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.

Following the most recent National Lockdown, from Monday 12th April we have approached ‘Step Two’ of the government’s official road map. This means a number of our services may now operate within limitations and in line with appropriate safety measures. For a list of our current operations, please see the below:

 

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

For full details of all official government guidance on the latest measures, please CLICK HERE.

Our reception service at the High Street is now fully open. Please see the foot of our webpages for our opening hours. We are limiting the numbers allowed into our reception at any one time so we can maintain social distancing to keep you safe. If you need to come and see us, it is recommended that you come alone if you are able to. You can continue to contact us on 0121 748 8100 to access our services or email us at contactus@pioneergroup.org.uk If you want to speak to a particular officer you should make an appointment in advance to ensure they are available.

Our rent services are running normally.
 
We recognise that with the gradual reopening of businesses and the phasing out of furlough arrangements some people may find their income changes suddenly or some may lose their job. Please talk to us early if you experience difficulty and we can put you in touch with our money advice service or others who can help such as our employment advisors. It’s important that you don’t delay in seeking help in the hope that your circumstances will improve, as this period can often be when people really run up a lot of debt which can quickly become out of control.
 
As we are limiting the number of people who can use our reception at once, we aren’t encouraging people to come in to pay their rent. 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).

We are currently operating a full repairs and maintenance service through Wrekin, based on access provided by residents. We want to reassure residents that our teams are taking the utmost care to carry out these important services as quickly and efficiently as possible during COVID-19. This includes:

• Wearing PPE
• Only accessing rooms with appliances need to be checked
• Ensuring all areas are thoroughly wiped down in accordance with HSE practice.

Our team are here to help you as much as possible and we understand that during these difficult times, access won’t always be possible. If you have a visit booked then find you have to isolate, please get in touch to let us know and we will work with you to rearrange a more suitable appointment.

To keep our employees, contractors and our residents safe, you should expect to be asked about self-isolating if you have a visit booked. These include:

• Are you self-isolating?
• Do you have a fever or symptoms of breathing illness?
• Have you been in contact with someone who is self-isolating or with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (coronavirus)?
• Are you in any of the two high-risk groups who have been advised by Public Health England to remain home for 12 weeks and avoid face-to-face contact? (You will have been approached by the NHS if you are in these categories)

We hope you understand that these questions are not intended to be intrusive but are designed to protect you, contractors, and prevent the risk of spreading the virus to other vulnerable tenants.

All works continuing to be carried out include repairs, kitchen upgrades, electrical testing and external painting. Testing programs for Fire Risk Assessments, Asbestos, Legionella, Fire safety will also proceed with the same care in accordance with Government Guidelines.

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/

Our housing services are running normally although we are not currently undertaking routine visits. Please contact us as normal on 0121 748 8100 for all housing enquiries.

Our lettings and mutual exchange services are 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. If we undertake a property 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.

If you or your children are experiencing domestic abuse, then know that you are not alone. Support is available to you. The definition of domestic abuse reaches beyond physical violence and can be an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and/or violent behaviour, including sexual violence. In the majority of cases it can be by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is very common.

Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)
  • Psychological and/or emotional abuse
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Financial or economic abuse
  • Harassment and stalking
  • Online or digital abuse

You may not feel ready to share your experiences with someone else yet, but there are people who can offer you help and support when you are ready, and you can find resources online to help you decide what action to take.

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner is an independent voice that speaks on behalf of victims and survivors. A range of resources are listed on her website: www.domesticabusecommissioner.uk/for-survivors

If you are worried about your online activity being monitored, follow this link for a helpful guide on how to browse privately: www.valleyhouse.org.uk/domestic-abuse-coventry/online-safety-how-to-hide

You can contact our Neighbourhoods team on 0121 748 8100 if you need to talk to someone about your home situation. We take concerns of domestic abuse very seriously and we will work closely with you and other agencies to keep you safe. We take a victim centred approach in tackling abuse and will agree with you what action we will take. We won’t pressure you into something you don’t feel comfortable with.

You can go to any Boots Pharmacy and ‘ask for Ani’ – a phrase which all staff understand and will provide you with discreet support and access to help in a safe space. Your nearest branch is at the Fort Shopping Park, but you can find another here

Please remember: 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.

Safety Advice

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

You may recognise yourself as being on a path to becoming a perpetrator of domestic abuse. There are a range of resources also available for you, including a number of self-help guides. See www.respectphoneline.org.uk for more information.

Our estate services are running normally and you will see our estates staff out on the estate. Please maintain social distancing at all times to keep yourself and our officers safe.

Bulky waste collection is running as normal, to book the service contact us via email contactus@pioneergroup.org.uk or 0121 748 8100

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 now open for limited and controlled support sessions with safety measures are in place. More details about what services are available will be updated regularly on our social media channels, Twitter and Facebook.
Compass Support will also continue to deliver some services remotely, via phone and email, to offer a versatile range of support to suit the needs of the communities we work in.

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)
  • Wellbeing-Activities (Contact Sarah Powers on 0774 116 4704)
  • One-to-one telephone support (Contact Leonie Hammond on 0794 307 9496)
  • For any other information, including future bookings, you can contact the centres on the details below:

    The Sanctuary: 0121 748 8111 | 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 update, we are thrilled to open the doors of Castle Vale Stadium for football matches and training. Our function room and bar area will remain closed until the restrictions are reviewed in line with the next step on 17th May 2021.

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