Our new normal: how Futures is adapting to coronavirus restrictions

Throughout the lockdown we’ve been doing our best to keep as many of our services up and running as possible. It’s not always been an option due to the lockdown restrictions that affected all of us, but as shops open and most of us are able to see friends and family again, we wanted to update you on what the new normal is going to look like for some of our key services.

House moves

During the initial stages of lockdown we weren’t able to offer house moves for anyone other than those most in need – for example, people who were experiencing domestic violence or were at risk of becoming homeless. Since restrictions started to lift, we’ve been able to start moving again and the customers who were due to move home during the lockdown are settled in their new properties. We’re also proud to be leading the way on home exchanges – while there are some unpreventable delays outside of our control, we’re doing our best to facilitate swaps wherever we can.

Members of our home choices team are still working remotely, but they’re doing everything they can to get customers moving into new properties after bidding. There might be some delays in this process, but we know how important it is and we will keep our customers updated on the progress of their bids whenever we can.

Going forward, we will still be supporting house moves by providing virtual viewings and ‘doorstep’ sign ups, where a member of our neighbourhoods team will meet you at your new home to give you the keys and paperwork. Unlike pre-lockdown, they won’t enter the property with you and to keep everyone safe they might be wearing PPE, such as gloves and masks.

 

Customer services

Our customer services team has been doing an amazing job working from home during lockdown, from taking emergency repair calls to chatting with our vulnerable customers once a week to tackle loneliness. It’s been a difficult time and they’ve pulled together to make sure they can carry on serving our community within government guidelines.

We’re seeing a high volume of calls as the country opens up again so please bear with us at busy times. Remember, you can also manage your home using MyAccount, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information, please see here.

 

Repairs

During lockdown we offered an emergency only repairs service, to ensure that the most urgent issues were dealt with as quickly as possible to prevent damage or injury. Where safe to do so, we’ve also been preparing empty properties to be re-let and doing outdoor work. Currently we are working through a large backlog of non-emergency repairs which were originally booked to take place during April, May and June, as well as making sure we have the materials, resources and PPE we need to protect our customers and team members.

Our priority has always been and remains the health and safety of the people around us, and we’d encourage all our customers to consider government guidance and restrictions when booking a repair. When we come to your home for a repair, we will be wearing appropriate PPE, and we’ll ask you to keep a safe distance (it’s likely this will mean staying in another room). We’ll also ask to use your facilities for hand washing at the beginning and end of the appointment. Remember – our team members are visiting multiple homes in a day so we are taking these precautions for your safety as well as theirs.

We want to support our customers as best we can throughout this new normal and to do that we need your help. Please check before you contact us if your repair is something we offer support with by referring to our website, and don’t call about issues that are your responsibility.

We are grateful for all the support and patience you’ve given us so far and we will continue to act responsibly while keeping you and your home safe.

 

Money advice

Our money advice team have been busier than ever during the pandemic, supporting customers who have lost their jobs, those who need to shield, and anyone with financial commitments leading to money worries. They’ve helped people sign up for the benefits they’re entitled to and, where necessary, have made referrals for care packages and food banks to get our communities through this difficult time.

The service is available to all customers, and you don’t need to wait until you’re at crisis point. If you’d like a friendly chat with one of our advisers about budgeting, benefits or managing debt then do give them a call on 0300 456 2531 or email moneyadvice@futureshg.co.uk

 

Employment and training

Our employability specialists, Futures Gateways, have been keeping up-to-date with the latest guidance around coronavirus and providing advice and guidance to customers who might be facing new challenges like virtual interviews or online applications. Working remotely, they’ve been signposting customers to useful resources, helping people to find suitable training and jobs to help them take the next steps in their employment journey.

We’re always happy to support our customers, whatever point they’re at, so please get in touch by emailing employability@futureshg.co.uk

 

Beep Assist

Throughout lockdown, our Beep Assist team have been continuing with installations for those most in need, such as those coming home from hospital. They also called private customers for a chat to help tackle loneliness and social isolation, and carried out emergency maintenance to ensure customers were safe and able to access help if they needed it.

The team are still working remotely but are ready to receive referrals, calls and emails. Reviews will be over the phone where possible, and customers should continue to test their pendants once a month to ensure they stay in top condition.

For new customers, initial assessments will be carried out over the phone, minimising the amount of time that we need to be in your home. As always, we’ll try to keep any disruption to a minimum, but if we do have to visit, we will ask coronavirus screening questions, and will be wearing PPE. We may ask you to wait in a different room while we install or maintain equipment to make sure we can stay at a safe distance.

You can get in touch with our Beep Assist team by emailing hello@beep-assist.co.uk or calling 0333 999 7430.

 

If you have any questions about any of our services please check our website. We’ll keep updating it as we go with new information – we’re keeping up-to-date with government guidelines and doing everything we can to keep our customers safe and well during this challenging time. We know from last week’s announcement that this is likely to be our ‘new normal’ for a while and we are still settling into it, but we’re excited to be getting back to supporting our customers and communities.

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