Each year East Devon District Council tenants hold a conference in a different area across the district. This year we went to Tumbling Weir Hotel, Ottery St Mary on the 15 October 2015 which proved to be an ideal venue. The theme of this year’s conference was 'Moving Forward'.

The Housing Needs and Strategy manager spoke first about housing options.  Then the Housing Landlord Services manager explained how working in the community helps reduce isolation, builds confidence, sustains tenancies and improves local areas.  The Property and Asset manager spoke about the trial handy person scheme, followed by the impact the government policy of lowering the rents by 1% each year for four years will have on the modernisation programme.

The Scrutiny Panel chairperson spoke about the latest project the panel are working on which is tenant involvement. They have put forward recommendations to management on ways to improve this service.

At the end of the morning the speed dating exercise, which required staff members to move from table to table and answer questions directly from tenants, was once again a big success. Tenants enjoyed being able to speak with staff face to face, although they would like more time allocated for this at the next conference.

After a delicious buffet supplied by the hotel, our Community Development workers gave a presentation highlighting their work in the community.

There was a short quiz and a free raffle with some of the prizes donated by the conference committee and staff.  Feedback showed that overall tenants felt the day was excellent.

Our aim for next year’s conference is to find the right formula to encourage more tenants to come along.  If you have any ideas please let us know.

As well as this we will be holding a fun youth conference on 2 February 2016, looking at what communities you or your children are involved in and making recommendations for improving communities for young people in your area.