Flats available to rent now

People looking to rent flats with two or more bedrooms in the Brierley Hill area are being urged to attend a drop in event held by Dudley Council. A number of one, two and three bedroom properties are available to rent at Chapel Street estate, Brierley Hill, which are suitable for young single people, couples and families. Rent starts from as little as £61 per week. At the Chapel Street housing office (Lower Derry Street, DY5 2SQ) there will be an opportunity for prospective tenants to drop in and have a chat to find out more. These sessions are being held on Tuesday 21 July from 9am until 12.30pm. Councillor Gaye Partridge, cabinet member for housing, said: “Chapel Street flats are a great opportunity for anyone who wants to live in the Brierley Hill area. They are very close to local amenities including Brierley Hill High Street and Merry Hill. They have a great community feel, including an active Tenants and Residents Association. “Renting a flat directly from Dudley Council provides potential tenants with a cost saving opportunity which means these properties are ideal for anyone who may be struggling financially. “Tenants also have the assurance of knowing that repairs, maintenance and service charges are included in the rental. Anyone who is interested in renting from the council should call 01384 815100.” This scheme is not exclusive to Dudley borough residents and people from outside of the borough can also contact the council to express an interest. Anyone interested in the scheme should telephone 01384 815100 or email nowaithomes@dudley.gov.uk Notes: Allocation will be subject to eligibility checks No dogs allowed Chapel Street estate is a police check...

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Community hero shortlisted for award

Brierley Hill superhero Derek Hingley has been shortlisted in the top three nominees at the regional 2015 Outstanding Citizen Award. Mr Hingley, nominated by housing manager Kelly Callo, has been commended for his kind and supportive attitude towards his community and fellow residents. Derek is a well known and respected resident of Honister Close, where many residents are either elderly or disabled. Mr Hingley has devoted much of his time to helping these residents. Originally a Dudley council house tenant, Mr Hingley went on to buying the property but refused to abandon his role within the community, taking fellow citizens to hospital and GP appointments. As well as helping with transport, Mr Hingley is more than willing to help around the community by keeping up with gardening, helping other tenants with shopping and being a staple member of his community. He has also supported tenants during times of bereavement and has given advice to other tenants towards reapplying for housing. Kelly Callo, housing manager at Dudley Council said: “I nominated Mr Hingley as during numerous visits over the years at Honister Close, all residents have commented about his helpful and supportive nature. “Some of the residents in Honister Close have commented and how they could not manage without Derek’s help. Both Derek and his wife are people that residents turn to in the first instance.” Cllr Gaye Partridge, Elected member for Cradley and Wollescote, said: “As a community council we are supremely proud of Derek’s work and commitment to his neighborhood throughout his entire life. Being shortlisted in the top three nominees is a real commendation to his work. “Its’ lovely to see so many of our tenants going the extra mile to help their community and other tenants, Derek is one of many great examples. We wish him all the best in the competition and at the ceremony.” The 2015 Outstanding Citizen Awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday 30th June at the Midland Arts Centre, beginning at...

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Stay connected- Dudley Council’s Housing Support befriending service

What is the ‘Stay Connected’ befriending service? Befriending is one of a range of services offered by the housing support team, Dudley Council. Our befriending service offers both one-to-one and group support to our clients who are lonely, isolated, or facing a difficult time in their life. We recruit and train volunteers, who then form ‘partnerships’ with clients who are referred to us by housing support officers. These partnerships can be short or long term, depending on individual needs. The support offered can be based around a specific activity, learning a particular skill, or simply being there to provide regular social contact. Stay connected befriending service is funded by Dudley Council’s ‘Supporting people’. This service is free – we do not charge our service users any fees. How we work We introduce people to each other on a friendly, informal and supportive basis – making a positive impact upon the individual. Wherever possible, a befriender is matched with someone who has similar interests. Establishing a supportive relationship… …can encourage service users to: Increase their sense of self worth increase their confidence increase their motivation reduce feelings of loneliness develop new skills and interests maintain their independence and emotional well being move forward positively. Who is it for? Stay connected receives referrals through housing support officers. The co-ordinator will meet with the individual to discuss what help they need and how the befriending service can support them. What support is offered? Befriending support might include: help to access an activity learning a new skill simply having someone to talk to. The co-ordinator can find a suitable volunteer to work with the individual. Whether it is making new friends or using public transport, attending a new group or a hobby class together, we focus on positives – qualities, interests and attributes – rather than on difficulties. Through empathy and friendship the befriender will provide support to the individual to cope with life challenges. Who are the Befrienders? Befrienders are at least 18 years of age. After initial interviews, reference checks and mandatory criminal record checks the befrienders are given relevant training to enable them to carry out their role. Interested in volunteering for ‘Stay connected’? Our service depends on volunteers and we are always looking for more people to assist us. Do you have some free time? Do you enjoy meeting people? Are you interested in helping someone who is isolated and making a difference to their life? We offer full training and support to all our volunteers. Any expenses are fully reimbursed. We particularly welcome applications from women, black and ethnic minority communities and under-represented groups. Please give us a call and find out how you can help, or request...

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People not process: co-production in commissioning

As part of work to support implementation of the Care Act 2014, Think Local, Act Personal (TLAP) was tasked with improving the understanding and prevalence of co-production with people and communities in the commissioning process, linked to new duties in the Act around market shaping. This has culminated in the web based resource People not process –Co-production in commissioning we have published today. Co-production has always been central to the work of TLAP and is at the heart of the Care and Support reforms. The definition of co-production developed by our National Co-production Advisory Group is, “a meeting of minds coming together to find shared solutions…(where) people who use services and carers are valued by organisations as equal partners who can share power and have influence over decisions made.” While the idea has deep roots, it remains a relatively underdeveloped concept in public policy in England, where the rhetoric has so far lagged behind the reality. The current context provides a unique opportunity to change this as co-production is becoming part of an increasingly strong framework; the Localism Act is freeing up commissioners and providers to be more innovative in meeting local needs and the Public Service Act is placing a duty on public bodies to consider social value in procurement. The statutory guidance for the Care Act also makes explicit reference to co-production in relation to prevention and market shaping duties, stating that, “local authorities should pursue the principle that market shaping and commissioning should be shared endeavours, with commissioners working alongside providers and people with care and support needs, carers, family members and the public to find shared and agreed solutions.” Fine words indeed. Despite an increasing evidence base for the economic and social value of co-production in improving service efficiency and outcomes – for example, Right Here Right Now: Taking Coproduction into the Mainstream and Building community capacity: Making an economic case – there has been relatively limited attention paid to embedding similar approaches in strategic commissioning and market shaping activity. But this is where the benefits can be greatest and where genuine co-production could have a profound impact in the decisions made about the future direction of services and new models of care. There are some great examples (and the new resource includes many of them), but these remain exceptions rather than the norm and at a time of sustained pressure on public finances it is now doubly important to fully harness the potential of co-production to meet the challenges we all face. So our new resource provides a wealth of learning about what works, pointers for how commissioning can be enhanced through greater co-production and a variety of tools that can help, regardless of...

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