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A year in the life of the ITA

Catalyst has funded an ITA service on Wornington Green Estate since February 2009 to give independent advice to tenants and ensure that they are involved in the regeneration of their estate. NewmanFrancis won the contract last year and have been delivering services on the estate since September 2012.

The Independent Tenant Advisory Service (ITA) is provided by NewmanFrancis and is back for another year. But who are they and what do they do exactly? Here & Now went to meet Mekor and Howard from the ITA to find out more.

What is the Independent Tenant Advisory Service?

NewmanFrancis has lots of housing and regeneration experience and we are passionate about working in and supporting local communities like Wornington Green. We don’t work for Catalyst but it’s important that we have a good working relationship with them. Rather, our role is to work with Wornington Green residents and make sure they have a voice and influence what happens with the regeneration. We aim to be impartial and find solutions. You can’t please all the people all of the time but we do our best to represent the many different viewpoints found on Wornington Green.

What does the ITA do?

There are a number of strands to the service we provide. We provide support to the Residents’ Steering Group, outreach work on the estate, independent advice service (by telephone and email), surgeries, newsletters and information, as well as training for residents. We aim to get more residents involved and help influence what happens on Wornington Green. We understand that people lead busy lives and can’t always come to meetings, so it’s important to find different ways of communicating with people. We always try and remain friendly and approachable. In July we surveyed residents about the work we do and we were pleased that so many of you said we are doing a good job. However, some residents said that we need to provide nicer sandwiches at the RSG and Committee meetings! There’s always room for improvement of course.

What have you achieved so far?

One of the first things we did was to help the Residents’ Steering Group (RSG) set up its own constituted Committee. We now have regular Committee meetings as well as the public meetings which are open to everyone. We helped the Committee devise its own Action Plan, which was about prioritising what residents wanted to do. The Committee has worked with Catalyst to make sure that the new Neighbourhood Rules are fair and also helped choose Conran and Partners as the architects for Phase 2. The Committee then set up a Design Group which worked with the architects for 5 months on the designs for Phase 2. This year the Committee hosted two open days at the Venture Centre when residents had a chance to comment on the Phase 2 designs. Over 100 residents attended these events. The Committee has also been looking at the Residents’ Charter to make sure that Catalyst is adhering to it and meeting all the commitments.

We also helped the Committee to lobby Catalyst to provide a show flat for residents. The show flat viewings in July were very successful and we now hope that Catalyst will be able to make a permanent Show Flat available. We hope we’ve helped change negative perceptions of the Wornington Green regeneration. Residents seem more positive now about the changes that are taking place and more residents are saying that they feel they can play an active part in what happens on Wornington Green.

What’s next?

During September we’ll be working with the Committee to improve the service and come up with a new Action Plan. We want to improve how we communicate with residents, as some residents still don’t know who we are. We also want to find different ways to involve residents and engage different sections of the community. We are always looking for more residents to get involved with the Committee! We also plan to organise more events and activities and make the meetings more interesting. We’re looking forward to working on Wornington Green for another year. Finally, we’d like to thank all the residents we’ve worked with over the last year for all their hard work and enthusiasm.

For more information about the service, how to get more involved or for a personal chat please contact Mekor Newman (Lead Advisor) at mekor@newmanfrancis.org or Howard Mendick at howardnewmanfrancis@gmail.com. You can also contact us on 0800 644 6040.

Detailed results from the recent ITA Survey as well as lots of other news and views can be found on our Facebook page: Follow us on Facebook: Wornington Green Resident Steering Group.

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