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Hi, I’m Carole.

I moved to Bournville in 1979 with my husband and six year old daughter. In 1983 my son was born here and both my children attended St Laurence and Dame Elizabeth Cadbury schools. Since retiring I’m able to devote more time to my eight grandchildren and recently downsized to a bungalow, where I’m spending my retirement enjoying my favourite hobby, gardening.

Although I’m enjoying growing veg’ I didn’t want to “vegetate” in my old age. I’m keen to use the skills, knowledge and experience I gained from my career in Community Development and was delighted when I got the opportunity to join the Housing Services Committee, last year. This is where tenants’, like me, sit around the table with senior staff and Trustees to make decisions that affect Bournville residents. Four tenants currently sit on the Housing Services Committee, overseeing the services we receive from our landlord.

The presentations at the beginning of the quarterly meetings are particularly interesting. This month representatives from the Scrutiny Panel, made up of twelve residents, delivered the findings and recommendations following their examination of the systems used for receiving OUR feedback.

The role of the Scrutiny Panel is to audit and challenge BVT’s methods of working and propose alternatives if appropriate. They felt the existing Annual Satisfaction Survey was too long and did not encourage us to complete it. Therefore their recommendations included, to scrap the Annual Satisfaction Survey as it fails to provide a meaningful insight into resident’s needs; and to explore ways to improve the quality of customer feedback from services delivery. All their recommendations were accepted and will be implemented.

Also during the meeting we learnt more about the Government’s changes to the Welfare Benefit system and how this is impacting on both tenants and BVT, we monitored budgets and performance in key areas such as repairs and maintenance and rental income, we learnt more about tenants in Shropshire – Kath Waye, tenant and Chair of the Shropshire Committee was in attendance and we looked at the work currently undertaken by the Communities Team and by BVT’s care homes.

The Trustees are very keen to encourage tenant involvement. If you’re interested in influencing decisions about the Bournville Village Trust, call the Head Office at 350 Bournville Lane and ask for Jess Allan.

BVT is “going digital” and some of us were concerned that some residents may be left behind, particularly those of us who are more mature. But managers assured us that digital and current systems will operate side by side for the foreseeable future and the Trust will provide training and support to ensure the inclusion of all tenants. So don’t miss out! You don’t need to book, just drop in for free training and support every Thursday at the Community Hub, Sycamore Rd or every Tuesday at Shenley Court Hall between 10am and 12noon.

Carole

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