Six Town Housing / Speak my language

Six Town Housing (STH) has produced a social distancing film and language translation boards to try to reach as many customers as possible to help them understand our commitment to keeping our customers and staff safe. We are particularly targeting isolating, vulnerable and non-English speaking customers.

What was the issue?

During lockdown, concern was raised from customers about allowing STH’s tradesmen and other members of staff into their homes. Staff also had concerns about their own safety. It was vital that we communicated to everyone about how their safety is our priority. Of our 8,000 customers, 1200 are vulnerable and many are isolating and non-English speaking. As a responsible housing landlord, STH has a legal duty to carry out emergency repairs and other health and safety checks to keep homes and people living in them safe.

Who did you engage with?

We telephoned 1200 vulnerable customers. We texted 90% of our customers (the ones with mobiles) at least four times. We surveyed 8,000 customers via instant text or email to ask them about coronavirus and their concerns. In 24 hours, 278 people replied with over 600 suggestions of ways to make customers and staff feel safe and secure. The production of a film and social distancing translation boards were developed in response to the feedback.

What did you do?

STH’s creative Communication’s Team developed a film and social distancing translation boards accessible for all. Our film, 'Your safety is our priorityhas been texted out and displayed on social media and on our website so that our most excluded customers can feel included. New safety measures for repairs have been translated into the five most commonly used languages which are Arabic, Bengali, Polish, Gujarati and Urdu. Our safety translation boards have been produced in the same five most commonly used languages too.

What was the impact?

The film and translation boards have returned our repair service to its normal demand and customers have allowed STH back into their homes.

What barriers, challenges or points of learning did you identify?

At first, customers were afraid to allow STH into their homes due to coronavirus. However, using feedback from 8,000 customers, 100 welfare calls, a customer survey and feedback from our tradesmen and colleagues, STH tailored its services to meet the needs of our most vulnerable customers. This enabled us to deliver key services during lockdown in a safe and reassuring way including emergency repairs, delivering food hampers, medication, prescriptions and setting up an “essential” team to undertake home visits for critical health and safety checks.

Who to speak to

Joe Waters, Public Affairs Manager