What it means to be an involved tenant
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Sue Bailey shares her experience of being a Involved Tenant at Teign Housing:

In 2011 I didn’t feel very confident, I was in an abusive and unhealthy relationship and felt I had no worth.  I went along to the family day at Paignton Zoo organised by Teign Housing, as it was a free day out for my family and I.  I admit I did have another agenda – I wanted a loft conversion – but actually when I spoke to staff there I saw the bigger picture, but still had it at the back of my mind.

Following a presentation at the event about getting involved, I started to go along to the Scrutiny Panel.  The Chair at the time was so encouraging and helpful and never minded being contacted, even with silly questions. The more I got involved, the more I saw the bigger picture and really enjoyed meeting new people and finding out how Teign Housing works as an organisation.  I was encouraged to do presentations and attended various training workshops, and along with the support of other outside agencies, my confidence grew as did my self belief. Over the years this gave me the confidence leave the unhealthy relationship I was in.

To make my families life better and with my youngest child in school, I started applying for jobs and as my confidence continued to increase I got back into nursing with a full time job.

With my full time job that involves a lot of travel and managing family life, it doesn’t leave me a lot of spare time, but I feel like I owe Teign Housing for the social and communication skills they have given me over the years.  Also, some of what I have learnt whilst being involved with Scrutiny has helped me in my job, for example, I wouldn’t have known what a Key Performance Indicator was!

I found being involved daunting to begin with but the more you do, the more you learn and involved tenants indirectly help so many people. 

I would recommend that people get in touch and come along to see for themselves what being involved is about – don’t let anything be a barrier, for example, Teign Housing will pay out of pocket expenses.  As a parent I found that it gave me another interest to think and talk about, I was also better informed and felt like I was making a worthwhile contribution.

Oh and by the way, I never did get a loft conversion, but by then it didn’t matter as I had seen the bigger picture and understood Teign Housing’s decision.

If anyone is interested in getting involved, please contact Julie Cleave for more information julie.cleave@teignhousing.co.uk or 01626 322751.  Some groups meet during the day and one in the evening.  If you would like to speak with Sue about involvement from a tenant’s perspective, this can be arranged through Julie.