In August, members of the senior leadership team held the latest Resident Review meeting in Hartlepool.
The Resident Review Meetings provide an opportunity for residents to meet and ask questions to senior leaders in JRHT. It is an open forum, with most of the two-hour session used for open questions and answers.
We really value these meetings as they provide an opportunity to hear about issues concerning residents, whilst also allowing staff members to respond and clarify JRHT’s position.
The meetings also help us to deliver on commitments made as part of the National Housing Federation’s Together with Tenants Charter, building relationships, improving communication, increasing resident voice and advancing accountability.
Key issues raised and responses
Closure of the spa pool
The spa pool in Hartfields has been closed since September 2022 due to the need to replace two broken pumps.
At the time the pumps failed, we were advised that there would be a 2-month waiting time for delivery of the new pumps.
Before ordering the pumps, we decided to review the usage of the spa pool as well as the cost of running and maintaining it.
The review confirmed that the usage of the pool is low, with only around half of the available sessions being booked. The users of the spa pool are 25% residents (approximately 5 residents living at Hartfields) and 75% non-residents. The current fee to use the pool is also low at £2 per resident and £3 per non-resident per session.
The cost of repairing and maintaining the pool are high and the service has never made enough money to cover the costs.
This means, we are losing money each year by providing this service.
As part of the review, several options for the spa pool were explored before making a final decision.
These options included:
- Reopening the spa pool at a higher fee for all users per session and increasing usage
- Outsourcing the management and maintenance of the spa pool to a specialist company
- Permanently closing the spa pool
Based on this review, we made the difficult decision to permanently close the spa pool at Hartfields.
Changes to the catering service and plans for changing the restaurant into a coffee shop
Food offer - No hot cooked meal during the week or full English cooked breakfast
The new coffee shop will provide hot options throughout the new opening hours of 8am to 3pm. This includes freshly made soups, quiche, jacket potato with hot fillings, paninis, toasties, pies, pasties and sausage rolls. Fish and Chips will be sold on a Friday and a Traditional Sunday Lunch will also be available.
For breakfast, residents and staff will be able to buy a range of hot breakfast sandwiches such as bacon, sausage and a meat free sausage.
Will events like the Nostalgia Café, Children’s Halloween party and Christmas Lunch have hot food?
Yes. We can provide hot food for these events as these are planned in advance.
Residents need nutritional food like meat and two vegetables.
We agree that everyone needs to eat a balanced and nutritious diet. We also understand that residents have specific dietary needs. We will be working with residents to make sure they can still access nutritious hot meals. We are currently exploring several options including purchasing meals through a supplier and services such as Meals on Wheels.
For anyone in receipt of care, we will continue to offer meal collection on the new menu and if residents do not wish to order from the new menu, lunch calls will be incorporated into care / support packages as needed.
Why changing to Costa Coffee and will the service be managed by them?
Feedback from residents and staff was that the coffee being served now was of poor quality. For this reason, we are partnering with Costa Coffee to provide a better high-quality coffee.
The catering service will continue to be managed and run by JRHT. We are entering into a partnership with Costa Coffee so that we can sell high quality coffee for residents, staff and other customers. Costa Coffee will not be making any contribution towards the cost of renovations.
Residents will not pay Costa Coffee high street prices. There will be two tariffs – a lower tariff for residents and staff from Hartfields and a different tariff for other customers.
Restaurant / new Coffee Shop
Request to see full designs
Plans were displayed in the atrium of Hartfields Manor on 15th August 2023 for a week. The plans showed the proposed layout of the coffee shop rather than final designs as areas such as furniture and colour schemes will be decided in consultation with residents.
We have only received a small amount of feedback about the plans. The feedback we did receive was positive - saying that the plans looked nice. Most of the feedback was around the food offer and service which this document aims to address.
Reason for partition wall and access
It is necessary to create a self-contained, attractive, and cosy coffee shop that residents and staff will enjoy and people from the local community will use. The feedback from residents clearly showed that they preferred a coffee shop.
The catering team consultation closed on 17th August 2023.
As part of the consultation process, we provided the staff affected with as much information as we could so that they are able to make an informed decision about their futures.
The proposed new staffing structure will now move forward. The outcome of the consultation does mean that some colleagues will be at risk of redundancy, and we are working closely with them to discuss all alternative options and provide support.
Turnover of staff in the past year
In the last 12 months, three members of staff have left the catering service.