During National Inclusion Week, Together Housing Association celebrates how we are engaging with our tenants and residents. By recognising the diversity that exists in our communities and neighbourhoods we can make sure that we cater for and include the views of a diverse range of our residents.
Our Resident Engagement teams work hard to make sure residents are #UnitedForInclusion across all the work that they do. They listen and engage with residents to actively improve the way services are delivered – through events, groups, forums, surveys, work on local estates, via a Scrutiny group and through specific Facebook pages – this enables the team to successfully engage with and understand resident views and issues.
Since Covid-19 began, services have predominately moved online, as a result there has been a steep increase in the number of residents we have been talking to about our services, increasing from 4,849 to 11,218.
Debbie Potter, Resident Engagement Coordinator for Together Housing Group said, “Lots of new residents are getting involved in our activities from a diverse range of backgrounds. As we’ve increased online engagement, this has meant that we’ve managed to contact residents who might have for example, struggled to come to a face-to-face meeting. Online surveys, via e-mail or text, allow us to reach a larger number of our residents for their views on a particular service. For residents who aren’t online we hold a variety of offline activities, there is something for everyone depending on how much time a resident has to share their views.”
In 2020 the Resident Engagement Team received a staggering 46,218 pieces of individual feedback from residents on services provided by Together Housing Association!!
By engaging with residents virtually the Resident Engagement team found that they needed to engage with a variety of different groups, as a result many new groups have formed over the last year, such as:
- The Younger Tenants’ Facebook Group is for those aged between 18 and 24, to try and understand what our younger residents think about our services and how we can improve them.
- The Antisocial Behaviour (ASB) Group which works to improve services to those experiencing antisocial behaviour in their neighbourhoods,
- The Diverse Residents Group is for Black, Asian and minority ethnic residents to share experiences about our services
- The Residents Disabled Action Group is for residents with a disability (including hidden disabilities), those who care for a disabled person, and residents who have an interest in disability and want to raise awareness about disability through the group
Nana Essi from the Residents Disability Action Group said, “As a resident with multiple limitations, both visible and invisible, being a member of the Disability Action Group is particularly important to me. Society can disable people; so being part of an action group prevents Together Housing Association residents’ voices from being stifled. Already, a number of changes have been implemented based on suggestions made by myself and other participants at meetings. I believe this group along with other resident groups are making a difference not just for me but for other residents overall. Together Housing Association is creating a stepping-stone to some very good things to come.”
Other existing groups work to address issues that residents might face such as those living in high rise flats, a forum around improving the quality of residents’ homes. The Scrutiny Panel is an integral part of our resident involvement activity and provides us with invaluable insight on behalf of the wider tenant community ensuring that services meet tenants and residents’ equality and accessibility needs.
An example of positive resident engagement can be seen when individual residents take action with the support of Together Housing. For example, prior to the pandemic, tenant and Customer Voice Group (CVG) member, Justin Appleyard set up a resident group called TRIO, which ran compliance sessions in tower blocks, inviting residents to attend, be heard and learn about safety from the Fire Service. This resulted in positive feedback and opened new lines of communication between the landlord and resident.
Justin Appleyard from Customer Voice Group (CVG) had the following to say, “I believe that Together Housing have transformed how they work with residents. I feel listened to and a valuable member of the CVG and the Fire Safety Group. These groups offer residents the opportunity to be involved in all areas around their tenancy. To be honest, if I thought the time spent on the groups wasn’t productive, I would have quit many years ago. It’s still a work in progress but isn’t everything! I feel lucky to be part of the Together Housing Group as not many social landlords promote resident engagement to the same level as they do.”
To find out more about the ways residents can share views on services, you can contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 0300 555 5560