Regenda couple reveal water-saving secret

Regenda residents Sue and Wayne Hubbard have revealed the naked truth about how saving water can be good clean fun.

The cheeky couple have dramatically reduced the amount of water they use, partly by showering together!

The Hubbards, who are taking part in an energy-saving project run by the Regenda Group housing association, have exposed how they cut their water bill by a staggering 82 per cent.

“When we undertook the challenge to reduce our fuel bills we thought about every possible way we could save water, gas and electricity. Showering together is one of the more entertaining ways of saving water. We’ve been together for 20 years and this has brought me and Wayne closer together in more ways than one,” said 54 year-old Sue.

The couple, who live on the Limehurst estate in Oldham, are now bathing in energy-saving glory after reducing their monthly water bill from £46.60 to a mere £8.20.

They began by having a water meter installed and investing in two garden water butts to collect rainwater. A clever little device was then fitted to their toilet to reduce the amount of water used in a flush.

Now, every time they turn on a tap, Sue and Wayne make sure not a single drop of water goes to waste.

Regenda hopes the Hubbard’s squeaky clean image will now encourage other residents to take up the challenge of saving water, gas, and electricity to avoid fuel poverty.

“People might poke fun at me and Sue having a shower together but there is a serious side to all this. We quickly discovered that as soon as you start monitoring your water and energy use you immediately start to save it. It’s just a question of changing old habits and doing things differently.” – Wayne Hubbard

The Hubbards have also cut their monthly gas bill by half, from £60 down to £30, and reduced their electricity bill from £56 to £30 a month.

Sue, who has written a blog listing the ways they have saved water and energy, is confident they can do even better.

“So far we have saved a grand total of £1,132 on our water, gas and electricity bills and we reckon we can beat that over the next year. Saving that amount of money means we can now afford to shower our three children and five grandchildren with presents this Christmas,” said Sue.

Regenda challenged its residents to start monitoring their usage as part of the National Energy Study. The housing association also offers a free home energy survey to residents who are struggling with their fuel bills.

Revamp for children’s play areas

Half a million pounds is being invested into 11 children’s play areas across Northumberland.

In the first phase, housing association Isos will install new equipment and redesign sites in Newbrough and Wylam in the New Year. The first phase of the project is expected to be complete by March 2015 and then work on play areas in Acomb, Allendale, Bellingham, Halton Lea Gate, Haydon Bridge, Morpeth (2) and Prudhoe (2) will be phased from 2015/16.

The play areas are located on a number of Isos housing developments across Northumberland and all are currently in need of a makeover.

The plans come on top of recent work to deliver a brand new £28,000 play space at The Riggs housing development in Corbridge, Northumberland. As part of the improvements, Corbridge Parish Council has signed a 30-year lease to manage and maintain the development.

Isos appointed specialist play company Playdale to develop a four-to-five year plan to improve the play areas. The work is expected to be completed on the first two sites before the end of March next year.

Lewis Rimington, Localism Officer at Isos Housing said:

“These play areas are a central feature of the local community – a place where people can come together and children can get some much-needed playtime and exercise. But in recent years they have begun to show their age.

“So this year we took the decision to invest in improving them while coming up with a viable plan to secure their long term maintenance and upkeep. Involving local parish and town councils seems the logical next step to ensuring these play areas continue to play a vital role in community life.”

Isos held public consultation events at Newbrough and Wylam before starting work, and intends to do the same for the remaining nine locations.

Where feasible, local parish and town councils will be approached to discuss the future management and maintenance of the play areas.

Isos recognises the importance of providing play spaces within communities. The renovation work is intended to improve the quality of life for residents.

Updates on the renovation work and detailed plans for the remaining nine play areas will be announced in the coming months.

The 11 play areas benefiting from investment are:

  • Millersfield, Acomb
  • Allenfields, Allendale
  • Hillside, Bellingham
  • Leaside, Halton Lea Gate
  • Langley Gardens, Haydon Bridge
  • Sidgate, Newbrough, Hexham
  • The Gill, Prudhoe
  • Castle Lea, Prudhoe
  • Hedley Road, Wylam
  • Church Walk, Morpeth
  • Stobhillgate, Morpeth

Village 135 – Extra Care Scheme officially launched in Wythenshawe

Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG) was delighted to welcome Councillor Susan Cooley, Lord Mayor of Manchester, to officially launch Village 135, a new £20m Extra Care Scheme for Wythenshawe and South Manchester on Friday, 8th August 2014.

This marked the start of work on this £20m development, which will provide 135 much-needed homes for older people, with an anticipated completion by February 2016. Over £5m of the investment was awarded to WCHG via a Department of Health Care and Support Specialised Housing fund bid through the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Deborah McLaughlin, NW Executive Director at the Homes and Communities Agency, said: “We are delighted to support the development of new homes for the over 55s in Wythenshawe. The scheme looks great – I’m sure the apartments and the community hub will be very popular with the local community, and will play a major part in establishing Wythenshawe as a place where people choose to live and work.”

Located on the junction of Brownley Road and Hollyhedge Road in Wythenshawe, these new modern, energy efficient homes will provide a mix of 66 apartments for affordable rent, 39 apartments for shared ownership and 30 apartments for outright sale.

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, said:

“We are delighted to launch this exciting new project, which marks the first major development since WCHG was created in April last year. These new Extra Care homes will provide housing for older people through a mixture of apartments for affordable rent, shared ownership and outright sales – giving the people of Wythenshawe a variety of housing options if they wish to downsize or want to find something better suited to their requirements.”

These purpose-built homes will ensure a high quality of life for older people by providing an on-site 24 hour care team and a range of facilities specifically catering for their needs. Residents will be able to live independent lives in their own two bedroom apartments and access the level of care necessary for needs, which can be adapted as needs change.

Consultation with local people has taken place so that they are aware of this new development and the fantastic resources it will bring for local people to enjoy. For instance, a Community Hub with a café will provide a focal point for residents and encourage social activity with the local community, who will also have access to this communal space. The development will be set in landscaped sensory gardens and the homes have been designed to meet full mobility and access under Lifetime Homes, ensuring the living spaces are flexible in design and are a generous size to meet the needs of the residents.

Eddy Newman, Chair of WCHG, said: “This new facility will also provide job opportunities for local people, both in the construction phase of the development, and when it is up and running. We also hope to work closely with The Manchester College in Wythenshawe to provide training and job opportunities in health and social care, catering and hair and beauty as part of the Community facilities on offer in the communal hub of the scheme.”

Councillor Susan Cooley, Lord Mayor of Manchester, said: “I am especially pleased to launch this new development as my theme during my year as Lord Mayor is based on an Age Friendly Manchester. I wish Wythenshawe Community Housing Group all the very best in this new venture for the older people of Wythenshawe and South Manchester.”

Local MP Mike Kane commented: “Support for older people will be a priority for me in my work as the local MP. I am pleased to see WCHG delivering a project which is directly addressing a gap in services for local residents. I look forward to continuing to work with WCHG on projects like this which are targeting community need.”

If anyone would like to find out more about these new homes for rent and sale, please contact Amanda Seals, Senior Manager, Extra Care on 0161 946 9581 or visitwww.village135.org.uk.