Interview with Ashleigh
Interview with Ashleigh
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the customers who sit on our Customer Service Committee have been meeting virtually from home to make sure we continue to listen to the voices and experiences of customers. That's not all they do though - we're very lucky to have such dedicated members who also work to represent the voices of Newcastle City Council tenants at local and national forums so as part of our Customer Service Week celebrations we wanted to shine a light on how they've done this whilst working from home.
We spoke to Ashleigh to find out more about what she’s been involved with. Ashleigh lives in a high-rise block in Newcastle.
What have you been involved with over the last year?
Alongside my role with YHN’s Customer Service Committee I’ve been a member of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Building Safety Engagement Best Practice Group. This was set up after the Grenfell tragedy to work with the government and other housing providers.
Whilst working from home we met (virtually) to pass on our recommendations about good practice when engaging with residents on fire and building safety issues.
Since then I’ve shared my knowledge of building safety in other groups. I’m a part of a national group ran by the national Health and Safety Executive to provide tenant views and perspectives that will inform the draft building safety legislation.
I’ve also been joining in with the Housing Ombudsman's Residents' Panel and more recently I’ve joined in with North East Tenants' Voice. I’ve definitely been very busy!
Lastly, I’ve had the opportunity to present my ideas and thoughts alongside YHN’s Engagement Team at housing conferences such as the Northern Housing Consortium and Housing Quality Network.
What’s it been like to take part in virtual meetings and work from home?
In some ways it’s been a lot easier, I’ve not had to factor in travel time and I’ve definitely been able to do more than I would if we weren’t working from home. I was able to join in with one conference from the bus which was a new experience for me, and I wouldn’t have been able to if we weren’t set up virtually.
Sometimes connection issues have been a bit tricky and I do miss seeing people face to face as you lose something in not seeing people in real life. I’m looking forward to seeing people again whilst restrictions are lifting.
Why do you think the work you do is so important?
I do a lot of work around building safety and hearing the customer voice. Customers have got to have a voice even when the circumstances are difficult, like they have been during the Covid-19 pandemic. I know taking part in these projects and groups that I am representing customers, and this will benefit high-rise residents across Newcastle.
It’s has been busy but taking part in these engagement activities has really kept me going!
Visit Customer Service Week 2021 to hear more from the Committee.