Tenant and Resident Associations (TRAs), and the communal halls on their estates, have been the backbone to life in Southwark for decades, which is why the Resident Involvement Panel report is so important.
TRAs give residents a voice, and help scrutinise the decisions that affect our day-to-day lives. They work with the council, police, and others to make our corner of London better for everyone. From experience, we know they also throw great parties, and give families, new mums, kids, and OAPs much-needed support.
Southwark is often said to have the strongest residents’ movement in London, with democratically elected people dedicating their time to be pillars of support for their community.
But not everyone living in a council home is on an estate and these people need to be included too.
With many people increasingly happy to communicate online and unable to attend regular, formal meetings, the council’s review into how it communicates with residents is needed.
Alarm bells have rung for campaigners, who say other boroughs have seen TRA halls lost to redevelopment and say changes have made it harder to scrutinise council decisions. But it is heartening to see recommendations put forward by Southwark Council’s panel, including continuing to support TRAs and encouraging new ones to be set up.
In a time of regeneration, as private housing and new developments increasingly jostle alongside council homes, there is even more need for resident associations and resident halls to have more of a role in bringing everyone together, especially those affected by knife crime and welfare cuts.
Not sure how this affects you? As a tenant or leaseholder, part of your service charge or rent will go towards funds set aside for tenants to spend where they live on community projects. If you want a say – get involved. The consultation ends on Thursday, January 31. For more information and to have your say, visit southwark.gov.uk
If there isn’t a TRA on your estate why not make a resolution and start one this year?
Who knows what you could achieve in 2019 – and what we could be writing about this time next year?