North Lanarkshire Council Tenant Participation Team scoops top award
North Lanarkshire Council’s Tenant Participation Team was awarded frontline team of the year for its outstanding work during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) Scotland awards, promote and highlight the vital role housing professionals play across Scotland making a difference to people’s lives. And the Tenant Participation (TP) Team was named top in the category of ‘Best Frontline Story’ and commended for the vital role it played across North Lanarkshire’s local communities.
When the pandemic hit, the team’s day-to-day role could no longer take place. The team then volunteered to support the Community Assistance Helpline, set up in response to Covid-19.
Its first role was to accept calls many of which were from worried and distressed vulnerable people who were experiencing extreme isolation and often suicidal thoughts. People couldn’t access their usual supports and the team provided a lifeline by making urgent referrals and carrying out weekly welfare calls.
The helpline saw over 500 referrals made to services; over 6,000 calls taken; 985 pharmacy/prescription collections made and the delivery of 5,842 food parcels.
After shielding ended, the team was still unable to resume normal participation activities and again offered help to in other housing areas. With training and support from experienced housing advisers, they took on responsibility for the homeless helpline, giving advice and assistance to those experiencing or being threatened with homelessness.
During lockdown the TP team identified there was a particular gap in how people in harder to reach groups engaged and this was compounded by digital exclusion.
As restrictions eased, the team, in partnership with North Lanarkshire Federation of Tenants and Residents successfully applied for funding to establish a digital learning library of IT equipment. This allowed IPads to be purchased and provided for tenants and residents, and, with IT help, the team has become ‘Digital Champions’ for a project currently supporting residents in our older person housing to get online.
The Housing Repairs and Maintenance team and Central Rents team were also nominated and shortlisted for the Housing Team of the Year. Both teams were recognised for their outstanding work over the past year.
Stephen Llewellyn, head of housing solutions, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that the work and commitment of the TP team has been recognised. Overnight, Covid-19 changed the way we delivered our services and our TP team is an excellent example of how employees worked outwith their normal remit, demonstrating compassion and dedication to support the most vulnerable. They volunteered to accept new challenges and take on new roles, undertaking training and learning new skills to overcome the obstacles of their inexperience. Many vulnerable people were supported and some have been in touch to thank them for their help during the most isolated period of their lives.
“Many people across all walks of life have gone above and beyond to help those most in need during these difficult times. By working together we can all improve the lives of people living in our communities and provide vital support.”