Category Archives: News

The inspiration starts here…with a visit to Grand Designs Live

 

Grand Designs Live, proudly sponsored by Anglian Home Improvements, returns to London’s ExCeL from 5 – 13 May 2018. Whether you’re planning a self-build, renovation or are adding the finishing touches, this unique event offers visitors a chance to discover the latest innovations, explore this year’s trends and preview unseen products.

Presented by Grand Designs guru Kevin McCloud, the show is the ultimate day out for any budding grand designer. From free expert advice, new product launches and over 500 specialist exhibitors in six project zones, there is something for every home project at this multi-award winning event.

Claim your FREE tickets!

We have teamed up with Grand Designs Live to offer you FREE weekday tickets and £10 weekend tickets to the event (saving up to £17)*

Simply visit www.granddesignslive.com, follow the link to book your tickets and enter the code CHECK2018 to claim!

*T&C’s: Valid on standard admission tickets only. Tickets must be booked in advance before midnight on 12 May 2018. Saving is based on door rate ticket prices. Free weekday tickets valid between 8 –11 May 2018 only. Subject to limited availability, tickets allocated on a first come-first served basis. £10 weekend tickets incur a £1.70 transaction fee.

EPC requirements from April 2018

Calling all landlords! If you’re currently renting any properties within the private rented sector, the government has made a change to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) regulations and it is more than likely to affect both you and your tenants. From the 1st April 2018, most landlords, unless legally exempt, will be legally obligated to ensure that their privately rented properties have a minimum EPC rating of E. This means that any landlord with an EPC rating of F or G will have to make modifications to their properties in order to raise their rating; if they fail to do so they run the risk of being sanctioned with a fixed penalty fine of up to £4000.

The change, which was set out by the Minimum Energy-Efficiency Standards (MEES), will be applicable to most new lets and renewals of tenancies within the private rented sector from the 1st April 2018, however it won’t be extended to existing properties until 1st April 2020.

What does that mean for landlords?

The new legislation seeks to reduce “fuel poverty” in England and Wales, a term used to describe the state of being unable to adequately heat one’s home. The government also hopes that the new regulation will reduce our carbon footprint and promote an overall more energy-efficient way of life.

The new legislation will legally prompt landlords to invest in energy-efficient measures in order to improve their EPC ratings. Retrofit measures include A-rated boiler systems, external wall insulation systems and ground source heat pumps. These measures can indeed be expensive however they could also work in your favour as you may be able to increase your property’s value as well as its appeal to potential tenants. Furthermore, with there being talks of the government raising the minimum EPC rating to a C by 2035, retrofitting your property could prepare you for both upcoming and future requirements.

 

How can landlords get an EPC for their rented properties?

If you’re a landlord with a property within the private rented sector, you can get an EPC rating by arranging an appointment with a domestic energy assessor who will come and inspect the household. It has always been a legal requirement for landlords to provide an EPC as soon as they place the property on the market; the certificates last for 10 years and you risk facing an approximate £200 fine if you fail to provide a valid EPC to your tenant. Prices for EPC’s usually start at approximately £35, you should be able to find a local assessor on the EPC website.

How does the new legislation affect tenants?

The new legislation was initiated by MEES to improve the energy-efficiency of homes within the private rented sector to improve the standards of living for tenants as well as making their daily household habits more environmentally-friendly. The new regulation also promotes a wider awareness of the importance of energy-efficiency within the household, highlighting the benefits of being informed. For example, a home with an energy efficient new boiler could reduce energy wastage and enable huge savings.

How can tenants access their homes’ Energy Performance Certificates?

The online EPC Register should provide you with access to the EPCs for all properties.

The government is constantly seeking new methods to promote energy-efficient, cost-effective lifestyles. So, if you’re a landlord with a property in England or Wales, it would be wise for you to start considering what you can do to improve

Have You Checked the Condition of Your Roof This Year?

Weather can cause damage to roofs, and with roofs being a key part of keeping us warm and dry it’s important we look after them.

Here are some pointers on how to health check your roof, whilst the weather is good.  Most of these can be carried out safely from the ground but for a more extensive inspection you would be advised to seek a professional trades person.

Roofs are exposed to the worst elements of the weather all year round and wear and tear will take place over your roofs lifetime, so make sure it’s checked from time to time or hire a professional through Checkatrade. 

The 6 main areas to check when inspecting your roof are:

  • Roof tiles
  • Lead flashing
  • Gutters
  • Moss growth
  • Inside inspections
  • Ventilation

Missing or Damaged Roof Tiles 

Quite often roof tiles become loose, cracked or even break. The only way of inspecting the entire roof is to psychically go up onto the roof itself to obtain a full view.   We wouldn’t recommend this for health and safety reason but you can find 1000’s of roofers all over the UK available on Checkatrade that comply with current health and safety legislation.

Specialist equipment is needed to carry out such inspection and this will include:

  • Safety Harness
  • Suitable shoes that grip well
  • Safety rope usually a 700kg breaking strain
  • And an extension ladder that is in excellent working order.

Lead Flashing

Lead flashing is used to seal tiles practically around areas that join together. If we take a moment to think of all the things that make up a roof, chimneys, skylights, and vents, these will all need to have some form of flashing. over time this flashing can get damaged and if you notice any cracks it’s best to replace these sections.

It is possible for flashing to move position over time, so checking it’s in the right position is also important.

Gutters

One of the most common problems that people face is blocked gutters and if these persist over time it can cause serious damage. Water can build up and find its way running down external walls. If too much water finds its way down these walls, over time it will start to damage the foundations of your home.  So making sure the gutters are connected properly and all the pipes are joining is important. Having the right depth gutter for the right pitched roof is also advisable. Many different materials are used to make gutters and these differ from cast iron, lead, zinc, galvanised steel, painted steel, copper, painted aluminium, PVC (and other plastics) and occasionally from concrete, stone, and wood. Professional roofers will have knowledge in how to maintain and repair these different types of gutters.

Moss Growth

If you have noticed moss on your roof, you may think that it is not doing any damage, but the truth is it does, it can cause moisture damage to tiles. In most cases, after dry weather, you can brush moss off with a broom. However, it may have caused further damage so seeking advice from a professional is advisable.

Inside Inspections

Inside inspections are usually a visual inspection, looking around the inside of your loft and trying to spot signs that are unusual. Water rings/stains and dark patches of possible rot. If you see sunlight through your roof, it may be that your tiles have moved. Not all roofs have insulation, so it might be that you will be seeing the back of the tiles that make up your roof. It is advisable to have your roof insulated as it will retain heat in the house and hopefully help to keep energy bills low.

Ventilation

It’s important that your roof can circulate air and if your vents are blocked by leaves, moss or insulation it can cause moisture build up and condensation with will damage your roof from the inside. So check that the vents are clear and you then you shouldn’t experience any problems.

To find a recommended trades person for any job around your home – check them out before you call them out at checkatrade.com

By Diane Stafford – Consumer Marketing @Checkatrade

Free tickets to The Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show!

If you are planning an extension, halfway through updating your interior or dream of building a sustainable house from scratch, a visit to The Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show from 1-2 July 2017, at Sandown Park, Surrey, will give you practical help to turn your ambitions into reality.

Across two full days, visitors can speak to over 220 exhibitors and access more than 500+ advice sessions, 20+ free masterclasses on essential topics which can tackle any problem, from implementing the latest intelligent security systems to funding a remodelling project.

Resident property specialists will be on hand to help people with all building and renovating queries and leading companies will be exhibiting their latest ranges of services and products from an array of industries including architecture; design; financial topics; kitchens; bathrooms; doors and windows; lighting; heating; ventilation; planning permission and much more. The show venue will become a useful platform for all consumers who are facing similar challenges throughout all stages of their projects, as they can soak up advice and guidance and take inspiration from successful case studies.

 

To claim a free pair of tickets usually worth £24 (price in advance), follow this link www.homebuildingshow.co.uk/checkatrade, insert your details and print your tickets to bring to the show.

Please note that tickets must be redeemed before the link expires on 3PM 30 June 2017. Additional T&Cs apply: www.homebuildingshow.co.uk/terms

Don’t Miss Out on your £10 Checkatrade Trophy Final Ticket!

In this day and age, £1 0 only goes so far, but this season it could get you into Wembley to watch the Checkatrade Trophy Final.

Ticket sales for this season’s final have been selling fast, with excitement building as Coventry City and Oxford United prepare to go head-to-head on Sunday 2 April for the first time under the famous arch.
Current ticket sales, more than two weeks out from the big day, indicate that the attendance for the final will be one of the highest in the competition’s history with over 60,000 tickets already sold.

Coventry's Jordan Willis and Jordan Turnbull promote £10 junior ticketsOxford United's Chris Maguire and Simon Eastwood promote £10 junior tickets

The £10 ticket price applies for supporters aged 16 and under.
The final has captured the imagination of young supporters from both clubs, with more than 10,000 junior tickets having been purchased to date.

It will be the Sky Blues’ first trip to Wembley for 30 years, but for Oxford, the national stadium is familiar territory, having played in the final of this competition last season, losing out to now Championship side Barnsley.

EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey said: “It has been very encouraging to see how ticket sales have progressed and it is great that so many young fans are coming to watch what promises to be an exciting and competitive final.
“The £10 offer is fantastic opportunity to experience a special occasion at Wembley Stadium, the home of football in this country, and I urge as many of our finalists’ young fans and families to take advantage.”

The two teams have met twice this season in the league, both claiming home victories with Coventry winning 2-1 in October, and Oxford claiming a 4-1 victory the following month at the Kassam Stadium.

Kevin Byrne, Founder and CEO of Checkatrade, said: “We’re delighted that the EFL are offering this fantastic deal to young supporters for what should be a great game of football. As a proud community-driven business, we’re thrilled that youngsters from across the country can experience Wembley at a competitive price.
This is a great opportunity to attend the home of football and we look forward to seeing lots of young supporters at the Checkatrade Trophy Final on Sunday 2nd April.”

Tickets can be purchased via the Coventy City ticket office. For Oxford United tickets, further information is available by visiting www.oufc.co.uk.
For further details regarding the Checkatrade Trophy, please visit www.efl.com/checkatrade-trophy.EFL_CHECKATRADE_TR_P_REG_4CWith 72 member clubs across three divisions, the EFL (English Football League) is the world’s original league football competition. It is the largest single body of professional clubs in European football and is responsible for administering and regulating the Sky Bet EFL, EFL Cup and Checkatrade Trophy, as well as reserve and youth football. The EFL, EFL Trust and our member clubs are at the heart of communities across the country, providing shared experiences for all and using the power of sport to improve lives.

The inspiration starts here…..with a visit to Grand Designs Live

ExCel, London 29th April – 7th May 2017

Grand Designs Live, proudly sponsored by Anglian Home Improvements, returns to London’s ExCel from 29th April – 7th May 2017. Running for nine days, the show offers visitors a unique opportunity to see all the latest trends for the home as well as many products never seen before. Based on the Channel 4 TV series, and presented by design guru Kevin McCloud, the event will be packed with over 500 exhibitors, across six different sections where you can take away ideas and inspiration for your very own GRAND design.

Claim your FREE tickets now*
We have teamed up with Grand Designs Live to offer you FREE weekday or weekend tickets to the event!

Simply visit www.granddesignslive.com, follow the link to book your tickets and enter the code CHECKFREE to claim!

2 for 1 tickets**

We have another great deal on offer! Get 2 tickets for the price of 1! Simply visit www.granddesignslive.com, follow the link to book your tickets and enter the code CHECK241 to claim. Or call the ticket hotline on 0844 854 1348.

*T&C’s  Offer valid on standard admission tickets only, offer ends 06/05/2017, tickets must be booked in advance, max 2 tickets per household, non-transferable, print at home tickets only, tickets valid on any one day,  subject to limited availability,  tickets allocated on a first come-first served basis.

**T&C’s – Transaction fee of £1.70 applies per order. Tickets must be booked in advance. Offer ends 06/05/2017. Offer valid on standard admission tickets only. Saving based on the door rate.

Checkatrade fixes it for Bradford City fans

 

EFL_CHECKATRADE_TR_P_REG_4C

Following the postponement of the Checkatrade Trophy Quarter-Final fixture between Oxford United and Bradford City last week, the competition sponsors Checkatrade have organised free coach travel for fans to go back to the Kassam Stadium this week (Tuesday 31st January).

The game was postponed due to a frozen pitch with the Bantam’s travelling support already in the stadium. The title sponsors of the competition, Checkatrade, have subsequently worked with the club to organise free coach travel for fans who made the 350-mile round journey.

Holders of the postponed match day tickets can contact Shipley Bantams Travel to secure their free place on 07974757730 or alternatively email the travel group at [email protected]. The free places are limited, as a result these are available on a first come first served basis.*

Kevin Byrne, Founder and CEO of Checkatrade, said: “The reason why we sponsored the tournament was to support lower league football clubs and their fans. We saw the dedicated fans that made the mammoth journey down to Oxford United earlier this week and we felt their loyalty and support deserved to be recognised, so putting on the coaches is the least we can do. I hope they all enjoy the game, whatever the result.”

James Mason, Chief Operating Officer at Bradford City, added: “It’s a wonderful gesture by Checkatrade and the EFL to provide the free coach. A really nice touch.

“Hopefully many fans will still be able to go and take advantage of this. The more fans we have at Oxford to cheer the team on the better. Our fans have been brilliant all season travelling long distances to support their team, so this is a much-appreciated offer.”

*Supporters are reminded this is a none alcohol service. Supporters club membership numbers are required on booking.

http://www.efl.com/news/

 

Revolutionary Lightweight Boots from Dr.Martens

Industrial safety footwear experts Dr. Martens has launched their new, revolutionary footwear collection, DM’s Lite. Designed to provide ultimate comfort without compromising on function or safety, Dr. Martens has unleashed a game changer in the form of three new styles, the Calamus, Linnet and Corvid. Lightweight without compromise.

Weighing in at only 3.2lbs a pair, Dr. Martens’ Calamus are guaranteed to keep you light on your feet. Each pair of DM’s Lite comes with a Softwair memory foam footbed, positioned and shaped for arch support, and also includes breathable linings, padded collar and tongue for all-day ease and comfort.

dms-lite-industrial

When it comes to safety footwear, it’s crucial to have the right type of foot protection to suit you and your workplace. Research suggests that 2.1 million working days were lost in 2014/15, with over half caused by slips, trips and falls from height. DM’s Lite offer lightweight, comfort-driven styles, ideal for those working on their feet all-day. From the everyday DIY-er, to the full-time Transport Operations Manager, DM’s Lite makes for an ideal choice.

Aside from the lightness, each style boasts a range of safety benefits, including a composite toe cap, a flexible puncture-resistant midsole and a Nitrile rubber outsole that provides exceptional heat and slip resistance.

For more information on what you can expect from the new Dr. Martens range, click here.

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Cyber Crime Prevention Tips from Dorset Police Cyber Crime Unit

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Dorset Police Cyber Crime Unit have kindly put together their top tips for this ever growing problem.

Cyber Crime Prevention Top Tips

  • Backup your files and data to external hard drives, the cloud and don’t forget to back up your phone regularly.
  • Check that a websites address is genuine by looking for misspellings.
  • Use 3G/4G for confidential browsing instead of free public WiFi.
  • Do not enter personal information on a website that has no padlock in the browser or https:// at the beginning of the web address.
  • Always ensure you are running the latest version of your chosen browser.
  • Ensure you have effective and updated Anti-Virus software and firewall running before you go online. Do not install 2 Anti-Virus programs as they will conflict.
  • Be aware of USBs containing malware that can run without your knowledge.
  • Use strong and random passwords/passphrases i.e. use at least 10 characters, include numbers and letters, both upper and lower case.
  • Different site – different password.
  • Use a password manager to remember all your passwords.
  • Use multi factor authentication.
  • Delete and block spam/junk emails. Be careful when opening attachments or using internet downloads and don’t click on links in emails from unknown senders.
  • Change your default WiFi passwords
  • Especially if you run a business, make sure you double check who is sending you invoices and where they want the money sent.
  • Make sure your internet browser and any plug-ins are updated (e.g. Flash, Java, Silverlight).
  • Use reputable companies when shopping online.
  • Use secure payment methods, such as PayPal or credit cards for online purchases.
  • Be aware of scams: criminal gangs operate scams and use the internet to defraud people and businesses, i.e. asking for money to pay for travel, finance a sick relative, or winning the lottery.
  • Protect your identity online and beware of social engineering. Remember if you share any pictures or information with anyone online you will lose control of it and could be used in attacks such as trying to guess your passwords.
  • Take 5 minutes to think when about to send a large amount of money online. Is everything adding up as it should?
  • Report any suspicious activity to Action Fraud

If you have any specific questions relating to this subject please email [email protected]

NEW CAMPAIGN TO TACKLE CRIMINAL SCAMS LAUNCHED

  • Scams cause between £5bn and £10bn worth of consumer detriment every year
  • Campaign to help people identify, change perceptions and prevent people falling victim to scams

A new campaign has launched today to raise awareness of scams and encourage people to take a stand against them. Scams often target people in vulnerable situations – the Friends Against Scams campaign aims to protect and prevent these people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to ‘Take a Stand Against Scams’.

Each year scams cause between £5bn and £10bn worth of detriment to UK consumers. In addition to the financial impact, scams can have a severe emotional and psychological impact on victims.

The Friends Against Scams campaign, launched by the National Trading Standards Scams Team, is open to anyone who wants to protect themselves, their neighbours or their loved ones against scams. Free training and awareness sessions – available online and in person at local awareness sessions – are being rolled out, which will provide people with the confidence and skills they need to identify and prevent scams. Those who participate in the training will become a Friend Against Scams and will be encouraged to put their knowledge to use in their local communities.

The Friends Against Scams campaign aims to:

  • Highlight the scale of the issue by encouraging communities and the nation to talk about scams
  • Change the perceptions of why people become scam victims
  • Prevent people from becoming or continuing to be a scam victim by providing better support
  • Recruit individuals and communities to join the fight against scams to make this a scam-free nation

In addition to empowering members of the public the campaign will also partner with a range of organisations who will help promote awareness of scams and take steps to help tackle scams. Founding partners of the campaign include NatWest, Bournemouth University and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

Louise Baxter, Team Manager at the National Trading Standards Scams Team, said:

“Scams do huge damage to our society and we have launched this campaign to protect our communities, particularly people in vulnerable situations who are deliberately targeted by criminals. Scams defraud people and – in addition to the financial damage – many victims are left feeling socially isolated, often too uncomfortable to tell their friends and family what has happened.

“It is time that we took a stand against scams. Friends Against Scams aims to tackle the lack of scams awareness by providing information to enable communities and organisations to understand scams, talk about scams and convey messages throughout communities about scam prevention and protection. I’d encourage anyone interested in stopping scams to visit the Friends Against Scams website – http://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/ – and sign-up.”

Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said: 

“I strongly believe this campaign can play an important role in helping stop scams. Criminals often prey on victims who find themselves in vulnerable situations and we can all play a part to protect ourselves, family members, friends and neighbours from falling victim to scams, which is why I welcome this campaign and encourage people to get involved.

“Anyone who is worried they may be being scammed or who is concerned about someone who they fear may be a victim should report it to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”