Falcon Housing

Falcon Property News and Blog

SIMPLE STEPS TO REDUCE THE RISK OF BURST PIPES

During this cold weather, inconvenience and damage as a result of burst pipes is a real possibility. Repairs following a burst pipe will not replace damage caused to personal property. However, with some simple precautions the risk can be reduced.

PREVENTION BETTER THAN CURE
The following can help prevent your pipes from freezing:

• Keep the home as warm as possible even if you are out.
• If you are going away, consider leaving the loft hatch open to let warm air flow  in.
• If you go on holiday ask a neighbour to visit and inspect for frozen or burst pipes or heating failures.
• See that taps are turned off properly, especially last thing at night.
• Remember never use an electric, gas or paraffin heater in the roof space.
• Become familiar with your water supply system now and find the main stopcock which turns off the water supply to your property.

 
FROZEN PIPES
In the event of a pipe freezing consider the following:

• Put hot water bottles or a thick cloth soaked in hot water over the frozen pipe.    When thawing, start at the end of the pipe nearest the tap and work away from it.
• Never use a naked flame.
• Phone Falcon Housing who will arrange for a tradesman to visit.


BURST PIPES
If a pipe bursts:

• Turn off the main stopcock.
• If the flow of water cannot be stopped, open all the cold taps to drain the system.
• If the burst is on a pipe from the storage tank, turn off the stop valve in the storage tank, turn on all hot taps to drain the system, allow the fire to burn out or turn the heating off until the burst pipe has been attended to by a plumber.
• Phone Falcon Housing who will arrange for a tradesman to visit.

HOUSE CONTENTS INSURANCE
Lastly ensure you have adequate house contents insurance for all eventualities.


LOOK AFTER YOUR CHRISTMAS PRESENTS

I am sure that you have worked hard all year to buy you and your family nice presents for Christmas, so here are a few tips to keep these safe. Mobile phones are a very popular present at Christmas, unfortunately approximately 10,000 mobile phones are stolen every month and two thirds of the victims are aged between 13 and 16. There are a few precautions you can take to ensure your phone is safe, so try and keep your mobile out of sight when you are not using it, do not leave it in the car, or on view on a table in a pub, restaurant or public place. Make sure you lock the keypad using a pin number when you are not using your phone. Mark your phone with your postcode. You can do this by using an ultra-violet marker pen and ensure you record the details of your mobile on the Immobilise website for free at www.immobilise.co.uk.
This is a national mobile phone and property register. Do not forget to write down your unique 15 digit IMEI number which you can get by pressing *#06# on your mobile. If your mobile is lost or stolen and you’ve reported this IMEI number to the police, it can be placed on a lost or stolen database, which can lead to it being returned.
If you do lose or have your phone stolen, report this to your network provider immediately so they can block the phone. You should then report a lost or stolen phone to the police as soon as possible giving the mobile phone number, type of handset and IMEI number.
Remember you can record details of all your valuables for free on the Immobilise site for future reference.




BEAT THE BOGUS CALLERS AND ROGUE TRADERS

Bogus callers and rogue traders will attempt to steal money or belongings by either gaining entry to your home or by carrying out work and charging very inflated prices. Unfortunately, the elderly are especially vulnerable, but help and advice is available from organisations such as Age Concern, Help the Aged trading standards and the police to ensure you do not fall victim to this particularly unpleasant crime.
Burglars won't go to the trouble of breaking in if they can just knock and be invited in. So always be on your guard when anyone you're not expecting, be it a man, a woman or even a child turns up at your door.
• Bogus 'officials' may be smartly dressed and claim to be from the council, a gas company, health authority or other organisation.
• Bogus 'dealers' may offer to buy your antiques, furniture or jewellery, at what seems to be a good price
• Bogus 'workmen' may say that they need to come in to make urgent repairs. You also need to be careful of callers who offer to make building repairs or tarmac your drive. Often they'll ask for money in advance; they may even offer to drive you to the bank to withdraw money to pay them.

The advice of the police is to follow the DOORSTEP Code:
• Don't open the door without using the Doorstep Code
• Observe first - always look through a window or door viewer
• Only open the door after connecting a chain or limiter
• Refuse entry if you are not satisfied
• Switch on outside lights when it's dark to see who's there
• Think 'thief' - ask to see an identity card and check it closely
• Ensure strangers are not left alone in your home
• Protect yourself - if you are worried ring the police.

Further help & advice

Age Concern is a federation of independent organisations working with older people. They generally provide services to people over the age of fifty. Their services can include fitting security hardware free of charge, provided the client purchases the hardware, security surveys, and the safe and secure project which gives practical help to older people wishing to improve their crime prevention measures. Schemes operate around Somerset and their contact numbers are: Age Concern Somerset (Taunton Deane, South Somerset, and Sedgemoor) 01823 259 710. The National Age Concern Information Line is open 8am to 7pm 365 days-a-year. Calls are free on 0800 009966.

Help the Aged can help with all sorts of problems concerning the elderly. The advice line is free on 0808 800 6565 (lines are open 9am to 4pm), or look in your telephone directory for local Help the Aged services.
"If in doubt, keep them out".



TEST YOUR SMOKE DETECTOR

Many of you will have seen in the press the recent tragic events involving fires at flats and houses in London and the West Country. For your safety, every Falcon property will have been fitted with a smoke detector; the make and model which is fitted has varied over the years as the technology has advanced, but it is there to save lives. Older houses will have battery operated smoke detectors, some have detectors in the light fitting which has no battery and more recent houses will have detectors that are connected to the mains but have a battery back up. What they all have in common is the need to test them regularly. Falcon will regularly test those detectors in communal areas and some flats; however the tenants of all other properties are responsible for testing and replacing batteries where fitted.
Most ceiling mounted detectors will have a simple test button located on the front of the panel, and those detectors fitted in a light fitting, usually a ‘fire angel’, can easily be tested by switching the light on, and then switch the light off, then on again in rapid succession. After a short delay your Fire Angel will self test. We recommend testing is carried out weekly and if any problems are found other than replacing the battery, please contact Falcon immediately.
Remember this small device could save your life, look after it.




DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ADVICE

Domestic violence is where a person involved in or has previously been involved with another in an intimate relationship and one person from that relationship is abused either physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically or financially. The victims of domestic abuse can be both women and men and it wrecks thousands of lives.

Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off event and may be demonstrated as intimidation, threats, verbal abuse, economic abuse, or other non-violent but controlling behaviour. Physical and sexual abuse has a tendency to increase over time and the severity may escalate.

If you or someone you know is subject to any abuse, advice can be found by visiting the following web pages:

Victim Support Somerset 
Home Office - Domestic Violence 
Women's Aid 
Taunton Women's Refuge 
BBC - Hitting Home 
Right of Women - Legal Information 
Refuge 
Avon & Somerset Constabulary - Domestic Violence 
Citizen Advice Bureau 
The Hideout (for Children & Young People) 
Somerset Survivors



CAN YOU SAVE MONEY ON YOUR GAS & ELECTRICITY BILLS?

Falcon is committed to working with our partners and tenants and following a recent Housing Management meeting it was suggested Falcon provides information to their tenants on possible ways to save money by switching gas and electric service providers.

To switch suppliers has never been easier and by merely visiting an Energy Comparison site, and entering your current usage, you will see if it is possible to save money. To make this easy the web sites below can quickly and easily compare all major suppliers.

Falcon tenants are free to choose which company supplies their gas and electricity. There are no changes to the pipes and all that changes is the price you pay and who you pay it to. To get a quote takes just a few minutes and we suggest you have a current bill ready if you intend to use these sites as this will give you the information required to make an accurate recommendation.

The search will compare all major energy suppliers and the results are usually ranked in order of the savings you can make. All the information presented comes from the energy suppliers directly and is regularly updated to ensure it is accurate.

If you choose to make a change this can be done by making an application by email which is automatically forwarded securely to your chosen energy supplier. The supplier will start processing the switch, and will contact you to confirm when your new service will begin; this may take up to 50 days.

This process is a fully comprehensive, fully independent and a fully impartial service. Within a matter of minutes you could be saving hundreds of pounds a year on your household bills.

Falcon Housing cannot take any responsibility for any issues encountered when using the below Energy Comparison sites.
Can you save money on your gas & electricity bills

Simply Switch

Energy Choices

U Switch



GREEN INNOVATIONS
Green Innovations is a company which specialise in environmentally friendly energy saving products, such as showerheads, eco toilets, toilet tank banks, radiator bleed valves & door defenders. The products are easy to install out of the box with no maintenance needed. All products reduce energy and bills! For more information please have a look at their web site www.green-innovations.net.



SOCIAL HOUSING PLANNED FOR LYMPSHAM?
In the spring of 2009 Lympsham Parish Council identified a possible need for social housing in the village; the first step taken was to liaise with their partners such as Sedgemoor Council and the Community Council for Somerset who by conducting a survey verified the need. The next step was to identify a housing association to progress this, and Falcon Rural Housing was successful after Sam Southam the General Manager made a presentation to the parish council.
On 6th August representatives from Sedgemoor Council, the Community Council for Somerset and Falcon Rural Housing were invited to Lympsham Village Hall to meet local people and interested parties, this continued the process of assessing the demand and identifying what ass the social housing needs. This day saw a number of young couples and families attend who in the recent past have had to move away from Lympsham as they were unable to find affordable housing in the Lympsham area.
Everyone was made very welcome by the Parish Council and the process will now continue with assessing the need against what possible sites are available. Planning is very much in the future but we will continue to update our website with relevant events.


 

FALCON HOUSING MEETS NATURAL ENVIRONMENT MINISTER
On Friday 31st July, Sam Southam the general manager of Falcon Rural Housing met with Huw Irranca-Davies the Natural Environment minister. This was ‘National Parks Week’ and he was visiting the region's national parks to mark the 60th anniversary of the Countryside Act of 1949, which preserves places like Exmoor for the public enjoyment. The biggest problem facing beautiful areas where property attracts large prices is the continuing shortage of affordable homes. The main topic of conversation with Sam was how local housing associations could work in partnership with organisations such as the Exmoor National Park who have very specific regulations regarding the allocation of social housing properties within the National Park, and how this can have a detrimental impact on future developments by small associations such as Falcon Rural Housing. It was highlighted that future social housing needs may change, and if the demand for local people to move into such properties fell, this could result in houses remaining empty for long periods. Small associations do not have the financial strength to have properties empty and not generating income for lengthy periods. Falcon Housing will hopefully reach an agreement in the coming months and set a process for future.



TELEVISION DIGITAL SWITCHOVER
In March 2010 the television switchover for the Mendip Aerial (HTV region) will take place. This will obviously impact on some of the Falcon residents. The BBC has been tasked to ensure that all residents who fall within the following will receive a letter from August 2009 stating they are eligible for help with the switchover.
Those eligible will be either aged 75 or over, or
Have lived in a care home for more than six months, or
Registered blind or partially sighted, or
Are in receipt of the following:-
Disability living allowance, or
Attendance allowance or constant attendance allowance, or
Mobility allowance.
Falcon Housing has been informed that this offer will attract a flat fee of £40 per household which is payable by the tenant, however this will cover the supply of equipment such as a digital receiver or similar, installation cost and it will provide a free help service.
Further information can be obtained by visiting the BBC Help scheme website at www.helpscheme.co.uk and for those who are not eligible the Digital UK website at www.digital.co.uk If you do not have Internet access and require further information contact Digital UK on 08456 505050 their opening hours are: Mon - Fri 9am - 7pm, Sat 10am - 4pm.

Related Links

Falcon History and Background

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