Sanctuary Housing - East

Sanctuary Housing manages more than 9,000 homes across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

We have a wide range of homes available to rent or buy and are committed to providing quality homes and excellent services that meet the needs of the local community.

A couple smiling as they entertain friends in their living room.

General rented housing provides affordable homes for people on low incomes. Our rented properties are available at lower rents than the open market.

If you would like to apply to live in a Sanctuary Housing property, please call us on 0800 131 3348 or 0300 123 3511. If you’re already a Sanctuary Housing resident or live in one of our homes in a different area of the country, you may be able to transfer to us.

Change of circumstances

Should your circumstances change, please let us know by filling in the Change of Circumstances form  (PDF 112KB).

Sanctuary Retirement living properties provide high quality accommodation and support services for those aged 60 and over (or 55 and over if registered disabled) allowing residents to live independently in a comfortable, secure environment. Residents have their own accommodation and front door key, with access to a range of additional services, including support from retirement living staff and a 24-hour telecare alarm system.

For further information:

  • For further information about retirement living schemes in the East, please call us on 0800 131 3348 or 0300 123 3511.

In the letter you have received you will have read about the charge we are introducing to pay for the services we provide at your scheme. These services include a wide range of activities provided by us, including maintenance, cleaning, repairs and utility costs for communal areas and shared gardens, and electricity costs for communal areas.

The following FAQs provide answers to the most common queries we have received, although if you have any more questions please email eastservice.queries@sanctuary-housing.co.uk or call 0800 131 3348 (from landlines) or 0300 123 3511 (from mobiles).

Frequently asked questions

What do we mean by services?

  • Communal grounds maintenance such as grass cutting, maintenance of shrubs and borders, and tree pruning
  • Litter removal, including bulk and dumped rubbish
  • Cleaning of communal areas – stairwells and entrance areas
  • Window cleaning of shared areas (not individual properties)
  • Electricity costs and lighting replacements for communal areas
  • Testing and maintenance of smoke alarms and emergency lighting to shared areas
  • Maintenance of door entry systems
  • Replacement and repair of large items, such as door entry systems or lifts.

Why is Sanctuary reviewing these services?

Our residents are usually charged for the shared services they benefit from, with costs shared fairly between all of the applicable properties/households in the scheme. Up until now no formal review has been undertaken in your area and so you have previously benefited from services without charge. However, it is important that we are consistent and fair in how these services are both delivered and paid for, and in the future we will need to recover the costs in order to be able to continue to deliver these services to you, which is why we are undertaking a review at your scheme.

How do we know how much these services are currently costing?

We will determine the total costs for each scheme and then divide between the total number of properties. These charges are then split into weekly payments to help tenants spread the costs.

Will any changes affect Housing Benefit?

All the listed services (above) are classed as ‘eligible charges’ for the purpose of Housing Benefit. This means if you claim Housing Benefit you will be able to include the charges as part of your claim.

A very small number of residents may also benefit from a personal charge to their properties, which is usually something like a stairlift we have installed within their home. Any ongoing costs for these items, such as maintenance costs, can be charged to you. These costs are classed as ‘ineligible charges’ which Housing Benefit does not cover. You would be responsible for paying us for these costs regardless of whether you claim Housing Benefit or not.

What if I don’t want or am unhappy with a service?

Some services are not negotiable, such as communal lighting in a stairwell which would be dangerous if unlit. For some services, such as cleaning or grass cutting, we carry out regular quality checks and encourage your comments and suggestions for improvement. You may also be able to help us by becoming involved in regular estate inspections with our staff.

What services does my scheme benefit from?

You should have already received a full breakdown of all the services you currently benefit from at your scheme. The breakdown gives you an idea of the services we provide to you and allows you to understand the associated costs.

What happens next?

You will shortly receive your annual review rent letter that will confirm your rent will decrease by 1 per cent, which is in line with recent government policy. We will also attach details of the service charge that you will need to pay for the services that you receive. A full breakdown of the cost will show you how we have calculated this amount. Please note that the service charge will not start until 4 April 2016, in line with your rent decrease.

Who can I contact?

If you have any comments, concerns or queries, or if you require further information, you can email eastservice.queries@sanctuary-housing.co.uk  or call 0800 131 3348 (from landline) or 0300 123 3511 (from a mobile)

Smiling as they chat to friends, an elderly couple sit in their dining room.

 

Sanctuary in neighbourhoods

East Cambridgeshire

Our approach to investing in East Cambridgeshire is about involving everyone with a positive interest in the neighbourhood: whether they rent from us or own their own home; whether they go to school in East Cambridgeshire, or run a business.

Member of staff in the LittlePort Bike Shop.

Young Persons Littleport is a well-established voluntary organisation that provides a large variety of community-focused activities, from auctions to dance classes that appeal to a wide range of people. With Sanctuary’s help, they have launched a new social enterprise to support the community: the YPL Bike Shop.

How we’ve helped

  • £2,000 Sanctuary Community Investment funding towards staff training and bike equipment and new bikes.
  • 1 new job created.

Legacy

  • The Bike Shop has provided a new income stream to Young Persons Littleport.
  • Littleport Young People are now expanding their services and activities, including the community café, dance studio and dance sessions, and a new social enterprise and bike club.

Imogen with some of the mums in East Cambridgeshire

Imogen became involved with Homestart East Cambridgeshire after hearing about the positive work that they do and knowing the challenges faced by young mums. With Sanctuary’s support, she has now undertaken 10 days volunteer training and is supporting local families by sharing her experiences and helping people to share their problems.

How we’ve helped

  • £4,515 Sanctuary Community Investment funding in 2014/2015
  • 10 weeks of training on volunteering course for one day a week.
  • Sanctuary has also provided offices free of charge to Homestart.

Legacy

  • Sanctuary funding 10 more volunteers to support 10 more families.
  • Families supported to help run their home, manage budgets and address mental health issues.
  • As well as building strong relationships between Homestart and Sanctuary, volunteers will continue their development with training in First Aid, mental health and healthy eating.

Residents of retirement living schemes in East Cambs take part in a technology skills session.

Recognising the opportunity to link in health awareness activities and digital inclusion among older people, three ‘FIT’ events were launched across retirement living schemes. FIT helps older people to gain confidence in exploring online resources to help them manage their health and wellbeing.

How we’ve helped

  • £1,400 Sanctuary Community Investment funding to provide broadband and computers.
  • 3 Sanctuary scheme managers involved in the delivery of the project.

Legacy

  • Get Online now enables residents and the wider community to access information and training materials that were previously inaccessible.
  • People report feeling more in control of their life by being able to access information and use technology.