As things are continuing to move quickly with the outbreak of the Coronavirus, The Pioneer Group is committed to making sure residents, staff and communities stay safe. We will continuously monitor updates issued by the government and respond accordingly by updating information on our website and social media channels:

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Here at The Pioneer Group, we have worked hard to respond to the crisis and we are now transitioning cautiously and with great care to protect our employees, residents and communities into a recovery phase.

We are working hard to enable as many services as possible to meet demand, however we need to ensure all activities have the appropriate, long-term, measures in place and follow approved guidelines to keep our employees, residents and customers safe.

For further updates on individual services and centre updates, please continue reading.

The government has announced a national lockdown from 5 January 2021 and have instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. To see the latest government guidance, click here

The Pioneer Group office and reception is closed. But you can get in touch with us through our Customer-First phone line on 0121 784 8100 or email us at: contactus@pioneergroup.org.uk where we will be happy to help you with any enquiry about repairs.

The poster below summarises the services that are currently operating at the moment.

We are continuously reviewing government guidance alongside advice from City Council’s Public Health Department and will provide regular updates to our services through our social media platforms. Click to visit our Facebook and Twitter.

Our High Street office is currently closed, with very limited access for a small number of employees who need to attend to provide essential services. We have undertaken some works to our reception area to make it Covid-secure, ready for when we are able to re-open. We will continue to follow Government guidance on non-essential retail to help us to decide when we can open again. Please continue to call us on 0121 748 8100 to access our services or email us at contactus@pioneergroup.org.uk

As well as the obvious health impact to families, the COVID-19 virus can seriously affect a person’s finances too. A sudden, unexpected change in income can leave you feeling overwhelmed and as a community-led housing association we want to do as much as we can to help minimise the impact. Running up rent debts can cause you serious stress and take a long time to get yourself back on track. It’s important that you talk to the income team as soon as you think you might be running into difficulties with your rent or other payments. We will work with you to ensure you can access money advice and check to see if you are entitled to any benefits to help you through this difficult period.

We can only help you if you let us know what is happening, so please talk to us straight away. Leaving it too late to seek help can mean debts can get out of control, making it harder to sort out. You can find some useful information at www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus

Although our reception isn’t open at the moment you can still contact us via 0121 748 8100 and you can still pay your rent via Allpay.net, Allpay 0330 041 6497 (you will need your rent card to do this), Standing Order or BACS transfer – Please use your tenancy number as the ref to ensure payment reaches your account. (Acct name. The Pioneer Group. Acct No. 40714852/ Sort code. 20-07-71).

All case management is still in operation and you can contact our team through the phone, email or letter.

To help protect you and our operatives we have taken the decision to limit our repairs service to essential works only.  We would encourage you to ask yourself in this difficult time “does my repair really need doing now or can it wait a short while”

We continue to carry out all regulatory works such as gas servicing, electrical safety inspections and fire inspection works to ensure your homes remain safe.

If you have any of the following repairs, we would encourage you to contact us straight away where we will send an operative out to carry out the necessary repairs.

  • A water leak that cannot be contained
  • Total loss of electricity or water supply
  • Fire damage or flooding
  • Major structural damage
  • Repairs to doors and windows to secure the property
  • Blockage to main drain and/or the only toilet
  • Total loss of heating where no alternative is available
  • A lift that fails to work
  • Offensive or discriminatory graffiti

If we are coming to carry out a repair, please be aware that our operatives will be taking the upmost care to protect you and themselves by wearing full PPE. We ensure that our staff and contractors visiting your home are not showing Covid-19 related symptoms, have not been asked to isolate and are trained in Covid-secure ways of working. They will also be asking you a few questions before they come into your home. If you answer yes to any of the questions here we may not be able to carry out the repairs that you have requested:

  • Are you or a member of your household self-isolating?
  • Do you have a fever or symptoms of breathing illness?
  • Have you or a member of your household been in contact with someone who is self-isolating or with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (coronavirus)? Are you or a member of your household in any of the high-risk groups who have been advised by Public Health England to shield and remain home and avoid face-to-face contact? (You will have been approached by the NHS if you are in these categories)

You may notice that our teams will continue to carry out external works around the estates, this is because this type of work is outside and involves minimal contact with others thus presenting minimal threat to the transmission of this terrible virus.

We are as keen as you are I’m sure to return to a normal service and we appreciate that this may cause some inconvenience to you and your families, but we hope that you will support us in this approach to help protect you and our teams in this difficult time.

Please consider whether your repair falls into the category of essential repairs. If you are uncertain about this, you can check with us and we can confirm the status of your repair.  As soon as restrictions change we will update residents on when our full day to day responsive repairs service opens up again and we will seek to respond to these as quickly as we can. For all urgent issues, please contact us on 0121 748 8100, emailing us at contactus@pioneergroup.org.uk or use the contact us link from our website.

As soon as restrictions change we will update residents on when our full day-to-day responsive repairs service opens up again.

We understand that there is apprehension with home services during these uncertain times however our resident’s safety is our highest priority, which is why gas servicing has continued to be carried out in homes throughout the pandemic.

Gas servicing is not only a legal requirement, but an essential safety service for you and your family. If your gas isn’t inspected within these 12 months then this can lead to dangerous consequences including carbon monoxide poisoning.

As with our repairs service, all employees take the utmost care to carry out these important services as quickly and efficiently as possible in line with Government Guidance.

While it is extremely important that we perform as many Gas Services as viable, we understand that not all instances will be possible and this will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

To find out more about our gas servicing procedures check out our helpful article: https://www.pioneergroup.org.uk/news/gas-servicing-during-covid-19/

Although our reception areas are temporarily closed, our Neighbourhood Officers are still available to help. Please continue to contact us as normal on 0121 748 8100 for all enquiries, or email us at contactus@pioneergroup.org.uk

We are not currently undertaking routine visits, however, you may still see your Neighbourhood Officer out on Castle Vale. Please be mindful of the need to follow social distancing guidelines when interacting with our staff in person.

Please be aware of your neighbours whilst our everyday movements are restricted. As COVID-19 continues to impact our lives many people are spending more time at home. We ask that you continue to be mindful of noise levels to help prevent neighbour disputes and ensure they can have quiet enjoyment of their home.

Our lettings service is running as normal, with our empty properties being repaired and let. We have put in a number of safety measures which may mean that the process takes a little longer than normal. We will undertake viewings by video where we are able to. If we undertake a visit in person we will call you in advance to tell you what you need to do during the visit. We will be restricting the number of people that can attend a viewing and we ask you to avoid bringing your children if this is possible. We will ask you if you have any Covid-19 symptoms or have been asked to isolate.

Our new lettings service is in place from 8 February, but you will be unable to return your application form in person as our offices are closed. You can post your form to us at CVCH, 11 High Street, Castle Vale, Birmingham B35 7PR. Please call us on 0121 748 8100 if you have any lettings enquiries.

We know that as many people have been confined to home for an extended period of time and that this is stressful and can be an emotionally challenging time for all of us, but even more so for those who are experiencing domestic violence and abuse whether physical or mental.

We know already that isolation is a tactic used by perpetrators to control the person they are subjecting to domestic abuse. It is often used to block people’s routes to safety and support. Therefore, we understand some of the risks of a nationwide lock down for people experiencing domestic abuse. There is no excuse for domestic abuse, no matter the situation we find ourselves in.

If you and your children are experiencing domestic abuse, then know that you are not alone. Support is still available to you.

You can always contact our Neighbourhoods team at The Pioneer Group on 0121 748 8100 if you need to talk to someone about your home situation. We take concerns of domestic abuse very seriously and work closely with West Midlands Police to ensure all of our tenants are safe.

  • Please remember:
  • Try to keep a mobile phone with you at all times possible, fully charged.
  • If you are at immediate risk, call 999.

If you are scared that you might be overheard by the perpetrator, you can use the Silent System:

  • Dial 999, then instead of speaking to the operator, press 55. To find out more click here.

Remember, if you have symptoms of Covid-19, you should inform the police, when you speak to them.  This will not be a reason why they cannot offer to help.

You can also contact a number of national helplines via, email, text and live chat support services.  Listed below are some useful numbers and websites where you can find some extra support.

Understanding what domestic violence and abuse is

Safety Advice

Are you worried about a friend, family member or neighbour?

More information

For useful information about safety planning and domestic abuse support you can read The Women’s Aid Handbook

If you are in a refuge, the Government have issued guidance on isolation for domestic abuse safe accommodation settings which can be found HERE.

Refuges do not need to close unless directed to by Public Health England. If you or your children show symptoms whilst in a refuge, you should remain in your own room and follow the self-isolation guidance for households is HERE

Most of our estate services are running normally and you will see our estates staff out on the estate. Please maintain social distancing at all time to keep yourself and the staff members safe.

Our bulky waste collection services is still running in a limited capacity, but you should expect delays to the service. We are reliant on access to tip waste at the City Council waste disposal sites and these are subject to closure at any time. If you have an item that needs removing urgently, you can use the council’s bulky waste collection service. You can find more information here – https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/20009/waste_and_recycling/86/bulky_waste_collections/3

We are not responsible for removing fly-tipping on Council land. Please report all fly-tipped items to the Council through the free fix my street smartphone app, through their website www.fixmystreet.com or directly to the Council here https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/flytippingremoval

Community safety is still a priority and CCTV is still in operation. We are working closely with West Midlands Police to detect and intervene in the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour. We encourage any resident of Castle Vale to notify us of anything that may be cause for concern on 0121 784 8100.

If you see any criminal activity that you believe is an emergency or an immediate threat to life, please call 999 immediately. We don’t have any power to enforce the government regulations and guidelines around Covid-19. We just ask that everyone is mindful of each other and does not act in a way that could put someone at risk.

If you want to report that you think someone is breaching the government rules, the police have an online form – you can find details here https://west-midlands.police.uk/coronavirus/restriction-breach-form Alternatively you can contact them on the non-emergency number – 101.

Creating strong and vibrant communities is one of our core aims and right now this is more important than ever. We are incredibly proud of our colleagues who have come together with our partners and volunteers to provide our #CovidCommunityOffer to keep our communities safe, informed and positive.

We are working hard to co-ordinate support through volunteering and other means to the most vulnerable across the community. If you have any concerns of support needs about yourself or those close to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us to see if we can help. Additionally, if you are able to volunteer in the Castle Vale area please contact Rebecca.Winkless@cvch.org.uk

Our community centres including the Sanctuary in Castle Vale and the Community Hub at Falcon Lodge are only open for essential services such as Chiropody, Counselling and support sessions.  All access to the building is strictly by appointment only.

Compass Support will continue to deliver services remotely using phone and email and will prioritise contact with those that require more intensive support. These services include:

  • Employment support(Contact Rob Harris on 07841 067662)
  • Life coaching (Contact Ceri Cooper on 07525 902 964)
  • Family support (Contact Shamsa Mughal on 07841 067 651)
  • Independent living support (Contact Shamsa Mughal on 07841 067 651)
  • Youth mentoring (Contact Compass Support on 0121 748 8111)
  • Virtual youth club (Contact Compass Support on 0121 748 8111)
  • Telephone befriending service (Contact Leonie Hammond on 0794 307 9496)
  • Virtual Wellbeing-Activities (Contact Sarah Powers on 0774 116 4704)
  • One-to-one telephone support (Contact Leonie Hammond on 0794 307 9496)
  • Emergency Asset Register (Contact Sarah Powers on 0774 116 4704)

For any other information, including future bookings, you can contact the centres on the details below:

The Sanctuary: 0121 748 8100 | contactus@compass-support.org.uk
Falcon Lodge Community Hub: 0121 329 2055 | contactus@compass-support.org.uk
Highcroft Community Centre: 0121 382 5101 | secretary@highcroftcc.co.uk

Following the recent Government announcement, we will be closing Castle Vale Stadium to the general public and football clubs, including matches and training, from the 5th November. We want to thank our loyal customers for your continued support and we aim to open our pitch gates as soon as we are able to. Further enquiries can be made by contacting contactus@castlevalestadium.co.uk

TiggyWinkles Day Nursery is now open with measures in place to protect all children and staff. Our nursery team are working diligently in accordance with the updated government guidelines.

We are now taking bookings for two and year-olds funded spaces. Please contact 0121 747 2186 or pegasustiggy@btconnect.com for further enquiries.

We want to support our suppliers and will aim to pay invoices more quickly than standard contractual terms.  Our offices are closed but our team are working remotely, so to help us process invoices quickly:

We have always worked with partners in Castle Vale, Stockland Green and Falcon Lodge and whilst we are unable to meet face-to-face, we are in touch and coordinating where possible with local Schools, West Midlands Police, the City Council, local charities and community groups. You can check the website and social media platforms for each of these partners directly.

Our teams across The Pioneer Group are working hard to look after and continue to provide core services within our communities. We are aware that these are not normal times and there will inevitably be some disruption to services, however we want to assure residents that you, alongside our staff, are our priority. We are continuously reviewing the position regarding COVID-19 and are awaiting further Government guidance, as well as looking at how other social housing providers are responding to this situation. We will provide updates about our services regularly through our website and social media.

If you have any concerns or questions about coronavirus, visit the following NHS website for advice and notify us if you are advised to self-isolate: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

The latest information and facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19) is available on the Government website:
www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public