Cinderella service improves residents’ living environment and helps recycling.
A ‘Cinderella’ service at Midland Heart housing association is celebrating an amazing first year of operation having collected over 400 tonnes of waste including 174 fridges, 178 mattresses and 63 vehicle tyres.
As well as making 3,760 bulk waste collections, the ranger team has also carried out 13,700 fire safety checks of communal areas at properties across the West Midlands, Staffordshire and Leicestershire.
“It’s not a glamorous job but it’s definitely very interesting,” said Ashley Bullock, team supervisor. “No two days are ever the same and rangers get a lot of satisfaction from seeing an area cleaned up for the benefit of tenants and the community as a whole.
“They also enjoy having the opportunity to get to know our tenants as between them they visit 1,140 properties every month to do fire safety checks and ensure there are no potential fire risks or access issues. It doesn’t always make them popular with tenants who are asked to remove a bike or pushchair that is restricting a communal area or access, but it’s for everyone’s safety.”He explained that the rangers also took part in community clear-ups in conjunction with place officers and local councils, undertook checks for hazards such as pot holes on car parks and raised paving slabs, carried out minor odd jobs, and oversaw external contracts for environmental services such as communal cleaning.
“The community clear-ups involve tenants, place officers, rangers and the local authority and are among our best achievements. We have various hot-spots where there are issues such as persistent fly-tipping and thanks to community clear-ups, a positive relationship has been fostered to the benefit of the neighbourhood.”
Ashley added: “The list of services we undertake is varied and has evolved as the year has progressed. We can react quickly to problems such as fly-tipping or health hazards such as bodily fluids or discarded syringes. It is also much more cost effective for a ranger to replace a light bulb or adjust a door closure in a communal area whilst they are on site for a fire safety check, than to report it to another team or an external contractor to action.
“It was a massive learning curve in the early months but we rose to the challenge and have achieved far more in the first year of operation than envisaged. Team members take a real pride in their work and it shows.”
Tracey Rowe, operations manager, added: “Establishing the rangers team 12 months ago has enabled us to have much more control and flexibility around a number of services that are crucial to the smooth running of our business.
“The team has gone from strength to strength, not just collecting discarded bulky items, but cleaning and tidying the surrounding area as well which is much appreciated by our residents and the wider community. In addition, rangers have taken on responsibility for carrying out regular fire safety checks, freeing up place officers to concentrate on other important work.
“The team has been so successful we are now looking at how we might develop the service further, including recruiting a couple of apprentice rangers.”