Meet our new grounds maintenance team

You’ll be seeing some new faces out and about in your communities, pruning, weeding, mowing and generally keeping our open spaces green and pleasant.

We have listened to your feedback on our previous service and you will notice a few changes as we launch our new service. First of all, we have new contractors – Mears, and so we will now have just one company doing the work on all the green spaces we own.

The teams will be at the same areas every two weeks for routine mowing and maintenance (depending on the weather) and the same team will be responsible for each area, so they will get to know the area well and be able to respond specifically to the needs of the area and the people living there.

Our newly branded vans have been hitting the streets recently and there has also been a huge investment in the machinery needed to do the job as effectively and efficiently as possible.

One of the new members of the team is also a CKH resident so knows how important it is for our neighbourhoods to look good.

Steven said: “It really does make a difference to see your local area being well looked after – I know that from my own street. So I’m really proud to be able to make so many areas of the city look so great. When people see their neighbourhood looking good, they take pride in it, and it makes everyone just feel that little bit better.”

Top tips for your own garden

Here’s some top tips from the experts to help you to stay on top of your garden, even if you are not very green fingered!

  • Try to keep on top of cutting the lawn and pruning shrubs – you may want to put off some of the less interesting jobs in the garden, but it is not worth it – plants just keep on growing! It is much easier to do it little and often, rather than leave it until it is a daunting job that even Monty Don would be put off by!
  • Be water wise – a water butt that collects rain water from sheds and your house roof will really help you to save money on your water bill. If we have another drought this summer, make sure you use a watering can and target your watering right at the roots of the plants that need it the most, don’t just go splashing around with the hose pipe – your water meter will be clocking around like crazy!
  • If you are not fond of weeding, grow some ground cover plants – these are low growing evergreen or annual plants that spread and give a carpet-like effect filling gaps and suppressing weeds. You can get some evergreen ones with flowers, ask at the garden centre for what they would recommend for your garden.
  • Grow some fruit and vegetables – no, you won’t be able to go self sufficient in an average garden, but you will have fun, and nothing tastes as good as home grown. You don’t need much space or skill. A few strawberry plants will give delicious fruit in the summer and keep going over winter, even putting out runners that produce more plants. Many herbs are winter hardy as well and will grow all year round. If you have a bit more space you can get patio sized fruit trees that will grow in pots or grow potatoes in deep pots.

Get your garden summer-safe!

Summer is officially here – which means long days, late nights and plenty of time in the garden. Whether you’re mowing the lawn, trying out one of our top tips, or cooking a barbeque – you need to bear in mind safety.

Garden safety tips

The garden is a fun place to be when the sun is out, however, there are a few health and safety tips to remember:

  • Always follow manufacturer’s instructions when using weed killers – make sure you store them in a safe and secure place too
  • Supervise children near water, whether it’s a paddling pool or a garden pond
  • Avoid injuries by always working within the range of your skills, ability and experience
  • Keep sharp garden tools in good condition and tidy them away after use.

Barbecue safety tips

Barbecues are fun, but make sure you take extra precautions to make it safe too!

  • Keep your barbecues away from fences, sheds and trees
  • Never use petrol or other accelerants on a barbecue
  • Use long-handed tools so you don’t get too close to the heat
  • Check that your barbecue is in a good condition
  • Ensure the barbecue is fully dowsed before you leave it and make sure the coals are cold before you put them in the bin.

If in doubt – keep them out

You should always feel safe and secure in your home. Never let someone into your home if you aren’t sure who they are or why they want to come in.

All our employees and contractors carry identification badges and are more than happy to show you their photo ID card before entering your home. You should not accept a letter as proof of someone’s identity.

If you’re not sure who the visitor is, there are some easy steps to take:

  • Try to look out of a window to see who is calling before unlocking your doors
  • If in doubt, ask to see their ID. Our employees and contractors can show their ID to you while you have the security chain on, or through the letter box.
  • If you’re still not sure, call our Customer Service team on 01733 385000 to check (you can ask the visitor to wait outside while you’re on the phone).
  • If they insist they need access immediately, refuse to show you their proof of identity and stop you from carrying out checks, or try to force their way in - call 999.

If you have any concerns about the identity of one of our contractors - call our Customer Service team on 01733 38500.

A password system can also be set up for added security, just ask while you’re on the phone.

Do you know how to spot the signs of bedbugs?

Bedbugs are a growing problem in the UK. They aren’t dangerous and don’t spread any diseases, but some people have a reaction to their bites and they can be stressful to live with.

Bedbugs don’t just live in mattresses, they can also be transported on clothing, luggage and second hand furniture. Once you have them, they can be hard to get rid of, so if you think you’ve visited somewhere with bedbugs wash your clothes on a hot wash straight away and tumble dry them for at least half an hour if possible.

You could have bedbugs if you notice:

  • Small bugs a similar size and shape to an apple seed (although they can be bigger when well-fed)
  • Tiny white eggs in the crevices and joints of your mattress and furniture
  • Bites on your skin
  • Tiny black spots or blood spots on your mattress
  • Bedbug shells – bedbugs shed their skin as they grow
  • An unpleasant, musty scent in your bedroom.

If you think you may have bedbugs in your home, call our Repairs Centre straight away for advice. Our Estate Rangers have been specially trained in pest control and can carry out professional treatment.

Think twice before buying a second hand bed or mattress, or other furniture! You could be moving bedbugs and their eggs into your home. Look out for discounts on new mattresses in your local area instead and avoid the stress of dealing with a bedbug infestation.