Serving our Community Projects

Garden Competition, Shepway

gardenMears has continued a tradition of supporting a popular annual event, which is arranged and managed by a group of tenants who champion initiatives to improve their community. The event is held to encourage tenants to get involved and look after their gardens, recognising the efforts of those who have created inspirational spaces.

Mears provided sponsorship, which helps to encourage entries. 50 tenants had taken part in the competition and the gardening champions are keen to get more people involved. Our Customer Care Officer, Sharon, presented the prize for junior gardener of the year: Best Runner-Up  went to Lexi-May from Folkestone  and 1st prize to Shelby  from Elham.

Working with the Shepway Tenants, Leaseholders Board (STLB)

Elaine and Sharon, STLB, in a void property

General Manager Mark Smith wants to encourage closer working with tenant representatives in the Shepway area. A keen advocate of working in partnership, he has invited all members of the STLB to attend a series of meetings designed to give them more information about the service that Mears provides and to get their input in to particular issues.

In an interactive presentation tenants learned, from Mark, Responsive Repairs supervisor Dan  and Regional Customer Care Manager, Karen, about the way in which the service has evolved and the plans for the future. They were also asked their views on what Mears can do to improve its service to vulnerable tenants and their thoughts about Customer Care Officers becoming dementia champions – this was welcomed enthusiastically as some of the participants are dementia friends themselves and they thought it would be great if we can improve awareness and understanding of this growing issue with our teams.

After fairly lengthy and productive discussions, the STLB members then went out on site visits with Mark and Voids Supervisor, Richard to experience first hand what a void property looks like when it has recently been vacated – and then they saw a property that had been brought up to the client standard.

All agreed that this had been very informative and they would be recommending that other board members attend. Mark hopes that this will become a regular feature in his tenant engagement programme.

Working with vulnerable tenants, Shepway

One of the main aims of the Shepway Branch is to continually improve its customer service and we have identified, through consultation with East Kent Housing and from feedback from our customers, that we could improve the way in which we work with vulnerable tenants.

We often have to carry out works, such as disabled adaptations or extensive plastering or renovation works, which can be lengthy and potentially unsettling for some of our residents and it is our aim to try and minimise the disruption.

We have talked to members of the Shepway Tenants and Leaseholders Board (STLB) for their ideas and to our operatives about their experiences, discussing how we can address some of the issues that concern our more vulnerable tenants and we are working with East Kent Housing to improve our overall service from the point at which the need for work is required to completion.

Action we have taken to date is:

  • Attending the Sheltered Forum
  • Produced a process for handling works (for EKH consideration)
  • Customer care induction (June 15) included introduction to schemes
  • Toolbox talk with operatives regarding issues facing vulnerable tenants and what we can do to address them.
  • Meeting with STLB members to review TBT and discuss future actions

Future actions:

As part of this overall initiative local Customer Care Officer Sharon will be trained as a ‘Dementia Champion’ and we will roll out the Alzheimer’s Society “Dementia Friends” training to our operatives and to any residents who would like to gain a greater understanding of the condition.

If you have any views or ideas about any of these issues please contact Sharon Blackwell on 01303 247930.

Apprentice Recruitment East Kent, June 2016

All 4 branches have been recruiting apprentices this year: Dover – one multi trader; Thanet – 2 multi traders and an admin apprentice; Canterbury – 2 multi traders and an admin apprentice; Shepway – one bricklayer.

We interviewed for the admin posts and held an assessment event for the trade apprentices on 29 June. Fifteen potential apprentices joined us for an afternoon during which they undertook numeracy, spatial awareness, customer service assessments, a communication test in pairs and a fun challenge for the group as a whole to make a chair from balloons.

Feedback from the event was excellent from both the candidates and the 7 Mears managers and supervisors who took part.

All successful candidates start on 8 August and will undertake a bespoke induction course, during which the colleges will sign the apprentices up for their college courses.

Garden Competitions East Kent, June 2016

The event is held to encourage tenants to get involved and look after their communities, recognising the efforts of those who have created inspirational spaces. Mears stepped in at short notice last year to support a popular annual event, which had previously been arranged by our client and we were asked if we could continue this year.

Mears is providing the prizes in all 4 area and our Customer Care Officer Sharon, along with tenant gardening champions, judged the gardens of keen gardeners – 30 in Canterbury, 18 in Dover, 4 in Thanet and 31 in Shepway.

Competition was stiff and there were some great entries in the categories: best newcomer, best veg patch, best front or back garden, best pots/baskets. Winners are still to be determined.