Customer Involvement’s Wolfey: Take-aways from the TPAS Conference

This is my longest blog yet but I’m still excited about the TPAS Conference I went to with my fellow Customer Involvement Officer Lynn Cullen in July and there’s loads to share from it. TPAS stands for Tenant Participatory Advice Service and they believe in tenants and landlords working together to build great communities.

TPAS has the largest annual conference in the UK for social housing tenants and providers. It’s a two day event with sixteen workshops to choose from and an opportunity to meet tenants and officers from around the country. Lynn has been to this before but it was my first time and I was really looking forward to it – despite the early start to get to Warwick for 10am.

Having arrived at Chesford Grange in good time, the place was already busy and I met Alison Inman and Rob Gershon who were promoting SHOUT. This is a campaign for affordable and fair social housing and for new social rented houses to be built. Their vision is that different tenures are seen as equal and that no type of rented property is seen as inferior to another. Continue reading

Customer Involvement’s Wolfey: Wonder-ful support for our armed forces

You might have seen the march for Armed Forces Day in Bolton Town Centre on 27 June. The Wonder Woman Group in Hall i’ th’ Wood also put on a celebration event at the Greenway Community Centre, with a number of members having personal reasons to pay tribute.

The Wonder Woman Group meets 1-3pm every Tuesday at the centre and they’re supported by Christine Fitton – our UCAN Centre Project Officer from Tonge Moor. They’re one of the first groups I got to know and I’ve been impressed by their strength and support for each other.

The group offers positive activities to gain confidence, new skills and learn about support services. You’re guaranteed a warm welcome if you fancy popping in to see if it’s for you. Continue reading

Customer Involvement’s Wolfey: Bosses, jobs and doing things differently

Our team met with Noel Sharpe, our new Customer and Community Director, plus I went to a briefing for all staff from our Chief Executive Jon Lord. Both talked about ‘Thinking differently, working differently to become one organisation.’

Jon explained how we need to review our services by looking at the whole customer journey from start to end as a way of better understanding our customers’ needs, experiences and knowing what we need to do.

Noel talked about how we can strengthen the links between housing services and customer involvement services so we can respond better to customers’ needs.

Coming from housing services to customer involvement (I was an interventions officer on the Preventative and Enabling Team, which provides support for the most vulnerable people in Bolton), this was music to my ears.

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Customer Involvement’s Wolfey: The impact of coffee

This week I’ve mastered the art of making a brew. You may think this is no great feat, you make even think I’m just trying to get out of my round, but you then you need to see the modern taps in the brewing area of Valley House. Impossible to work … until a kind lady seeing me struggle kindly pointed out that I needed to press the button in the middle of the tap as well as the side red button for hot water. It has taken two and a half months but I’m now able to get a decent caffeine fix without relying on others!

This was good timing as I started my Community Impact Assessment report. We do these reports wherever we work with the community to see what difference we’re making in neighbourhoods, how we’ve improved services and made the best use of the money available. Wired on caffeine, I’ve trawled through many folders to find out what we’ve done in our north neighbourhood (bearing in mind I wasn’t here until April), and the money and customers involved. I’ll produce a document that goes towards our annual report. Click here to see last year’s.

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Customer Committee’s Carol: Getting down to business

Customer Committee’s Carol: Getting down to business

The volunteer members of the Customer Committee monitor Bolton at Home’s performance, set standards, review services and recommend improvements.

One of the ways we do this is to come together for business meetings, where we discuss all these things and Bolton at Home’s policies in more detail.

Our meetings are quite formal – we have an agenda, the meetings are chaired and minutes are taken. This ‘official’ style of meeting can be productive and help us cover a lot of ground.

This time around we discussed Continue reading