Listening to Residents Voices
We always try to provide opportunities for residents to influence the different projects we’re working on. We value any feedback we receive and will use it as an opportunity to learn. We have recently been working on our Sustainability Strategy and Noticeboard App.
Town & Country Housing (TCH) provides more than just homes; we seek to take positive action to reduce the impact of climate change on our people, communities and environment. Social housing providers in the UK will play a vital role in ensuring that the UK Government meets its 2050 net zero carbon ambitions.
We have just finalised our Sustainability Strategy which sets out how we will reduce carbon emissions across our business. We met with residents back in April to seek their input and views on our proposals before taking the final strategy to Board for approval on 18 May 2023.
The resident focus group defined a sustainable home as one which is warm, dry and ventilated but also truly affordable to run.
The conversation produced five main themes:
- Efficiency of services and being ‘smart’ in the way we work.
- What a ‘sustainable home’ means to residents.
- Resident access to information about their home.
- Taking residents on the sustainability journey with TCH.
- Accessibility of the strategy.
We received a range of suggestions, including:
- To reduce emissions and petrol consumption during repairs appointments by using local people for local jobs, or by grouping repairs by geography and have someone do repairs all in one area at a time.
- To promote ‘first time fix’ so that the contractors always aim to complete a job in the first visit (where possible).
- TCH to explore more use of solar panels on properties.
- Residents told us that they don’t know enough about their homes. They would like easy, ongoing access to information on things like gas safety, Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, stock condition surveys and external planned maintenance.
- Regular articles on how we’re delivering on our Sustainability Strategy in the monthly newsletter.
- Area specific newsletters for sustainability work so residents can hear of local changes/progress/good news stories.
- Updates about the cost and financial impact of the Sustainability Strategy improvements.
- Requests for TCH to be more considerate with communication and timing of works so residents can plan better around their day to day, for example, one month notice for a boiler change.
- Make sure all communication is jargon free and doesn’t use technical abbreviations.
Involving our residents
The focus group conversation prompted the following paragraph and commitment made in the final version of the strategy:
‘We consulted residents in 2022 to shape the development of this strategy. Alongside delivering carbon reduction targets, this strategy seeks to meet residents’ expectation of a sustainable home that is warm, dry, healthy and affordable to run. This strategy details how we deliver on resident priorities of addressing fuel poverty, providing energy support, communication with residents about works, and involve residents in decisions about sustainability.
Residents reviewed a draft of this strategy in 2023. We updated the strategy to add timescales, explain jargon, and expand on how we will involve and update residents on the strategy. Resident feedback will continue to inform the implementation of the strategy and we will promote opportunities for residents to engage in decisions about sustainability.’
We will provide updates to residents on progress with delivering the strategy through resident newsletters. Where possible we will provide residents with local updates on the delivery of the strategy.
It’s great to see that the suggestions made by residents are already being adopted by the business and we’ll be adding extra ideas from residents into the strategy. We will also include this feedback from residents when drafting the Asset Management Strategy, which looks at how we maintain our homes.
If you would like to find out how you can get involved and share your views, please contact Sarah at email@example.com or on 01892 501480.
An update on The Noticeboard App
We’re working with community organisation, Future Coders, on a project that gives residents a chance to learn computer coding and gain hands on experience through building ‘The Noticeboard App’.
What is The Noticeboard App?
Once developed, it will be a virtual noticeboard where we can share information and local community notices, from a range of different sources, with residents.
The project team held a focus group with some residents to identify if there was a desire for the app and so they could help shape how the app is built.
It was a great conversation with lots of suggestions from residents on how to define ‘local’, how the app should look and preferences on how it should be used. Examples included:
- To build in the option to save preferences
- How content could be categorised
- To have the ability to zoom into a poster
- For the app to be built to best practice guidance for accessibility.
The residents involved enjoyed the process and were keen to stay involved with the project and do some future testing of the app as it is built.