Rooftop is determined to build on our relationships with customers and to be leaders of new national strategies such as Together with Tenants.

We’ve been making changes so that customers can feel more involved and Rooftop’s presence in your communities is more visible.  Hopefully you’ll have seen our Neighbourhood Officers out and about as they now have smaller patches. 

Over the last month for example, our Neighbourhood Officers (NO), Money Advisors, Income Officers and partner agencies have visited Badsey, South Littleton and Harvington. From this, one customer was referred to our Outreach Worker and engagement was made with a customer who we’d had difficulty contacting. Their communication with us regarding their rent account has improved since that visit.

We’ve begun more partnership working between a NO and a Money Advisor in the Forest of Dean and central Gloucester to deal with rent account issues, rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.  Also, our NO, Tony Henderson, has completed some inclusive work in partnership with The Travellers’ Times in a fantastic arts awards project for children from our Gypsy and Traveller community based around Birmingham. The purpose has been to change perception, help them to feel more accepted by the wider community and to encourage them to access educational opportunities.

We’ve held lots of community events, including a roadshow event in Drakes Broughton, organised by NO, Lisa Tandy, involving partner agencies and staff from the Money Advice and Health and Wellbeing teams. Despite a low turnout following promotion of the event, there were still a couple of positive outcomes. One customer is now being assisted to appeal against a benefits decision and one customer was encouraged to join activities at Cherry Orchard House to reduce social isolation.

NO, Barbara Taylor, held an event at Bishop’s Cleeve Football Club on 23 March, which was attended by 50+ customers and two Board Members. A fun filled day allowed the NO to learn more about the services provided by the football club and its day care nursery. They offer free venues for kids at the club and the day nursery can offer some free day care for those who are facing financial difficulty. The Fire Service booked in some safety checks with customers and it was generally a good networking opportunity between our customers, staff, Board Members, Parish Council and other agencies. A de-brief of this particular event made us realise that earlier promotion of the event and transport provisions might have improved attendance. rish councillor's, board members, local businesses and more importantly our customers.

Our newest NO, Sophie Hickman, carried out a street meet from 25 to 29 March in four villages across her patch, Honeybourne, Badsey, Pebworth and Bretforton. Tackling one street per day, it was an opportunity to introduce herself and to engage with customers to find out what they liked about their area, Rooftop as their landlord and what improvements could be made. Over the four days, Sophie met with 36 customers and discovered that an area of Honeybourne has a real generational divide. To address this, Sophie is planning to hold a gardening event to try and encourage some intergenerational working to bring the community together. There was also praise for our repairs service from 12 customers and a number of issues were raised that Sophie was able to resolve there and then.

NO, Pete Stock, held an Easter egg hunt on 16 April at Fairfield village hall. This was attended by 200 customers (including children) and was a great success. This was an excellent opportunity to get together with customers and promote the services we offer, but also to understand what was needed in the area. From this, it’s possible that we’ll arrange a cookery course for parents and their children.

We are involved with a national initiative called Together with Tenants and Rooftop’s Daisy Halford spoke at the event on 1 May. We are keen to be leaders in the strategy and this was a fantastic opportunity to promote our commitment to this project and to customer engagement in general.

The Resident Excellence Panel (REP) has completed a review of our aids and adaptations service and recommendations went to the Audit and Risk Committee in April. They are proposing the next topic to be tenancy sustainability. We have recruited a new member to REP following attendance at a couple of meetings to observe. However, we have also had a REP member resign so there is currently a vacancy to recruit to.  If you’re interested, please get in touch.

We’re currently running a Customer Training Academy, a nine week programme of various topics to give customers the opportunity to learn more about Social Housing and Rooftop. If customers attend a minimum of six sessions, they will attend the graduation ceremony in week nine and be presented with a certificate. We hope that by the end of the programme customers will have the knowledge and confidence to have a voice within Rooftop.  The first customer training academy session was held on 30 April and was a great success. The topic was the history of social housing and registered social landlords. The session was very interactive with the customers offering stories of their own which in turn sparked interesting discussions. The feedback was positive, and the customers are looking forward to the next session.  The event is held on Tuesdays’ evenings in Evesham.

We are continuing to use social media to connect with you and the Group Chair and Group Chief Executive carried out a live Q&A session on Facebook which had 919 views, 205 engagements and reached 1,801 customers after the March Board meeting.  These sessions will be a regular occurrence so look out for notifications.

We always want to improve what we do, so please get in touch if you want to be an involved .

Lisa.Sutton@rooftopgroup.org