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updated 26 March 2014


This page holds older news articles from our website.  For up-to-date stories, please visit our home page.

build a career in construction
(published Summer 2013)

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has 26 Construction Apprenticeship jobs available for the Construction GTA (Group Training Association) through EOS at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
Nineteen of the jobs are initially based on projects within Manchester City Centre (University of Manchester & First Street Development) and the other seven are based in Bolton (Town Hall & Market). The trades they have available are: Dry Lining/Plastering, Stone Mason, Joinery, Electrician, Painting & Decorating, Project Support, Scaffolding, Bricklaying, Management Trainee, Quantity Surveyor, General Construction Operative (Groundworker) and Mechanical (Heating & Ventilating / Plumbing).
To apply, you need to complete an application form after reading the guidance notes. They are not looking for previous experience, training or qualifications, rather a genuine interest and aptitude for work within the construction industry. On this basis they are shortlisting applicants based on their responses to the questions on the second page of the application form.
Completed applications need to be emailed to recruitment@gmchamber.co.uk. Closing date is 5.00pm on Wednesday 7th August. Successful shortlisted applicants will be invited to meet the employer on Wednesday 14th August.

sink or swim? it's up to you!
(published Summer 2013)

If you need work experience and you want a recognised National Pool Lifeguard Qualification, read on. You may be able to get paid while you learn
Leisure facilities across Manchester are on the lookout for apprentices. There are openings in Moss Side, Wythenshawe, Miles Platting, Crumpsall and Oxford Road. On the job duties will include customer service, answering phone calls, serving customers, cleaning and maintaining the facility, assisting with sales where required and working reception and lifeguard shifts including early starts, late finishes and weekends.
All candidates must be able to swim and should be committed to a twelve month programme starting in September 2013. For further details about this vacancy and to apply please go to the apprenticeships website
Closing Date for applications is 5 August 2013. If you have any queries or additional requirements please contact the Serco Recruitment Team on 0845 000 6947.

more openings at people first
(published Spring 2013)

People First are recruiting for another apprentice. This time we are looking for someone to join our community support team in Manchester.
We are particularly interested in applicants aged 18-25, who are under-represented in our work force. Find out more about the post and how to apply by checking out our jobs page
Closing date 12 April 2013.
apprenticeships at people first
(published January 2013)

People First are recruiting NOW for two apprentices. We have one vacancy in our housing team and another in community support.
Centre for Housing and Support will deliver a Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship, which the successful applicants will undertake in the work place. Full training will be provided on company systems and procedures by People First.
You can apply for either post through the cnx2 jobs website. You can find out more about either vacancy by calling us on 0161 235 6900. Closing date 25 February 2013.
festive party
(published January 2013)

It was great to see so many people turn out for our festive party at the Zion Centre Cafe, held just before the Christmas break
The event was hosted and run by volunteers from our new befriending service. Those who came enjoyed festive music, a tombola, nail therapy, hand massages, plenty of food, crackers and other trimmings.
We were proud of our volunteers who worked really hard to make the event a success. We would like to extend a massive thank you to them... and thanks to those people from Hulme and Moss Side who came along. We wish all our customers a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

manchester speakout event
(published September 2012)

We held our annual Speakout event on 22nd August 2012, with a trip to the Manchester Science and Industry Museum. Our clients enjoyed a tour of the museum and lunch in the café.
Everyone who attended joined in our ‘people bingo’ game and enjoyed the tour through the history of trains and train lines. Attendees also received a prize at the lunch time raffle.
Feedback was sought from all clients about how they find our service and we will be producing a summary and action plan of any comments raised.
We would like to thank all those who attended, and our community support staff – Anna Maria, Debbie and Helen for organising the event and making it such an enjoyable day.
If you would like to get involved in our regular Focus Groups please contact the office.
apprenticeships available
(published July 2012)

Do you have a passion for fitness and leisure and want to take the first step into a career as a Fitness Instructor or Lifeguard?
This is your chance to receive a Fitness Instructor and National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ), on-the-job, paid training, excellent opportunities for further training and career progression, experience working in a leisure centre.
To be eligible for the position, you must be aged between 16-18 years old and not in full time education or training. Recruitment will be based on merit. There are ten apprenticeships available at Abraham Moss, Broadway, Moss Side, Withington, Wythenshawe and the Manchester Aquatics Centre.
To apply, visit the Apprenticeship Vacancy Matching Service or contact Icon Training on 0844 800 2280. Closing date 17 July 2012.
volunteering opportunities
(published Summer 2012)

We are currently looking to recruit volunteers for our new Befriending Service in Manchester.
If you are interested in giving up a few hours a week to help older people in Hulme and Moss Side, why not complete an application form?
You can find out more about the service by calling Amelia Scanlan on 0161 235 6900.
Not all of our services are voluntary. People First are always on the look out for good workers, especially community support workers. If you think we might be interested in what you have to offer, please send us a copy of your CV. Our address details can be found in the contact us section of this website.

recruitment drive
(published January 2012)

People First is currently recruiting for two community support posts, but be quick! Applications need to be with us by noon on Friday 20 January 2012.
The posts we are recruting for are:
- Community Support Team Leader, salary up to £25,740 (temporary 9-12 months cover for maternity leave, based in Manchester)
- Community Support Workers x 2, salary up to £20,959 (based in Manchester and Rochdale)
Full driving licence and car owner essential for both posts. Due to the nature of the work, it is an occupational requirement for the Rochdale worker to be female. This post is an exception under the Equality Act 2010 Schedule 9, Part 1.
You can find out more about People First and download a job pack from the menu on the left. If you would like a printed pack, please call our offices on 0161 235 6907 and ask to speak to Linda Paterson.
The closing date for applications is Friday 20 January, with interviews held the following week on 26 and 27 January. People First is committed to equality of opportunity for all.
festive focus group
(published January 2012)

People First would like to thank the service users who attended our festive focus group meeting in December.
The event was an opportunity for our clients and staff to meet and celebrate the end of the year and for us to thank those who attended and contributed to the focus groups throughout the year.
We enjoyed Christmas music, mince pies, crackers and - best of all - festive bingo, through which everyone went home with lovely prizes!
We also played the 'Miracle Question'. This was an opportunity for clients to write about what they would do if a miracle of their choice occured. The game allowed them to set their goals and aspirations for the New Year.
It was nice to see everybody enjoy themselves and everyone who attended is looking forward to the next focus group. We welcome more service users to come next time and have their say. Please look out for the date in the next newsletter, on our website or speak to your support worker for further information.
new out-of-hours contractor
(published January 2012)

DKJ Building Services have kindly offered to carry out People First's emergency out-of-hours repairs service.
Residents will have grown accustomed to seeing Holly Tree's vans around Hulme at night time, but they have decided that they can no longer run the service (though they will continue to attend heating repairs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year)
We are very grateful to DKJ for stepping into the breach at such short notice. If you are one of our tenants and have a repair, please call us on 0161 235 6900. Out of hours, your call will be handled by Astraline.
operation audacious
(published Winter 2011)

6th December 2011 is a date I will never forget. I got up at 3am (!) to get ready to attend ‘Operation Audacious’.
I’m sure by now you would have heard all about it on the news and in the newspapers. It was the biggest ever GMP operation in Manchester conducted by 1000 police officers trying to execute 100 warrants on criminals.
We were invited to be VIP’s for the morning and observe the operation. The briefing was at 5:15am and after hanging around until 5:30am, I turned around in my seat at the front of the auditorium to see a sea of luminous yellow police jackets just behind me. They were all lined up ready to hear the briefing. It was an oddly warming sight to see as these officers were prepared to get out on the streets of Manchester to make our lives more safe and secure.
The purpose of the operation was to clamp down on drugs operations in Manchester during this festive season. The thought behind it was that if they could catch the criminals involved, then our Christmas season would be safer.
As the morning went on we were assigned a liaison officer and police driver to take us to an address in Hulme. When we got there, seven police officers jumped out of their van and went to the front and rear of the property. Fortunately for the residents, the door was opened so no big door busting was needed. Unfortunately for us, our suspect had moved on, but other operations were more successful. It spread across the North, South and Central areas of Manchester using the intelligence given to GMP by our community. It took a lot of evidence to get the permission to organise this vast operation, and as our liaison officer mentioned "without information from the public, the Police's job would be a lot more difficult."
So that we could report at least a little action, they allowed us to pass by another address where no VIP’s had been allowed for health and safety reasons. They had successfully gained entry and were searching the house and waiting for a police dog to arrive.
Throughout the rest of the day, GMP tweeted and emailed details of successful arrests and findings; the large plasma screens in the city centre and around the area were updated with information from the operation. The whole thing was covered by BBC and Granada TV cameras.
So if you think that the police are not doing anything, think again. Whilst you are sleeping, the police are actively clamping down and closing in on the criminals.
OPERATION AUDACIOUS – ‘Bringing an end to drug fuelled misery and taking action against those who dare to try and ruin our communities’.
Adrene Lewis
Housing Officer/VIP
new out-of-hours contractor
(published Winter 2011)

DKJ Building Services have kindly offered to carry out People First's emergency out-of-hours repairs service.
Residents will have grown accustomed to seeing Holly Tree's vans around Hulme at night time, but they have decided that they can no longer run the service (though they will continue to attend heating repairs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year)
We are very grateful to DKJ for stepping into the breach at such short notice. If you are one of our tenants and have a repair, please call us on 0161 235 6900. Out of hours, your call will be handled by Astraline.
christmas opening hours
(published Winter 2011)

People First wishes you the compliments of the season and thanks you once again for your support over the past year. We would like to inform our tenants and support clients that our offices will close for a spell over the Christmas and New Year Period.
We are closed all day Wednesday 21 December 2011
We will close on Friday 23 December 2011 at 4.00pm
We will re-open on Tuesday 3 January 2012 at 9.00am
During this period, if you have an emergency, please contact our out-of-hours service run by Astraline on 0845 057 7121

festive focus group
(published Winter 2011)

We would like to invite all of our support clients to a festive focus group meeting on Wednesday 14 December 2011. The meeting will be held at our head office in Manchester. If you come along, you will be able to have your say about our services, get an update from our projects, meet other people and have a chat, enjoy festive bingo and hear about events and activities in your area. Lunch will be provided so please let us know if you are coming. If you have any special dietary requirmenets or any other needs, please contact the office on 0161 235 6900 and ask to speak to Ade or Thahmina.

scrutiny panel
(published Autumn 2011)

Staff at People First are working hard to make local offers a reality. Currently, our rent arrears and maintenance policies are being reviewed to make sure they reflect the services you want.
To help us do this, a scrutiny panel of tenants will be meeting on
1 September 2011. The panel will be asked if they think the policies reflect what people want. In other words, do they accurately reflect the local offers and People First's values?
We hope the panel can develop into something bigger. It would be great to see tenants taking a lead in service reviews. If you would like to come to the Scrutiny Panel, please contact Melanie Merchant on
0161 235 6904. Refreshments will be provided on the day.
(published Summer 2011)
a grand day out for everyone
Our annual community Support Speakout event was held on 24th June, at Portland Basin boat museum. It was a great success with service users and support workers all enjoying a leisurely boat trip on a narrow boat and then a fish and chip lunch.
Everyone joined in the ‘guess who’ competition and general knowledge quiz, and everyone went away with a raffle prize. A big thank you goes to all those who attended and gave us feedback on how we can improve our support service. Another big thank you goes to Thahmina, Ade, Danielle and Rob for organising the event and not forgetting the volunteers at the boat museum who made sure everyone had a good time.
If you were unable to attend on the day but would still like to give us some feedback on our support service then please contact Claire Bates on (0161) 235 6905.

scrutiny panel
Staff at People First are working hard to make local offers a reality. Currently, our rent arrears and maintenance policies are being reviewed to make sure they reflect the services you want.
To help us do this, a scrutiny panel of tenants will be meeting on
1 September 2011. The panel will be asked if they think the policies reflect what people want. In other words, do they accurately reflect the local offers and People First's values?
We hope the panel can develop into something bigger. It would be great to see tenants taking a lead in service reviews. If you would like to come to the Scrutiny Panel, please contact Melanie Merchant on
0161 235 6904. Refreshments will be provided on the day.
manchester...a city united
(published Summer 2011)

As a community-based, tenant-led housing association, we have been appalled by the criminal behaviour of a small minority of unruly Manchester residents recently. We are currently working with Greater Manchester Police and the Council to help identify those responsible.
If any of those involved in the recent looting are found to be living in People First properties, we will work with our colleagues in the Police and Council to make sure everything possible is done to hold them to account for their actions. This may include perpetrators losing their home.
Greater Manchester Police have released CCTV images of individuals they wish to speak to here. If you can identify any of them please contact the Police on their hotline number 0800 092 0410
a grand day out for everyone
(published Summer 2011)

Our annual community Support Speakout event was held on 24th June, at Portland Basin boat museum. It was a great success with service users and support workers all enjoying a leisurely boat trip on a narrow boat and then a fish and chip lunch.
Everyone joined in the ‘guess who’ competition and general knowledge quiz, and everyone went away with a raffle prize. A big thank you goes to all those who attended and gave us feedback on how we can improve our support service. Another big thank you goes to Thahmina, Ade, Danielle and Rob for organising the event and not forgetting the volunteers at the boat museum who made sure everyone had a good time.
If you were unable to attend on the day but would still like to give us some feedback on our support service then please contact Claire Bates on (0161) 235 6905.
tenant barbecue
(published Summer 2011) Staff and tenants came together at one of our schemes recently to look at the play area shared by a block of houses and flats
We invited tenants to a barbecue and asked them about their thoughts on the area. Altogether, around thirty people turned up - including many of the children that use the area.
The cherry trees seem to be the main bone of contention. On the one hand, there are free cherries in the summer and a better environment. On the other, its roots are causing a trip hazard for some of our older residents (and children too!)
The one thing all were agreed on was that the play area needed to be level - and there needs to be somewhere for the kids to sit and chill. We'll be developing the ideas over the coming weeks and months with residents.
mobility scooters
(published Summer 2011) People First's Board of Management recently approved a new policy on mobility scooters.
People First recognises that tenants are increasingly making use of mobility scooters to increase their independence. The vehicles allow people to travel further from home without over-exerting themselves.
For tenants who live in blocks of flats, this can cause a problem. If you live upstairs, where do you keep your scooter? And, if you find a convenient place, how do you charge it?
To try to overcome these issues, People First has developed a policy on mobility scooters. The policy requires tenants to seek permission to store their scooter in a communal ares. Once approved, we will carry out a PAT (portable applicance testing) test to ensure the scooter is safe to be stored.
Owners are also required to tax their vehicle (for free) and have adequate insurance. Once approval has been gained, tenants must pay £75 per year. The fee covers the cost of the PAT test and use of communal electricity for charging.
A copy of the full policy can be found here. If you have any comments or queries, please contact our offices on 0161 235 6900.
ten years service
(publsihed Summer 2011) People First would like to thank our Housing Officer, Adrene Evans for ten years' service.
A small presentation was made by Chief Executive Kulbinder Kang at the recent staff Away Day. We know from the feedback we received at the Open House event and through the Big Question survey that our tenants have a soft spot for Adrene, which is no mean feat when part of your job entails being tough on neighbour nuisance and collecting arrears.
I'm sure our tenants would join us in congratulating her on a decade's service and we're keeping our fingers crossed that we can hold onto her for another ten years.
local offers published
(published Summer 2011)

Following an Open House event on 24 March, People First has now published a set of local offers for tenants.
The offers set out the standards of service tenants can expect to receive. They have been developed in partnership with tenants to ensure they reflect the standards people want.
We monitor our services against these local offers constantly, reporting to Board quarterly and to tenants through the tenants annual report. You can find the local offers (and the results of our Big Question tenant survey) here in our tenants zone.
We are currently recruiting tenants for a scrutiny panel, which will review our performance before the next tenants' annual report is published. If you are a tenant and would be interested in joining the panel, please contact Melanie Merchant on (0161) 235 6904.
residents open day
(published Summer 2011)

People First were delighted to welcome residents to an Open House event at their new offices on 24 March.  It was great to see so many residents turning up.
Residents turned up throughout the day, with a particularly strong crowd at lunch time.  As well as enjoying a hot buffet lunch, residents had the opportunity to visit our Big Brother room, play computer games on a large screen television and enter our helium balloon prize draw.
The day also gave us the opportunity to seek people's views on the way we run their estate.  Those that turned up had the chance to catch up with staff and let them know what would most improve their neighbourhood.  Keep your eye on the website for further updates from the day.
improvements at City Road
(published Summer 2011)

Our landlord is carrying out work to improve the entrance area at our City Road offices. The work is quite substantial and our usual entrance is expected to close for about five weeks.
Work started on Monday 9 May. Whilst work is ongoing, access will be through a different stairwell. Our security officer Len will be able to guide visitors to the temporary entrance.

find a job through People First
(published Spring 2011)

People First is working in partnership with other landlords, Manchester City Council and Jobcentre Plus to help people back into work.  Find out about the latest opportunities through the new job zone section of our website. Don't forget to keep coming back to find out the latest news.
client speakout event
(published Spring 2011)

Our annual Speakout event for support clients will be held on Friday 24 June 2011. We are inviting our clients on a boat trip around Ashton-under-Lyne and the nearby canals.
Lunch and transport to the event will be provided and a free visit to the Portland Basin Museum will be included. If you are a People First support client and you would like to attend, please let your support worker know by Wednesday 11 May. We would be pleased to have your views on our support services and how we can improve.

easter at the playground
(published Spring 2011)

After all the excitement of the Open House event, we were left with a few more Easter Eggs than we bargained for. Not wanting to let good chocolate go to waste, we donated the spares to North Hulme Adventure Playground.
The Adventure Playground is a fantastic resource for the children of Hulme, giving them somewhere to play away from the busy streets. We could think of nowhere more deserving of a little extra during the holiday period.

welcome danielle!
(published Spring 2011)

Danielle Murray has recently joined the team as a Trainee Housing Assistant. Her post is funded for six months through the Future Jobs Fund scheme. We asked her a few questions on her first day.
Where did you work previously? I previously worked at a company called People Serve where they help people who have been unemployed for a long time get back into work and gain new skills.
How long have you been in Manchester? I’ve lived in Manchester all of my life and I am a very proud Mancunian!
What interests you the most about People First? The fact that it is tenant led is brilliant and I love the nature of the company... I can’t wait to get stuck in!
How are you finding it so far? Great! The whole team has been very welcoming and the atmosphere in the office is lovely!

sorry to see you go...
(published Spring 2011)

Unfortunately we will have to say goodbye to our Housing Assistant David Hunter, who is leaving us for the big city of London soon.
During his year with us David has built up a great relationship with tenants and staff and will be missed by all at People First.  I'm sure you will join us in wishing him all the best for the future.
And here are a few words from David himself: “I've loved my time here at People First, so much so I've decided that housing is where I want to stay!  I will miss all the staff and tenants who have made my time here so rewarding.”
I'm sure you'll join us in wishing him all the best for the future.
...and welcome back!
On a happier note we are welcoming back our Housing Officer, Melanie Merchant.  She is back working on her old patch and will be putting on some Resident Involvement Days throughout the upcoming year.

have your say about council spending
(published Summer 2011)

Manchester City Council is seeking the public's views on changes to adult social care services, which includes Supporting People funding. If you are a People First tenant or support client, make sure your voice gets heard.
Proposals have now been drawn up to make savings. The council is hosting 24 consultation events across Manchester in May and June where staff can explain the proposals, answer questions and help fill in questionnaires.
The council wants to assess the quality and cost of services (including increasing the use of telecare and better use of equipment) as well as changing the way it allocates money.
Manchester is also proposing to bring its fairer charging policy in line with other councils across the country, for example, by removing the maximum charge so those who are able to afford it pay more than those who cannot.
Manchester residents can take part in this consultation process by reading and completing an on-line questionnaire, or by visiting one of the 24 events held over the next three weeks. The consultation events run until 3 June 2011. For details of the proposals and the nearest events please visit the council's consultations page or phone their Contact Service on 0161 234 5001
The adult social care consultations run until the following dates:
14 June - Voluntary and Community Sector funding
14 June - Supporting People funding
6 July - Changes to social care provision
8 August - Charges for social care

learning together partnership
(published Spring 2011) The learning together partnership has published its annual programme of training events for tenants.
Six sessions will be held during 2011. They are: You can download a copy of the programme here. If you like the sound of any of the sessions, please contact our office to register your interest.  You don't have to attend all six sessions, only those that interest you, so come to one or come to all - it's up to you.  Remember all sessions are free and will run from 9.30am to 3.30pm.  Lunch is available on the day at no extra cost to you and we can help with transport to and from the venue.
learning together partnership
(published Spring 2011)

The latest AGM took place at Southways Housing Trust where the partners discussed the programme for the upcoming year. A decision was reached and it was decided that the six sessions will be: Financial Inclusion; The Big Society; Tenant Scrutiny; Value for Money; Community Safety; Repairs.
You may ask yourself: What does financial inclusion mean?  It means being in control of your finances and the session will give you information about the right and wrong ways to go about it.  The session will take place in April and we will let you have more details nearer the time.
If you like the sound of any of the sessions, please contact our office to register your interest.  You don't have to attend all six sessions, only those that interest you, so come to one or come to all - it's up to you.  Remember all sessions are free and will run from 9.30am to 3.30pm.  Lunch is available on the day at no extra cost to you and we can help with transport to and from the venue.

residents open day
(published Spring 2011) People First were delighted to welcome residents to an Open House event at their new offices on 24 March.  It was great to see so many residents turning up.
Residents turned up throughout the day, with a particularly strong crowd at lunch time.  As well as enjoying a hot buffet lunch, residents had the opportunity to visit our Big Brother room, play computer games on a large screen television and enter our helium balloon prize draw.
The day also gave us the opportunity to seek people's views on the way we run their estate.  Those that turned up had the chance to catch up with staff and let them know what would most improve their neighbourhood.  Keep your eye on the website for further updates from the day.
support client focus group
People First would like to thank the service users who attended our focus group meeting on Friday 25th February 2011.  The meeting was successful and we agreed a lot about ideas for future focus groups and our annual speak out event.

We had a guest speaker from Ackers Solicitors who talked about preparing wills and the option of having a Power of Attorney which the service users found very interesting.  We would like to thank Tasneem Ackers for attending.

The service users participated very well and came up with some good ideas about what they would like from People First and how we could improve our focus groups, for example, to invite someone to discuss the current changes to all benefits and also to discuss the new housing allocation and banding rules as well as many other ideas.

We welcome more service users to come to the next focus group, to have their say and we look forward to planning for the next meeting.  If you are one of our support clients, please look out for the date in the next newsletter or speak to your support worker.

support client barbecue
Our annual Speakout event, held on 17 September 2010 was a great success.  A big thank you to all those who attended and contributed.

We met at Hulme Garden Centre and enjoyed good weather and good barbie-cooked food.  Around 20 service users attended and gave us feedback on how we are doing as a service and how we can improve.  Everyone went away with a raffle prize, ranging from a microwave to piggy banks.  We took plenty of photos and will report back soon on the feedback we received through our newsletters and the website.
We look forward to another successful Speakout next year!

arndale card winners
(published Winter 2010)

Every year, we reward our regular rent payers by conducting a prize draw.  This year, we expanded the draw to reward those tenants who returned our Big Question survey and those that contributed photographs for our calendar.
Five tenants were awarded Arndale Gift Cards.  We would like to thank them all for their positive contribution to People First in 2010.
Pay your rent on time; get involved; and reap the rewards!
christmas opening hours
(published Winter 2010)

People First wishes you the compliments of the season and thanks you once again for your support over the past year. We would like to remind our tenants and support clients that our offices will be closed for a spell over the Christmas and New Year Period. We close on Friday 24 December 2010 at 12.30pm
We re-open on Tuesday 4 January 2011 at 9.00am. During this period, if you have an emergency, please contact our out-of-hours service run by Astraline on 0845 057 7121

moving stories...
(published Autumn 2010)

People First has published its 2010 annual report. You can download a copy here.
The report marks our 15th anniversary.  Our values and ethos remain the same - we are in business to deliver services that will improve the lives of as many people as possible - and the review celebrates the triumphs of the people we work with and who work with us through their moving stories.
We are sure you will agree with us that they provide hope and optimism for the future. 
keeping a closer eye on things
(published Autumn 2010)

We know that when we moved offices, it made it difficult for some of you to come and see us. It used to be so easy to pop in on your trip to the Post Office, the Chemist or perhaps Buzzrocks or Meridian.
To try to counteract this, we have increased the amount of time we spend out and about. We used to formally inspect each scheme every six months. We now visit each scheme every week to make sure things are up to scratch.
Each member of the team takes it in turn to be the ‘Duty Officer’ for a week and visits a different scheme every day. They check for fly-tipping and graffiti as well as checking the work of our contractors. We have set up a regular programme of visits, which is set out here:
TUESDAY: Bold Street, Chichester Road, Greenheys Lane West, Weir Street, Boundary Lane, Freeman Square, Milbeck Street, Fenwick Street and Ruby Street.
WEDNESDAY: Chevassut Street, Mary France Street, St Wilfrids Street and Royce Road (odd numbers)
THURSDAY: Stretford Road (evens), Mallow Street, Hornchurch Street, Upper Moss Lane, Ribston Street, Fenn Street and Royce Road (evens)
FRIDAY: Stretford Road (odds), Old York Street, Ward Street, Halston Street and Rolls Crescent
It is easiest for us to pop round and see you on these days, but if you would like a visit on another day, that’s fine. Call us!

on the move
(published Autumn 2010)

After nearly fourteen years at Royce Road, People First has recently moved to: No.1 City Road , City Road East , Manchester M15 4PN
The new offices are a ten minute walk from our old offices.  Those of you who have visited the new council offices at First Street may have noticed our new offices on the other side of the road.
STOP PRESS: You can now pay your rent through the internet or by telephone.  Click here for more information.

support client barbecue
(published Autumn 2010)

Our annual Speakout event, held on 17 September 2010 was a great success.  A big thank you to all those who attended and contributed.
We met at Hulme Garden Centre and enjoyed good weather and good barbie-cooked food.  Around 20 service users attended and gave us feedback on how we are doing as a service and how we can improve.  Everyone went away with a raffle prize, ranging from a microwave to piggy banks.  We took plenty of photos and will report back soon on the feedback we received through our newsletters and the website.
We look forward to another successful Speakout next year!

are you a tenant looking for work?
(published Summer 2010)

If you are, you could do worse than checking out Blue Orchid recruitment.  They have a number of vacancies through their Get Into Housing programme.  The vacancies are varied and updated regularly by the landlords involved in the programme.
Once registered on the programme, Blue Orchid can provide flexible and free back to work support.  Their employment support programme can help you prepare your CV, develop your interview technique, build your skills to help you find the right job, improve your confidence through training and one-to-one support and Identify training opportunities.
With this free support and training, opportunities can come out of the blue.  To find out more and register on the programme call their team on 0161 485 4949 or contact them by e-mail at events@theblueorchid.co.uk.

learning together partnership
(published Summer 2010)

People First continues to work in partnership with other landlords to deliver a training programme for tenants.  The aim of the programme is to equip people to become more involved in the day-to-day decisions made by their landlord.
We have already delivered several sessions, but it is never too late to become involved.  The sessions are designed to allow people to "dip in" whenever something interests them.  The programme will continue between now and the end of 2010.  Upcoming sessions include:
14 September: Tenancy Agreements and Rights.  What are your tenancy rights and is your tenancy agreement fair?  What do those rights mean in practice and how are they affected by the law?  What about those "Human Rights" we keep hearing people talk about?  Find out more in this session.
8 December: Annual General Meeting  at City South Housing, where the programme for 2011 will be set.
To be arranged: Value for Money.  What do we mean when we say "value for money"?  Does your landlord always get the best price?  Could they save money and deliver better services at the same time?  Find out about different approaches people have used to make sure rental income stretches that little bit further.
The sessions are held at various venues around Greater Manchester and lunch is always provided.  The sessions are FREE to tenants and we can even help you with transport.
If any of the sessions sounds interesting to you, please contact David Nugent at our head office.

support client barbecue
(published Summer 2010)

People First is holding its annual Speak Out Event for support clients on Friday 17 September between noon and 3.00pm.  The event will be held at Hulme Garden Centre, 28 Old Birley Street, Manchester M15 5RF. Support clients will have the opportunity to get involved in improving our service by giving valuable feedback.  There will be a free barbecue, quizzes, games and raffle prizes.  Clients will also be able to meet each other, see a demonstration from the community gardener and take home a free potted plant.  We can arrange transport and interpreters on request. Please contact Ed, Debbie or Owen on 0161 226 1917 if you would like to come along.


People First joins homeswapper
(published Summer 2010)

People First have recently joined HomeSwapper, a service that helps tenants swap homes with each other.  Mutual exchanges allow people to legally swap their home with another housing association or council tenant.
People choose to swap their homes for a variety of reasons. For example: HomeSwapper helps people who want to swap find each other. HomeSwapper is available to all housing association and council tenants. Usually, tenants have to pay £7.75 every 90 days to advertise their home, but because of our landlord membership, People First tenants can use the service for free. Find out more at the HomeSwapper website.

befriending the community
(published Spring 2010)

In our community it is not uncommon to see people “left behind” by society, those that have "slipped through the cracks" and are not receiving the assistance that they need to live full and happy lives. Often lonely and isolated, these people need to know that there is help available.
Our Community Support Department in Manchester currently operates three different services: Single Irish men, Early Intervention and a Mental Health service. In order to expand our services further we are reintroducing the Befriender service. This will operate much in the same way as the Community Support Work but Befrienders will have a smaller case load meaning that they have more time to spend with clients. This will also benefit Support Workers meaning that more of their time is to be freed up.
A Befriender will work alongside your support worker in a partnership intended to build confidence, reduce isolation, improve mental health and provide extra support
A Befriender will be available to current support clients, those on the waiting list for support and People First tenants with a particular need for the service. To apply to the befriending service contact People First on 0161 226 1917


swine flu pandemic
(published Summer 2009)

As you may be aware, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has now declared a pandemic (an epidemic which affects all people), in this case the virus "Swine Flu".  During this time we hope to continue to deliver services as usual, but will be closely following advice issued by the WHO and the government and in particular that contained in the leaflet that has been issued by government which can be found on our website. Please do read the leaflet if you have not done so already.  We would encourage you to assist staff at the association during this period by following the advice given in the Swine Flu leaflet and letting us know if you or a member of your household has the virus if you are expecting a visit from our staff or representatives/contractors or anyone else working on behalf of People First.  This will help us to ensure that we take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.  The Swine Flu leaflet is also available in other languages, large print, audio and British sign laguage video formats on the NHS website.  We will keep you notified of any changes at the office particularly in relation to service delivery if we feel this is likely to be adversely affected by staff absence.  If you wish to discuss this or any concerns you have about the virus please speak to your housing officer or support worker.  For the latest news and advice on the pandemic - visit the the NHS website.  To find out more about how a pandemic differs from ordinary flu, you can also download the Pandemic Flu leaflet.  This leaflet is also available in other languages on the Department of Health website.


new volunteer befriending services in Tameside and Rochdale
(published Summer 2009)

People First continues to grow with two new services offering support from People First trained volunteer befrienders to existing service users and those on our waiting lists.  Visit the community support page to find out more about these and other projects.


influence national housing policy
(published Spring 2009)

The National Tenant Voice is an independent body that is being set up by Government to enable social housing tenants to influence key national policy areas.  We want tenants throughout England to volunteer to be involved in the National Tenant Voice.  For further details or to apply please visit: www.hays.com/jobs/ntv or contact HAYS on 0800 917 7396.  The closing date for applications is 16th October 2009.


investors in people
(published Autumn 2008)

People First undergoes an Investors in People review at regular intervals.  We passed our 2008 review with flying colours.  In the report, the assessor stated:
"People First exists to ensure that its service users and tenants are empowered to access opportunities and services that will improve their lives.  This commitment to equality of opportunity runs through the whole organisation and is applied to staff as well as customers."
18 from the 52 members of staff were interviewed in May 2008.  Here is one of the quotes from staff the assessor chose to put in the report:
"The whole organisation is about putting people first – whether that is through helping them with drug addiction, supporting them to maintain their tenancy or helping them to gain housing and employment after leaving prison.  We help people to help themselves."
The assessor notes that this ethos also extends to the treatment of staff at People First:
"There is an open and relaxed approach within the business, that encourages people to try things, take ownership of their roles, and sometimes, take risks, in order to achieve the desired outcomes.  Everyone interviewed feels that they are trusted, have autonomy and decision making responsibility within their roles."

equality and diversity review
(published Autumn 2008)

Have you ever thought that someone does not understand you, you are being fobbed off or you are not able to get where you want to go?  When out shopping or dealing with agencies, if the person you are dealing with does not treat you with care and respect, are you put off making yourself understood?  There are many reasons why some people have better access to services than others.  If you are a parent with children, a wheel chair user facing a flight of stairs and/or English is not your first language you may have difficulties accessing services.  You may also experience discrimination because of the attitude and approach of the person you are dealing with.  People First Housing Association wants to ensure that everyone who deals with us feels like they have been treated with respect and care.  Moreover we want to ensure that all the people who use our services can gain access to us as easily as possible.  An Equality and Diversity Review Group meets regularly to monitor whether we are fulfilling our commitments.  The Group needs feedback from the people who experience our services, both tenants and support clients .  If you would like to attend one of the meetings, please contact Melanie Merchant on 226 1917 or by email.


new head of housing
(published Spring 2008)

David Nugent joined People First in January, replacing Chris Page as the Head of Housing.  We asked him about his experience and why he decided to join People First:
Where did you work before?  "I used to work for Equity Housing Group in Cheadle Hulme, where I was Income Manager.  I managed a team of nine staff, who dealt with lettings and rent arrears."
Do you have any other relevant experience?  "I also worked there as Tenant Services Manager, dealing with complaints and tenant consultation, as well as communications like the newsletter and web site."
What about property management?  "I trained as an architect at University and I’ve also spent several years working as a surveyor, so day-to-day maintenance and planned repairs shouldn’t be a problem."
Why did you come to people first?  "I wanted to work more closely with tenants and have a wider brief: In my last job, I worked with tenants across nineteen local authorities, some of whom lived a hundred miles away from the office!"
Have you ever been to Hulme before?  "I remember visiting friends in Hulme during the early 1990s: Let’s just say the area has improved immeasurably since then!"
What are your first impressions?  "Everybody has been really welcoming, both staff and tenants.  It was refreshing to walk around the schemes and see how much the area had improved.  I think People First is an incredible success story and I’m looking forward to meeting more tenants in the coming weeks and months."


support worker to team leader
(published Spring 2008)

Lindsey shares her experience of career development at People First.
Why did you want to become a Community Support Worker?  "I wanted a complete career change from my 7 year job as a research fellow.  I wanted to be working with people in a pro-active way."
How did you progress from a CSW to a Team Leader?  "After 2 years working on the Mental Health Project, my manager recommended that I apply for a Team Leader role on a new project.  My application was successful and I got the position of Team Leader for the Early Intervention Project."
What do you like most about your job?  "Job satisfaction is a central aspect to this type of work, the most rewarding part is to know that you can make a positive impact, which can change lives for the better."
What are the challenging aspects of the job?  "Building up a trusting relationship with a service user is the most challenging.  It is the first step in providing support and is vital in making progress with a person."
What is it like being a team leader in comparison to your experience of being a support worker?  "My time is much more divided.  I still get the pleasure of frontline work with service users, but also get to dip my toe into the world of management."
What experience do I need?  "You’ve got to want to work with lots of different people to do this job.  I think it’s important to have qualities such as understanding, acceptance and respect for people as individuals.  Lots of experience is not essential as most of this is gathered while you are on the job."
Why People First?  "The best thing about the People First team is the positive and friendly working atmosphere.  The managers here are approachable and very experienced.  I feel that there is a great deal to learn from them and the organisation as a whole."
[Thank You to Carmen for interviewing Lindsey for this article.]


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