How we are responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

With the ongoing outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the increased number of cases in the UK and Scotland we felt it is was important to update you on the further actions we are putting place here at Berwickshire Housing Association.

We continue to take a sensible approach to the situation to ensure you, our tenants, and our contractors in our wider community are as safe as possible. We will continue with business as usual in the coming weeks, but there will inevitably be some changes to the services we can provide you with.

Our main focus will be to support our tenants in cases of emergencies, financial hardship and assist in identifying individuals who require support.

What are we doing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at Berwickshire Housing Association?

We have a comprehensive plan in place to ensure that we identify all existing and emerging risks in order to enable our Leadership Team to take the necessary actions. This plan will be reviewed on a daily basis and updated and changed accordingly to ensure our tenants and staff remain safe.

Further information and appropriate updates will be given based upon public health advice on our social media channels (Facebook) and here on our website.

Our staff have been advised not to hold external meetings in any of our locations, or to attend external meetings or events. Any meetings that are required will be held by the use of digital technology.

Both of our offices in Duns and Eyemouth will be closed to the public from Wednesday 18th March until further notice. You will still be able to contact staff members to discuss your existing home, pay your rent, report an emergency repair, view and apply for our homes and obtain financial advice from our Customer Accounts and Financial Inclusion teams. You can contact us on 01361 884000 and to report an emergency repair you can call our Repairs Hotline on 0800 652 8104.

Emergency Repairs Only

From Monday 23 March 2020, we will be operating an emergency repairs service only. All non-emergency repairs will be dealt when the Government advises us that it is safe to do so.

The list of emergency repairs is attached here, and follows key emergencies outlined in the Right to Repair legislation.

We will only be carrying out emergency repairs and where the immediate safety and well-being of our tenants is at risk. 

Definition of Emergency Repairs:

  • Unsafe power or lighting sockets or electrical fittings
  • Loss or part loss of electric power
  • External windows, doors or locks which are not secure
  • Loss or part loss of space or water heating if no alternative heating is available
  • Toilets which do not flush (if there is no other toilet in the house)
  • Blocked or leaking foul drains, soil stacks or toilet pans (if there is no other toilet in the house)
  • A blocked sink, bath or basin
  • Loss or part loss of water supply
  • Significant leaking or flooding from a water or heating pipe, tank or cistern, water leaking through roof or fabric of the building due to external defect

How to report an emergency repair?

There is no change to how a repair is reported, call our free phone repairs line 0800 652 8104 as usual.

What happens when I report an emergency repair?

You will be asked the following four questions. If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, the repair will not be carried out in order to keep people safe.

  • Have you been to an affected place in the last 24 hours? or
  • Had contact with somebody with Coronavirus? or
  • Are there any household members who are over 70 years old or who have underlying health problems? and
  • Do you have any of these symptoms?

What happens when the contractor arrives at your home to carry out the emergency repair?

The contractor will ask the four questions again, in case anything has changed. If it is safe to do so, the contractor will take these precautions:

  1. Operative’s will use hand sanitiser to sterilise their hands and wear latex gloves where possible prior to entering.
  2. Customers should open the door, then remove themselves to another room
  3. Operatives will enter the property, locate the fault and make safe and/or carry out any works.
  4. Once the service or repair is completed, the operatives will ensure the work area is left clean, advise the customer and leave the property.
  5. As soon as the operative is outside the property, they will remove and bag the gloves for disposal.
  6. Finally, the operative will use hand sanitiser to sterilise his hands.

All other non-emergency works will be deferred until we are advised by the Government that it is safe to carry these out.

How we are supporting our Tenants?

We will need to restrict face to face contact with our tenants. We do have a high number of tenants who could be considered “at risk” due to underlying health issues or age. Therefore from Wednesday 18th March we have asked our staff to engage with you either on the phone or email.

Independent Living

As from Monday 16th March all gatherings in the common spaces were suspended. This includes all anticipated external partners visiting the services. A record of all visitors will be monitored and we are urging that it is only essential visits to the Courts, such as; delivery of prescriptions, personal care and emergency repairs. Our contractors have been briefed on a preferred service delivery and they have introduced a model of pre-health screening questions prior to appointment bookings.

If you are on Benefits?

If you are currently receiving benefits the Department of Work and Pensions is continually providing updates which we will share with you. If you wish to speak with a member of our Financial Inclusion or Customer Accounts team about your benefits or rent please call us on 01361 884000.

Paying your rent

If you are having difficulty paying your rent or managing your money, please tell us straight away. Please contact our Customer Accounts Team on 01361 884000.

Our local community

We live in a rural community and services are limited for some of our tenants. This is the time when you and your community need each other. If you have neighbours that are self-isolating or feel vulnerable please see if there is any way you can help or assist.

Keeping yourself safe – What is the best way to prevent the spread of (COVID-19) Coronavirus?

  • Wash your hands often with soap (or soap substitutes) and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Adopt social distancing by keeping a 2m (6ft) space between you and other people. You should not shake hands or make close contact where possible.
  • If you have concerns that you may have been at risk of spreading the infection, you should consult the NHS Inform website for initial guidance and seek medical advice when appropriate.

Keeping your contact details up to date

It is important that you keep your contact details up to date. This is  so we can contact you through either your mobile telephone number or email address.  If this has changed recently please call one of our members of staff to update your details.

If you have any further questions around the information please contact at one of the numbers below:

Due to Cornavirus are offices are closed to the public. But we are still working for you during our opening hours.

Address

Berwickshire Housing Association
55 Newtown Street
Duns
Berwickshire
TD11 3AU
Phone #1 01361 884000

Opening Hours

  • Monday

    8:45 am - 5:00 pm

  • Tuesday

    8:45 am - 5:00 pm

  • Wednesday

    10:30 am - 5:00 pm

  • Thursday

    8:45 am - 5:00 pm

  • Friday

    8:45 am - 4:00 pm

  • Saturday

    Closed

  • Sunday

    Closed

* Due to the Cornavirus our offices are closed to the public. However our staff will still be avaliable to contact by phone during the opening hours above.