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The importance of engaging with our residents: Derek’s story with Origin



We know how important engaging with our residents is, whether through resident engagement events, estate visits or one of our scrutiny groups. In the words of our Chief Executive, Carol Carter, “There’s no substitute for talking with residents and seeing issues with our own eyes.”

One of our residents, Derek has lived in an Origin home since 2019 has quickly become a strong voice, working to improve things for all Origin residents. To name a few, Derek has been involved in our parking and complaints scrutiny group, attended our resident engagement events, is a part of our repairs procurement panel and is currently the Vice Chair for our Spotlight group.

We spoke to Derek about why he is involved and what aspects of resident engagement he enjoys most: “I've always helped others in some roll, be it in employment, sport or socially so when the opportunity came to take part in a scrutiny group to look at parking issue's and how Origin would use the scrutiny groups recommendations to shape future tendering for parking control I was keen to get involved.

It's a great way to get started to see if it's for you. But if you commit to scrutiny then keep going to the end, your voice will make a difference in some capacity. Scrutiny doesn't take up much of your time, just a couple of hours a week over a period of six weeks. I enjoyed the challenges that came with scrutiny, and it whetted my appetite to get involved further as I wanted to further assist residents so when an opportunity to join Spotlight came, I applied and joined and at present I'm vice chair. I joined Spotlight to be involved, to make positive steps in bridging the gap between residents and Origin for the benefit of all and to make for a better relationship.”

This really highlights how engaging with our residents can improve their experience of Origin as an organisation, give valuable insight to us on how our residents feel and allow us to work together to improve things going forward. When we spoke to Derek about his involvement and what he enjoys the most he told us more about why he prefers face-to-face meetings:

“I'm asked what I prefer, scrutiny, spotlight, resident’s events, and I would say the latter, I prefer face-to-face rather than zoom or Microsoft teams and resident events allow that, and it makes it all worthwhile if you can make a difference and help others. I have attended several resident events, both in London and Hertfordshire. That said, I'm passionate about Spotlight and the group of residents that form the group. We all bring various strengths to the group, we're full of suggestions, ideas, knowledge, and experience and with the challenges we meet along the way, by listening to other members input as well as giving my own and working together as a team we resolve issue's, overcome, and achieve our goals. We like to feel that we engage and voice on behalf of the communities. For the organisation (Origin) to work at its best, residents must be actively involved. Origin see that and want residents to play an active part”

Across the organisation, we are ensuring more of our colleagues are engaging fully with our residents, whether it’s through consultations, neighbourhood explorers or policy reviews. Our aim is to continuously grow our opportunities for engagement across the organisation, we welcome new residents becoming a part of our groups or projects and Derek summarised this in a few words:

“Now if you’re someone that would like to shape the future of residents alongside Origin, have a voice, be listened to and make a change, then get in touch with the community team. There's always something that is on the agenda or coming up later in the year. I will say though that you need to have a desire to help residents and work towards a pathway between residents and Origin, leaving whatever problems you've encountered in the past at the door as this is not about I, it's about all. So come on, get involved and take an interest in how Origin makes decisions about their properties. After all, they are our homes”