GLH tenant shines through involvement buddy scheme
March 2, 2022
Michele Doyle has been a Golden Lane Housing (GLH) tenant for nearly 22 years. In her words, she “understands from the bottom up about GLH staff.” Michele is a fantastic champion for involvement – she sits on the Inclusion and Advisory Committee, tenant committee More Voices, More Choices and is the annual report representative. When she joined More Voices, More Choices in March 2020, she was paired with GLH Housing Officer and Involvement Associate, Derek Brown. Involvement Associates – also known as buddies – are GLH staff members who volunteer time alongside their day jobs to support tenants sitting on the More Voices, More Choices committee. They help tenants they’re buddied up with to prepare for their meetings and make sure they feel confident and comfortable being involved.
Tenant involvement is a huge priority at GLH, and Derek’s role as a buddy and the relationship he has built with Michele has been vital in helping her thrive and get involved in different ways at GLH.
Derek signed up to become a buddy when GLH’s Tenant Involvement Officer Gemma Richmond was recruiting buddies for More Voices, More Choices members. He says that it was Gemma’s infectiousness that persuaded him to become a buddy: “It was Gemma really, it’s her infectiousness – she did a presentation about the role at a National Housing Team meeting. It was her first meeting and the presentation was about what she wanted to do with involvement and it really resonated with me that we’re all responsible for involving tenants and inclusion and I felt a responsibility to do this.”
Over the past couple of years, and against the challenges that the pandemic has brought, Michele and Derek have built a strong relationship. Michele has now grown in confidence, and learned new skills, including how to use Microsoft Teams. Michele said of her experience: “We go on Teams and he goes through what I’ve got to say and helps me to write down what I want to say. He’ll email everything over to me and this helps me remember. If I do get stuck Derek is always there in the background, and now I can talk in front of people.
“We do have a very good discussion and we discuss those things so we’re both working together. I have definitely improved. I’ve always been told ‘there’s no such thing as can’t – you can do it,’ and I want to help other people to do things.
“We have a laugh and we don’t take things seriously. He knows if something is wrong and when I’m not concentrating. He understands me, he knows my signals and I understand him.”
Derek agrees that Michele has flourished: “It’s been great to see how far Michele has come in this period of time it’s incredible.
“Seeing her confidence grow is just amazing. At first Michele was unsure of herself and looked to me a lot for guidance but now she is confident to give her ideas and answers.
“And we get on like a house on fire!”
If you’re a GLH tenant or know somebody who is, and want to find out more about how you can get involved like Michele, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read more about how buddies work by clicking here: Buddies guide for tenant involvement