TPAS Cymru’s Creating Great Communities Conference (05.07.18)
I would like to say that as a tenant of Linc-Cymru, I found the TPAS Cymru's (Tenant Participation Advisory Service) 'Creating Great Communities' conference very interesting and stimulating. So-much-so that I thought you might appreciate a short article on my thoughts of the event from a tenant perspective.
Having recently started to get more involved with my landlord, Linc-Cymru (particularly the regeneration team) and my community, I found the agenda for this conference inspiring. It gave me a bigger picture of what could be achieved in my own community in the future. The speakers were knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their subject, especially Louise Attwood and her Bridgend project. I learned a lot from it. (Added to this, the venue and lunch were very pleasant!).
What I particularly liked about the conference was the idea of encouraging tenants to get more involved with their landlords and other organisations so that we (the tenants) can have our say in what we feel our community needs. It’s exciting to think that I’m taking part in regeneration plans, instead of merely being informed of what is going to happen by those who know very little about my community and its environment. Tenant Participation, in my view is a brilliant idea and one that I aim to pursue further in whatever way I can. The TPAS Cymru conference reinforced that enthusiasm.
Speaking from personal experience, participation in people-led projects not only promotes the learning of new skills but raises self-confidence by enhancing old ones. Added to this you gain pride in your environment and develop new relationships, even friendships. A community spirit and unity can be formed or strengthened that will help to ensure that the project is maintained and respected long after it has been completed because the community will have had a part in the planning and completion of the project and will therefore look after it and encourage others to do the same.
As Iwan Llewelyn explained, ideas should be drawn from the community and be people-led. Living in a poor area of Newport, I and every other member of my community must deal with drugs, violence and vandalism on a regular basis. Buildings are left empty for long periods of time and then get vandalised or become a haven for drug-users. Our heritage is being lost to neglect. People are becoming very demoralised with the area and most take no pride in it. There are no quick-fire solutions, but by encouraging tenants to get more involved with regenerating the area means that these problems can be addressed from the inside because we can suggest and help plan improvement of the environment and communicate with and encourage our neighbours to do the same. The more community members involved, the greater the army to tackle such problems.
For me then, the idea of tenant participation in community projects can only result in a win-win situation. The more tenants that get involved, the more communities would benefit. As Professor Calvin Jones said, we should be encouraging creativity, not suppressing it and we should spend our whole lives learning; not stop when we leave school. What better way to get creative than by participating in a local community regeneration project? Who knows … perhaps one day my own community will be renowned for its united spirit and for its environment because, basing my inspiration on Louise Attwood’s presentation, it would be a haven of edible landscaping and community wellness that I might have played a small part in creating.
TPAS Cymru would like to thank Kandy for her story. If you have a story about tenant participation that you love to share, then we want to hear about it.