SignVideo

A COVID-19 update from chief executive Sue Sutton

5 January, 2021

Following the Prime Minister’s latest announcement that the country has entered a third national ‘lockdown’ period from today (Tuesday, January 5), to help reduce the COVID-19 infection rate, I want to provide you with an update on how the new measures and restrictions will impact our services.

As the new Chief Executive at Salix Homes, this is not the news I’d have wanted to share with customers at the start of a new year or during the first week of my new post, however Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country. The new COVID strain is up to 70% more transmissible, posing a much greater risk to us all and increasing the need to continue to play our part to reduce the spread of the virus, decrease pressures on our NHS and help save lives.

The safety of our customers and colleagues remains of utmost importance and we are working tirelessly to ensure we are acting in the best interests of our staff and the communities we serve.

Throughout the pandemic, we have acted quickly to adapt our procedures and services accordingly, implementing a range of COVID-secure measures to ensure we can continue to deliver our high quality services to you and your community, with minor changes to working practices, to protect our customers and enable our staff to work safely.

As you’ll be aware, this is a rapidly evolving situation, and we are constantly reviewing the Government guidance. Following the latest announcement from the Prime Minister last night, we are now having to make some temporary changes in order to support the national advice and help reduce the spread of infection

Due to the COVID-secure measures already in place, most of our services can continue as normal with the majority of our staff working from home. Of course, the nature of some of our services means it’s not possible for our entire workforce to work remotely, so we’d like to reassure our customers that we will strive to continue to deliver key services such as caretaking and cleaning. At times, these services may be adversely affected if any members of the team test positive for COVID, but we will continue to prioritise these services which we know are important to you.

In line with Government guidance, we are making changes to our Repairs Service, which will operate as follows with immediate effect:

Repairs

  • In accordance with Government guidance, non-essential repairs in your home will not be carried out during this period. This includes things like faulty cupboard doors, plastering repairs or broken tiling
  • Customers will not be able to use the MySalix Customer portal to book non-essential repairs, however the portal will still be available to book urgent and emergency repairs
  • We are currently contacting all customers who have non-essential repairs booked over the next six weeks to reschedule your appointment from March 14 onwards
  • All emergency and urgent repairs will continue which includes things like major water leaks, loss of power, broken glazing, as well as disrepair works such as dealing with mould and condensation
  • External routine repairs such as gutters, roofing and groundwork will continue as normal under COVID-safe procedures
  • Inspections will be carried out via video where possible

The latest Government advice stipulates that the construction sector can continue to operate, so for those customers whose homes are part of our major improvement programmes, planned work will continue as normal, along with compliance checks within customers’ homes for things like gas safety or electrical check-ups, with our usual COVID-secure measures in place.

I’d urge you to continue to support these measures, which include asking that customers wear a face-covering and stay in a different room if a member of our team needs to visit your home to undertake a repair or an essential safety inspection.

Please continue to allow us access to your home to carry out this work to ensure your home remains safe and secure. Please also continue to stay alert and keep at least a two-metre distance from our team members.

We apologise in advance for any disruption to services, but we trust that you understand that we take the health of our customers and colleagues very seriously and must act quickly to keep everyone safe from the significant threat posed by the alarming rate of transmission of the new COVID variant.

Struggling financially?

These are very challenging times for everyone; however we are here to help. If you or any neighbours are experiencing financial difficulty or are struggling to pay your rent or bills, our Income Management Team are available to offer support and advice.

Need extra support?

From next Monday, January 11, we will also be resuming our courtesy calls service to our most vulnerable customers – contacting 2,500 elderly and vulnerable customers to check on their wellbeing and offer support.

If you’re struggling with managing your physical or mental health or need any additional support, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 218 2000 or email enquiries@salixhomes.co.uk. You can also visit the Spirit of Salford website for a range of support organisations.

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support and co-operation during 2020. While this is not the start to the new year that any of us had hoped for, the national vaccination programme is now underway, bringing light at the end of the tunnel and hope for a better 2021.

For now though, please continue to stay safe and follow the national guidelines. We will publish any further changes on the Coronavirus pages on our website and on our social media channels.