Tenant participation efforts praised by Committee

The Highland Council’s Housing and Property Committee has praised the hard work and creative ways council staff and community groups have adopted during the Covid pandemic to keep in touch with tenants.

At the start of today’s Committee (Thursday 10 December) Members heard how officers and tenants have found new active ways of engaging. Most of the regular tenant meetings have restarted via videoconferencing and many tenants have received training and equipment to assist them with this new digital engagement.

Chair Cllr Ben Thompson said: “Tenant participation is more important than ever before to make sure people are receiving the right support and it is great to see such community spirit spread across our communities. People are finding new ways to connect and adapt how they can stay in touch. These following examples and all the other wonderful work tenant groups are doing in their communities is inspiring and we congratulate everyone for adapting and finding new ways of giving help, and nurturing a true sense of community where it is most needed.”

Examples include the Smithton Residents Association and Smithton Community Council who united together to help their community when Covid 19 struck.

They delivered leaflets to every home in the community which had ticks and crosses on them. These were to be placed in windows with a green tick indicating all was ok and a red cross to highlight someone needed assistance. This has been very helpful and appreciated by all residents.

In April, they delivered over 173 Easter eggs to the children in the area.

With funding and donations, they also set up a food bank in the local hall. All calls for help that are received are quickly actioned, and food parcels delivered.

In May, they delivered afternoon tea in a bag to every household in the Smithton area and to two local nursing homes and New Craigs Hospital. They made up 125 craft gift bags for kids aged 3 to 14

In Easter Ross the Balintore District Residents Group did a massive clean-up during lockdown in their area. This clean-up brought residents of all ages together and showed just what can be done in an area with enthusiastic and willing volunteers.

In Lochaber the Caol & Lochyside Community Support Group was formed to support residents during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The group offers a wide range of services from prescription collections, dog walking, posting mail, chats on the phone and giving information about other agencies offering support.

The group set up two community cupboards one in Caol and one in Lochyside that were fully equipped with supplies to help families during tough times. The group have been overwhelmed with donations that they have received from local supermarkets and local residents.

Also in Lochaber, Upper Achintore Regeneration Group’s Windowsill Gardening Kits project set up its first “call & collect” stand alongside the local community notice board during lockdown.

With support from High Life Highland’s Green Health Initiative programme, the Group has put together almost 200 Windowsill Gardening Kits for distribution to families and children living in the Upper Achintore community.

These free kits contained bird seed, compost, plant pots and seeds plus a selection of Nature Identification Cards and a Guidance Note. Additionally, the kits include some outdoor activity-based items appropriate to the local area. Each kit can be enjoyed by a person on their own or explored and shared as part of a family activity to provide enjoyment, educate, release some creative talents and hopefully discover a new hobby.



10 Dec 2020