I’m really worried!  My neighbour told me that she hasn’t had her gas appliances serviced this year and I’m scared it could be dangerous! I know that she was on holiday the first time they called and she told me that she wasn’t home the last couple of times they made appointments.
I’m scared that it could affect me if something happens!
Sheep 2.pngDave says :-
 I can understand why you’re concerned.  You’re right in thinking that it’s really important to have the gas appliances serviced for your own safety and for your neighbours too.
But don’t worry.  Coastal takes tenants’ safety very seriously.  If we can’t get in to carry out the gas servicing, we can (and will) take action against a tenant to end their tenancy.
She needs to get in touch with Coastal to arrange another day for them to call.  If she can’t be there on the day, maybe she’s got family or a friend who can provide access on her behalf.
Leave it with us!
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I hate my kitchen!  It’s in good condition but I’d like a more modern one.  I don’t really like cooking but my sister has just had a new kitchen which looks lovely compared to mine.  My parents gave me and my boyfriend some money when we got engaged and I want to spend it on new kitchen units but my boyfriend said that he’d rather we spent the money on a holiday as we’ve never been away together.


Sheep 2.pngDave says :-

I’m glad you wrote in before going ahead as you need to make sure that you ask Coastal’s permission before you make such a big change to your home.  Your Area Housing Manager will be able to advise you on whether you can go ahead with the improvement or not and you’ll need to fill in a form with the details of who is going to carry out the work. Your Area Housing Manager will also know when your kitchen is due to be replaced so, before you make a decision, find out whether it is due to be replaced in the next few years. 
How about a kitchen makeover with a funky new colour scheme rather than changing the units?  That way you and your boyfriend may also be able to go away for a romantic weekend together.  
I wonder if your sister will have the same memories of her kitchen in years to come as you will have of a trip with your boyfriend.  


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My son has just told me that he and his family are moving to Brighton because of his job.
I’ve always lived in Port Talbot but I seem to have lost touch with friends since I retired.  This was fine when I could visit my son but now I don’t know what I’ll do with my time.
I’m really starting to worry about feeling lonely when they go.  What should I do?
Sheep 2.pngDave says :-

There are lots of retired people in the same boat as you, especially with families living further apart for work. If you have a skill, or just some time, that you’d like to share, you may want to think about volunteering.  The skills, knowledge and experience that you have gained through your life are the perfect ingredients for giving back to the community. Coastal are also working hard to provide a range of social activities for the over 55s.  Our popular ‘Social Circle’ is a great way to meet new friends.  We have lots of events from monthly coffee mornings (in Swansea and Neath) to day trips further afield.  Ring Julia on 01792 479266 and she’ll be happy to bring you up to date on this year’s events.

If you’d like to brush up on your computer skills, why not contact Nigel Lewis, Coastal’s Digital Co-Ordinator.  Nigel can help you to get online and provide advice and support.. How about keeping in touch with your son and his family through SKYPE?  Alternatively, if you are already confident online, maybe you could volunteer and give Nigel a hand.
Whatever, you choose to do, there are a lot of opportunities out there!

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I’ve only just sent the kids back to school and I’m already worrying about Christmas!
I just had to buy 3 new school uniforms and shoes on my credit card and I’m broke.  I’m already three weeks in arrears with my rent and I just don’t know where I’m going to get the money for Christmas this year.
My neighbour said that she knows someone who will lend me £500 and I can pay him back £50 every week until next June.  That would be a big weight off my shoulders because then we can have a lovely Christmas and it gives me plenty of time to pay him back next year.
What do you think?       


Sheep 2.pngDave says :-

Be careful – he sounds like a loan shark!  If you borrow £500 on the 1st September and pay £50 per week until 1st June, you will have paid him £2000 and if you don’t manage to pay him back by that date, the total amount could be much, much higher!  Also, don’t forget that these payments will be on top of the ones you are making to the credit card company.
It’s really important to keep a roof over your head, especially if you are having money problems, so speak to your housing officer now before your arrears get any worse. They will be able to advise you on managing your rent payments and can also put you in touch with the National Debt Line, who can help you with budgeting.

Coastal also work closely with NPT Credit Union and Money Line Cymru. Both organisations offer affordable loans in this area and they may be able to help you.
You’re not the only person in this position and help is out there.
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My neighbour keeps putting his washing machine on late at night!! I am generally in bed by 10pm and usually asleep by the time it gets to the spin cycle. It’s so loud,it wakes me up and then I struggle to get back to sleep again. I haven’t said anything to my neighbour because I don’t know him and I don’t want to upset him, but it’s affecting me in work as I feel so tired the next day. I’m starting to wonder if he’s doing it on purpose to annoy me.I’m at the end of my tether, please help!
Sheep 2.pngDave says :-
You say you wonder if your neighbour is doing this on purpose to annoy you, but as you haven’t spoken to him about how it is affecting you, I think that this is unlikely. Many people put their washing machines on during the evening not realising it may cause a disturbance to others. In the first instance,I suggest you speak to your neighbour, perhaps when the washing machine is on one day and then you can demonstrate how noisy it is in your home. Or if it is too late in the day then speak to him the next morning. As I said, maybe your neighbour has just not realised that it is disturbing you. If the disturbance continues, Coastal can approach your neighbour on your behalf and have a look at where the machine is situated.It may be that the machine hasn’t been fitted properly and is knocking against an adjacent wall, which could be causing the noise, or we might be able to fit cushioned feet so that there is less noise. Hope this helps!
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I am dreading the summer coming this year!  Last year we had terrible problems with children coming into the cul de sac in the evenings and playing football.  They were kicking a ball onto the wall near my house continuously which disturbed me and my family.  They also play on the road and nearly hit my car and my neighbour’s car.   Sometimes they were out there shouting and screaming until midnight! During the winter it has been quiet but I know that as the nights become lighter that these kids are going to start again.

Sheep 2.pngDave says :-
I am sorry that you and your family are being disturbed by this.  If you live near children, it is reasonable to expect them to play outside, especially in the light summer evenings. However this does not mean that they should disturb other residents.
Do the children live within the cul de sac and do you know the children or parents?  If you do, I would suggest that you approach the parents, if you feel comfortable in doing so, and request that the children play in an area which is more suitable.  It is possible that the children and their parents may not be aware that they are causing a nuisance to you.
If the problem does persist you can speak to your housing officer, who will approach the parents to make them aware of the problem and request that they resolve the matter. 
Don’t forget if you are being disturbed, especially late at night, you can ring the police on the non emergency number 101 to report this.
I hope you have a good summer!


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My son, who is 24, moved in with his girlfriend a few months ago and now I’ve been hit by the bedroom tax.  I’m not working at the moment and I’ve got to find extra money every week to pay towards the rent.  Housing Benefit won’t pay the full rent for a two bedroom flat because I live here on my own.

I would rather move but my son doesn’t want me to in case things don’t work out with his girlfriend.

What should I do?


Sheep 2.pngDave says :-

It is definitely worth considering a move to a smaller property.  Moving to a one bedroom flat may mean that Housing Benefit would cover your rent in full.

I can appreciate that your son would like to keep his options open but you must also think of yourself now.  If your son doesn’t want you to move, would he consider helping out by paying the shortfall in Housing Benefit until he is more settled? If this isn’t an option, it is worth you getting in touch with Coastal to discuss a transfer to a one bedroom flat.   As it costs money to move home, I would look into this now before your finances really start to suffer.

I hope it all works out for you.
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