Talking ‘Change’ at Tpas Conference 2017

Wednesday 2nd of August 2017

'Talking Change' is a blog by Phil Parramore, a tenant member of Community Gateway Housing Association.

Very recently I was privileged to be able to attend my first annual Tenant Engagement Conference, having become an involved tenant for Community Gateway in March 2017.

The conference gave me opportunities to learn more about my fellow action group members and Community Gateway staff attending and also to network and learn from a host of involved tenants and housing associations nationally.

Although I was able to stay for only one day out of the two the agenda was packed full of great keynote speakers and engaging workshops and I feel that I learned much.

Regrettably there was a backdrop of sadness and contemplation about the recent tragedy at Grenfell Tower, but also stressing the importance of tenant led engagement that will maximise opportunities for success in the sector.

In just one day, I learned about the Tenant Engagement survey and its findings, the issues surrounding digital engagement of tenants and residents in a virtual world, but also maintaining real life conversations that provide the human touch. The conference stressed the importance of having real conversations with real people, which demand empathy, compassion and respect.

A constantly changing world

Change and the need for change was a common theme in the conference. We are not just building houses. We are building places for communities to be involved in and our attendance at the conference is because we care, we desire change and we want to make a difference for better futures. Our existence as Housing Associations is to provide Homes, Services and Places to support this agenda.

We need to be open to conversations that ask the question “What should we be doing?” Learning how to connect with residents, being prepared to listen to them, Learn from them and Discuss with them. We need to engage with tenants and residents on topics such as celebrating our communities, collaboration, accountability and being participatory.

Key social, political and economic issues discussed at the conference included

  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit Reforms
  • The broken housing market and lack of affordable housing
  • Child Poverty
  • BME homelessness rates
  • Public spending cuts leading to more anti-social problems
  • Brexit
  • Procurement of contracted out services and regulation of these

So with a range of issues to be considered, addressed and effectively managed, it’s going to be a busy period ahead. I am excited about and looking forward to playing my part as an involved tenant, helping to work with a wide range of engaged tenants and Community Gateway staff and stakeholders to help shape the future direction.

Phil Parramore

Member of the Gateway Empowerment and Specialist Services Action Groups
Member of Gateway Central
Member of Scrutiny Panel