£1 million ‘trailblazer’ grant for Sutton, Kingston and Merton councils to radically rethink homeless prevention

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Sutton, Kingston and Merton and councils have teamed up to secure £1 million in government funding to help households avoid crisis and prevent people from becoming homeless.

The three local authorities have applied under a new government scheme to become ‘homelessness prevention trailblazers’, committing to go further and faster with housing reform and to support more people to avoid a homelessness crisis.

Interest in the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) scheme was high, with only 28 out of a 122 bids successful. Sutton, Kingston and Merton collectively bid for a total of £1,004,790 to develop a range of new, innovative approaches that will radically reshape the way homeless prevention is delivered in partnership with the voluntary sector.

Central to the bid’s success is the backing of homeless charity SPEAR, who will provide early interventions across all three boroughs.

Councillor Jayne McCoy, Chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“Homelessness affects individuals and families in communities across the country. In Sutton we are taking a proactive approach to help tackle this issue. This Trailblazers funding from the DCLG will help us work more closely with households at risk of homelessness. This will result in fewer families needing housing in expensive, imperfect, temporary accommodation. I look forward to working with our partners in Kingston and Merton to help address homelessness across our region.”

Councillor Cathy Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Kingston Council, said:

“This is a significant amount of funding coming our way from central government. It presents us with an enormous opportunity to deliver better outcomes for homeless people in our boroughs. The funding requires us to think and work differently, and to be more proactive in preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place. The circumstances that result in a person becoming homeless vary widely. Faced with a housing crisis, locally and nationally, we cannot afford to miss opportunities to help people stay in their homes.”

Merton Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Housing, Councillor Martin Whelton, said:

“The Homelessness Reduction Bill means all councils will have to make changes in this area. Homelessness is a highly complex issue and we welcome the funding to help us look at ways in which we can help prevent people from becoming homeless if they are at risk of losing their home. As trailblazers, we can be instrumental in the way homelessness prevention is delivered in the future, across England.”

A summary of successful bids can be found online at www.gov.uk

Sutton Community Fund grants news….

Eleven local groups will share over £45,000 from the latest round of Sutton Community Fund grants to help them provide services and activities for residents of Sutton into 2017 and beyond.

The Community Fund programme, financed by Sutton Council and administered by the Sutton Centre for the Voluntary Sector (Sutton CVS), supports projects that benefit Sutton residents, meet local priorities and help build community and developmental assets in the borough.

The list of fund recipients for 2017 is as follows:

Surrey Youth Focus £5000

Knots Art £4595

RACE £1680

Refugee & Migrant Network Sutton £2662

Riverside Community Association £1975

Riverside Community Association £5650

Sutton Mencap £5467

Carshalton Beeches Baptist Free Church £3200

Gary Mason Charity £3000

In Unity Ltd £5000

St Teresa’s Church £5000

Together We Create £3600

A full list of the awards and how they will be used is below.

David Hobday, CEO of Sutton Mencap, said:

“We would like to thank the Sutton Community Fund for its award of a grant to Sutton Mencap. This funding will enable us to continue to offer our very popular Breakaways service, which provides weekend activities for adults with a learning disability, whilst giving parents and family members a break from their caring responsibilities.

Having a local grants fund which understands the needs of local communities makes a huge difference for organisations like ours and the people we support. We are very grateful to Sutton Council for their support through the Sutton Community Fund.”

Hazel East, Session Leader at Knots Art, said:

“A grant from the Sutton Community Fund means that we can continue to provide fun and exciting sessions for girls with autism and social communication difficulties living in and around Sutton. For many girls that attend this is their only social interaction each week and it is vital that they have a safe space in which they can make friends with others who understand the difficulties that they face. We are hugely grateful for the support.”

Cllr Simon Wales, Deputy Leader of Sutton Council and Lead Member for Finance, Assets and the Voluntary Sector, said:

“We want to congratulate the local organisations that have been successful in their applications. There is a strong voluntary sector in Sutton and this funding will go towards securing the future of these local organisations and supporting them to deliver their invaluable work in our community.

“We’ll be working closely with our partners across the voluntary sector as we strive to deliver brilliant and cost-effective services for Sutton residents in the years to come. The Community Fund grants will help them to prepare for this challenge.”

Applications for Sutton Community Fund grants of between £300 and £1000 from the next round of funding are open until Monday 3 April 2017. You can find out more on the Sutton CVS website here, and Sutton CVS will be happy to answer questions you may have or offer assistance completing the application form.

Notes to editors

The Community Fund awarded the following seven applications full grant funding:

1. Focus Surrey
Charity number: N/A Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £5,000

This project will help children with ASD improve their communication, social and play skills, provide a friendly, inclusive and sociable environment for parents/ carers and siblings and provide training for tutors and young volunteers.

2. Knots Art 
Charity number: N/A Company number: 8631074

Amount allocated: £4,590

Funding will support weekly social activity sessions specifically for girls with autism or social communication difficulties. Art, drama and games activities are tailored to support social interaction. They will also work closely with parents to find ways to explore issues relevant to the group.

3. RACE 
Charity number: XT36173 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £1,680

Funding allocated to support the sustainability of ongoing group exercise within the community for up to 12 people with cardiovascular disease.

4. Refugee & Migrant Network Sutton 
Charity number: 11050500 Company number: 08026961

Amount allocated: £2,662

Improving systems to allow more time giving advice to clients, reducing waiting times for clients and to improve monitoring of service performance.
5. Riverside Community Association Limited
Charity number: 1156422 Company number: 8555270

Amount allocated: £1,975

Funding allocated to help achieve the PQASSO quality standard Level 1, which will help the organisation run more effectively and efficiently.

6. Riverside Community Association Limited

Charity number: 1156422 Company number: 8555270

Amount allocated: £5,650

Funding will help them achieve the London Youth Quality Mark, Bronze Level: a leading quality standard for organisations working with young people in the voluntary sector. Organisations working in partnership under this bid include: My Time for Young Carers, The Springboard Project, In Unity UK and the Riverside Community Association.

7. Sutton Mencap

Charity number: 1080514 Company number: 03915936

Amount allocated: £5,467

Funding allocated to continue the Breakaways in-house service for a year. The service consists of alternate Friday night and Saturday day time groups for mainly younger adults with a learning disability. This bid aims to improve mental health and wellbeing through tackling social isolation, improve mental health and wellbeing for carers and help people with a learning disability play a greater part in community life.
The Community Fund awarded the following five applications partial grant funding:
1. Carshalton Beeches Baptist Free Church

Charity number: 1130318 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £3,200

Funding allocated towards providing a ramp for disabled access.

2. Gary Mason Rhythmical Charitable Foundation

Charity number: 1140518 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £3,300

Funding allocated towards the costs of hand drumming therapy session facilitation.

3. In Unity Ltd

Charity number: N/A Company number: 07808693

Amount allocated: £5,000

Funding allocated to support the delivery of a youth project held at the Phoenix Centre

4. St Teresa’s Church
Charity number: 235468 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: Up to £5,000

Funding allocated to develop an older people’s project aimed at alleviating isolation, increasing intergenerational work and improving life skills.

5. Together We Create

Charity number: 1140617 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £3,600

Funding allocated to help reduce anti-social behaviour, unite the Hamptons Community and improve parental engagement and support the development of family boundaries, so as to ensure that there is a long-term change in the area.

Doorstep callers thwarted after attempt to con resident out of £6,000 for building repairs

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Sutton residents are being encouraged to be very wary of doorstep callers offering to do building repairs to their home.

The advice comes from Sutton Council’s Trading Standards team after an incident when two men called at the home of a West Sutton resident, claiming to be a surveyor and a builder.

The men told the elderly resident they worked for the agent of the unoccupied house next door. They said that water had been coming through the ceiling from the loft and had made the adjoining wall unstable and in need of urgent repair as it was in danger of collapsing. They offered to carry out immediate repairs to the wall, which included hiring a dehumidifier, for just under £6,000.

The elderly resident went to her bank in Sutton town centre and told staff she wanted to transfer £5,700 to another bank account. When challenged she said the transfer was for a family member, then admitted it was to builders who had cold called.

The men had told her to tell the bank the money was for a family member as it would be easier to obtain the money from the bank. However, bank staff did not permit the money transfer to go ahead.

Cllr Nick Emmerson, Lead Councillor of Trading Standards at Sutton Council, said:

“We commend the bank staff for their quick thinking in preventing a Sutton resident from making a large cash withdrawal that was completely out of character. Many elderly residents have lost money after tricksters have demanded money upfront for materials without carrying out any work, have greatly overcharged for straightforward repairs or have deliberately caused damage to argue that costly repairs are needed. Such opportunists are bad news for all our residents and are a blight on honest and hardworking traders, which is why the council has the Safer Sutton Trader Scheme.

“This list has been thoroughly vetted by Trading Standards and offers a range of professional tradespeople in the borough who are neither bogus builders nor unscrupulous opportunists. All of the businesses are checked by Trading Standards to ensure they are providing an assured service before they are listed and promoted by Sutton Council and the Met Police in Sutton.”

Sutton Council’s Safer Sutton Trader Scheme helps residents to avoid bogus builders and unscrupulous traders. To find an approved trader, please visit the Safer Sutton Trader Scheme website or call 020 8770 5070 for details.

If you are a trader wishing to join the Safer Sutton Trader Scheme, follow the Kingston & Sutton shared service on Twitter here, follow the #SaferSuttonTrader hashtag here, or call the Trading Standards team on 020 8770 5632.

The Citizens Advice website has advice about how to safeguard your interests when employing a contractor.

Sutton Trading Standards advises residents to obtain three quotes for any work they want carried out. The law requires that where you contract with a tradesperson in your home, you must be provided with a 14-day cooling off period. All reputable traders will provide you with these cancellation documents.

Sutton residents encouraged to ‘Bin it for Good’ and support local charities

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From left, Cllr Chris Williams, Ian the streetcleaner and Cllr Jill Whitehead at the charity litter bin in Carshalton High Street

Sutton Council is encouraging residents to play their part in keeping borough streets cleaner – and local charities and good causes will benefit by their doing do.

The council is taking part in an anti-littering project that was launched this week in four areas across England. It has joined forces with the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy and The Wrigley Company in a bid to keep the streets of Sutton cleaner.

Carshalton High Street and Westmead Road are taking part in the three-month project, where litter bins will be transformed into charity collection pots, featuring a different charity each month. The three charities are The National Autistic Society (Sutton branch), Sutton ShopMobility and St Raphael’s Hospice.

The more litter that goes into the bins and the less on the ground, the more money the featured charity of the month will receive from an allocated budget.

Cllr Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“We are excited to be taking part in the Bin it for Good project in Carshalton High Street and Westmead Road. Sutton spends over £3m a year on keeping our streets, parks and open spaces free from litter. At a time when our budgets are being severely cut, any savings can make a big difference and save taxpayers money. We can’t keep cleaning up after those who litter and the only way to really tackle this is to alter the habits of people who drop litter without thinking. The Bin it for Good project supports Sutton Council’s One Planet goals to work to improve the quality of our local areas.”

A three-month pilot scheme in Rayleigh, Essex in 2014 saw a reduction of over 42 per cent in the amount of litter. At the same time, three local charities received more than £1,300 in donations and the project was also nominated for two Local Government Chronicle Awards.

In 2015, Bin it for Good was successfully extended to a further five locations to test the initiative in different locations. The project was well received by all partners and by the public, achieving on average a 30 per cent decrease in litter where it was successful, with Prudhoe town centre in Northumberland seeing a 52 per cent reduction in litter.

Allison Ogden-Newton, Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said:

“Bin if for Good is a win-win for communities. It cuts the amount of litter on the ground at the same time as supporting local charities. We are delighted to be working with Sutton Council as part of this rollout and look forward to seeing some more fantastic results.”

Sutton Council is working to reduce littering in partnership with borough residents of all ages, as well as local businesses. So far, 110 Sutton businesses have signed the #CleanStreetsSutton pledge to reduce the amount of litter around their shopfronts and business premises.

Local people have also been involved in sharing their litter loathes to encourage residents and visitors to take pride in the borough, helping to create an attractive and environmentally sustainable place to work, live, and play.

Mark Andrews, General Manager of Wrigley UK, said:

“After more than a decade of experience in supporting programmes to tackle litter it is clear to us that the challenge will only be solved through behaviour change, education and encouraging responsible disposal. Bin it for Good shows the huge potential in harnessing people’s support for local charities to change behaviour on litter and it is exciting to work with Keep Britain Tidy to refine the scheme so it can be used more widely. This is one of a series of new and deepened programmes that we are undertaking this autumn to help make a substantial difference on this issue.”

 

Heat Alert for this Week!

Jill, Chris and Hamish have received this message….
Dear Colleagues
The Met Office has issued a level 2 heat alert for London and the South-East from 6pm on Monday 12 September until 9am on Thursday 15 September 2016
Temperatures are expected to exceed 30C on Tuesday
Advice on what measures can be taken during a heatwave are detailed in the LBS guidance for staff and service managers. Please consider the impact this could have on yourself, colleagues and service users, particularly those vulnerable to higher temperatures.
 
Mike Lewis, Emergency Planning Officer
 
Communications Team

London Borough of Sutton
Civic Offices
St. Nicholas Way
Sutton SM1 1EA

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Local Citizens’ Help and Advice

www.suttonalps.org.uk

020 8254 2616

Citizens Advice Sutton is the lead agency for Advice Link Partnership Sutton (ALPS). ALPs is a partnership of local Not for Profit organisations providing free, confidential, independent and impartial advice for people who live or work in the London Borough of Sutton. You can contact Citizens Advice Sutton, Sutton Carers Centre and Age UK in the following ways:

Alps Web site – www.suttonalps.org.uk  –No email address is needed as we can call you back.

By Telephone call 020 8254 2616   between   9.00 and 5.00 Monday to Friday. Sutton Library & Heritage Service provides local community information from this number Monday – Friday from 9.30 – 5.00 pm.

The ALPS number also provides access to the following national organisations:

  • Samaritans
  • Citizens Advice Consumer Service
  • National Domestic Violence Helpline
  • Age UK Advice line
  • Carers Direct Helpline 

Citizens Advice Sutton, Sutton Carers Centre and Age UK Sutton are established registered local charities who have served the people of Sutton for many years providing free, confidential, independent and impartial advice on issues such as welfare benefits, debt, housing, employment and social care issues. 

Services from Citizens Advice Sutton

Citizens Advice Sutton holds the Advice Quality Standard for Advice. Our services are provided by both paid staff and volunteers.

Citizens Advice Sutton also provides various specialist services:

Pension Wise

Pension wise is a new, free, impartial and confidential guidance service from Government, to help people understand their pension choices. If you are aged 50 or over and have a Defined Contribution pension you are eligible for a face to face appointment. You can book an appointment by visiting www.pensionwise.gov.uk/ or telephone 0800 138 3944 

Debt Advice

The Capitalise team at Citizens Advice Sutton provides advice on all aspects of your debt and money issues. We are part of the Capitalise partnership and funded by the Money Advice Service.

We can help you to budget, maximise your income and provide you with all the options available to you to deal with your debts. We also have approved debt relief order intermediaries within the bureau to process debt relief orders (DROs).

We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN 617761

You can contact us on either online www.suttonalps.org.uk

 or telephone 020 8405 3552   Monday- Friday   9:00am – 5:00pm.

 You can also directly access debt advice from debt hotline located in the Jubilee Health Centre.

Specialist housing advice

The housing solicitor at Citizens Advice Sutton can assist clients entitled to legal aid with certain housing issues including possession, disrepair, homelessness, anti-social behaviour and eviction  To book an appointment please call us on 020 8405 3552 between   9.00 and 5.00   Monday to Friday or submit an enquiry via our website www.suttonalps.org.uk

Carers Centre – outreach sessions

Citizens Advice Sutton offers appointments at Sutton Carers Centre ,on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9am & 5pm at 12-14 Benhill Avenue, Sutton SM1 4DA · To book an appointment call the Carers Centre on 020 8296 5611or call 020 8254 2616   .

Sutton Mental Health Foundation (SMHF) – outreach session

Citizens Advice Sutton provides advice at Sutton Mental Foundation on Thursdays for people experiencing mental distress. SMHF is at 63 Downs Road Belmont, Sutton SM2 5NR  and Cheam Resource Centre, 671 London Rd, North Cheam SM3 9DL. To book an appointment to see a Citizens Advice Sutton adviser at SMHF telephone 020 8770 0172. 

Direct into advice line (DiAL)

DiAL is funded by the big lottery to provide priority access to telephone advice for those in urgent need or those with difficulty accessing advice services. You can get immediate, direct telephone advice from Citizens Advice Sutton, Age UK Sutton and Refugee and Migrant Network Sutton by asking staff to connect you at Homestart, Children’s Centres, Sutton Mental Health foundation and the Womens Centre. It operates Monday to Friday between 10.00 am to 12.30 pm and 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm.

Royal Association for the Deaf (RAD)

RAD provides a drop in service and appointments on Mondays between 10am and 4pm at Citizens Advice Sutton, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA. An RAD adviser provides BSL advice on benefits, employment, debt, form filling and understanding correspondence. Text 07749965727 to book an appointment or call 0845 688 2525. Email advice@royaldeaf.org.uk.

Sutton Uplift

Sutton’s Primary Care Mental Health Service, Sutton Uplift, hold a Wellbeing Drop in Clinic in the Sutton bureau every Monday between 9-5pm.  The Wellbeing Navigators will be able to offer information, and advice around wellbeing and practical issues that may be impacting on people’s daily lives, including offering ongoing short term one to one sessions if needed. Sutton Uplift aims “to help people to connect and access activities and resources to meet their physical, social and emotional needs.  Our team are experienced in supporting people with their Wellbeing, either professionally or through lived experience.” Contact them on 0800 032 1411 or 020 3513 4044, lines are open 9am to 6pm. Website http://www.suttonuplift.co.uk/.

Sutton residents warned to beware of mail scams this summer

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Trudy Richards, Senior Consumer Affairs Officer at Sutton Council, with just some of the many scam letters that residents have received.

Sutton Council is warning borough residents to be careful and not to become the victim of mail scams.

The warning was made by Trading Standards officers from Kingston and Sutton Shared Environment Service after the National Trading Standards Scams Team (NTS Scams Team) prevented almost 750,000 pieces of scam mail from entering the UK postal system in the last three months.

Nearly 750,000 (749,500) pieces of scam mail, including fake prize draws and clairvoyant scams, have been stopped from reaching the letterboxes of households around the country in the past three months*.

Although criminals behind the scams continually redesign their products to try to avoid raising suspicions, Sutton residents should look out for signs such as:

  • A foreign return address
  • An offer of a big pay out in return for a small purchase or administration fee
  • Requests for personal details in order to claim a prize
  • A letter claiming you have won a lottery that you did not enter
  • Letters from a psychic or clairvoyant offering their services for a fee
  • An offer that seems too good to be true.

Sutton Council Trading Standards recently came across a 90-year-old woman in the borough who had been conned out of £60,000 by unscrupulous people over the past decade. The pensioner received and responded to thousands of unsolicited letters and phone calls from the UK, France, The Netherlands, Canada and Australia.

Kingston and Sutton Shared Environment Service is urging people to look out for their neighbours, relatives and friends and to contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if they suspect that someone they know may be responding to scam mail.

Jan Gransden, Group Manager of Enforcement at Kingston & Sutton Shared Environment Service, said:

“We are asking Sutton residents to be vigilant if they receive unsolicited letters with an offer that sounds too good to be true – as this will in fact be the case. We helped a pensioner who ordered some make-up advertised in a mail-order catalogue, and a decade and thousands of letters later had spent £60,000 on worthless goods and lottery scams promising riches. The key message about any such letters is do not respond! We ask friends, neighbours and relatives to look out for scam mail in their parents’, children’s or friends’ houses and for banks to be on the lookout for suspicious transactions and uncharacteristic behaviour.”

Lord Toby Harris, Chair, National Trading Standards, said:

“National Trading Standards and our partners are working hard to stop scam mail reaching the hands of vulnerable people in our communities. However these new figures show that we are facing an uphill struggle.

“I would urge anyone who receives potentially fraudulent mail or who knows someone who might be receiving it to report it to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”

If you think you know someone who has been a scam victim or perhaps you believe you are a scam victim yourself, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 0608454 04 05 06. The helpline will provide you with advice and pass the details onto Trading Standards.

How to spot scams and stop scams

  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  • If you have not bought a ticket – you cannot win it.
  • You should not have to pay anything to get a prize.
  • If in doubt do not reply. Bin it delete it or hang up.
  • Persuasive sales patter? Just say ‘No thank you’.
  • Contacted out of the blue – be suspicious.
  • Never give out you bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you.
  • Take your time – resist pressure to make a decision straight away.
  • Never send money to someone you do not know.
  • Walk away from job ads that ask for money in advance.
  • Your bank will never attend your home.
  • The bank and the Police will never collect your bank card.
  • Your bank and the Police will never ask for your PIN.
  • Computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help fix your computer.
  • Do not suffer in silence – tell other  about scams.

Litter lout? Watch out – Enforcement Officers about!

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Sutton Council Environmental Enforcement Officers will be able to issue on the spot Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for a range of littering offences starting from Monday 11 July 2016.

The Enforcement Officers will focus on particularly busy areas such as Sutton High Street and other district centres. They will be able to issue FPNs for offences including dropping litter, fly-tipping, and failing to clean up dog mess. In 2015, Sutton Council’s cleaning teams picked up 1,267 tonnes of litter, and dealt with 1,390 separate fly-tipping incidents and 323 dog-fouling incidents. The total cost of all street cleaning services was £3,138,100. Working together we can bring these costs down, which will give us the opportunity to invest in vital frontline services for the benefit of borough residents.

Mary Morrissey, Strategic Director of Environment, Housing and Regeneration at Sutton Council, said:

“Nearly 20 per cent of Sutton residents answered ‘clean streets’ as the most important issue in making somewhere a good place to live. Our environmental enforcement officers will be highly visible as they patrol the borough to help combat litter at its source.”

The full details about the new FPNs can be found on the Sutton Council website here. Discounts are available for early payment of some Penalty Notices. The Environmental Enforcement Officers will be easy to recognise as they will be in uniform and patrol in pairs.  The service will operate each day of the week, including some evenings and weekends.