Pat Fordham MBE

Phoenix's founding chair wins Lifetime Achievement award

Updated: 1 April 2019 at 11:21am

Congratulations from all of us to our founding tenant Chair Pat Fordham MBE on being presented with a Lifetime Achievement award at the 2019 Tpas Awards.

At the ceremony on Friday 29 March Pat dedicated the award to tenants across the country who volunteer their time to improve housing and their communities.

A community activitist for more than three decades, in the mid 2000s Pat campaigned for a different kind of housing association in south Lewisham where residents would have control over the management of their homes.

A successful tenant ballot led to the creation of Phoenix in 2007, with new rules stating that the chair and vice chair would always be tenants and tenants would be the largest group on the Board.

Working together with her new Chief Executive, Jim Ripley, Pat then oversaw the difficulties of a fledging housing association, split over four sites (one a paint shed), as it started to deliver on more than 150 promises made to tenants at transfer, including the roll-out of its £150million Decent Homes programme.

Twelve years later Pat can reflect on:

  • The delivery of all 157 promises made to residents in 2007
  • More than 3,700 shareholding residents able to vote at the AGM and stand for election to the Board.
  • The completion of Phoenix’s first new homes with £70million investment secured for future development.
  • The creation of The Green Man on Bromley Road SE6 as a new community building and Phoenix’s headquarters, plus the restoration of the vast 1920s Fellowship Inn in Bellingham as a new cultural venue for the area thanks to a successful £4million Lottery bid.
  • The establishment of the unique Phoenix Academy – an annual ‘school of social housing’ aimed at developing future resident Board Members.
  • The highest possible G1/V1 ratings from the housing regulator (G1/V1)
  • Investors in People Gold and London Living Wage accreditation.

Pat received the MBE for services to Lewisham in 2011.

Pat Fordham MBE winner Lifetime Achievement at Tpas Awards 2019

She stood down as Phoenix’s Chair in 2016 and as a Board Member in 2017, supporting the succession of her fellow tenant Anne McGurk into the Chair’s role. She remains an active member of the Phoenix Gateway Committee and Resident Communications Group.

Former Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock said of Pat: “She’s someone who’s Lewisham through and through. She has made an incredible contribution to this community. Many people were sceptical about Phoenix – but they were people who’d never talked to Pat. Pat knew it could work but what she didn’t tell us was that it would be her inspirational leadership that would actually make Phoenix the success it is today. In years to come people will talk about the legend that is Pat Fordham.”