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Resident story

72 years young and involved in everything

Clarion Housing

Bob is the “sort of guy who wants to get things done” and, over the last 20 years, he’s got things done for the local community and residents across the country.

Involved in as much as he can, for Bob neighbourliness is at the heart of his life: doing his bit on his estate to make it nicer for all who live there – from litter-picking and repairs inspections to being a friendly face to wave to.

Bob is also active in supporting residents on a wider scale as a member of one of our regional resident scrutiny committees and our national Out and About network. He sees his involvement as important to help Clarion improve efficiency and make a real difference. In fact, at one point Bob was involved in 16 different groups.

“Residents are the boots on the ground, letting Clarion know what’s happening on the estates,” says Bob. “I like to keep busy and want to do whatever I can if it makes life better for residents.”

If you want to live in a beautiful area, don’t move, make your area beautiful

Bob

resident scrutiny committee

Why I get involved

Here, Bob tells us more about what he does and why he believes residents should get involved.

“I believe resident involvement and the upkeep of social housing is in my blood. For as long as I can remember I’ve been sticking up for the rights of residents, trying to take the stigma out of what seems to wrongly go hand in hand with social housing.

“I was once told by a fellow involved resident that if he was to cut me in half I would have resident involvement written through my core. Perhaps he was right.

“What I do know is that I’m passionate about what I do and strive to do it to the best of my ability wherever possible.

“I think somewhere along the way people have lost the community spirit that used to be so prevalent on all housing estates. Neighbours looking out for each other, community associations, street parties. Where have they all gone?

“During lockdown, I got up at 4am every day. The Co-op bread delivery arrived at 5am, the Co-op opened at 7am. Daily the bread delivery was being stolen, so I got there for 5am to make sure the bread delivery was not stolen and make sure the residents had bread to purchase.

A neighbourliness poll carried out by the Co-op since the coronavirus came and shocked me: it found that only 26% of people check on their neighbours, 12% dropped off shopping and only 46% even talked to their neighbours. What a sad indictment this is on all of us.

“I make a point of saying ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’ to people I pass in the street, ok some may look at me as if I’ve just escaped from the asylum, but they soon start giving me a smile and reciprocate the greeting. I find a nod, a smile, or a kind word goes a long way.

“I like to think I’m doing my bit for the community. I’m on everything I can possibly be on that Clarion allows. And I’m on the board of Leecliffe Big Local that has a million pounds, donated by the National Lottery, to try to make my local area better for its residents. I find these two entities fit well together with what I believe in and try to do as much as possible to get other like-minded residents on board.

“Clarion is not alone with its pitfalls, it’s very easy for them, sitting in their offices thinking that they know what the residents want, but it’s a lot easier if the residents say what we want.

“We know, we’re the boots on the ground. We know the pitfalls first hand, but you need to let them know, and I’ve found the best way of doing this is to become an involved resident. It doesn’t cost you anything, except your time and you can give as much or as little as you want.

“What’s the downside I hear you say? Well, for me, the only downside I’ve found is it’s addictive, and I find there’s always something that needs tweaking or making better.

“My mantra has always been and I do honestly believe it: ‘If you want to live in a beautiful area, don’t move, make your area beautiful.’”

Clarion Housing Residents' Annual report 2019 - 2020 front cover

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