COVID-19 update for customers

As we move into the winter months it’s clear that the impact of COVID-19 continues to affect us all.

We’re working hard to provide you with a reliable customer service every day, but there’s several factors out of our control at the moment that are making it harder for us to do this.

We’ve been working through the backlog of repairs caused by national lockdowns and over the last few months we’ve also seen a large increase in the number of new repairs being logged.

Shortages of vital materials like glass, timber and plaster are affecting our ability to carry out repairs as promptly for you as we want to. When deliveries of materials are cancelled or delayed at short notice, we can’t always provide you with a clear date about when we’ll fix your repair.

Like many other businesses, we’re affected by the national skills shortage of talented people to carry out work in your home. Our front line staff are self-testing regularly, but sometimes they need to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

At the moment we’re prioritising urgent and emergency repairs, so this does mean our routine repairs service is being affected by delays.This is also affecting planned kitchen and bathroom upgrades and some boiler replacements.

We’ve kept a record of all the repairs you’ve logged, so please be reassured that you don’t need to do anything if you’ve reported a repair. We’ll be in touch when we’ve arranged a new date for this work to take place. We do however ask that if you or a family member are self-isolating or have COVID-19 symptoms please contact us to re-arrange any booked appointments for repairs or planned visits.

If you can, please get in touch 48 hours before your appointment to rearrange. Under new government guidelines, if you come into contact with the Omicron variant, you’ll need to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of whether you’ve been fully vaccinated or not. If you have an appointment booked with us during this period, please call 0333 400 8222 to let us know and we will rearrange the visit. 

We know how disappointing it is when a visit gets cancelled or rearranged at short notice. We’re working hard to reduce waiting times, but we expect delays to carry on into the winter.

Thank you for your patience as we work through this particularly difficult period.

Our priority is your safety

We want to make sure everyone feels comfortable when we visit your home, so for the foreseeable future we’re keeping some COVID-19 health and safety measures in place.

Our contact centre is particularly busy at the moment so to avoid waiting in a queue to speak to us you can also reach us through our MyAster portal, via email, or via our call back system, which will hold your place in the queue and we’ll call you when you reach the front.

Many of our people, including our Contact Centre advisors, continue to work from home and juggle childcare and caring responsibilities while doing their best every day to support you at home.

We’re proud to be part of the Service with Respect campaign to make sure that all customer service workers are treated with respect while doing their job.

We’ll continue to listen to government guidance and follow advice from our own risk assessments in the coming weeks and months.

STAY WELL THIS WINTER

If you need to speak to us about an issue, get in touch via MyAster, on email or call our Contact Centre on 0333 400 8222. Sometimes you might be able to carry out a few simple checks to avoid us needing to visit. Check out our advice hub and the links below for more hints and tips to stay well this winter:

Tips to tackle mould and condensation

Central heating top tips

Look after your boiler

FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO YOU

We understand that you may be concerned about your finances, especially at the moment, but please be reassured we will try to help you as much as we can, and we would encourage you to talk to us about your financial situation if you are worried. 

We have a money advice tool that can help you to budget for rent and other charges, food and utilities.  The Department for Work and Pensions has issued guidance about claiming support through Universal Credit. 

The Quids In! magazine, which we provide free to our customers, has updated its website to offer a host of money advice, tips and support.

Our Into Work and Financial Wellbeing services are available should you need them and our teams can support you through this period by helping you access work opportunities or offer help with managing your money. 

We’re working hard to make sure we don’t add to your worries at this time and ask that you keep in touch with us about your situation. If you are concerned about paying your rent or other charges, please call us on 0333 400 8222.        

 

HEALTH ADVICE

If you feel unwell and have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 please follow the government’s updated advice on the precautions you need to take. 

EXTRA CARE AND SHELTERED SCHEMES

For more information please see our information for Independent Living Customers.

CORONAVIRUS ADVICE FOR EXTRA CARE SCHEMES

CONTACTING ASTER

Until further notice our offices remain closed to customers. Our Neighbourhood Officers will be out and about as normal conducting estate inspections, but we would ask that any contact with them is made by phone.

Our teams are here to help you. Our contact centre remains open and you can still reach us by calling 0333 400 8222, through My Aster or using our contact form

USEFUL LINKS

 

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