Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Coronavirus Update 20th December 2020

Dear Residents,

I was in the process of writing to wish you a merry Christmas and hope that, with the arrival of a vaccine, 2021 might be a better New Year, when the news broke that we are now in Tier 4 – Stay at Home.  I had a look at the figures and, in the last week, the number of new cases in Braintree district has more than doubled from 300 to 700, while in our ward of Witham Town the number of cases has increased more than 4-fold.  These numbers are much higher than they have been at any time to date so there is now a very high risk of Witham residents catching Covid.  This is made worse by the fact that the new strain of virus seems to be much more contagious.  And please remember that 1 in 3 people who are infected show no symptoms.

So, what does this mean for us.

Sticking rigidly to the Hands, Face, Space mantra becomes even more important. 

We are not allowed any visitors to Podsbrook or Noel Pelly unless they are carers or provide other assistance (such as cleaners) or you are in a support bubble with them.

We are not allowed to visit any other person’s home unless we are in a support bubble with them.

Outdoors, if we are on our own, we can meet up with one other person, but no more, and we must remain socially distanced from them.

The support group at Podsbrook must stop meeting until further notice.

When in public areas of the building we must wear a face covering at all times, we must stay at least 2m (6 feet) away from other residents and we must not stop for a chat (even a quick chat).

We must not share the lift, laundry room or kitchen with any other resident.

It is now an offence to leave our homes, except for specified reasons such as essential shopping, exercise and medical treatment.

I know that many of you already have your shopping delivered.  If you don’t, please can I ask you to consider this option for the safety of yourself and other residents.  Diane or Helen will be happy to help you set this up.

For the time being routine maintenance will be restricted to essential safety related matters and emergencies only, but please continue to report ant faults or problems in the usual way.

We hope to be able to complete the flooring work at Podsbrook as soon as possible, but please bear with us and take extra care if the work has to be put on hold temporary hold.

Diane and Helen have been instructed that, as far as possible, they must work from home or the office with the door closed, so you won’t see them around the building so much.  If you need to speak to them, please ring or text.  If you do see them around the building, please do not engage in conversation with them or get too close.  This is for their safety and yours.

I know it is difficult, but if we all stick to these more stringent rules and remember the Hands, Face, Space motto we hope everyone will remain safe and well.  

Finally, on behalf of the Management Committee, may I wish you a safe and peaceful Christmas and all you are hoping for in 2021.

Yours sincerely


Coronavirus Update 5th November 2020

New Lockdown procedures

Dear Resident,

During this new lockdown, Helen will be contacting everyone by intercom or telephone as she did in the previous lockdown. 

She will be calling those who would like her to at;

Podsbrook – on, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday

Noel Pelly – on, Tuesday and Friday

Unfortunately, they will not be able to allow anyone into the office so, if you need to speak to Helen and Diane you can contact them on the numbers listed below during office hours:

Office - 01376 515017

Mobile – 07368642742

Just to remind you, any out of hours maintenance emergencies can be reproted via carecall.

Coronavirus Update October 2020

Now that Essex has been moved into the High Covid Alert Level, residents are no longer permitted to visit other residents in their flats and the lounge must be closed for social gatherings.  The Management Committee are conscious that these increased restrictions will be difficult for some residents and have therefore approved the formation of a Residents Support Group.

The group will be open to all residents of Podsbrook House, but numbers attending each meeting will be restricted to 12 to ensure appropriate social distancing.

The Group will be led by Geoffrey Lee

The Group will meet daily in the lounge between 3pm and 5pm, provided the group leader is available.

Members must remain seated in designated seats throughout the session and must wear a face covering on arriving and leaving.  Face coverings may be removed only while seated. As long as there is 2 metre spacing between seats. 

Seats may not be moved from their designated positions.

You may bring your own refreshments. Only the group leader is allowed in the kitchen.

If you feel you might benefit from joining the Group or would like further information, please speak to Diane, Helen or the group leader.

Witham Housing Association


Coronavirus Update June 2020 

Dear Residents,

As Government guidance gradually changes, I am writing to further update you as to where we are.

I would like to start by thanking you for the massive effort you have all made to comply with Government guidance.  As a result of your efforts we have been able to keep both properties COVID-19 free so far and, with your continued help, we hope to keep it that way.

Residents Lounge

 I know that many of you would like to see these reopened and we have looked very closely at this but I am afraid that, for the time being, we are not permitted to do so.  The reason for this is that current Government guidance only allows small groups to meet out of doors and specifically forbids groups meeting indoors.  We will review the situation again as soon as there is any relaxation in these rules.

Face Coverings 

Government guidance now recommends the wearing of face coverings in confined spaces where 2 metre social distancing is not possible.  This means we must now ask all residents and visitors to wear a face covering while in the corridors and lift.  This does not need to be a medical mask.  A home-made mask or a simple scarf wrapped around the face is perfectly acceptable.  If visiting the laundry room, you must wear the face covering in the corridor while travelling to and from the laundry room but may remove it whilst alone inside.

Support Bubbles

These are being introduced from Saturday and are good news for some people living alone although, sadly, they do not yet apply to people who are shielding.  The new rules allow a person who is living alone to form a “bubble” with one other household.  If you form a bubble you may visit that household in their home and stay overnight with them and they may visit you in your flat.  It is important to note that you can form only one bubble and, once formed, you cannot change to a different bubble.  

We ask that, for the safety of all our residents, you ask any visitors to adhere to our usual rules.  On arrival they must cover their faces, sign in and use the hand sanitizer, then move quickly to your flat without stopping to chat with other residents they might meet along the way.

It is worth noting that any resident living alone (who is not shielding) can form a bubble with any other resident and visit each other’s flat.  Again, you can only form one bubble.

If you do form a bubble, either with another resident or with another household, we ask you to let Diane or Helen know you have formed a bubble and who with.  This is important so that, in the event of someone becoming infected, contacts can be traced quickly.  This information will be kept confidential except if requested by the Track and Trace authorities.

Test-Track and Trace

Now this new system is in place it is possible that you will be contacted if somebody who has coronavirus says they have been in contact with you.  You will be asked questions about the nature of the contact and if the authorities think you may have been at risk of infection, they will instruct you to self-isolate.  For the safety of everybody, please self-isolate if you are asked to, even if you feel perfectly well and have no symptoms.  Please also let Diane or Helen know so that they can keep any eye on your welfare and ensure your needs are being met (shopping, prescriptions etc). 

If you have any questions on the above, please contact Diane or Helen who will be happy to answer them.

The Government have indicated that, if the rate of infection continues to reduce, they may be able to relax the rules further in the coming weeks. We are keeping the guidance under constant review and will let you know as soon we can of any further changes. 

Once again, on behalf of the Management Committee I would like to thank you all for your vigilance and tolerance, which have helped to keep everyone safe so far.

Stay alert – Control the Virus – Save Lives

Graham Orr – Chair of the management committee

12th June 2020


In the interests of our residents health

If you have a high temperature and cough or if you have been in contact with anyone who has these symptoms do not visit anyone in our buildings.

If you need any more information please call 0791 6294169 or 07504 989604.

Supporting Independent Living