Welcome to the latest Fitton Hill Community Voice Update

I hope you are enjoying the signs of spring and longer daylight hours.  

I’m pleased to share this latest update covering key discussions from our recent Community Voice meeting. Our group is made up of myself and other tenants who live in the Fitton Hill area. 

We work together with ForHousing to take action and signpost to partners when it’s needed.  

Together we understand the importance of listening and learning from tenants, like me and you, about crucial matters affecting our neighbourhood.  

We want to have our voices heard and be a part of influencing what happens in our homes and communities. 

Please read on for all the essential news from our March Community Voice update.  

Helen Wild, Chair of Community Voice 

Neighbourhoods we can be proud of

We all want to feel safe where we live and proud of our neighbourhoods. Being part of Community Voice and attending the meetings is important as it gives us an opportunity to raise concerns.  

Colleagues from ForHousing are there to listen, note down our views, and follow through with actions to improve things.  

There have been quite a few traffic issues recently that several tenants were keen to highlight at this meeting. Penny Kenworthy from the local council joined us to hear our concerns and promised to feed these back to the relevant teams.  

We raised issues about very bad traffic and poor visibility around Keswick Road roundabout, often made worse by double parking on either side of the road. This sometimes causes buses to get stuck and school pick-up and drop-off times are often the worst.  

We shared concerns about the cleanliness of the roads and problematic parking on Fir Tree Avenue and Springwood Hall Road, which has caused issues for the fire brigade. Penny is going to look into a solution and report back to us. Parking of Liberty vans on grass verges was also raised and ForHousing is going to address this with them. 

We also discussed the issue of young people riding quad bikes in the area and engaging in Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB). ForHousing is going to look into bringing community partners together to look at preventative measures and projects. Please do let ForHousing know of any issues with quad bikes so that they can be dealt with quickly.  

Improving services and listening to your views

ForHousing is always keen to hear your views so they can listen, learn, and improve the services they offer. 

In the meeting, we were given an update on tenant satisfaction, including the plan to move to digital surveys rather than over the phone. The surveys are designed to allow every tenant the chance to give feedback. Currently, tenant satisfaction surveys take place over the phone, and this limits it to 100 people which doesn’t provide an accurate picture. 

Members flagged an issue with the old survey system – if you received a phone call to provide feedback about a repair and the repair was not carried out because no one turned up, then the call would be ended there. ForHousing confirmed they would look into this. 

We suggested the new survey should include a question that covers the issue of repairs being rearranged multiple times by Liberty. 

We also commented on our experiences of contractors saying a job has been completed when it hasn’t been started. 

This information will be passed onto Liberty to be acted upon through the contract team.ForHousing will set up a Repairs and Maintenance Service Excellence Group which will be the formal tenant group to support accountability on the delivery of the contract. They are aiming to get this set up this summer.  

The new system will be more automated and should be a lot more efficient while still giving tenants plenty of opportunity for feedback.  

An overview of computer-generated letters sent to tenants was discussed. The project is part of ForHousing’s work to listen and learn from tenant feedback as they know they have work to do to improve tenant letters. As a result, a new focus group has been set up to improve the way letters are written to make them more friendly and clearer, for example in explaining legal terms.  

We discussed the new standards for social housing landlords that come into effect in April 2024. We noted that housing associations will be assessed every four years unless they are seen as failing in published satisfaction areas. It was also mentioned that auditors have found ForHousing to be compliant with current standards, with recommendations for improvement. Further information on these is available here.

Supporting tenants when they need it most

The employment support service has now been approved as a permanent and successful initiative at ForHousing. It was emphasised that its value extends beyond employment to include training for specific roles, which is really positive 

Making a positive contribution to the local community

At Community Voice we are dedicated to working with ForHousing and local partners to make a positive impact in our neighbourhood. 

At the meeting we had an update from ForHousing on a long-term project called Understanding Our Communities. It is about identifying what can be improved by focusing on the existing strengths in the community that can be built upon.  

The project identified the lack of community spaces in Fitton Hill, so we had a detailed discussion about this. We talked about plans for St Martin’s play park, for which £30,000 funding has been secured and we are currently waiting to see potential designs. 

The next step in the Understanding Our Communities project is likely to be a community consultation over the May half-term break. There were some useful discussions about ideas, including whether exercise equipment could be incorporated so it’s not just a children’s play area but a space that adults can benefit from too. 

We also talked about the action group, which is a steering group involving youth clubs, primary schools, and the council, aimed at enabling information sharing. We discussed how this group could be helpful in addressing the quad bike issues in the community. We’ll keep you updated on the progress of the action group.  

Additionally, the Community Fund was discussed, noting Fitton Hill’s tendency to underspend. ForHousing is going to create some targeted ads to help boost applications. Findings from the recent Community Fund review have suggested that introducing an example application that applicants can refer to might be helpful.  

Tenants can apply for funding here. For those not online, Community Development staff can assist with phone, or in-person applications and paper forms can be sent by mail. We have been told that any leftover money will be given to local projects, charities, or initiatives. 

Making a positive contribution to the local community

At Community Voice we are dedicated to working with ForHousing and local partners to make a positive impact in our neighbourhood. 

At the meeting we had an update from ForHousing on a long-term project called Understanding Our Communities. It is about identifying what can be improved by focusing on the existing strengths in the community that can be built upon.  

The project identified the lack of community spaces in Fitton Hill, so we had a detailed discussion about this. We talked about plans for St Martin’s play park, for which £30,000 funding has been secured and we are currently waiting to see potential designs. 

The next step in the Understanding Our Communities project is likely to be a community consultation over the May half-term break. There were some useful discussions about ideas, including whether exercise equipment could be incorporated so it’s not just a children’s play area but a space that adults can benefit from too. 

We also talked about the action group, which is a steering group involving youth clubs, primary schools, and the council, aimed at enabling information sharing. We discussed how this group could be helpful in addressing the quad bike issues in the community. We’ll keep you updated on the progress of the action group.  

Additionally, the Community Fund was discussed, noting Fitton Hill’s tendency to underspend. ForHousing is going to create some targeted ads to help boost applications. Findings from the recent Community Fund review have suggested that introducing an example application that applicants can refer to might be helpful.  

Tenants can apply for funding here. For those not online, Community Development staff can assist with phone, or in-person applications and paper forms can be sent by mail. We have been told that any leftover money will be given to local projects, charities, or initiatives. 

Listening to your views and acting on them

We are actively recruiting new members to the Community Voice, so if you are interested in representing your local community and working with ForHousing to make improvements, please get in touch here. ForHousing wants to understand what matters most to you and we really appreciate people giving their time and input to groups like these so ForHousing can listen and learn.  

We’ll continue to share future updates with you. Do spread the word about the tenant newsletter with your family and friends, this is published every three months, and you will be able to view the latest version on their website homepage here.

Latest News

20/05/2024

Spring Day Bank Holiday – everything you need to know

Click to find out more

17/05/2024

Stockbridge born artist’s new colourful co-created mural unveiled in the village

Click to find out more

14/05/2024

Clifton Community Fun Day, Friday 31 May – Free for all to join!

Click to find out more