ETF Housing Blog

Build it and they will come!

Gateside Tenants and Residents Association (GTRA) were crowned Tenants’ Group of the Year at the Tenants Information Service Annual Conference for the work they do in their local community. Bill Walker, Chair of the group explains how they managed to get local people involved in their community.

GTRA restarted just over a year ago to try and bring the pride back to the estate.   Many people were making comments on issues that were affecting their tenancy and they didn’t know who to speak to.  It was decided to arrange a walkabout with representatives from the Council.  As there was no single person to take control, it fell to me to be the main point of contact.  There was good feedback from the walkabout and it was suggested that I stand for chair of GTRA after a meeting was held to bring together everyone who was interested.

A formal survey was carried out by GTRA to try and gain an understanding of what local people wanted. This involved GTRA Committee members delivering the surveys door to door and responses received ranged from interest to complete indifference.  Whilst we have had great successes in the short period we have been running, it is still a task to gain interest from a larger number of tenants and residents.  All is fine when events are planned usually by the GTRA committee and when the events are in full flow a wider range of helpers will appear from the estate.

Our community garden which is already in place has given tenants and residents a focal point to sit, relax and meet locals. Some of the surrounding tenants especially Dot Henderson have taken it upon themselves to help maintain this area.  Plans are already in place to establish a sub-committee as plans on the estate develop.  We have started to make arrangements to hold meetings in a suitable venue and develop a community cycle track; all of which will need community input and support.

I have found that as in the movie “build it and they will come” (Field of Dreams), people need something on the ground to take part in and hopefully this will bring in more support.

Gateside 2

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