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28 January 2015

Surprised Sharon scoops £2,000 in rent campaign win

Surprised Sharon scoops £2,000 in rent campaign win

New Tredegar resident, Sharon Williams, couldn’t believe her luck when she took a call telling her that she’d won £2,000 in Love2shop vouchers, simply for paying her housing rent by Direct Debit.

Mum to five grown up children, Mrs Williams aged 56, who lives in Tir-Phil, New Tredegar, made the switch to Direct Debit after hearing about United Welsh’s participation in a new national campaign organised by Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs) – the not-for-profit organisation behind Direct Debit in the UK – and the Community Housing Cymru Group (CHC).

“I couldn’t believe it when I took the phone call telling me I’d won the prize”, said Mrs Williams. “I enter competitions all the time but I’ve never won anything like this before. I’ve just started paying my rent by Direct Debit and I’m really glad I made the switch.

“It was very easy to do and not having to worry about forgetting to pay the rent is a huge relief. Winning the £2,000 prize, however, is the icing in the cake. The vouchers couldn’t have come at a better time and I’m hoping to put the vouchers towards getting my home re-decorated, which will be lovely.”

United Welsh was one of 16 housing associations across Wales taking part in the campaign, which supports CHC’s ‘Your Benefits are Changing’ initiative and was aimed at encouraging tenants to take advantage of the convenience and ease offered by Direct Debit.

Mrs Williams was selected at random from across all the participating housing associations to win the £2,000 prize with residents who switched to Direct Debit entered into the prize draw.

Bacs’ housing association sector specialist, Dawneth Perry, said: “Many congratulations to Mrs Williams on winning the £2,000 Love2shop vouchers. We are pleased to have teamed up with CHC to launch this campaign which has been a huge success in driving take up of Direct Debit. We would like to thank all the housing associations for participating so enthusiastically.”

United Welsh Chief Executive, Anthony Whittaker, said: “This is a fantastic prize and I’m delighted for Mrs Williams. We really believe in Direct Debit and offer our tenants flexible start dates to help them get set up. This just goes to show that using Direct Debit can really pay off!”

Stuart Ropke, Group Chief Executive at Community Housing Cymru Group added: “Working in partnership with Bacs has really complimented our Your Benefits are Changing campaign – set up to raise awareness and provide advice and solutions to tenants affected by welfare reform.

“With the acceleration of Universal Credit into Wales, more and more tenants will have to pay their rent direct to their landlord and paying via Direct Debit offers benefits for tenants and housing associations alike.”

The housing associations taking part in this year’s campaign were Cadwyn Housing Association, Cartrefi Cywmunedol Gwynedd, CCHA, Charter Housing, Family Housing Association Wales Ltd, Grwp Cynefin, Gwalia, Linc, Melin Homes, Monmouthshire Housing Association, NPT Homes Ltd, RCT Homes, Taff Housing Association, Tai Calon Community Housing, United Welsh and Wales and West Housing.