Category Archives: Community

Fusion proves life changing for local family

Here’s a customer’s personal account of a better life thanks to the volunteers who run the Fusion Centre, based at Connaught Square in Tonge Moor.

My name’s Joan. I live with my husband Alan and my son David, who has learning difficulties. I have the early stages of dementia. With no support from family or friends, our lives consisted of staying in the house and staring at four walls. My husband rarely smiled and we had no social interaction. This put a big strain on our relationships, so much so, it even led me to attempt suicide.

We heard about an area forum for Tonge and the Haulgh, being held at Bolton at Home’s Tonge Moor UCAN Centre. We decided to go to hear about some road works being done where we live. We didn’t know at the time this would be a life changing experience for us. Continue reading

Customer Committee Eunice: How many pennies will you spend?

I’ve just been to our latest Customer Committee learning and development session. Sound boring? Well, it was quite the opposite as we learned more about how Bolton at Home ticks and what choices they have to make so that all tenants get the best results.

We know money’s tight right now but the simple maths of it all is pay your rent and Bolton at Home will keep maintaining a good place to live for you and your family.

If you’re a tenant and haven’t yet looked at your most recent copy of the Door to Door newsletter, I urge you to read how Bolton at Home spent each £1 of rent monies received last year.

Coming soon, online, will be your chance to say how you’d spend a pound. How much would you put towards building communities? More or less on improving homes and estates? What about making neighbourhoods safe or supporting the more vulnerable?

More details will be available soon. I can’t wait to have a bash. We’ve seen some designs of how it’ll work and I’m sure we’ll all learn something as well as having our “two pennies worth!”

Eunice Rowley

Customer Committee Member


Connecting communities

“Community is important, having a sense of community is essential.” Wise words from the guest speaker at our recent Connecting Communities event at King’s Church. This is where we bring community groups together, so that they can share ideas and learn from each other.

You often hear groups wishing they could have things like other groups, such as luncheon clubs, kids clubs, and buildings! So this is the day we give centre stage to our volunteers who want to ‘showcase’ their work, group or project and explain how they’ve made it happen.

Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Imagine yourself stood on a large stage, about to address a room full of people (who you may not know), big screen behind you and a microphone in front. Are the hairs standing up on the back of your neck yet, are your palms sweating? That’s exactly how they feel but they do it to help others go back to their communities with fresh ideas. Continue reading

Customer Involvement’s Wolfey: Getting down to business with Fusion

Fusion are a super community group who manage their community hub of the same name on Connaught Square in Tonge Moor. I call them a ‘supergroup’ as the volunteers come from different tenant and community groups in Tonge.

Paula Rowson, our Community Development Officer based at our Tonge Moor UCAN Centre, my manager Caroline Lamprey, and me have supported the group since the idea to convert a more or less derelict building into community centre arose three years ago. The place now offers a variety of activities such as dance and art classes, a youth internet café, Breakfast Club and Tippy Toes – a parent and toddler group. It’s also a venue for our customer training courses and Craft a Story sessions run by the YMCA for youngsters. The Fostering Team use it for monthly support groups and BIDAS hold an informal drop-in service there to support those dealing with alcohol and substance misuse.

The volunteers have ambitious plans to develop the hub but find themselves at a crossroads on how to go forward. Continue reading

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