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Coronavirus update

2020 - August, Latest news

We're continuing to follow official government guidelines in our response to Coronavirus and we will continue to provide our services to customers as normal and we will keep you updated if any advice changes.  

Our planning aims to minimise the impact the outbreak may have on the delivery of our services, as well as keeping you and your neighbours safe and well. We follow the news and the regular updates provided by Public Health England on the Government website.  We want to continue to deliver the best possible service during this pandemic and to minimise the risk of spreading the virus and protect everyone as best we can while continuing our work, we will be taking extra precautions.

Government updates

You can find the latest government advice and updates on coronavirus here. This includes guidance on work, travel and meeting with friends and family.

For further detailed information on how we are delivering our services during this time:

Click here 


Latest Update - 11 September 2020 

The government has announced new measures to suppress the virus and keep the number of infections down.

Read update

From Monday 14 September, you must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than 6.

This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes. This change will simplify and clarify the rules on social gatherings, so they are easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce. There will be a limited number of exemptions. COVID-19 Secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups.

This rule will not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than 6 who will still be able to gather together. Education and work settings are unaffected, and organised team sports will still be able to proceed, as will weddings and funerals up to 30. From Monday, this limit will be enforceable in law.


Latest update – 28 August 2020

Reintroducing routine repairs in Leicester

Due to the local lockdown and all of the restrictions, since 29 June we’ve only been able to offer an emergency repairs service to our customer living in the city. But, as the situation continues to ease, we pleased to be able to start to offer routine repairs again to all customers from 01 September.

Customers will be able to report their repairs by calling our Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 2221 and through My PA again.

Log in

We are contacting our customers to book in the routine repairs that were reported prior to the lockdown restrictions


Latest update – 19 August 2020

The Leicester lockdown continues to ease with leisure activities and salons now being allowed to re-open as with other parts of the country.

Find out more 

The guidelines however still advise against congregating in private households or allowing people from outside of your family or support bubble to enter you home.

This means that we must continue with our current level of reduced service in Leicester City until a further Government announcement is made. We will complete emergency and urgent repairs and these will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

We will this review in line with the government’s updates.

The next review will take place by 31 August.


Latest update 30 July 2020 

Leicester lockdown

Restrictions will be lifted for the Borough of Oadby and Wigston from 3 August. These areas will return to national social distancing guidelines, other than for clinically extremely vulnerable people who should continue shielding.

Additional businesses and venues will be able to re-open in Leicester City from 3 August. Other restrictions remain in place. The clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to shield.

The next review will take place by 13 August.

For the Leicester City Borough some restrictions have been lifted from the 3 August and the following can reopen, (in line with the national changes of 4 July):

  • Restaurants, Cafes and Workplace Canteens
  • Bars and Pubs
  • Hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses
  • Places of Worship
  • Libraries
  • Community Centres
  • Social clubs
  • Cinemas and Bingo Halls
  • Theatres and Concert halls
  • Museums and galleries
  • Hair salons and barbers
  • Outdoor playgrounds and gyms


Leisure centres, gyms and pools must remain closed.

Single-adult households (those who live alone or with dependent children only) can still form a support bubble with one other household.

People from different households are still able to meet in a group of up to 6 and only outdoors, provided they follow strict social distancing.

People should not meet in private homes or gardens (this includes people who live within the area travelling to visit someone who lives outside Leicester)

Only essential travel within Leicester City is advised.

We know it is confusing and we encourage you to keep a close eye on the local information being released by your local authority and media outlets to stay as up to date as possible.

The government have produced a set of local lockdown guidelines for social distancing which we hope will be helpful:

Read Guidelines

Our reduced service for customers who live in the Borough of Leicester City will continue as follows:

    • Emergency only service for new repairs request.
    • We will not take any new requests for routine repairs and this will be reviewed following the next government review on 13 August.
    • All essential safety checks to gas appliances, fire alarms, safety equipment and lifts will continue.
    • All stock investment work to our customers’ homes is still paused.
    • Communal cleaning will continue as normal.
    • Grounds Maintenance will continue to be on hold, but we will continue to deal with fly-tipping and bulk waste removal on a case by case basis.
    • Neighbourhood inspections and visits from members of Team Purple will not be undertaken.
    • Property inspections for General Needs, Independent Living and Supported properties will not take place unless there is an urgent need to inspect and act on an issue.
    • Property inspections will continue with high rise, high risk blocks in the city; this is Dover House and Vestry House.
    • Our Bede Island office will remain closed to all customer, and the majority of our staff will continue to work from home.


For customers in Oadby and Wigston, our service will return to normal as with our other regions. 

Latest update 30 July 2020

We're waiting on further information from central and local government on the latest situation in Leicester and to what level the lockdown restrictions have been eased.  We'll then be able to update you on how our services have been affected.  For now though, the below update and level of service for customers within the lockdown area remains in place.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. 

Last update 17 July 2020

Changes to our services in Leicester

Many of you will have watched Matt Hancock’s speech yesterday where he announced that the city, and some outlying areas, would remain in lockdown for at least a further 2 weeks, with the next review scheduled for 30 July

Find out more

Last update 10 July 2020

We are aware that there are a number of our customers who are currently furloughed due to COVID-19. We are also receiving reports of an increasing number of people being made redundant. If you have been keeping up with the news, you may have come to the conclusion that the best thing to do in this situation is to immediately make a claim for Welfare Benefits, in particular Universal Credit, until such time that you can get back into work. This is not always true. The timing of making a claim for Universal Credit is crucial because of the way that this benefit is worked out and paid. We have already come across an example of where a customer has lost out due to making a claim almost immediately after being made redundant. This example is typical of how the system can work against you if you are not aware of the intricacies involved:

  • Date made redundant – 29th June
  • Made claim for Universal Credit – 1st July
  • Last salary payment from employer due – 17th July
  • Due date of first Universal Credit Payment (5 weeks after claim) – 7th August

In this example, because this person will receive a salary after the date that claim was made, DWP will deduct the amount of that salary from the first payment of Universal Credit due on 7th August 2020 leaving a zero payment and then a wait of 1 month until the next due date on 7th September.

If the claim would have been made the day after receiving salary on 18th July, the UC payment date would be 24th August and there would be no deductions made as salary was paid before the claim date. This means that a full months Universal Credit would be paid on 24th August, rather than waiting until 7th September.

The best course of action if you find yourself being made redundant is to contact our Tenancy Sustainment Team for advice. The Team now have Officers on duty every day that can be reached directly on 01932 559898 or you can email the team at or request a call back through My PA

Latest update 30 June 2020

For our customers in Leicester:

Following the announcements by the Government, we have made some precautionary changes to our services in Leicester to keep our customers and colleagues safe.  The full detail can be found by clicking on the button below:

Find out more

NHS Leicester has produced a collection of coronavirus information, relevant for local patients, including different languages, audio, easy-read and sign language:

Visit NHS Leicester

Latest update 29 June 2020

For our customers in Leicester:

Your safety remains our priority so following announcements this morning, we are currently awaiting what changes, if any, may be made to the lockdown restrictions in Leicester and the impact it may have on our services. We'll post a full update here as soon as more information is released by the Government and we understand the impact.

For now, please do what you can to help control the virus.  Stay home as much as possible, keep 2 metres apart from people if you do have to go out and remember to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.

Latest update 22 June 2020

From today you will also be able to report repairs via the My PA App. This is the quickest and easiest way to report repairs.

Log in

Latest update 15 June 2020

From today we will expand our current emergency repairs only service to include urgent and routine repairs. Our priority remains the safety and well being of our customers, staff and contractors. This means that some repairs may take longer than usual to complete as we comply with the Government guidance on social distancing.

Our telephones will be busy as we start to receive repairs requests. The busiest times of the week on the telephones  are Monday mornings. Please bear with us as it may take slightly longer to answer your call or alternatively you may choose to call at some of our less busy times which are Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.


Latest update 08 June 2020

Risk assessments for our offices have been completed and are now available to view.

View here 

Mutual Exchanges

We have now started taking applications again for Mutual Exchanges.

Before you apply, please remember to find out from your swap partner if their landlord is carrying out their mutual exchange service as, if they are not also a PA Housing customer, their landlord may not have started offering this service again yet. We need the other landlords agreement to approve an exchange so we won’t be able to accept your application until they are.

Find out more

We’re expecting a large number of applications so there may be a delay in us contacting you, but we will do as soon as we can.

Thank you for your patience.

Latest Update 1 June 2020

We are starting to resume some of our services

Reporting repairs

From today we’ll be starting to complete any outstanding routine repairs that were ordered before the lockdown started. Our contractors will be contacting those customers over the next couple of weeks to book appointments for the repairs.

From 15 June we’ll then begin to take new requests for routine repairs, heating and hot water breakdowns.

Due to the potential increase in the number of repairs requested and the requirement to maintain social distancing between our operatives and our customers, some repairs may take longer than expected to complete. If you tried during the lockdown to report non urgent repairs they will not have been logged. You should contact us again from 15 June and we will be able to log the repair request for you.

We may also batch some repairs together in order to be able to get them done in a more planned way. An example of this is fencing repairs where they can be done without the requirement for an operative to go inside a property. You will be advised of this when you report your repair.

Please ensure that you give operatives space to carry out the work required and always observe social distancing guidelines. We want to thank our customers for their patience during lockdown. Some of our contractors have furloughed their staff so it will take a little time for them to get back up to speed and provide the usual level of service. We are however doing all we can to move back to a full repairs service as quickly as possible over the next few months.

Planned maintenance

We’re starting to resume some of our planned works in a phased way over the next few weeks, where we’re able to work safely within government guidelines.  This will include external painting and repairs, and roof replacements.  We’ll also start to carry out external surveys to see where future works may be required. We’ll be in touch with you if you’re directly affected.

Again, we’re following strict, social distancing advice and would ask that you do not approach our colleagues and contractors while they continue to work in your area.

Keeping you safe

Your safety is our first priority so we still need to keep up with essential safety checks in your home like your annual gas safety check and electrical wiring testing.  This is to make sure your home is safe.  It’s really important you let us in to complete this work so please allow us access to your home.

If you receive an appointment and are currently self-isolating or would prefer us not to attend at the moment though, please get in touch and we will re-arrange your appointment.  Click the button below to find out why this is so important, you could be at risk if you don't allow us access.

Find out more

Neighbourhood inspections

Neighbourhood Coordinators are also back out in their neighbourhoods from today and will be carrying out inspections across all areas.

Find out who your local Neighbourhood Coordinators

Click here 

They will be picking up any queries you have while maintaining social distancing of course. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the Neighbourhood pages on our website to see what the Neighbourhood teams are up to.

Mutual Exchanges

From Monday 8 June we’ll start taking applications for Mutual Exchange again via our website using the online form.  We can not accept postal applications at this time due to restrictions around us entering our offices. If you, or your swap partner, do not have an email address you will need to create one before you’ll be able to proceed with your application.

Before you apply, please remember to find out from your swap partner if their landlord is carrying out their mutual exchange service as, if they are not also a PA Housing customer, their landlord may not have started offering this service again yet. We need the other landlord's agreement to approve an exchange so we won’t be able to accept your application until they are.

We’re expecting a large number of applications so there may be a delay in us contacting you, but we will do as soon as we can.

Thank you for you patience.


Latest Update 19 May 2020

Checking you’re ok

We’ve mentioned in previous letters that we’ve been making contact with our customers over the age of 60, or who we know are vulnerable.  We’re pleased to say we’ve now contacted over 5,700 of you, and made a commitment to make repeat calls to 1,000 of you – simply to check in and say hello

From 19 May 2020 we’re going to be getting in touch with even more of you.  We may be able to offer you some help or support, or let you know about local services you didn’t realise were available, or it could be a simple natter.  You may receive a letter, text message or email from us which asks you to press a number or reply if you need us, and one of our team will call you back within 48 hours.

Latest Update 18 May 2020

New Coronavirus symptom added

As of today, the NHS and Government are advising of a new official symptom:

You must self-isolate for 7 days if you develop any of the following:

  • A new continuous cough
  • Fever
  • Loss / change in your normal sense of smell or taste

Find out more


Latest Update 13 May

A message from our Chief Executive

Our Chief Executive, Dilip Kavi has made a short statement

Click here

Following the Government announcement on Sunday the UK is moving into the next phase in our fight against coronavirus, the most important thing we can do is to stay alert, control the virus, and in doing so, save lives. 

The government has published a helpful FAQs guide

Click here

What does Staying Alert mean?

Even though there have been changes, it is essential to stay alert, wash your hands regularly, and go out as little as possible.

Read the full staying alert and social distance guidelines here.


Latest Update 11 May 

Self Employment Income Support Scheme

If you are self employed and have suffered a loss of income due to COVID-19, you may be able to claim up to £7500 by using this scheme.

Applications can be made from 13 May 2020 but you can check whether you are eligible now.

Please click on the button below which will guide you to the eligibility checker:

Eligibility checker 

If you require any advice or support, please email us at, text ‘support’ to 07903008003, send us a message using My PA or call us on 0330 1232221.


Latest Update 10 May

As more detail is released from the Government after this evening's announcement, we'll be keeping this page updated with any changes to the services we provide and the support we can offer you.

Please continue to follow the guidance being issued:


Latest Update 30 April

If you are currently abroad and claiming either Housing Benefit or Housing Costs as part of a Universal Credit claim you may be at risk of these payments stopping depending on how long you are away from the UK and for what reason. Please click on the rules button for further information.


Latest update 21 April

We have put together information about the services and support available in your local area and boroughs. Here you will find information about community support groups, food banks and delivery services, as well as simple things like pharmacies and doctors surgeries.  

We hope you find them useful.

Click here


Latest update 16 April - 5.30 pm 

The Government has extended the 'lock-down' for a further 3 weeks. We'll regularly update you on what this means for your services and how we can support you during this difficult time.

Please keep following all social distancing guidelines.


Latest update 16 April - 12.45 pm

New Universal Credit claims

People making new claims for Universal Credit will no longer need to call the Department of Work and Pensions as part of the process. See the latest update below.

Click here

Latest update 14 April

Scam phone calls and text messages

Sadly some people are using the current situation to gain from others, and Ofcom are reporting an increase in the number of scam phone calls and text messages which are being reported to them.

Some calls and texts claim to be from the Government, your GP’s surgery, the NHS, or even the World Health Organisation (WHO) and often include you sharing personal information or have links or attachments which can’t be trusted.

If you receive a call, text or other communication that you think might be a scam, hang up or delete the text and if you have time report it to Action Fraud on
0300 123 2040.

Remember though that the Government has been sending out official alerts to mobile phones. These are legitimate messages that contain updates on the latest Government advice. They will not ask you to follow a link for further information.

Find out more on how to spot a scam in The Little Booklet of Phone Scams published by the Metropolitan Police.

Read the booklet


Latest update 7 April

We're continuing to make calls to our most vulnerable customers and have now contacted over 1,200 people to offer help, support and for many simply to have a chat.  We've helped signpost them to local support services like food delivery, or community initiatives where they can get help. 

Your local authority will also be advertising what services they can offer so it's worth checking their websites too.

Our Tenancy Sustainment Team have also now spoken to over 700 customers to offer debt and money management advice, as well as help with receiving unclaimed benefits. If you've been financially affected by COVID-19, are worried or are starting to struggle.  Please get in touch.

Either text ‘support’ to 07903008003 or email them at 


Latest update 2 April

Essential safety checks

Your safety is our first priority so we still need to keep up with essential safety checks in your home like your annual gas safety check and electrical wiring testing.  This is to make sure your home is safe.  If you receive an appointment and are currently self-isolating or would prefer us not to attend at the moment, please get in touch and we will rearrange your appointment.

If you live in a block of flats we will also continue to check the equipment, such as lifts, water tanks, fire detection and alarms, shared heating and hot water systems and electrics. Again, these checks are important to make sure your home stays safe and do still need to continue.

We’re also continuing with fire safety checks as normal to make sure our systems are working as they should be and we’ll carry out essential repairs if required.

The operatives and contractors who are visiting your homes to check they are safe will be following the Government guidance, so they will be maintaining a 2 metre distance, washing their hands regularly and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment to carry out this work.

Help with money and debt management and benefit advice

Our Tenancy Sustainment Team are working non-stop answering calls from customers concerned about missing rent payments and day to day living costs. They can offer advice on the latest changes to claiming Welfare Benefits to help you financially if your income has been affected.

If you're worried or starting to struggle, remember to please get in touch with them.  Either text the word 'support' to 07903008003 or email them by using the button below.  They will aim to contact you within 5 working days.

Email us


Latest update 31 March

A reminder that during the current 'lock-down' we are only providing an emergency repairs service.  An explanation of what we're classing as an emergency repair is detailed below under the update from 25 March. 

We're unable to take requests for routine or non-urgent repairs at this time.

We will review this approach again at the end of the three week 'lock-down' period or as further guidance from the Government comes out.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

Latest update 30 March

During this unprecedented period of 'lock-down' and movement restrictions, PA Housing have made the difficult decision to pause all re-lets of our general needs and independent living properties.

  • This is to ensure the health and safety of our customers, contractors and colleagues. It is also consistent with the government advice around essential travel and contact with others.  
  • We're continuing to work with our many local authority stakeholders, seeking solutions for emergency accommodation when it comes to those in the greatest need or those facing homelessness.
  • However the HomeMoves Team are open for business and we're here to take your calls should you have any re-housing queries, need advice on moving or whether you should end the tenancy on your current property.

Please get in touch if you have questions on 0300 123 2221.

Latest update 26 March

Our Tenancy Sustainment Team are working non-stop answering calls from customers concerned about missing rent payments. They can offer advice on money and debt management, as well as help with unclaimed benefits.

If you're worried or starting to struggle, remember to please get in touch with them.  Either text the word 'support' to 07903008003 or email them by using the button below.

Email us

Again, we will not be evicting anyone who falls into rent arrears because their own income has been affected by COVID-19. We will just need to discuss and agree circumstances with you, so please get in touch with one of the team.

Latest update 25 March  

Repairs and maintenance

We’re continuing to operate an emergency only repairs service for you to make sure you’re safe and we will continue to prioritise calls as they come in.  If you have repairs which are not an emergency, I ask for your patience and that you do not report these to us at this time.

We’re classifying an emergency repair as the following:

  • No electric power to the property. Please check this is not a power cut first
  • Dangerous electrical fault
  • Uncontainable flood in the property
  • Blocked drains resulting in sewage backing up in to the property
  • Gas leak, including the report of a carbon monoxide detector sounding or an incident
  • Unable to flush the toilet if there is just one toilet in the property
  • No heating if a resident is over 65 or vulnerable in terms of ill health
  • No heating at any time to all Independent Living Schemes
  • The property is insecure
  • Faulty mains wired or battery operated smoke alarm
  • Boarding up broken ground floor windows
  • No hot water
  • Trip hazard on communal walkway or stairwell
  • Defective banister or stair rail
  • Defective lighting in a communal hallway

Communal Areas and Fire Safety

We’ll aim to continue to carry out the cleaning of the communal areas and some grounds maintenance in order to keep the areas surrounding your homes clean, safe and clear of rubbish. Please do all you can to help us with this by disposing of waste and rubbish appropriately and using the bin stores if provided.

It’s especially important to keep internal hallways and landings clear of buggies, bikes and other items that could stop the evacuation of a building in the event of a fire. We appreciate your support in doing this and ask you to please report any items which are blocking hallways and landings so we can take steps to remove them.

Stay home, stay safe 

We urge all of you to please follow the advice being issued by the Prime Minister and to stay at home as much as you can.  I know for some of you this may be hard due to other commitments and worries, but support is available either through us or in your local community. Staying at home can help save lives.

Latest update 24 March

We’re following the advice issued by the Prime Minister yesterday evening and have now closed our offices to the public. Most of our colleagues are also now working from home and will not be carrying out visits to your homes. But, this doesn’t mean we’re not still here to help when you need us, and we’re determined to support you through this. 

We’re continuing to balance the health of our staff and the day-to-day services you need, but I hope you will understand this is an extremely challenging situation for us all meaning we’re having to scale back some of our services.  We'll keep this page updated as things develop and will be writing to all customers in the coming days.

Latest update 20 March 

Following the government’s ongoing advice to fight COVID-19, we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily close both our office receptions detailed below to our customers and visitors from 5.00 pm today. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we apologise any inconvenience this may cause.

PA Housing

3 Bede Island Road   



PA Housing

Case House

85-89 High Street


Surrey KT12 1DZ

We will be monitoring advice from the government with view to reopening at the first appropriate opportunity.

We appreciate that this is a worrying and difficult time given the unprecedented circumstances that the world faces with the current coronavirus pandemic and would like to thank you in advance for your understanding and support. 


Latest update 18 March

Are your finances being affected by COVID-19? 

We will work with any customers who are facing financial hardship due to the current situation. Support is available to those who need it, and where appropriate we will agree temporary adjustments to rent payments. We will not be evicting anyone who falls into rent arrears because their own income has been affected by the Coronavirus. We will just need to discuss and agree your circumstances.

We understand that some of our customer's circumstances may have changed and our committed to working with and supporting customers that find themselves in financial hardship.  If you are struggling, we really want to hear from you.  Our Tenancy Sustainment Team are a dedicated team of experts who are on hand to assist you and can be contacted by emailing  or text support to 07903008003 or request assistance through My PA


Latest update 17 March:

Repair service

In light of the latest Government advice relating to Coronavirus (Covid-19), PA Housing will be delivering an emergency repair service only, from Wednesday 18 March, until further notice.

We continue to be committed to providing services to our customers, and while we appreciate this measure will cause a disruption to our repairs service and may inconvenience our customers, it is a necessary precaution at this time. 

If you already have a pre-booked appointment for a routine repair, we will be contacting you to confirm whether or not we are able to complete the repair at the organised time.

If you have an emergency repair, you should contact 0300 123 2221. 

Thank you in advance for your patience and co-operation. 

  • Please let us know if you are self-isolating

    If you have been advised by NHS 111 to self-isolate it's vital you notify us as soon as possible by calling 0116 204 4035.

    Please find below links to regularly-updated and official sources of public information.

    NHS Coronavirus Advice

    The best source of information about the symptoms of the virus and the precautions you can take to stay well can be found on the NHS Coronavirus website.

    Daily COVID-19 Updates from GOV.UK

    More information on the Coronavirus outbreak can be found on the GOV.UK website.

  • Visiting our offices

    Following the government’s ongoing advice to fight COVID-19, we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily close both our office receptions detailed below to our customers and visitors from 20 March 5.00 pm . This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we apologise any inconvenience this may cause.

    PA Housing

    3 Bede Island Road   


    LE2 7EA

    PA Housing

    Case House

    85-89 High Street


    Surrey KT12 1DZ

    We will be monitoring advice from the government with view to reopening at the first appropriate opportunity.

    We appreciate that this is a worrying and difficult time given the unprecedented circumstances that the world faces with the current coronavirus pandemic and would like to thank you in advance for your understanding and support.

  • Repair advice
    • Tap washer replacement

      Step 1:
      To start, turn off the mains water supply by turning the main stopcock until your tap runs dry. If you are changing the washer on hot taps, you must also turn the immersion heater and boiler off.

      Step 2:
      Put the plug into the plug-hole of the sink to prevent losing the washer or any tap components when dismantling it. Unscrew the top plate of the tap. If you can’t do this by hand, use a wrench and protect the tap with a cloth first.

      Step 3:
      Some taps have a body cover, which you will need to remove before you can unscrew the top section (or stem) of the tap to access the washer underneath. Secure the tap with another wrench while you remove this section.

      Step 4:
      The washer is underneath this and it will either be pressed into place or held in position with a nut. Use a screwdriver to release it then clean the stem before fitting the new washer.

      Step 5:
      Reassemble the tap, take the plug out of the sink and turn on the water supply to test the tap.



    • Unblocking a basin or sink

      Step 1: Plunger
      Place the plunger over the plughole, and ensure a seal is formed, then drive the handle down and up in a pumping action. You’ll know the blockage is clear when you fill the sink up and it drains quickly.


      Step 2: Blast it out
      Sometimes a hard burst of water can push out whatever is blocking your sink. Take a plastic milk bottle or 2-litre drink bottle, fill it with hot water, tip it upside down with the bottle hole against the plughole, and squeeze as hard as you can. The fast, directed flow of water may well fix the problem.

      Step 3: Down the drain
      Sometimes a plunger can’t unblock the sink so you need to do something to break down the blockage. There are a lot of hardcore drain unblocking products on the market, and though they will often get the job done they’re pretty harsh, and can linger in the drain and around your sink too. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

      Step 4: Baking Soda and Vinegar
      A more friendly solution to unblocking a sink uses a simple mix of baking soda and vinegar. First, pour a load of baking powder down your plughole. Then tip in the vinegar. You’ll hear a lot of fizzing, and may even get some froth coming back up the plughole. Once the chemical reaction subsides tip some hot water down to flush the pipe through.

      Step 5: Bleach
      If that doesn’t work you can also use bleach to dissolve blockages. The best approach with bleach is to pour some through the plughole last thing at night and then flush with hot water in the morning.

      Step 6: U Bend Clearing
      Most blocked sinks happen because the U bend gets clogged up, and sometimes the only solution is to remove the U bend and clear it out by hand. To do this you’ll need: 

        • Small bucket or dish
        • Plumber’s tape (PTFE Tape)
        • Wire coat hanger

      Step 7:
      Look under your sink and find the U bend, it’s the first bend in the pipe immediately below the plughole. Put your bucket or dish under the U bend and carefully unscrew the section of pipe. The U bend has two sets of threads, one at either end. As you loosen them any backed up water will drain out, so take your time. Once the flow of water has stopped, remove the U bend and use the wire coat hanger to clean out the inside of the pipe, you can also use a dishcloth and warm water to help clean everything out.

      Step 8:
      Once it’s all clean, fix the U bend back into place, using plumber’s tape to make it watertight if needed. Run the tap to make sure the U bend is watertight.


    • Resetting a trip switch

      General Advice

      Modern electric circuits are fitted with circuit breakers called trip switches. If there’s a problem with your electrics, a switch is tripped and the circuit is broken.

      All of the fuses or trip switches are found in the consumer unit or fuse box.

      A trip switch or button usually operates because:

      • There are too many appliances on a circuit and it’s overloaded
      • an appliance is faulty or hasn’t been used properly, for example a kettle has been over-filled or a toaster not cleaned
      • water has leaked into a circuit
      • a light bulb has blown 
      • there’s a problem with your immersion heater

      Always have a torch handy in case you have a power failure.

      If there’s a problem with one of your electrical appliances, leave it unplugged and get a qualified electrician or service engineer to check it.

      If there’s a problem with your wall or ceiling light, keep it switched off (even put some tape over the switch) and let us know straight away.

      Make sure your hands are dry when you touch electrical fittings.


      Resetting the trip switch

      Step 1:

      Open the cover on the consumer unit so that you can get to the trip switches.

      Step 2:

      Check which switches have tripped to the OFF position and which rooms (circuits) have problems.

      Step 3:

      Put these switches back to the ON position.


    • Stop tap location

      Your internal stop tap is usually found near to where your water supply pipe enters into your home.

      Most common places to find your inside stop tap are:

      • Under the kitchen sink
      • Kitchen cupboard
      • Bathroom
      • WC or cloakroom
      • Garage or utility room
      • Cellar
      • Under the stairs

      It is important that you are aware of where your internal stop tap is in case there is an emergency and you need to turn off the water.

      Internal stop taps aren’t used very often so it is worth checking regularly to make sure it's working properly.

    • Replacing a toilet seat

      Step 1:
      Wearing gloves, remove the old seat and any old fittings. Every seat is different, but the release screws are usually found at the back of the seat or on the underside of the bowl rim.

      Step 2:
      Unscrew the old fittings (you may need a wrench and screwdriver to do this) and then remove the seat

      Step 3:
      Assemble the fittings for the new toilet seat. Because every seat is different, take time to read the manufacturer’s instructions.

      Step 4:
      Attach the new fittings through the bolt holes in the rim and hand tighten. Do not over tighten, as you will need to adjust them when the seat is on.

      Step 5:
      Click on the bolt caps and place the new seat in position. Line up with the bolts and ensure the seat is centred on the bowl before tightening.

      Step 6:
      Hand tighten the bolts or use a wrench if necessary.


    • Unblocking a toilet

      Step 1:
      Try pushing a flexible drain cleaning wire down the WC pan.

      Step 2:
      If possible, ask someone to observe the drain chamber while you are doing this to see if the item causing the blockage emerges. Anything emerging that may have caused the blockage should be removed.

      Step 3:
      It’s worth using a plunger.

      Step 4:
      A chemical drain cleaner or caustic soda may help, but you must follow the instructions carefully and remember these products need to be handled safely.

      Step 5:
      Always use rubber gloves.

      Using a Plunger

      • Try using a plunger to unblock the toilet. Most people have a cup shaped plunger but this does not always work and can be a bit messy. Toilets bowls benefit from a specialist flange shaped or a ball shaped plunger. Both these types of plunger have a bottom which is shaped to seal the opening in the bottom of the toilet bowl. This seal action as you plunge creates the necessary vacuum and pressure and is more effective.

      More Tips

      • Another useful tip is to consider draining water from your toilet pan. If the water level in the pan of your WC is high, try using any old container to bale out the water. You can also try pouring hot or boiling water down the pan as an alternative to using caustic soda. Often this can be helpful and will break down whatever is blocking your waste pipe.
    • Changing a tube light bulb

      Step 1:
      Before you start, cut off all power. You cannot ensure your safety by simply turning the switch off at the wall.

      Step 2:
      The first step in replacing a fluorescent bulb is knowing how to be safe. Fluorescent bulbs are fragile and become very brittle once burnt out, making them easy to break or shatter. If you do happen to break a bulb, be aware that it contains mercury. When cleaning up a broken bulb, use gloves and always wear shoes.

      Step 3:
      Measure the full length of the bulb from end to end with your measuring tape to determine the correct length of replacement bulb required. Since these bulbs come in many lengths, measuring before you purchase the new bulb can save a return trip to the shop.

      Step 4:
      Now that you know what length of bulb to buy, you also need to know which type of replacement bulb you need. To determine the type, look at the lamp to confirm if it is a bi-pin lamp or single-pin lamp. A bi-pin or two-pin lamp will have contact pins on each end of the fluorescent bulb. The pins extend from each end of the light bulb and fit into a socket on either end of the lamp. A single-pin lamp will only have one contact pin extending from one end of the bulb.

      Step 5:
      Installing the new bulb is simply the reverse of removing the old one. If the lamp is a bi-pin lamp, you will need to insert both contact pins to the end sockets and then rotate the fluorescent bulb clockwise to lock it into the lamp. If the lamp is a single-pin lamp, you will need to insert the contact pin into the socket and then push the fluorescent bulb upward to lock it into the lamp. After installation of the new bulb is complete, be sure to dispose of the old bulb properly and safely.

    • Changing a tube light starter

      If the tube light flickers, works intermittently or takes a long time to illuminate, then the issue is caused by faulty / old fluorescent starter and it will need to be replaced.

      Step 1:
      Determine the correct starter for the light. Check the existing starter wattage (You may need to remove the bulb to access the starter) to ensure the right replacement is purchased to suit the light fitting.

      Step 2:
      Once you have the correct replacement fluorescent starter, you will need to start by removing the bulb to replace it. The bulb will usually need to be removed because the starter is located directly above it. If your light has more than one bulb, you will find that each one has its own starter to make it work.

      Step 3:
      Withdraw the bulb by twisting it out of the sockets at either end and descending the ladder to carefully lay it in a safe place.

      Step 4:
      The existing starter can be twisted to remove it from its socket, which should be to the right, so twist and pull the starter to withdraw it completely.

      Step 5:
      The fluorescent starter which has been removed can be discarded. Install the new starter by reversing the removal method.

  • Coronavirus Scams

    Coronavirus Scams

    During this period of uncertainty regarding Covid-19, it appears that there are some people who are taking advantage of the situation and are targeting the most vulnerable. Although we appreciate the concern that is being caused by the outbreak, please continue to be cautious when dealing with callers at the door, unwanted phones calls and emails.

    There are people calling door to door proclaiming to be carrying out Coronavirus testing at your home for you on behalf of NHS or you GP.

    NHS  teams are NOT conducting any door to door testing for the Coronavirus - these are thieves trying to get into your home.

    Also, please be aware that the Red Cross are NOT doing door to door testing as has been suggested in some areas.

    If anyone knocks on your door claiming to be conducting the tests please call the police

    Scammers are also sending out coronavirus-themed phishing emails which attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive information about themselves such as personal and financial details. In the same way that we have seen fake TV licensing and HMRC emails, we are now seeing phishing emails claiming to be from organisations affiliated with the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). There have also been some variations on current scams with fake emails appearing to be from HMRC offering a tax rebate due to the Coronavirus.

    Please be aware of any suspicious emails and do not click on the links or attachments, and do not respond to any unsolicited messages or calls asking for your personal or financial details. If you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, report it to Action Fraud or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.

  • Community activities

    All community-based events, meetings and activities will be cancelled or postponed until further notice.


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