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UK's first dedicated school for social housing residents up and running

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UK's first dedicated school for social housing residents up and running


Published by Anonymous for in Housing

UK's first dedicated school for social housing residents up and running UK's first dedicated school for social housing residents up and running

Social housing residents in south London are being offered the opportunity to become experts on the sector thanks to a new academy launched by Phoenix Community Housing.

The 12-week Phoenix Academy – believed to be the only one of its kind currently offered by a UK social landlord – aims to equip residents with a range of skills and knowledge that will enable them to get fully involved in their housing issues and steer the future direction of Phoenix.

Subjects to be covered over 12 two-hour sessions include everything from rent collection to sustainable development, and the principles of good governance to housing finance. The first session, covering the history of social housing and registered social landlords, took place on Tuesday 29 April.

Phoenix was created in 2007 as London’s first resident-owned housing association, offering shareholding membership to all tenants and leaseholders at its 6,300 homes. Its chair and vice chair are both tenants, and residents form the largest group on Phoenix’s Board.

Chief executive, Jim Ripley, said: “We’re very proud to be launching the Phoenix Academy and are confident it will be of real benefit to both our residents and Phoenix as an organisation.

“At Phoenix we don’t just pay lip service to resident involvement; we’re owned by our residents and led by our residents. That approach has helped us become a top performing housing association that’s delivering what our residents want us to deliver, and prioritising what our residents want us to prioritise.

“But we’re constantly striving to get even more residents involved and we need to identify and encourage potential future board members. The Phoenix Academy is all about ensuring more residents have the expertise to get meaningfully involved at a strategic level and help us build on our model as a resident-led organisation.”

Among more than 30 residents at the first Phoenix Academy session were Gail Nicholas and Thelma Daniels. Gail Nicholas said: “I wanted to take part to give myself a clearer understanding of everything that Phoenix does and to understand how the housing sector works.

“I want to get more involved with Phoenix, but in order to be able to influence future plans and to be a useful member, I’d like to be more informed about how things work.”

Thelma Daniels, said: “I signed up to the Phoenix Academy because I thought it would be interesting, and I’ve already learnt lots. It’s really made me appreciate the importance of social housing to us all.

“I’m already very involved with Phoenix, but by the end of this course I hope to be able to get even more involved! I think it’s a fantastic idea. The number of people who’ve turned up tonight shows how much interest there is from residents for this kind of course.”

At the end of the 12-week course, residents will be encouraged and supported to pursue further opportunities for involvement and Phoenix intends to run the academy on an annual basis.


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