Update from our Big Door Knock in Westmill, Hitchin – Winter 2023

We recently carried out our Big Door Knock in the Westmill Estate in Hitchin. Every quarter, colleagues from settle and our executive team go and meet or contact residents in a different neighbourhood to find out how they’re doing.

Similar to the Big Door Knock that we carried out in Royston late last year, we wanted to understand how much of an impact the rise in the cost of living is having on residents’ households, their concerns and lifestyle changes, whether they were receiving support and what settle could do to help. We visited 848 households and spoke to 240 residents.

Impact of rising costs

The results are not dissimilar to the feedback we received from the Royston door knock, with residents mostly reporting the rise in the cost of living having a medium to high impact on their lives.

Bills and food are the areas of most concern to residents and subsequently, have impacted residents’ lifestyles with almost half of residents reporting cutting back on essentials. While most residents express that they feel the impact of increased costs, only a third said they are receiving support, mostly from family and friends.

“One thing from us”

When the residents we spoke to were asked if there was one thing settle could do to provide additional support with the rising cost of living, feedback included things like support with financial advice, heating, bills and food. This was followed by completing repairs and not raising rent.

We’re using this feedback to further develop the support we continue to provide. We can refer customers to partner agencies where appropriate as some of the challenges customers face require more assistance from organisations that offer dedicated support in certain areas. We’ve also updated our website with a section on cost of living support that we and our partners offer – we included details of this in information about rents from Aprils this year which was sent out to all residents.

If you are struggling to pay your rent or would like more information on how to access help – please let us know. More information on the ways we can help is available on our Cost of Living page.

There is also a free and easy to use budgeting and benefits calculator on our website which can help you to see how much benefit you may be entitled to.

We’re listening

As part of the Big Door Knock, we heard that we could do better in some areas. Less than half of the residents we talked to had something to report. The biggest escalation was for new or existing repairs, followed by other or more than one issue.

These have gone directly to the teams responsible.

If you would like to share your views on our services – you can tell us what we could do better and when we’ve done something well, or make a complaint at any time.

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