TIS National Housing Conference 2021 hailed a virtual success

TIS National Housing Conference 2021 hailed a virtual success

Over 250 bookings were received from tenants and housing professionals across Scotland to attend the first-ever virtual TIS National Housing Conference.

The event took place from Tuesday 5th – Thursday 7th October 2021 and was staged online as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new online format certainly did not disappoint with virtual attendees eager to make the most of more than 15 live broadcast sessions, that boasted an unrivalled line-up of sector leader speakers; engaging panel discussion; and interactive workshops across the three half-day agenda. Hugely inspiring, the conference provided attendees with the opportunity to put the most topical challenges we face in housing and communities under the microscope.

The opening session welcomed an address from cabinet secretary for social justice, housing and local government Shona Robison MSP who manifested the key themes of the event and outlined the Scottish Government’s ambitious Housing to 2040 Vision and Route Map.

A greatly anticipated highlight of the gathering included a live panel discussion chaired by journalist Pennie Taylor and panellists Professor Ken Gibb, director at UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence; Shaheena Din, national project manager at Empty Homes Partnership; Janelle Couper, tenant service improvement group at Maryhill Housing Association; Aaron Hill, director of policy and membership at SFHA; and Wendy McGuire, service manager for housing strategy and development at East Lothian Council. Virtual attendees learned and challenged views on the opportunities to deliver affordable, sustainable and carbon-free homes.

Interactive workshops explored ensuring value for money from rents and service charges, facilitated by Scotland’s Housing Network; living well with dementia, delivered by CIH Scotland and Viewpoint Housing Association; exploring Scotland’s 20-minute neighbourhoods, by Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland and Disability Equality Scotland; and the impact of Covid-19 on the social housing sector, facilitated by HouseMark Scotland.

Each day was ended with truly vibrant and uplifting sessions as virtual attendees listened to the inspirational journeys of: The Space, who enable families to live flourishing lives in thriving communities; Hamiltonhill Claypits Local Nature Reserve, an important green space for the surrounding communities to explore nature by walking, wheeling, or cycling; and CentreStage, who build energetic, inclusive communities with arts at the heart.

Engagement on the virtual platform was high with over 700 discussions exchanged throughout the sessions and attendees connected with one another via an online meeting hub, sharing good practice, and sparking interesting conversation threads. Early feedback has so far been immensely positive:

“I think TIS got it just right. I really enjoyed the speakers and they spoke with such passion and knowledge. I could have listened for hours.”

“Looking forward to next year already – this will be a hard act to follow!”

“Well planned and delivered by TIS with inspirational guest speakers.”

“Inspirational conference – programme was so useful for the sector”

Ilene Campbell, TIS chief executive, commented on the success of the virtual gathering: “The interest in the TIS National Housing Conference, even in its online format, is a clear indication of the importance to continue exploring creative approaches to ensure we build a housing system that is resilient enough to respond to future changes and can tackle some of the most pertinent challenges. The gathering plays a key role in helping develop social rented housing in Scotland for the better.

“We are equally delighted that we have successfully adapted the way that we run training and conferencing events during the pandemic whilst ensuring we maintain the overriding principle to continue providing a platform for tenants and housing professionals to engage; share good practice; and build new connections.”

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