TPAS Cymru has supported social housing tenants and landlords across Wales to develop effective participation in housing for over 30 years. Every year, TPAS Cymru hold an annual conference in Llandrindod Wells, for both staff and tenants to attend.
Back in November, TPAS Cymru held their first conference in two years, due to it being put on hold because of COVID-19.
Every year, there is a different focus on a different theme and this time the theme was ‘Your Homes, Your Communities – Your Voice Matters’, exploring how residents could help meet the challenges facing housing and their communities.
Emma Nicholas, Chair of the Tenant Action Panel for Trivallis was invited to be a panellist on the opening session of day one. Emma gave a very passionate speech around ‘Why do tenants voices need to be heard and what difference does it make?’. In her speech Emma gave her own personal reasons, that resonated with many, about why she volunteers her time to be an involved Trivallis tenant.
Emma said: “I have never done anything like this before. I was nervous about doing it but also at the same time, excited. Having such positive feedback after my speech, made me feel so happy and proud, and I am so glad I accepted the offer to speak.”
Emma was on a panel along with Helen White – Chief Executive of Taff Housing; Steve Jones – Group Chief Executive of Barcud Housing; and Sonia Jones – Tenant of Caerphilly County Borough Council.
Emma explained: “When the room was opened to questions, out of all the people on the panel with me, I was the first one to get asked a question. I got asked a question about what Trivallis offer to younger tenants and because of my personal experiences, I was able to answer openly and honestly, with my own knowledge around the support that is on offer.”
Emma has been an involved tenant for 7 years and became Chair of the Tenant Action Panel, in April 2022. Emma is passionate about all aspects of involvement and views all the areas as being equally important.
Emma said: “Throughout the years, I’ve been involved in the recruitment of various roles across Trivallis, like Sheltered Coordinators, Customer Involvement Officers, the CEO, and the Chair of Board. As much as I enjoy being involved in these big decisions, I really feel proud of the little changes I’ve made, such as shaping letters and policies and procedures, that have had a big impact on the tenant experience.”
Emma is very proud of the impact she has had throughout Trivallis, making sure the tenants voice is heard and decisions are made with tenants in mind.
Emma explained: “I was honoured to have been asked and to have this opportunity to speak at TPAS. It reinforced to me that if TPAS Cymru can recognise the work that we have done and felt it worthy to share with other housing providers, we must be doing something right. It made me feel that the time I commit to involvement, is all worthwhile.
“My greatest feeling is empowering other tenants and building their confidence to get their voices heard.”
If you would like to become an involved tenant, visit our Future Makers page.
This story is from our Spring 2023 issue of valleys. magazine, click here to read the latest issue.