My Phoenix - Simon Barlow
We feature a different Phoenix resident in each issue of Community News. Simon has been a Phoenix resident for seven years and is a new member of our Resident Scrutiny Panel. We spoke with Simon in March.
How long have you been a Phoenix resident?
I still live in the same property I moved into in January 2010. I didn’t know the Phoenix area very well, but had been on the Lewisham housing list for seven years. I was desperate to move out of where I was. I shared a house with three other people and wanted my own privacy, with no fights over the bathroom.
What changes have you seen?
When I moved in it seemed like there was a focus to improve residents, homes, as I saw workmen everywhere! It was refreshing for me to join Phoenix and find out that it was created by residents. Being resident-led, it feels like there’s more investment in the area and I’ve seen improvements in the green spaces, where I live.
What’s the best thing about living in the Phoenix area?
I think there’s a need and a desire to build a community and Phoenix embraces that through its events for everyone to come together.
The community is very diverse and I think that’s a great benefit to me. London is more diverse than my home town in Yorkshire. One of the reasons I got involved was to understand more about the different Phoenix areas and how I could influence change for my neighbourhood.
What would you change?
I’d love to see more spaces that are underused put to community use like a safe play area for children, so I think that there’s work that we can do.
I think if more people came up with ideas and voiced their opinions by getting involved, more things would be acted on. It doesn’t mean joining the Resident Scrutiny Panel, it can be by joining the other resident groups or by coming along to an event.
What are your hopes for the future?
Phoenix is ten years old this year and I love that things have moved forward and there is a presence in the community.
I work in education and I hope that younger people will get more involved, as they are the tenants of the future. All they need is someone to take the time to speak to themand they can speak to me if they see me around!