What made you decide to join the Resident VOICES group?
I met some of Fife Housing Group’s enthusiastic Engagement Team when they were promoting a Community Café in the area. This brought back memories from my childhood, when people would go door-to-door, meeting local residents and encouraging them to get involved with community initiatives, such as Highland Games and local committees. It is good know that people are still interested in making the effort to engage with local residents about issues affecting their community, and to be involved with nurturing this community spirit.
What is your background?
I was born in Ballingry and was involved with the church from a very young age, starting up various youth groups in the community with my brother. I began working at the local Co-op aged 17, becoming a trainee manager after two years, and was later approached by a local Fire Officer and encouraged to apply to be a retained Fire Fighter. I thoroughly enjoyed this role and eventually retired as a Group Commander.
After retiring, I realised I wasn’t ready to give up work altogether and took up a position with NHS Scotland as a Fire Safety Advisor. I also have 15 years experience as a Local Councillor (Labour ward), seven years’ experience as a Justice of the Peace, and spent three years on the Board of Management of Fife Housing Association.
Do you have any experience in Scrutiny, or driving service improvements?
My management position at the Co-operative included scrutinising the process of stock control and performance monitoring of colleagues. Later, within the Fire Service, I was responsible for ensuring that KPIs were met according to performance targets. I was also responsible for ensuring staff were compliant with training requirements and insisted that Fire Officers engaged well within the community by offering free safety checks to highlight fire safety in the home.
What would you like to see happen as a result of Resident Scrutiny?
I would like to see projects such as Mystery Shopping exercises and introduction of real Resident Inspectors fully implemented. I would also like to think that the repairs improvement surveys which have been suggested by the Group would result in true feedback to tenants and hope that, with the Group’s focus on driving forward performance, tenants and residents will be able to see service improvements with their own eyes.
What have you most enjoyed about your first few meetings with the group?
The group are really friendly and it’s great to meet people who are like-minded and committed to making improvements in the community. The support of Fife Housing Group’s Engagement Team has also been fantastic and I am confident that by working together, we can make some real improvements to the services delivered.
What would you say to other people who might be interested in participating?
I would say come along to the group and find out what it’s all about. Step in and give it a go – it might not be for you but, unless you try it, you’ll never know!
If you would like to find out more about Resident VOICES or any of the other opportunities for resident involvement on offer please do not hesitate to contact our Engagement Assistant, Melissa McManus on 01383 608105 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.