Skyping with Preston
David Yates, Tenant Board Member CGA Preston
David Yates
Monday 15th October 2018 - 10:51

A two way conversation with many voices

David Yates is a Tenant Board Member of Community Gateway Association, Preston. He has been an actively involved resident since 2012 when he joined their Gateway Committee. He is the Chair of their Editorial Panel, which is equivalent to our Resident Communications Group. Here he explains why he was pleased to link up with us at Phoenix on #HousingDay in October 2018.


The theme of Housing Day 2018 was ‘The Tenant Voice’.

Two housing associations decided to organise a Skype session on Housing Day - so what was special about that?

These are two with similar structures – both tenant/resident-led and who believe that tenants/residents are and should be at the heart of what they do.

And the aim of the session – to explore how ‘The Tenant Voice’ is being heard already, and how it can be further amplified both within our two like-minded associations and beyond.

When you asked us if we would like to have a conversation with you, it seemed a very good thing to do. CGA Preston and Phoenix are similar in size with both having around 6,000 homes and both support the Gateway ethos.

We talked prior, to have an agreed theme for our half hour Skype slot, which would centre around the use of social media as a tool for raising our voices, and to fit in with what you were doing there at Phoenix on the day to train your residents in its uses.

The whole #HousingDay18 used the vehicle of Twitter, along with live screenings on YouTube and other social media platforms.

At both ends we had staff and involved tenants in front of the camera. After introductions – although some of us had met before -  we talked about what social media platforms we use. We discussed how we can put those to best use of our tenants, allowing tenants to find out what is happening within the organisation, what services there are, and how they can be used. We agree, informed tenants are happy tenants.

Social media can also be used to involve more tenants, the more volunteers you have the easier it is to share the work load...

We shared some experiences of the events we have put on and the success or otherwise of them, providing each other inspiration on creative methods of better reaching more of our residents.

At both ends we felt energised and agreed that we would like to do this again, looking at different topics and that maybe it could be the start of expanding our contact with others.

We realise that social media is not the only method of passing information; older traditional methods are still as good as they always have been. But we recognise the need to move forwards and use all the methods available to involve our tenants.

Getting together physically when you are at different ends of the country need no longer be a barrier to productive group conversations like the one we had on Housing Day. I would recommend others try this. It could be something that benefits so many people and a way of drawing together tenant voices.