Tenant Central – an inspiring success

Tenant Central may have ended on 31 March but the legacy of skills and confidence the programme leaves will last for years.TC eventbrite

Over 2015-16 Tenant Central provided 1362 places on tenant training and events, that’s 26 places a week every week for the whole of last year! Tenants from every corner of England have been involved, from Cornwall to Kent, Cumbria to Northumberland.

In the last year Tenant Central enabled tenants to gain 231 Level 2 qualifications.  Many were gained in ‘understanding tenant scrutiny’ and ‘understanding housing management performance information‘, others included ‘getting involved online‘, ‘effective meetings‘, ‘chairing‘ and more. You said  ‘I have learned so much’;’ I really needed this course’; ‘excellent, informative, understandable, friendly’; ‘trainer was superb’; ‘very motivating’. Over the year Tenant Central provided 26 E learning and 9 face to face accredited courses.

brighton 1The 9 Tenant Involvement Now! events  not only gave over 500 involved tenants the chance to share ideas but also allowed involved tenants the chance to showcase their work. In Brighton the scrutiny group from Paragon Community Housing Group shared their findings. In Manchester the Customer Scrutiny Inspectorate (CSI) from City West Housing Trust looked at the use of performance information. In Newcastle tenants from Coast and Country Housing shared their innovative approach to complaints. Many more tenants presented their stories at the 9 events,  they received some fabulous encouraging feedback. Thanks to all of you who volunteered to tell us about what you have achieved.

Challenging effectively‘, was a popular topic for the 48 in house courses. Tenants benefited from this course at the Thrive Homes conference for tenants from three counties, Isos Housing in Northumberland, City of Lincoln Council, Spectrum Group on the south coast, Two Castles HA in Carlisle and Boston Mayflower HA. You said that you ‘learned to listen to others opinion’; ‘use your voice constructively’; ‘stay focused’ and ‘be more assertive‘.

Thanks to all of the tenants, residents, community groups, landlords, partner organisations and Tpas associates that helped to make this programme an informative and inspiring success.

For further information about current tenant training and events please contact Tpas.


0161 868 3500


Posted in Events, News, Peer Mentors, Training, Uncategorized

Out with a bang! From Brighton to Newcastle.

The last two Tenant Involvement Now events in Brighton 18 February and Newcastle 23 February both received fantastic support, a fitting send off for the 2015/16 Tenant Central event programme.

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Joan Swift speaks, Brighton

Brighton gave tenants involved in scrutiny and co-regulation at Paragon the chance to showcase their tpas Award winning approach. Their presentation led by Residents Council chair Joan Swift  gave a comprehensive view of their tenant led approach. Melissa Lacide Resident Involvement Officer introduced Joan and set the scene for Paragon’s approach.  Ali Edwards, a worker from Worthing Homes Community House demonstrated the invaluable work the house does in tackling a huge range of issues. From the house Ali works with residents to tackle issues from healthy eating and cooking to getting people access to school, work, medical advice and counselling services, all tailored to local needs. The house provides a one stop service all about getting people back on their feet and involved with their community. Participants also welcomed the housing and involvement updates from tpas associates Raj Kumar and Richard Tomkinson as well as Training Manager Val Alker who shared numerous examples of involvement successes.

newcastle adele

Adele Rae speaks, Newcastle

In Newcastle, the star of the show was Adele Rae, tenant and board member for Leeds and Yorkshire HA who Tenant Central first met through her participation in the Regional Accredited training in York on August 15. Adele gave a heartfelt speech that resonated with all those present. Adele spoke as a #proudtenant who loves her involvement and the difference it can make but is concerned by many of the current issues facing social housing. Feedback was also great for David Jones  from Byker Community Trust who worked with tenants to imagine the future of their involvement and also for the tenants from Coast and Country HA, Ellen Davies, Kim Gallagher and Dorothy Mead who with Officer Julie Felgate talked about their involvement in complaints. The detailed presentations on policy issues from tpas’ Abi Davies and Monica Burns of the National Housing Federation brought everyone up to speed on current issues and armed them with questions to take back to their landlords. Jenny Osbourne was complimented on her superbly motivating call to community action to end the day,  everyone was chatting about plans and challenges in their own communities as they left.

Having worked with tenants and staff around the country to bring Tenant Involvement Now to life over the past few months it was strange to leave Newcastle knowing the 9 events in 4 months were now at an end. It’s been inspiring meeting tenants from Plymouth to Brighton, Newcastle to Manchester all sharing a commitment to making a difference for tenants and communities.  In challenging times, having the time to network and share ideas has been invaluable.

‘Good to meet so many other people who are engaged in what happens in their housing organisations.’

‘Great opportunity to meet other delgates and exchange viewpoints and experiences.’

‘informative’,’interesting’, ‘inspiring’
brighton 1


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Bring in the New! Innovations in Tenant Involvement

Two recent Tenant Involvement Now events in Birmingham and Wellingborough showcased new approaches to tenant involvement.

Castle Vale Digital Incousion

Castle Vale Digital Inclusion

The Birmingham event on 9 February highlighted streamlined tenant involvement structures and digital inclusion. Gill Mooney Resident Involvement Manager from Community Housing Group presented their story with Central Tenants Forum chair Richard Collins and Scrutiny Committee Chair Monika Boehmer. They highlighted their revised involvement structure and how this had been developed particularly through strong tenant leadership by Richard and Monika. Bringing in the new involved overcoming differences to develop complimentary approaches from the Forum and the Scrutiny Committee.

Beki Bembridge Digital Inclusion Officer from Castle Vale Community Housing Group told the 60 participants at the Birmingham event all about the free wifi available in Castle Vale and the huge range of ways they are engaging digitally. Digital champions and involved tenants Jan Davies, Claudette Griffiths and Kay Hunter shared stories of how digital engagement had developed their invovlement and how they were now passing this on to others and using their new found skills.

In Wellingborough on 10 Feb, Wellingborough Homes shared their new strategy for involvement and some of their newly involved tenants shared stories with tenants from Corby Tenants Voice, Spire, BPHA, Northampton Homes and Cross Keys HA. Trish and Kate from Corby Tenants Voice also told of how the Voice emerged, their successful scrutiny work and their challenges to recruit and use tenants expertise so they would stay involved.

Tenants at both events benefitted from updates on housing policy and tenant involvement. Raj Kumar and Val Alker spoke at the Birmingham event and Val and Kate Newbolt presented to the Wellingborough audience.

The final Tenant Involvement Now events are being held on 18 February in Brighton and 23 February in Newcastle. Feedback so far has been excellent with tenants being given the chance to talk at length and meet like minded involved tenants from around their region.

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‘You are the experts’ Tenant Involvement Now! Exeter

exeter Jenny with john slideTPAS Chief Executive Jenny Osbourne kicked off a lively Tenant Central Now! event in Exeter on 26 January.   Two inspiring speakers set the pace for the day.

Leslie Silverlock dazzled the audience with a lightning run through of successful community projects, showing  just what can be achieved if communities work together. His message that residents are the ‘experts‘ on their communities and have the answers to the issues faced was ‘a breath of fresh air’. exeter leslie 2

Elaine Pellow Chair of Plymouth Community Homes told her story of initial cynicism with involvement, followed by a positive involvement journey through stock transfer to Board membership and the role of Chair. She urged tenants to go back and ask ‘if there is no tenant on your board then why not?’ and ‘what are you going to do to get one there?’. It’s not that tenants aren’t interested or valuable on boards, you just need the right things in place to enable them to get there!

First hand stories of Tenant Involvement Now! included Terry Rance Chair of Spectrum’s Scrutiny Panel interviewed during his session by Debbie Lucas TPAS Head of Training. Also DCH exploring the scope of tenant influence, presented by Leanda Flower Community Investment Manager presenting with involved tenants Carolyn Cooke, Mike Smith  and Ken Gilbert.

Also included in the day was an up to the minute policy update from TPAS Policy Advisor Abi Davies and a look at current views of involvement and the need to track value from Val Alker TPAS Training Manager.

Pulling the day to a close Frances Walsh of North Devon Homes (NDH) showcased their successful intervention work with young people.   The work by NDH has won successive lottery funding due to its innovation and ability to show long term outcomes for the individuals and their whole communities. The case study of ‘Bob’s’ journey touched all those in the room and was a fitting end to an interesting day.Exeter FRances 2


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Exeter, Wellingborough, Brighton, Newcastle – free tenant places

Happy New Year from Tenant Central.

Free tenant places remain for these informative Tenant Involvement Now! Events around the country

South West – Exeter 26 January 16Tenant Involvement Now Final
East Midlands – Wellingborough 10 February 16
South East – Brighton 18 February 16
North East – Newcastle 23 February 16

Each event includes interesting local speakers and presentations or interactive workshops from tenants and staff of housing organisations in the area.

To check out the programme for each event visit ‘The Tenant Involvement Now Events‘ page and click on the location.

To book a place, link from this page or go directly to the date on the ‘What’s On‘ calendar.

Already booked on and want more places for your organisation – go ahead and book and we will get back to you or enquire first info@tenantcentral.org.uk.

Previous Tenant Central news posts have highlighted the pre Christmas events in Plymouth, Southampton and Manchester. Take a look at the previous news items in this section.

Posted in Events, News, Training, Uncategorized

Sharing and Learning – more Tenant Involvement Now!

Over 120 tenants, from councils, housing associations and Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) large and small  took part in two recent  Tenant Involvement Now! events Manchester 30 November and Southampton 8 December.  More #Tenantnow events are planned for the new year. Book Here.

‘a good conference, lots of interesting views’045

Highlights of the Manchester Conference event included a rousing speech by Cobalt Housing’s Scrutiny Group chair Larry Shelbourne urging tenants and landlords to work together to adapt to the changes to housing policy and welfare reform. One participant told us that even though she had never met Larry before she felt really proud of him.

Tenants were also involved in delivering the workshops, Customer Scrutiny Inspectorate deputy Chair Janette Ball helped share City West Housing Trust’s examples of linking tenant involvement and performance. The role of the Six Town Housing Scrutiny Group was illustrated in another workshop and received fantastic feedback. Participants were fully involved in the TPAS led sessions too whether debating the effect of welfare reform or sharing the successes of their involvement in ‘valuing involvement’. Helen McHale Chief Executive of Stockport Homes gave her take on housing and Tenant Involvement Now stressing the need for tenant involvement throughout the organisation’s work.

‘networking and ideas of how to change things locally’TC Shamp 12

Southampton was packed to capacity and included presentations from tenants Peter Batty and Val Twyman from Gosport BC and Yvonne Goddard, Liz Bartlett and Barbara LeSueur from Fareham BC with their involvement officers sharing stories of how they had been involved in improving services.  Methods  they used included scrutiny, influencing contract specification, tenant inspection and block rep activities, these led to improved refurbishment, grounds maintenance and cleaning.  Participants liked the networking and ideas of how to change things locally as well as sharing interesting thoughts through interactive activities.

Local TPAS Associate and Housing Consultant Sharon Collins shared information about current housing policy and welfare reform and later  TPAS Training Manager Val Alker and TPAS Associate Richard Tomkinson facilitated and enthusiastic discussion about achievements through involvement.

Great to see tenants sharing and learning, building the necessary networks to enable involvement in current and future housing issues.

Tenant Involvement Now Final



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Plymouth Event ‘Thought Provoking’

“Interaction was excellent!”

All the sessions and speakers were very thought provoking‘ and there was a ‘good atmosphere‘ at the Tenant Involvement Now event at Plymouth Community Homes on 3rd November.  Tenants traveled from Cornwall, Devon and beyond to the free Tenant Central event looking at the current challenges for tenant involvement and co-regulation. plym 3

Raj Kumar Housing Consultant and TPAS associate set the scene with a whizz through changes to housing policy and the implications for tenant involvement. The session generated lots of comments and questions that were revisited throughout the day. Presentations then followed from Plymouth Community Homes (PCH) and Coastline Housing both had recently reviewed their approach to tenant involvement.

Deborah Beadle introduced Plymouth’s new Menu of Involvement before handing over to Scrutiny Team members Diana Hill and Susan Drury who gave an amusing and insightful review of their progress in developing a new approach to scrutiny. The Team have been working with TPAS Associate Richard Tomkinson to develop their new approach, he was proud to see how positively they talked about the development of the group. Elaine Pellow Tenant Chair of PCH then encouraged other tenants to take her journey into Board membership.

Completing the morning Claire Reeves showed how Coastline Housing have streamlined their involvement, working with their tenants to produce an approach directly aligned to business plan outcomes. Chair of ‘Customer Scrutiny Into Coastline’ Trisha Miners shared her groups successes and echoed the need to revisit involvement that isn’t working and redesign it with tenants.

After a lunch break filled with chatter and exciting ideas Val Alker, TPAS Training Manager facilitated a session to explore the difference involvement makes. Participants were soon compaing their stories of improved services, value for money and increased satisfaction. To round up the energetic day tenants shared their ideas for ensuring successful tenant involvement tomorrow.

Comments as the participants left included ‘I really liked doing the presentation, people were interested and the questions were valid‘, ‘interaction was excellent‘, ‘great to get the chance to network‘.

Thanks to Plymouth Community Homes for use of an excellent venue that really made the day. Thanks also to staff at Plymouth Homes especially Jay Vickers for support in planning and delivering the event. Also to Julie Cleave from Teign Housing for support in planning and advertising the event.

If you are inspired by this event, there are more around the country over the next few months. For more details.


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Book your place – Tenant Involvement Now Events

Eight FREE events for tenants around the country.

  • find out what’s happening nationally and locally
  • hear what works – tenants and organisations share their learning
  • discuss what makes scrutiny and involvement work
  • show the value of your involvement

Each event has different speakers, guests and topics. Check out the programmes for pre Xmas events below.

All events now booking now available via Tenant Central what’s on calendar. Tenant places FREE, initially 5 per organisation for large events and 4 per orgnisation for smaller events. Staff places available £100. More news soon …

  • 29 October 15  Chelmsford , Cricket Club
  • 3 November 15 Plymouth , Community Homes
  • 30 November 15 Manchester,Conference Centre
  • 8 December 15 Southampton, Novotel
  • 26 January 16 Exeter, The Rougemont
  • 9 February 16 Birmingham, Colmore Row
  • 18 February, Brighton , the Waterfront Hotel
  • 23 February, Newcastle Copthorne Hotel



Posted in Events

Tenant Involvement Now – Free Events

Tenant Central is pleased to announce a series of ‘Tenant Involvement Now’ events around the country.

More news about programmes and booking coming soon.

Dates finalised so far

  • Plymouth 3 November 15
  • Newcastle 17 November 15
  • Southampton 8 December 15

Dates yet to be agreed for Manchester, Exeter, Birmingham and Brighton.

Come along to find out what’s on the agenda for tenant involvement now, see what others in your region are doing and develop your approach.

Once arrangements are confirmed each event will appear in the ‘Events calendar’ with links to booking forms. The capacity and programme for events will vary.

Places will be limited to 5 per organisation initially on a first come first served basis.

Posted in Events, News, Training, Uncategorized

Effective training from Tenant Central

Some great feedback from our first Tenant Central In house sessions of the programme – have you arranged yours yet? Check out the details and get an Expression of Interest Form over to us.

Scrutiny panels up to speed

Karen Orr from Newlon Housing Trust told us that their ‘Introduction to Scrutiny’ session led to ‘recruiting 6 new members and the panel has achieved full membership for the first time. Tenants who attended felt that they could then make an informed decision about joining the panel’.

Trainer Richard Tomkinson added  ‘participants seemed to really enjoy the session and were able to gain a detailed understanding of what they would be committing their time to’, one of the tenant participants told us it was ‘a good course giving good insight’.

A similar session held for the new Scrutiny group at Leeds Council was also well received ‘all Scrutiny Board Members were very positive about how useful and interesting they found it’  Governance Office Guy Close.

Performance information unlockedHexagon

Hexagon wanted to develop the capacity of their scrutiny panel and held a session on understanding performance information. Officer Kathleen Richards said ‘the course was brilliant ..the group will be asked for reports to be in a different format to the old ones and they have agreed to have pre meetings to iron out the key areas of performance reports’.

Trainer Raj Kumar added ‘it was great to hear the participants say they ‘get it‘ referring to the performance reports they receive from Hexagon … it gave them a sense of direction about developing their own priorities for scrutiny’.

One of the participants reported ‘Raj is brilliant he makes things so much clearer and has made me quite confident’ another added  ‘excellent, this has given us the right tools to help our activities’.

What Tenant Central training would help your group to get better or grow in confidence?

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