With 'Communities that Work' week coming up we are highlighting customers we have helped gain skills, which has made them more attractive to employers. Both of the below customers serve on our board as 'Tenant Board Members' with Nicki holding the role of vice-chair. You will read below in their own words how STAR Housing helped them familiarise or re-familiarise themselves with a workplace environment -
Nicki Barker (Vice-Chair of STAR Housing Board) -
"Volunteering with STAR Housing for over 8 years has been an invaluable springboard in accessing employment. Having been a single mother of 4 children, now grown up, since 2001, volunteering with STAR initially introduced me back into a workplace environment, helping me to gain confidence, polish up on existing skills and learn new ones. Interacting and communicating with other adults and being supported to grow in various roles, developed my skill base and hence my employability.
From B.A.F.T.A.R. (Bridgnorth Area Federation of Tenants and Residents) and S.U.R.E. (Shropshire United Residents Executive) to the Challenge Board and the creation of STAR Housing as the management company of Shropshire Council’s housing stock in 2013, my experience and knowledge base has grown invaluably, from tenant activist to Chair of the Board. To have been able to have STAR’s Managing Director Sue Adams to be able to support my job applications with a reference has been instrumental in my gaining employment. I’m now an Assistant Services Manager for A Perthyn Support Service, supporting people with learning difficulties and physical disabilities, from Support Worker then promoted to ASM."
Charlotte Parry (Tenant Board Member and recent London Marathon Finisher) -
"I first became a Shropshire council tenant in 2010, transferring from a housing association. Before I knew it I joined the Oswestry and District Tenants Working Group and met lots of other likeminded tenants. In the blink of an eye I became their new secretary and was kept very busy indeed. The TWG were heavily involved in the consultation to change from landlord services into the ALMO which we now know as Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing. During the consultation period I learnt all about how the ALMO will be structured especially the important role of tenants - on the main board and the area panels. In 2013 there was a vacancy for a tenant on the main board so I decided to “go for it” and apply.
Since then I have learned how the “cogs” of STAR work. As a board member I’ve learned about the structure and policies of STAR and can see how they affect each area from management to the tenant (and all in between). I have learned to become a strategic thinker, looking at STAR as a whole and not just the impact on tenants. I have gained important communication skills, being able to articulate my opinion in a concise and logical manner. The time I have spent on the board has given me the ability to make informed decisions by giving me a greater knowledge of STAR and being able to understand all the reports. I have also learned the importance of confidentiality which is doubly important in my new employment.
I feel being a board member has increased my self-confidence and has given me a voice. Being partially sighted has had a big impact on my health so I have not been in employment for some time. When I saw the job advertised, Sue Adams actively encouraged me to apply saying she had every confidence in me to fulfil the role. Following this she agreed to write me a reference and the rest as they say, is history."