Successful Cartrefi Conwy collaboration extendedPosted 28/07/2015 09:49:21
North Wales Fire and Rescue Service in partnership with Cartrefi Conwy is turning up the heat to tackle reducing fires in rented homes.
A pilot scheme launched last year has proved so successful that it is being extended for a further year.
Cartrefi Conwy is a housing association committed to the growth and improvement of communities by investing in the future of tenants and their homes – with about a third of the 3,800 housing offered being sheltered accommodation for the elderly or vulnerable. The remaining properties are made up of one, two or three bedroomed houses.
Gwyn Jones from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “The pilot scheme we put in place together with Cartrefi Conwy has enabled the joint funding of a dedicated Home Safety Support Worker tasked with reducing the number of fires occurring in Cartrefi Conwy properties.
“North Wales Fire and Rescue’s Chad Rogerson was seconded into the new role and his work has gone from strength to strength over the past year.
“Chad’s role is to promote and undertake Home Safety Checks with Cartrefi Conwy tenants – many of which are vulnerable people. These interactions provide residents with the opportunity to raise any general home safety concerns, such as those relates to slip, trips and falls, have their smoke alarms tested, and receive electrical safety advice.
“And Chad has also had the opportunity to build strong working relationships with Cartrefi Conwy’s Independent Living Coordinators, Caretakers and front line Neighbourhood Services colleagues along with other community supporting agencies – this has increased their knowledge and confidence in relation to fire safety risks.”
Chad said: “I go out into the communities to meet tenants face to face in their homes or through organised events, with the focus on raising awareness of hazards that could be putting them at risk in their day to day lives.
“It’s important that we engage with the more vulnerable tenants; older tenants, or hard to reach tenants in rural locations and those with mobility, disability, addiction or learning issues.
“For example I have taken part in the Passion for Life sessions which enable older people to take control and identify small steps to improve their health and wellbeing. These are an ideal way of speaking to a number of older tenants at the same time - as they are informal sessions, I find tenants are happy to ask lots of questions.
“It’s about encouraging them to make small changes such as not overloading electricity sockets, not having wires trailing from appliances, ensuring smoke alarms are working and to have a fire escape emergency plan in place.”
Nerys Veldhuizen, Cartrefi Conwy’s Older Person’s Engagement Co-ordinator, said: “We work hard with our tenants to promote health and wellbeing, and safety in the home. It’s vital for example that our older tenants don’t allow their age get in the way of improving their independence and quality of life. And Chad’s role has contributed enormously to this so I am delighted that the partnership will continue.”
In the last year Chad has attended over 21 community group talks and events, reaching over 1500 tenants so far. Wearing the Fire and Rescue Service uniform, he is able to highlight the seriousness of the message whilst delivering this in a friendly, approachable and interactive way which is easy to understand and puts many minds at rest.
And the results have been encouraging. The total number of fires at Cartrefi Conwy properties has decreased during the past year by 10% with zero smoking related incidents in 2014 and a notable reduction in fires associated with cooking.
Gwyn added: “The joint scheme has proven its success over recent months, which has secured funding for another year. This gives us an opportunity to continue to make improvements and uphold the standards already put in place, with the hope that the scheme continues to succeed and ensure the most vulnerable people are safe in their homes.”