All posts from: November 2009
The Gurkhas got Joanna Lumley - now sheltered housing tenants are looking for their own celebrity backer.
The pensioners are looking for a famous face to help halt the removal of live-in wardens from their housing schemes. The UK pensioners strategy committee will be demonstrating at the Conservative Party headquarters and at Downing Street on 30 November.
Celebs interested in taking part (you read it here first Ms Lumley) should contact David Young, who chairs the group.
Meanwhile, solicitor Yvonne Hossack, who has represented many people affected by care home closures and the loss of live-in wardens, took a novel approach to lobbying on 10 December.
She was all set to visit Downing Street with two of her clients, one an impressive 106 years old, to protest about a care home closure. But the weather turned chilly and, worried about the well-being of her supporters, Ms Hossack made life-sized cardboard cutouts to accompany her instead (obviously…).
The policeman on duty at No 10 wasn’t impressed with her argument that the cutouts were not props but stand-ins for the absent pensioners. Perhaps she should get them cloned next time?
The first forays into ‘operation pink’ - the unofficial campaign to save the Tenant Services Authority from Tory cuts - may be coming to a conference or seminar near you.
Apparently, Sarah Webb, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, has started using a walking stick in the exact shade of TSA pink. Closed Circuit looks forward to seeing pink ties, socks and glasses spreading to board rooms and offices across the land. Just ask TSA boss Peter Marsh if you need the exact pantone colour - we hear he knows it off by heart.
Closed Circuit doesn’t normally like to mock the efforts of chief executives to communicate using new technology.
But we couldn’t help a chuckle over the photo of David Montague, chief exec of L&Q reclining on a sofa in his office, on his new blog. it looks like an advert for the DFS sale and begs the question, where was the poor photographer - suspended from the ceiling?
Send all your juicy housing gossip to email@example.com
Anti-development campaigners in Tadcaster, north Yorkshire, were delighted to discover that the chair of the organisation behind a controversial retirement home was living just down the road. Cue demonstrations, placard-waving and much gnashing of teeth outside the gentleman’s house.
You might have thought that if you were a peer of the realm and had chaired a panel for government on how to make the design of housing for older people more sustainable, that you may be afforded some slack. Alas no, Lord Best!
One housing association prefers only to be seen with the right people.
We contacted Gallions last week to see if its chief executive would support Inside Housing’s Safe as Houses campaign. After being sent the details, the communications officer called back asking who else had signed up.
Our man said sadly that there were only a few ‘high-profile’ people on the list (apologies Ms Harman) - and Inside Housing has not heard a peep from Gallions since, despite our efforts. Hopefully, the landlord will get on board soon after Safe as Houses obtains its first celebrity backer.
If you want to sign up with the great and the good - if not the famous - go to www.insidehousing.co.uk/safeashouses
The normally sharp as a tack Ian Graham was distinctly bleary eyed when Closed Circuit met him last week.
‘I was up late practising with my band,’ revealed the Trowers and Hamlin legal supremo who plays sax-on-the-side with band The Specs.
Interested parties are promised a night of ‘titillating’ entertainment next month at the legal four-piece’s next gig: The Gunnersbury, Chiswick, 15 December from 9pm. Entry is free, charity donations suggested. (And the lawyers’ bill will be in the Christmas post).
Fellow Spec and solicitor David Mosey has also been staying up late. The blurb on the back of his latest tome - Early contractor involvement in building procurement - includes endorsement from Ian Hunter of 1970s band Mott the Hoople.
The legal eagle is said to have been ‘very persistent’ in persuading a post-gig Hunter to back the book. ‘There was a lot of resistance,’ attests one witness.
Closed Circuit has been struggling with temptation this week. An email link that ‘Reveals the secret to getting a new council house in as little as 30 days… guaranteed’ landed in our inbox - and we are trying to resist texting the number that will tell us all the secrets of the allocations system. Apparently, there are only 41 copies of this precious book left, written by a former housing officer called Patrick Jones.
In his enticing sales-speak, he says: ‘Now I know what your (sic) thinking “How is this possible?”. Well let me tall (sic) you this, I’ve worked as housing officer in the UK for over 15 years, I known (sic) how the council housing system really works. I know all the loopholes and all the tricks that will get you priority and housed quickly.’
We’ll be getting onto it just after we organise to give that nice Nigerian man our bank details to help him claim his inheritance.
Like everyone else, councils are looking to save money - but Brighton & Hove Council has taken the unusual step of recruiting sheep to help out. Volunteer urban shepherds have been trained to keep an eye on the sheep - on loan from local farms - which have been put to graze on land next to housing estates and schools.
The council says the cost of grass-trimming and bailing was £25,000 a year, but the urban sheep scheme costs just £1,800 annually. The scheme is being extended after a successful trial last year and is proving so popular that there is a waiting list for the urban shepherd training course.
Now, what other public services could be performed by farmyard animals?
People need to make the tough choice of saving the planet over protecting their possessions, according to Green Party spokesperson Jenny Jones. Police in London have told householders to leave their lights on to fool burglars, as part of crimefighting project, ‘operation bumblebee’. But Ms Jones is unhappy about the resulting wasteful energy and suggests getting better locks instead. The burning question, however, is why it is called operation bumblebee? Are the honey-makers good at keeping their homes secure or are they secretly fighting crime as we sleep?
Send your juicy housing gossip to firstname.lastname@example.org