on our estates and in our communities.

Whilst they are still happy to help where they can during these difficult times, we would ask that any resident or member of the public approaching our staff comply with the Government’s social distancing rules.

That means staying at least 2 metres away from staff and making no physical contact.

We have asked our staff to make sure they follow these rules too, so they may ask you to keep your distance. Please don’t be offended – they are helping to keep themselves and you safe, and doing their bit to stop the spread of the virus.

Sheltered housing schemes

It is particularly important that we limit the potential spread of the Coronavirus in our sheltered housing schemes, as it is more likely that people living there will fall into one of the vulnerable groups highlighted by Government.

  • We’d ask people with relatives in our sheltered schemes not to visit unless it is to provide essential care/support.
  • Our staff will only visit in person when there is emergency or essential action needed.
  • Our staff will be staying in contact with residents by phone or video call wherever possible.
  • Our staff will follow the safety and hygiene steps outlined above.

Building closures

All PCH buildings are now closed to the public including:

  • Plumer House (our headquarters)
  • The PCH city centre shop
  • The Beacon (except to tenants)

Events and training

All PCH events and training have been cancelled. This includes clubs at Plumer House and in community settings.

Difficulty paying rent due to income loss through Coronavirus

Residential tenants

  • If working residents are having difficulty paying their rent due to a loss of income as a result of the Coronavirus, please call us as soon as possible. We have made a commitment not to evict anyone in these specific circumstances.

Commercial tenants

  • If commercial tenants are having difficulty paying their rent due to a loss of income as a result of the Coronavirus, please call us as soon as possible. We will work with businesses to explore options.

Look after yourselves and your families

Yesterday the Government told everyone to stay at home. There is very clear guidance outlining the only reasons to leave your home. They are:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

Please follow the Government rules above and ensure you do not have visitors to your homes (except for essential care/support) and do not have gatherings in your gardens.

You can find all the national guidance to help keep you and your families safe here.

Contacting us

Please be assured that we will continue to do whatever we can to support our tenants, especially those who are older or vulnerable.

Please contact us by telephone or email in the usual way if you are worried or concerned.

We expect our phonelines to be busy so please bear with us and feel free to use our online services including our self-service portal MyPCH.

We’d also encourage residents to stay up-to-date with the latest PCH news by following us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thank you for your patience, understanding and co-operation in these unprecedented times.