Tenant participation has been important to IDS for many years and is about making sure that all tenants have a say in the decisions that affect their homes and communities.
What is tenant participation?
Tenant participation is about making sure that all tenants have the opportunity and choice to have a say in the decisions that affect their homes and communities. It may involve you and your neighbours attending the occasional meeting with IDS staff, normally held on your estate, to discuss current issues or changes. It includes taking part in surveys and questionnaires. It could involve becoming a tenant representative, helping form a tenants association or joining the tenants forum.
Meet Fran Jefcoate
Fran Jefcoate with Suzanne Wolfe, IDS Chief Executive
‘Getting involved with my housing association has been a really positive experience, not only has it given me a better understanding of how and why things work the way they do but also the opportunity to take an active role to improve services within my community. When I started out almost 12 years ago I had no real knowledge of housing except as a resident, but I do have a genuine love of my area and a passion to see it be the best that it can be.
My estate was about to go through major regeneration due to a stock transfer so I joined the Steering Group and gradually found my voice and many other ways to get involved. I now sit on my Estate Board, Joint Estate Panel and Services Committee, with encouragement and support from my landlord I have no achieved a Level 1 qualification for Governance in the Public Sector of which I am very proud but my main role for the last four years has been around contractor monitoring and resident satisfaction, which has aided in making an already good service even better.
We are extremely fortunate to have landlords willing to listen to their residents and who value our local knowledge, many people I know are not so lucky and feel ignored and overlooked. I encourage everyone to engage with your landlord wherever the opportunity arises. I have found it so rewarding in many ways, having opportunities to broaden my horizons, meet like-minded people, and challenge my misconceptions around social housing and most importantly to do some valuable work within the organisation. I now look forward to sharing my experiences and knowledge with you and encouraging you to begin your own journeys.’
Arsenal In The Community
Arsenal In The Community provide activities for young people throughout term time and during summer and half-term holidays too. Every week they hold four sessions at Evelyn Court
- Mondays 1 hour education + 1 hour football
- Wednesdays 2 hours football
- Thursdays girls only football session 2 hours
- Fridays football / youth club 2 hours
Their coaches are fully qualified and encourage young people to get involved, take part in activities, take responsibility for their actions and behaviour and have fun. Trips in the last year include to Islington Boat Club, Crazy Golf, Mountain Biking, Paintballing, Go Karting, Kayaking, Football Golf, visit to Adventure Park with Jet Skiing and free tickets to attend matches at the Emirates stadium.
IDS regularly provides other activities during summer and half term holidays. Activities range from Arts & Craft, Boxercise, Street Dance, Beauty Session and Tie & Dye.
IDS Family Fun Day
The annual Family Fun day took place on 2 September at Evelyn Court. The Fun Day was an enjoyable day with various activities and performances from a Bollywood dance group, a Salsa instructor and a magician, as well as the two live bands closing the event.
Other Partnerships and activities
The community hall at Navarino Mansions continues to be used by various local community organisations such as Hackney Link, Hackney Housing Co-op, East London Vision, Age UK, Bangla Housing, and Hackney Women’s Forum and Hackney Careers. Corner space continues to run its free weekly lunch time yoga session once a week during term time. Beersheba Living well continues to provide a weekly drop in service for people with type 2 diabetes. Hands Inc a local holistic health organisation currently runs an over 50’s wellbeing social group and a Menopause group. An English & maths support session has just started to help children from the ages of 3-7 years.
Look out for regular community coffee mornings on your estate, tenants association meetings and social events.
Recognising tenant participation success
IDS achieved national recognition when the Youth Engagement Project (Makin It Happen) won the prestigious iNbiz Race and Diversity Award by a judging panel including 60 housing association residents from across the country.
IDS worked in partnership with a local youth participation consultant, Steve Curtis Associates (SCA), and Hackney-based youth empowerment group CityZEN to train 20 young peer representatives, who researched the views of young people in the area to ensure their concerns are heard and acted upon. Since then the group has been involved in a wide range of events and activities including the Hackney Youth Parliament. Using interviews with elderly residents, the Makin It Happen group have recently produced a documentary Living Memories about life on the estate in days gone by.
Six young people from Makin It Happen attended the iNbiz Awards ceremony at Birminghams ICC. They were presented their award by comedienne Ruby Wax.
Makin it Happen
Makin it Happen is funded by a 48,000 grant which has been awarded over three years to recruit, train and support young people across three of IDS Hackney estates – Stoke Newington, Navarino Mansions and Evelyn Court.
The project rolled out in a number of phases. Initially a small group of young people were recruited and trained to carry out some research with 200 of their peers and 30 older tenants on three Hackney estates – Stoke Newington, Navarino Mansions and Evelyn Court. The second phase of training helped group members to become effective in their roles and involved team work, decision making, dealing with conflict, holding effective meetings and action planning.
The group made a film of videotaped interviews with older residents including reminiscences about the old days on the estate and, for the teenagers involved with the project, proved a unique glimpse into what life was like in previous decades as well as the opportunity to meet better understand their elderly neighbours.
Tenant participation in action
Recent achievements in community development work and successful project funding include the following:-
- Funding for UK On-Line Centre providing IT training
- Summer play-scheme
- Out-of-school club
- IT business start-up project in partnership with Bootstrap Enterprises
- Improvements to community hall at Stepney Green
- Sure Start project
- Music therapy sessions
- Training courses for tenants in managing community buildings
- Bids for neighbourhood renewal funding