Amplifying resident voices - my thoughts for #HousingDay
Anne McGurk is Chair of the Phoenix Board and a retired head teacher. She is also a Phoenix tenant.
#HousingDay on Wednesday 10 October is a 24-hour social media-led celebration of the positive impact of social housing on millions of tenants. Now in its sixth year, the day contributes to raising the profile of the social housing sector, helping to tackle stigma and stereotypes. This year’s theme is the 'the tenant voice'.
Happily, residents having a voice is a given here at Phoenix. There are so many opportunities to be an involved Phoenix resident and to have a real say. As a resident-led organisation, our residents can have a voice at every level of the organisation. Our rules say our Board Chair and Vice Chair will always be tenants, and residents can join resident groups such as our Phoenix Gateway Committee or Resident Scrutiny Panel, give their feedback and views at a range of events and as part of consultations.
In whatever way our tenants or leaseholders choose to give their views, our message to residents is clear - we value your opinions, your views, your voices, and we are listening.
But how can we amplify those voices beyond Phoenix, voices to shape the future of social housing?
To mark #HousingDay18 we've decided to hold a social media masterclass for our residents, to encourage you to raise your voices in new ways, and to learn from each other how to amplify them still further.
Social media may have a mixed reputation, but it’s a way of communicating that is part of the fabric of our world. The more familiar we are with all the aspects of social media, the more we can use it and influence how it is used.
Isn’t it fantastic that we can send our ‘voice’ in whatever direction we want? We can reach every continent in seconds, we can join it with other voices, we can continue to shape the world so that it is fit for our children - and we don’t need a postage stamp!
I want to learn more about continuing to get my voice heard, about new ways of being heard, about sharing ideas with residents throughout the UK and beyond. And yes, I want to know how to Skype and... no, I don’t yet want to talk to a machine in the corner of the room to ask it to put the light on and tell me the weather for the day - well, not yet.
This #HousingDay, I hope that our residents have a good day exploring social media options and raising their voices - learn well so you can pass on your skills to me. And I'm looking forward to joining in some of the conversations that are going on with other tenants across the country and hearing their voices, and learning from them.