Tenants' conference at Lochside
Over 80 Irvine Housing Association tenants got together at Lochside House Hotel, New Cumnock on 23 February 2012 for the Association's Annual Tenants' Conference - 'Working Together'. Organisers say another productive day was had by the tenants, board members and staff in attendance.
The all day event provided an excellent opportunity for tenants and representatives from the Association's communities to meet with each other and hear about the Association's priorities for the coming year.
A Conference Working Group of Association tenants helped plan and prepare the conference and representatives from the group assisted in opening and closing the event. Technuical Inspector, John Watson and Senior Community Involvement Officer, Phyllis Rodgers compered the event, keeping the day light hearted and engaging.
Nicola Thom, Executive Director Operations provided an overview of the Association's achievements in the last year and progress made towards meeting customers' aspirations. Nicola later presented on the Association's ambitions to grow as an organisation by building more homes and offering more services. Following the Association's recent partnership with Riverside, Nicola provided an update on progress made toward keeping the promises that the Association made to its communities.
Angela McIlroy, Senior Customer Services Officer gave an overview of the new Customer Services Team, the comprehensive training programme being rolled out to staff and plans to enhance the service even further.
Guest speakers included Carol McHarg of 1st Alliance (Ayrshire) Credit Union and Peter Donegan, Resident Involvement Manager at Riverside. Both Carol and Peter addressed issues being faced by many households - Welfare Reform and Fuel Poverty. Carol advised tenants of the services offered by 1st Alliance to assist households and the steps being taken in partnership with Irvine Housing Association to reduce the impact of Welfare Reform on the Association's communities. She also spoke of the Credit Union's forthcoming expansion into Dumfries & Galloway. Peter provided energy saving tips and pointed tenants in the right direction to save money on their fuel bills.
Managing Director, Paul Hillard provided an overview of the Association's Corporate Plan. Priorities and aspirations for the year ahead include an enhanced out of hours service, major investment in existing properties, as well as plans to build new homes and offer new services.
A highlight of the day was when a charity presentation by Association staff, Iain Gillan and John Brennan, revealed that in 2011/12 the Association has raised over £18,000 for charity - a fantastic achievement! A major contribution to this was the London to Paris cycle completed by Iain, John and three other staff last July.
Nicola Thom thanks community representatives and staff for another successful event achieved by working together. "Our annual Tenants' Conference has become one of the highlights of our year. Staff and communities alike view it as a celebration of our ongoing and regular commitment to effective partnership working with our customers. Yet again, the day provided the opportunity for frank discussion and debate, whilst also ensuring that delegates had an enjoyable day within relaxed surroundings. My thanks in particular to all staff involved in the organisation of this conference, as well as our team of community representatives who directed and planned the format and discussion topics for the day."
Delegates had the opportunity to attend an Information Village where partner agencies and contractors were on hand to answer questions and offer advice.
Question and answer sessions were held throughout the day and a final interactive feedback session provided an instant evaluation of the day - a resounding success according to the 100% of delegates who voted that they enjoyed the event, of which 87% rated it 'excellent' and the rest as 'good'!
An overview of the conference will be publicised in a newsletter to be issued to tenants.
This article appeared in Cumnock Chronicle 27 Feb 12