Spotlight on Resident Involvement

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As I have been in post since October, I felt a proper introduction is well overdue. So, for those of you I haven’t met so far; Hello! I’m Lara, The Resident Involvement Officer for JRHT (Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust).

Firstly, I am still extremely excited to be here. I feel incredibly grateful to be surrounded by such friendly and compassionate colleagues who have made me feel at home since day one, plus a truly fantastic team of dedicated involved residents.
Anyone who knows me, certainly wouldn’t describe me as “shy” but the welcome I have received from the inspiring involved residents of JRHT has been incredibly heartwarming. It has quickly eradicated any anxieties I held about starting in my new role.

To help you to get know me a bit better, I’ve put together a few questions and answers below.

What is your favourite part of being in this role?

The best part of my job is the relationships I’ve being fortunate enough to develop with involved residents. It means a lot to know that people trust me enough to share their worries, ideas and shared stories of their lives with me. At times I have also been welcomed into their homes. I have so much admiration for the people I work with who dedicate their time, no matter how scarce, to collaborate together to make improvements for residents and communities.

What does Resident Involvement mean and why is this important?

Resident Involvement is crucial for shaping the future of JRHT and ensuring we deliver the best possible services. It offers a platform for residents to voice their ideas, concerns, and feedback constructively.

My role is to ensure residents have meaningful opportunities to contribute and influence direction of JRHT.  This includes participating in committee meetings, being part of resident panels, or volunteering for resident-led events.

Why should I get involved?

Everyone’s voice is valuable, and all resident panels provide a safe space for open dialogue, irrespective of background or experiences. Plus, there is no requirement for anyone to have previous experience of any similar role. To put it simply; if you have an opinion, be it positive or negative, I would love to hear from you!

I don’t think I have the time to commit.

As a working parent myself, I completely understand that it isn’t easy to commit to regular meetings or events. But there is absolutely no requirement to be involved in anything that doesn’t interest you or you know you can’t attend. Some of our groups run on evenings or the occasional weekend but as I appreciate how valuable your time is, it will always be your decision how to spend it.

But please remember, you can always ask for your email to be placed on the Involved Residents Group mailing list, so you are kept updated of any upcoming projects.

I don’t live anywhere near York, and don’t feel comfortable traveling

This is absolutely not a problem! Even though I am based in New Earswick (York), it’s so important to me that all residents feel equally valued and have their thoughts and ideas heard.

If you can’t come to me, I can come to you and meet at a place or time where you feel comfortable. If face-to-face meetings aren’t for you, I am more than happy to have a chat with you on the phone or via email. You never know, there may already be groups in your local area who I can put you in touch with. 

What are you working on now which I can get involved with?

Communications Panel
This is an open group where we ensure the correspondence JRHT sends out is clear, concise, and informative.

I would love to get more feedback from new people on this panel. We are also ensuring that we welcome individuals who have neurological conditions, generally feel vulnerable or who identify as neurodivergent, to ensure we are reaching the needs of as many people as possible.

Resident Assembly
A quarterly meeting held in New Earswick which allows residents to keep updated with what is going on within the organisation and provides an open platform for tenants and leaseholders to express any concerns.

Terms of Reference group
This ensures that Resident Assembly meetings are serving JRHT communities in the most effective way.

Accessibility In Design panel 
Ad-hoc meetings reviewing plans for building new homes and recommending changes which could make the homes more accessible for residents in the future. I would love to hear from more residents, with or carers of residents who have additional needs especially those who need support with their mobility.

In addition to these established groups, there are plenty more local groups which I would be happy to signpost you to. I would also really welcome your ideas on other areas which you may be interested in.

I can also signpost you to free online events which keep you updated on nationwide news and legislations relating to social housing. Usually, these sessions are recorded which means that if you can’t access the event on the day, you can watch at a time that suits you.

If you have any questions or would like to meet for a chat about Resident Involvement, please do get in touch. 

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Tel: 07976 971394