North Star Housing group

We are proud to be tenants of the North Star Housing group and have been in an Endeavour HA property for 20 Years.

I have been a volunteer for more than 20 years and fell into it almost by accident. Visiting the local Community Council to complain about dumped rubbish I was elected as Vice Chairman after several weeks.

I quickly learned how the Local Authority did things and that many residents were afraid of approaching them. This created my interest in communities, believing they could really help themselves by getting together to run projects.

I was elected, in my absence, to the Local Strategic Partnership as a Community Representative, running my own project to make the area safer by installing alleygates. Liaising with the Council, the supplier and residents.

I volunteered for ten years as an adviser with the CAB. I needed more knowledge so attended Regen School NE and Teesside University for a University Diploma in Professional Development course. Learning about Community Development. Continuing to a Digital Champions and Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector courses. I then ran a course to teach older people IT.

Four of us started the TRICS charity to help communities to become constituted to run their own projects and went on to start an Activity Group for 5 to 13 year olds. This was a great success and ran for over ten years with up to 40 children attending each of the sessions twice weekly. This averaged out to about 25 per session. I became chair of Streets Ahead for Information, a local one-stop shop that gave information and passed on complaints to the Local Council.

Six of us set up Community Voice FM Ltd, a community radio, and organised a course for participants at Darlington College. Three of us formed the Middlesbrough Community Land Trust Ltd after consultation with the local community and, with the expertise of Sally Thomas and a small grant from North Star Housing Group, managed to get three older houses from Middlesbrough Council and a substantial Government Grant.

The houses are now renovated and have tenants. I strongly believe in Community Development and trying to improve on residents’ quality of life, as soon as one project is running well, it is time to move on to the next project.

I semi-retired from TRICS and was recruited to the North Star Scrutiny panel. I find the work very interesting and worthwhile and believe it helps North Star and their tenants.

I was asked to give a short talk at the Placeshapers conference and agreed but wished I had had more time to put my presentation together but was on holiday.

I was nervous when I got up to speak but felt that my journey as a proud tenant may inspire others to do bigger and better things.

Being a volunteer has given me more job satisfaction than any other occupation I have had and the presentation only scratched the surface of all my voluntary work.