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ARCH annual report

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The ARCH annual report for 2015-16 is now available to view.

 

Download it here.

Tenants' achievements

Benefit to Society campaign - tell us your story

 

Here are a few examples of the wonderful work that tenants of ARCH have been doing to help make a difference to their communities.

 

ARCH is supporting this very important campaign to help change some of the negative perceptions about people who live in social housing.

 

Are you a social housing tenant or resident with a story to share? If so, we encourage you to upload your profile to highlight and share the good work you do for your local communities.

 

Read the stories of other tenants and residents of social housing and upload your profile here.

 

 

Congratulations to the ARCH 2017 Community Champion Winner

 

Congratulations to Jackie Hacker from Stevenage Borough Council, who was announced as the winner of the 2017 ARCH Community Champion Award at this year's ARCH Tenants Conference.

 

Community Champion 2017 Photo

Photo by Yaw Boateng: member of the ARCH Tenants' Group

 

The Award recognises the commitment and hard work undertaken by tenants of ARCH member councils to improve their local communities.

 

The judging panel had a very difficult decision this year with strong nominations from the two other shortlisted candidates: Sheila Watkinson from the City of Lincoln Council and Pamela Pamment from Ipswich Borough Council.

 

Click here for more information about Jackie, Sheila and Pamela's achievements and the work they do for their local community.

 

 

Congratulations to the ARCH 2016 tenant award winner

 

William 'Ted' Jones from Stevenage Borough Council, was the 2016 ARCH Community Champion award winner at our Tenants' Conference on Thursday 22 September 2016.

 

The award recognises the commitment and hard work undertaken by tenants of ARCH members to improve their local communities. The ARCH Tenants' conference is held every year and is organised by the ARCH Tenants' Group.

 

Ted joined his local residents group in 2010 and has since successfully campaigned for several initiatives to improve his local area including resurfacing of a road, the regeneration of a local shopping square, setting up a new community centre and successfully presenting the case for Decent Homes to the Select Committee at Westminster which resulted in a grant for £55million to provide a better living standard for tenants. 
 

 

Congratulations to the ARCH 2015 tenant award winners

 

Winners of this year's ARCH Tenant Awards were announced at the ARCH Tenant Conference in September. 

 

Award for Tenant of the Year was won by Richard Macrae of Broxtowe Borough Council: Congratulations to Richard from everyone at ARCH and a special word for SeniaDedic of London Borough of Wandsworth whose work in her local community was highly commended by the judging panel. 

 

The Award for the council that has done the most to encourage and support tenant empowerment went this year to the London Borough of Croydon and again many congratulations to all involved. 

 

See the full conference report for more information.

 

 

Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council - two residential involvement developments

 H and B logo

Together for Tenants is a tenant-led partnership with Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council that is currently involving more council tenants in their communities and in housing service development.  The group was launched at a public event in May 2013, is fully constituted and led by a Committee elected at the groups' Annual General Meeting in October.  Activities include a new gardening group and attendance at local events.

 

Towards the end of 2013, an Evaluation Team made up of Hinckley and Bosworth tenants was recruited via an independent panel to scrutinise the council's housing services and conduct review projects. The eight-person team have completed initial training and are in the process of conducting a pilot review. 

 

H and B photo

 

 

Cambridge City Council - new computer loan scheme

Cambs logo

 

Though 80% of UK households are now online, of those without internet access, half live in social housing.

 

The involved tenant reps on the board helped to design the scheme (the technicalities of how the loan worked and the RI credits system was their idea). They also championed it for us when it was presented to councillors.

 

To help address this digital exclusion, Cambridge City Council is offering the loan of a laptop (plus 3G dongle) to eligible tenants.

 

After one year they have the option to buy the computer at half its original cost, return it to the council (so it can be provided to another tenant) or gain credits towards keeping the computer by taking part in activities like mystery shopping or estate inspections.

 

Some examples of tenants helped by the scheme so far:

 

"P" was made redundant just before Christmas, having been employed in the catering sector for over forty years. He was referred via Job Centre Plus, who stated that he washighly motivated and a regular attendee at Job Club. As a result of receiving the equipment he has continued to build on newly acquired IT skills and has been in contact with the Independent Living Service (ILS) about volunteering opportunities.

 

"F" was one of the first recipients of the scheme. She lives in Cherry Hinton and was finding it difficult to attend Job Centre Plus to look for employment. Using the equipment provided,she has now found full time employment in the retail sector.

 

"M" is a single parent who was referred by her caseworker. Her nine year old daughter was having difficulties keeping up with homework. The equipment has addressed this problem and "M" has expressed her gratitude.

 

"Fl" is a young woman with multiple mental health issues. She has high level computer skills, but her existing equipment was no longer fit for purpose. Her caseworker has stated that the loan of newer equipment will greatly assist her in maintaining contact with the outside world.

 

"H" and "C" are both tenants with mobility issues. They had computers which were very old and temperamental. The equipment from the scheme has allowed them to stay in touch with family and the wider community. 

 

 

Slough Borough Council - Neighbourhood services

 Slough logo

Slough Borough Council istransforming the way in which they manage their neighbourhoods and communities.  They recognise that the Right to Buy has changed the profile of housing stock which means that tenants now live alongside the tenants of other landlords home owners, leaseholders and shared owners. 

 

As a local authority they have a range of powers available to enable them to respond to problems when they occur.  In recognition of this, they have spent the past year laying the foundations for the creation of the Neighbourhood Service, combining their housing and enforcement teams allowing them to utilise all powers available to manage their neighbourhoods. 

 

Over the coming year they will be restructuring and embedding the concept of neighbourhood services.  Whilst enforcement action is one option available, they will continue to develop their Tenancy Sustainment Service which works with a range of charities and third sector organisations in Slough to provide support to vulnerable residents who are struggling to manage their homes and their finances.  

 

 

West Lancashire Borough Council - Firbeck revival

 West lancs logo

Skelmersdale was developed as a New Town in the 1960's. There is currently a population of around 40,000. A major consultation exercise was undertaken in 2005 as part of the development of a master plan for the town andresidents wanted to have a more conventional town centre and an improved housing offer.

 

The vision

 

To create a vibrant Town Centre and to improve the housing offer to make Skelmersdale a destination of choice. This was referred to locally as the "Skem Vision" and has wide support by residents, stakeholders, the council and the LEP for Lancashire.

 

The challenge

 

The original plan for Firbeck, an Estate of around 180 homes, was earmarked for demolition in an ambitious plan to redevelop the site together with additional land to build market homes which would generate receipts to start the process of regenerating the area and improving the town centre. This plan was unable to be delivered due to a slump in the housing market.

 

The results

 

The original plan has had to be revised because of the change in the housing market. The council, using a combination of HRA and GRF funding have started a £5.5M public sector led schemewhich will see:

 

  • The area revived
  • Housing benefitting from internal and external improvements
  • 60 flats demolished
  • 40 replacement homes provided
  • Street Scene improvements

 

This public sector intervention has meant that the area will be significantly enhanced and the adjacent land will be more attractive for development so that the vision for the town centre can start to be delivered.

 

 Wl beforeWL after

 

 

Epping Forest District Council - Housing service reviews

 Epping forest logo

In early 2013 a tenant scrutiny panel was formed to carry out performance monitoring and housing service review son behalf of Epping Forest Tenants and Leaseholders Federation.

 

The panel's first review looked at the way complaints are handled within the council's housing service and a report was produced in March 2014 including fourteen recommendations for service improvements. Among the recommendations was the appointment of a dedicated officer to collate complaints across the service.

 

Subsequently, the council has agreed the creation of a new post of Customer Relationship Officer as recommended by the tenant scrutiny panel with the rest of the recommendations in its report used as the basis for the job description. The Federation is delighted with this outcome as it shows the value of such reviews and that the Council is willing to listen to its tenants and act accordingly.

 

 

South Derbyshire District Council - Dreamscheme Project

 South Derb logo

The South Derbyshire Dreamscheme is a way of enabling young people to serve their community, be busy, have fun, gain new skills, leading to a change in their attitudes and expectations. 

 

2014 Dreamscheme Project

 

 Dreamscheme logo

 

Early in 2014, Dreamscheme were approached by several members of a community to work in partnership with the Overseal Parish Council on a redecoration project within the village hall and the revamp of their Youth Shelter. 

They were overwhelmed by the support from across the local community and from the 22 young volunteers who were involved this year.  During the week in August those involved in the project painted two IT suites, planted a small area, litter picked the playing field, put in a new waste bin and designed/ painted graffiti art on a youth shelter.

 

Award for encouragement and support for tenant empowerment - ARCH awards 2014

 

This award highlights the work that councils do to support tenant empowerment and develop their communities and neighbourhoods.  This award is open to any local authority who has successfully introduced a new approach during the year that has dramatically improved its own performance and/or the lives of its tenants. 

 

This award recognises a council that have empowered their tenants to be involved in both the management of their housing and their community. For example, organisations that have:

 

• Demonstrated a real commitment to involving tenants in how their services are designed, delivered and monitored

• Worked with tenants and local partner organisations to deliver benefits for the whole community

• Developed tenants' skills and empowered them to be active in the community

 

 ARCH awards 2014 1

 

Norwich City Council

Norwich City Council's new tenant involvement structure has been designed, tested and approved  by their tenants. Alongside two new strategic tenant panels for general needs tenants, a brand new strategic level panel has been created for sheltered housing tenants to ensure they have the same level if influence and involvement. The council has several local tenant involvement activities such as a repairs materials advisory group, mystery shoppers, an annual report working group as well as housing fun days and many more activities.

 

 

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