Older customers in Dumfries and Galloway are getting extra security and peace of mind in their homes during the coronavirus crisis.
DGHP, part of Wheatley Group, is running a six-month pilot for 34 older tenants in mainstream housing across Dumfries and Galloway.
The service is already offered through Wheatley, Scotland’s leading housing, property management and care group, where a total of 200 older customers in mainstream homes are being added to the Housing Proactive service.
The system involves older tenants engaging with a phone on a daily basis to pick up news and information.
Customers either press an ‘OK Each Day’ button on their device before a time (chosen by them) or are called by a highly trained member of the Housing Proactive team. If there’s still no contact, family or emergency contacts are notified.
Providing daily contact with tenants in this way gives individuals more flexibility in how they engage with their housing service, confirms health and safety and helps to improve customer care.
Mary Mundell, a DGHP customer (aged 97), who lives in Moffat, said: “This is such a great thing, it’s been really good for me.
“I’ve found it so easy to use, you just press a button, and it’s very reassuring to know that I have this in place.”
DGHP Managing Director, Matt Foreman, said: “This is another first for DGHP and it’s comforting to know that some of our customers are benefitting from the pilot. This is particularly important during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”
The service is also operating at other subsidiaries of Wheatley, including Glasgow Housing Association, Cube, Loretto Housing, Dunedin Canmore and West Lothian Housing Partnership.
Wheatley’s Group Director of Housing and Care, Olga Clayton, said: “We’re doing all we can to support vulnerable tenants during the pandemic. This is a good example of how older tenants, often cut off from family and friends, are receiving extra support and reassurance.”
She added: “On a more general basis, this innovative service is helping older tenants live independently for longer in their homes. It’s backed up by regular phone contact from housing officers currently working from home under government instructions.”
The Housing Proactive system is also used to remind tenants of everything from hospital appointments to birthdays and keeps them up to date on things like interruptions to utility supplies and information about local activities. They can also use it to call DGHP’s Customer Service Centre to book essential and emergency repairs.
“Our team are in regular contact with their customers,” said Olga. “This system is going one step further to tackle social isolation and promotes wellbeing during these difficult times.”
Benjamin Lambert, Head of Client Relations, said: “It’s brilliant to work with such a forward-thinking organisation as Wheatley. We initially started working with Wheatley in early 2018 and it’s great to expand the service with them to help even more of their older tenants stay connected and informed during the coronavirus outbreak.”