Who we are
We have come together with Broadland Housing Association, Freebridge Community Housing, Havebury Housing Partnership and Orwell Housing to form Independent East.
We are a group “made up of independently minded, and individually sustainable, housing associations with similar and complementary values and business objectives based in Norfolk and Suffolk, which are willing to share knowledge and experience; to support each other in the delivery of our individual corporate strategies; and to explore opportunities to work better together.”
Our work together
In November 2022, the first Independent East conference took place focusing on the importance of listening to tenants.
The event, attended by board members, tenants, and staff from Independent East’s 5 housing associations focused on what lies in store for the social housing sector in 2023 and how involving tenants will be the key.
Those who attended heard from housing experts to discuss some of the challenges it’s facing and to explore solutions together. The speakers were – Hilary Burkitt, Director of Housing at IFF Research, Kathryn Eyre, Quality, Engagement & Development Director of the Housing Ombudsman and Kate Dodsworth, Director of Consumer Regulation for the Regulator of Social Housing.
Discussions among the participants focused on creative collaboration being a key solution to the challenges faced by housing associations and how really listening to tenants and their feedback and putting them at the heart of decisions, could help smooth the difficult times ahead.
After the success of Your Own Place CIC providing support via their uniquely engaging cost of living workshops with us, the workshops are now being offered to all housing associations who are part of the Independent East group.
The digital and face to face workshops are a really useful way of finding out more to help with things like - saving and budgeting, self-care, wellbeing, and digital skills.
The aim is to make a positive difference to the lives of tenants by developing confidence and resilience. The partnership with Your Own Place was the first joint initiative for Independent East with the aim of helping more people into employment, reducing rent arrears, and reducing potential future evictions.
Saffron tenant, Chantay, has spoken about her experience on the digital workshops. Thank you to Your Own Place for providing the video.
We are working together on our #Flourish campaign, designed to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in our workplaces and communities so that everyone can be themselves, where they can grow and flourish.
As part of our #Flourish campaign we have held training and events for our employees including:
- Deaf Awareness Training provided by the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID).
- British Sign Language taster session.
- A talk from Guide Dogs UK.
- Human Library sessions - The Human Library Organisation host events where readers can borrow human beings serving as open ‘books’ and have conversations they would not normally have access to. The conversations are designed to challenge stereotypes and prejudices by asking difficult questions.
To help us understand how we can better support our tenants during the rising energy costs, we are working together to gain feedback from tenants across Norfolk and Suffolk about the current financial climate.
We asked tenants to complete a short ‘Affordable Warmth’ survey which will provide us with valuable information about what help and advice will be the most effective over the coming months. This survey is now closed.