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"You have a much stronger voice!” – Why one customer believes residents’ associations are a good idea

Residents’ associations are becoming more popular and increasingly common.

The groups can be a great way of ensuring you have a united voice and getting everyone in your scheme or block involved in activities.

We’re pleased to recognise new residents’ associations and would encourage our customers to join an existing one or look at creating a new group.

Marjorie Howard is the secretary of Knightthorpe Lodge Residents’ Association. The group was formed in the early 1990s and has been going strong ever since.

She believes that such an organisation is a powerful tool when having to raise concerns or issues.

Marjorie said: “One of the benefits of these organisations is you have a much stronger voice if you’re speaking on behalf of all the residents on the scheme. If there’s an issue, I think being able to sign a letter as secretary on behalf of our 40-odd residents is more powerful than signing it as an individual.

“We’re quite strict with what the residents’ association will handle but it has more impact when we do. We tend to deal with things that affect the scheme as a whole.

“For example, If I have an issue with my bungalow, I deal with it. If I have a problem with a communal service such as the grounds maintenance, I’ll take that to the committee and they’ll take that up on my behalf.

“We have some residents with no family or who have disabilities, and we’ll always try to help them out.

“I think it’s really important that residents’ associations are set up and have influence. Sometimes it can be a paper exercise – I think it’s very important things are actually dealt with and done properly and it needs the buy-in from both sides.”

Marjorie said the Knightthorpe Lodge Residents’ Association Committee meets roughly every two months and discusses any outstanding issues and also raises any new topics for consideration.

“We also organise trips out for the residents,” she added.

“We can also play an important role in keeping housebound residents up to date with what’s going on and we can really help to draw the community together. We do this by producing a newsletter roughly once a quarter.

“We do our own welcome pack for new residents, with things like bus timetables and information that will be useful for them.

“We give every resident a birthday card each year. If it is a big birthday, they get a card and chocolates, if it’s a wedding anniversary they get flowers, if there’s a funeral we send flowers or make a charity donation at the family’s request.

“A successful residents’ association draws on the skills of the people living at that particular scheme or area.

“There are some people who are more practical, while others can keep a strong audit trail and write a powerful letter because of the jobs they’ve done in the past.

“Everyone has different skills and if used together these can contribute to a very successful residents’ association.

“I’d certainly encourage people to consider joining or starting a group of their own and ensuring the voice of their community is heard.”​

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