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    Stay at home

    The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has announced that everyone must stay at home from 5 November 2020, except in exceptional circumstances.

    The only reasons you may leave home are:

    • for childcare or education, where this is not provided online
    • for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes)
    • to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place - with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with one person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).
    • for any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies, or to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm - such as domestic abuse
    • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which should be as infrequent as possible
    • to visit members of your support bubble or provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.

    Our services

    The majority of our services will continue as normal during the lockdown, here's more detail about the services we're offering:

    • Repairs

      We're carrying out our repairs, maintenance and servicing appointments as normal. 

      We have asked our contractors to do the same. 

      If you have a repair, you can book a repair using our online portal, by emailing help@wkha.org.uk or calling 0800 1691122.

      Call times may be longer than usual, so unless your repair is urgent, please use one of our online methods to save you waiting.

      Please make sure you watch this video about how to stay safe while work is carried out in your home.

      If you are self-isolating and need to cancel your appointment after 10am, you won't be charged. If we need to cancel your appointment after 10am we will not offer compensation. 

       

       

    • Rent and bills

      If you're experiencing financial difficulty due to coronavirus and worried about paying your rent, please talk to us. No one will lose their home because of coronavirus.

      We want to work with residents who are affected by the coronavirus outbreak to support them through this difficult time. 

      Over the next few months, our priorities will be to:

      • Offer support and guidance about what benefits you may be entitled to, and how to claim
      • Listen to what you can pay, and make appropriate payment plans with you
      • Offer budgeting advice and access to income and expenditure reviews
      • Agree for the housing cost part of your universal credit to be paid directly to us (if you receive this)
      • Support you if you're looking for work by helping you with your job search, including getting ready for applications and interviews
      • Signpost you to our partner organisations for further specialist advice on training and employment. 

      We can also complete referrals to local food banks if you're struggling. Please contact our customer services team if you need help with this. 

      Rent will still be charged, but we want to help you to manage your rent and other bills. We do however have two rent catch-up weeks on 28 December and 4 January. Rent is not charged to your account on these weeks.

      You should continue to pay as normal if you:

      • Receive Universal Credit or Housing Benefit
      • Live in an Extra Care or Kent Excellent Homes for All scheme
      • Pay by direct debit (the rent-free weeks are calculated as part of your monthly payment).

       

    • Moving house

      We're continuing to carry out sign ups and mutual exchanges 

      There are no restrictions on moving house during the lockdown. The majority of sign ups will be done virtually where possible.

      Although we will still continue to carry out mutual exchanges, our priority will be new sign ups, so you might have a longer wait than normal.

    • Complaints

      We may ask you to wait longer than our usual timescales for a response to your complaint.

      Clearly with the pressure on all our customer facing services we have to decide what to prioritise. We will make every effort to respond to complaints, but we know we will not be able to meet the timescales in our current policy.

    • Employment and training

      Our employment and training team are still here to help.

      If you want help with CV writing, interview techniques or career advice please email westkentworks@wkha.org.uk

      If you're looking for work, we've added some links on our West Kent Works page. 

    • Our offices

      Our Sevenoaks and Swanley offices are closed to the public. If you need to speak to us, you can contact us by email, phone or web chat. 

    • Our schemes

      We're no longer holding group activities and communal lounges, restaurants, gyms and hairdressers are closed in our schemes.

      We're offering a delivery or takeaway service at the restaurants. 

      We ask that your family or friends follow the latest government guidance, and only visit if absolutely essential. If you are having items delivered, such as food, please ask for them to be left outside your flat door.

      For more information, please contact your scheme manager, or the tenancy support team.

    • Abacus stores

      We're offering a click and collect service from our Abacus stores

      Items for sale will be posted on our Facebook page - we'll ask you to pay over the phone by card and will offer an appointment for store collection or delivery. 

      Our stores will otherwise be closed to the public, and we're unable to accept or collect donations until the lockdown is over.

      We'll assess this regularly and let you know when we will reopen. Please check the Abacus Furniture Project Facebook for updates.

    • Youth clubs

      We're waiting for further guidance and we'll assess this on a day-by-day basis and let attendees know when they reopen. Please check the Youth Services Facebook page for updates.

      If you have any questions about the youth club closures, please email youthservices@wkha.org.uk

    West Kent Together will continue. We can link residents to internal and external support services; whether it’s needing food or medication delivered, employment support, money advice, or just someone to talk to.