DIRECT DEBIT DELAY: Due to a technical issue, if you are a Torus tenant with a DD rent payment due out on the 11th, 12th, 13th or 14th of September it will now be taken on Tuesday 15th September.  We apologise for any inconvenience.

CORONAVIRUS: Keep updated on services here.  

 

Press Releases

Catch up with all the latest news from the Torus group

Coronavirus - Torus services updates and keeping you safe

Updated: 31 July 2020

Local Lockdowns

The Government has announced new Covid-19 related restrictions in some areas. These measures are mostly around socialising and gathering in groups.  You can read who’s affected and what it means here

If you live in one of the affected areas, in line with the guidance

  • We’ll still be responding to repairs
  • Will continue with gas and other safety inspections to keep your home safe

Remember, if we do visit your home our team will put your health, safety and wellbeing first.

This means we’ll:

  • Call ahead to check it’s safe to come out
  • Stay at least 2 metres away at all times
  • Sanitise our hands before entering and on leaving your home
  • Wipe down any surfaces we touch
  • Encourage you to move to another room
  • Complete any work as quickly as possible

 

Updated: 30 July 2020

Face Coverings

As an added measure of reassurance, we’ve asked our staff to wear face coverings. This isn’t something we have to do, it’s something we’ve chosen to do.

Our staff will be wearing face coverings to keep you safe. Please keep our staff safe and wear one too.

 

Updated: 1 June 2020

Putting You First - Resuming ‘New Normal’ Services

Following new guidelines from the Government and with new safety measures in place, we’re pleased to let you know that we’re restarting some of our services which were suspended due to the coronavirus, such as allocating homes and repairs.

We’re committed to continuing to put you first and throughout the pandemic your safety has been a priority for us, and this will not change as we move forward.  We understand that this is still a very worrying time but, as we resume our services, we want to assure you that we’ve spent a lot of time planning how we deliver services to make them safe and to protect you and our people, complying in all aspects, with the Government’s guidance on managing the risk of Coronavirus.

As throughout the pandemic we have a legal requirement to do gas safety checks and other important inspections and the reason we do them is to keep you safe. The Government has confirmed that essential safety checks must go ahead even where someone is on the shielded or vulnerable list. So please continue to let us in.

Rest assured, any decisions we make as we resume our services will still put your health, safety and wellbeing first. 

We expect it is going to take some time as we adapt to the new normal and we thank you again for your patience.

Find out about our updated services below:
 

Vital Gas Safety – your gas service

We know this is a worrying time but your safety is our top priority. In this lockdown situation, we’re all spending more time at home so it’s essential that your gas appliances are working safely and you’re not at risk.

Your gas service is important - it is vital to that we continue these checks to keep you, your family, your neighbours and community safe.  There is a legal requirement for us to complete essential safety checks at your home such as gas servicing – this has not changed due to Coronavirus, even if you are shielding or on the vulnerable list.

If you have a gas check scheduled, in addition to your appointment letter we will be in contact with you prior to an engineer arriving to check that it’s safe for us to come out and you’re happy for us to proceed.

If your gas safety check is due, we will continue to contact you and arrange these checks.

  • Your safety is a priority and we will complete the appointment as quickly as possible.
  • Our gas engineers will follow full Safe Systems of Work protocols, practicing social distancing and increased hygiene protection in line with Public Health England Guidelines.
  • You do not need to be in the room while they complete the inspection, so apart from allowing access you will not need to come in contact with the operative.
  • We will only go into the rooms we need to carry out the work and will minimise any disturbance, leaving your home clean and tidy, including sanitising any surfaces touched.

If you refuse access:

  • we will make a note, and rearrange your safety check based on your specific isolation criteria. 
  • you will continue to receive letters and contact about your gas safety check, because we must follow important gas safety procedures.

If you refuse access you will continue to receive letters and contact about your gas safety check, because we must follow important gas safety procedures.

Remember, carbon monoxide kills. If you can let us in, please do. However, if you have any concerns, wish to change your gas appointment or have any questions please get in touch:

Other checks to keep you safe:
Other checks to keep you safe include regular checks on electrics, asbestos, legionella, fire safety and lifts and we need to keep these appointments where possible and where safe for you and our staff.  If you receive an appointment for any of these and have concerns, please contact us straight away 0800 678 1894,

Service update 1 June 2020: Our public receptions & offices

Our public receptions and offices will remain closed to the public until further notice.  Please use the website, phone or email if you need to contact us.

Service update 1 June 2020: Response (Routine) Repairs

During the pandemic we were only able to carry out urgent and emergency repairs, but the good news is due to the change in government guidance and with new safety measure in place, we are now restarting responsive repairs.

We are only taking repairs over the phone during the Covid-19 crisis as we still need to discuss with you whether it is safe for us to attend.

You can now call our Contact Centre (Torus Customer Hub), Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm on 0800 678 1894 to book a repair.

Our phone lines will be very busy over the first few weeks. If your repair is minor it would help us if you could delay reporting this until a later date.

Please report all emergency and urgent repairs as usual.

It will take time for us to deal with the backlog of repairs caused by the coronavirus lockdown. This is likely to cause delays to the repairs service for the next few months. We’re aiming to get back to our usual level of service as soon as possible and we thank you for your patience in the meantime.

There may also be some delays to completing some repairs due to shortages of certain materials, so our ability to carry out your repair so this is subject to availability of materials. 
We are also, in the short term, not able to carry out any gas routine repairs, such as fixing a broken radiator or dealing with timer faults.

Find out more about what to expect if we visit your home here.  

Paying your rent - help and support from Torus

We know these are uncertain and worrying times for many of our customers because of the coronavirus. 

We want you to know that we are here to help, so if you are experiencing financial difficulties and may not be able to pay your rent a member of the income team will be contacting you to offer support and advice.

If you are worried about falling into arrears because you cannot pay us in the short term because of Coronavirus, you can discuss setting up a payment plan with our Rents Team, email Income.Services@Torus.co.uk.

 We’re here to help – find out more about rents and what support is available here.

Service update 20 April 2020: Works on empty homes (voids) resumed

In line with the latest Government advice, from this week Torus working with contract partners, HMS will resume vital works on our empty properties (voids) to ensure that vacant homes are made available to families in need.

HMS are working with Torus and the Local Authority to prioritise empty homes for new customers. These homes may be for key workers or required in order to provide much needed accommodation for vulnerable customers. 

Our customers remain our top priority and we are always committed to ensuring safety and we will:

  • Complete work as quickly as possible
  • Comply with the latest government advice on Coronavirus whilst working inside the property
  • Carry out the works in line with ‘Safe Systems of Work’ with staff wearing the required PPE in line with the Government’s Health & Safety Executive.
  • Ensure that social distancing is adhered to when entering and leaving the property.

We will be in touch with the neighbouring properties where works are being completed, providing details of the site manager who can be contacted with any concerns or questions. 

Service update 27 April 2020: External maintenance & improvement works resumed

In line with the latest Government advice, from the 27 April Torus working with contract partners, HMS will be carrying out essential property maintenance and improvements to the exterior of some of our homes to ensure that we are able to provide great homes.

The latest Government advice makes clear that contractors should continue to undertake vital construction and maintenance services during the current crisis, with emphasis on compliance safety and preventative maintenance works.  

These works are all external and include; guttering, external pointing, fencing, landscaping and guttering and do not require our teams to access inside the property, but they will need access to the outside of homes.

Our customers remain our top priority and we are always committed to ensuring safety and we will:

  • Contact our customers prior to any work with details of the site manager who can be contacted with any concerns or questions along with advice to on how to prepare for the work; cleaning the area of patio furniture/plants etc. and keeping pets indoors.
  • Complete work as quickly as possible
  • Not enter the home
  • Comply with the latest government advice and ensure that social distancing is adhered to.
  • Carry out the works in line with ‘Safe Systems of Work’ with staff wearing the required PPE in line with the Government’s Health & Safety Executive.

If you do see a member of staff, please remember to keep your distance.  

Service update 1 June 2020: Appointments

To keep you safe we are continuing to avoid face-to-face meetings and appointments where possible.

We will be opening our three main offices (Bank Park House, Central and The Observatory) to allow for people to attend appointments to sign-up for properties only.

If we must carry out works in your home e.g. vital safety gas safety checks, repairs - we will check it’s safe to do beforehand and that you are happy.

We will be continuing to ask customers to follow the latest government guidelines and please notify us if they, or anyone in their household has either being diagnosed with Coronavirus, is self-isolating, has any flu-like symptoms, or has any other concerns why we should not complete work in their home. 

We are ensuring that our staff and contractors follow public health advice on hand washing and self-isolating if they fall into one of the categories where this is advised. Therefore, customers can be reassured that we have done everything we can to minimise the risk from anyone from Torus visiting their property.

Find out more about what to expect if we visit your home here.  

Service update 1 June 2020: Applying for a Home, Allocations, Viewings & Sign-ups

Following a change in Government advice we are now beginning to allocate homes and will be resuming viewing and sign-ups.

If you had been pre-allocated a home prior to the lockdown, your Neighbourhood Officer will be contacting you to arrange a viewing, however we have a considerable backlog and we ask you to be patient as we do our best to resume services, we have put lots of new safety practices in place and you can find out more about what to expect if you are taking part in a viewing here. [link to safety article]

Our offices will remain closed for the foreseeable future, but you may be invited down to attend a pre-arranged appointment to sign-up for your properties.  We will only carry out face-to-face appointments where a virtual appointment is not an option and appointments will be kept to a minimum.  

We have been working hard to introduce new safe working practices and re-designing our offices to respect social distancing and to keep you and our staff safe.  If you are invited to attend an appointment, please come on your own, where possible.  You can find out more about what to expect if you visit our offices here. [link to safety article]

Under One Roof is still available to people to register at www.u-1-r.co.uk.  The Team are continuing to process applications and contacting applicants where required if more information is required.

Find out more about what to expect if you visit our office here.  

Service update 27 April 2020: Communal area cleaning resumed 

Following customer feedback about concerns over the spread of coronavirus, on the 27 March 2020 we made amendments to our communal area cleaning and suspended cleaning on residential blocks, with Caretaking staff will continuing to make regular visits to make sure the area was clean and safe, including carrying out vital fire safety checks.

But in line with new Government guidelines and to ensure continued safety and hygiene, regular cleaning and outdoor maintenance will resume in all communal areas, following strict health and safety guidelines.  Be rest assured, we have introduced new health and safety precautions and we will:

  • Complete work as quickly as possible
  • Comply with the latest government advice on Coronavirus whilst working.
  • Carry out the works in line with ‘Safe Systems of Work’ with staff wearing the required PPE in line with the Government’s Health & Safety Executive.
  • Ensure that social distancing is always adhered to.

If you do see a member of staff, please remember to keep your distance.  If you have any concerns, please contact us.

Service Charges

It is important that customers continue to pay their rent and service charges.

We appreciate it is a worrying time and would encourage any of our customers who are struggling to get in touch with a member of our team by telephone or online as there is a range of support and advice available to help you.

We also recognise that some services covered by service charges such as grounds maintenance or communal cleaning were temporarily paused for a short period of time.

We are therefore reviewing our service charging policy in respect of both fixed and variable service charges. We will provide further updates in due course and expect to make more information available as soon as possible.

Social distancing

We know that many of our customers are already actively following the government’s guidelines around social distancing during the Coronavirus outbreak.  However, as a responsible landlord, we must reinforce the message and urge all our customers to stay at home and away from others, as per the government’s rules on social distancing.    Get more information here.

Customer events, groups and activities

Because your health and wellbeing is our number one priority, we have decided to postpone all scheduled events, groups and activities – you can find out more on the Torus Foundation website.

Universal Credit and Benefits

Keep updated on how coronavirus is impacting Universal Credit and benefits here.

Ending a tenancy

We have revised our process on how you end your tenancy, find out more here

Putting you first – how Torus can help you

We understand that Coronavirus is causing much anxiety and concern.  If you are still experiencing difficulties, then please let us know so we can see what we can do to help.  If we don’t have your current contact number, please update your number your online account or call the Torus Customer Hub on 0800 678 1894.

Local help & support:

Communities have really come together to look after each other in response to the Coronavirus situation, click here for information on where you can go to get help with support, food and other local services.

Please show kindness to your neighbours and try and help each other out during these challenging times

Government advice & additional information

You can also head to the Government Advice webpage which covers plenty of useful information on coronavirus including:

  • What the signs and symptoms are
  • How the virus spreads
  • How to reduce the risk of contracting the virus
  • Current social distancing rules

As information about coronavirus is being updated regularly, we advise you to keep a close eye on the Government website for all the latest information.

Coronavirus Information in 36 languages!
Doctors of the World have translated the latest government information around Coronavirus into 36 languages.  The complete list includes: English, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Bengali, Bulgarian, Czech, Dari, Estonian, Farsi, French, Gujarati, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Hungarian, Kurdish Sorani, Lithuanian, Malayalam, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Romanian, Sindhi, Slovak, Spanish, Somali, Tamil, Tigrinya, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese.
www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information/


 

Safeguarding adults during the crisis
During the COVID-19 crisis, it is particularly important to safeguard adults with care and support needs. They may be more vulnerable to abuse and neglect as others may seek to exploit disadvantages due to age, disability, mental or physical impairment or illness.

These groups may be targeted because of several factors. Generally speaking, they may need assistance with some tasks, be less up to speed with technology, more welcoming of new contacts, more trusting and – for many older people – wealthier. There is evidence that social isolation increases the likelihood of abuse. Many older and disabled people spend long periods at home alone, and now as the whole nation is being asked to stay at home the same groups are more likely to be alone rather than in a family group.

At a time of international crisis, those who seek to exploit these vulnerabilities are quick to act. We will all have been warned of new scams offering help and advice on COVID-19 or with financial assistance. Many of us will have concerns for family members who may fall prey to fraudsters.

‘Safeguarding is Everyone’s Business – as Usual’ but particularly at this is time when we must all be extra vigilant and try to pick up any early signs that something isn’t right.

 For further information and contacts please visit the Warrington Safeguarding Adults Board webpage.

Keep updated...

Keep checking here and social on a regular basis, please keep checking for updates.  You can also keep up to date with news from Torus via our Twitter account @WeAreTorus or on the Facebook page.

Keeping in Touch Magazine: The ‘Keeping in Touch’ magazine gave you important information about our services at that time.  Find out more and download your copy here.
 

Rest assured, any decisions we make as we resume our services will still put your health, safety and wellbeing first.