Joy is a Phoenix resident and drives a school transport bus for children with special needs in Bromley. She is a member of Phoenix's Gold Club and volunteers at Farmstead Road Community Gardens.
I’ve been in my home for 11 years – one year with Lewisham and then Phoenix was created. I wasn’t really aware of what was going on when the transfer happened.
Phoenix gets you involved in anything that’s important to you if you want to. We all have the opportunity to do things and to contribute to things.
I’ve always gone to the Festival at Forster Park, I took the kids and they loved it. We also always come to the Christmas events – the kids love it. I’ll never forget one of my kids running up to me and saying "Mum, there’s a black Father Christmas!" and I thought to myself, ‘brilliant, why not!’
I absolutely love it. I’ve met lots of other residents and I now consider them my friends. We meet up with Karen who runs Impact Matters – they got money from the Phoenix Community Chest to run more projects. She’s taught us lots, and helped us to get more confident. We know what we need to do to improve Phoenix and the community and how we can do it.
There’s a group of us involved now at the allotments – at Farmstead Road Community Gardens. We entered Phoenix in Bloom and won third prize. That was £50 of vouchers so we decided to use it to buy more seeds for what we’ll grow next year.
The project’s finished but we don’t want our friendships to end. There are a lot of people who live on their own, like elderly people or single parents.
I’ve worked with kids all my life and I know how important it is to get people out. We’ve been to Joss Bay, we’ve been to Margate, and all in wonderful company. We took Betty in her wheelchair – we could do that because the minibus has a strap for the wheelchair and I know how to use it from work.
Before Phoenix we had nothing like this – I felt isolated in my home. Now I’m supported and I feel part of something, part of the community.
If you’re not involved or you’re not happy with how things are, go and see your housing officer. Speak to them, tell them what you want to change or what you want to see.