Andrew Mitchell, East Devon District Council's Housing Needs and Strategy Manager, answering questions from some of the delegates at the 'Moving Forward' conference.

Event organised by EDDC tenants for EDDC tenants

A recent conference for East Devon District Council tenants tackled a wide range of issues from reducing isolation in the community to the different options that are available to people in housing need.

The annual event was organised by a group of tenants for tenants and they set the theme – ‘Moving Forward’– for the day, inviting the speakers, arranging the agenda and all the activities.

Peter Sullivan, a Sidmouth tenant, chaired the event at the Tumbling Weir Hotel in Ottery St Mary which was attended by more than 60 people, including tenants, district council officers and councillors.

Andrew Mitchell, East Devon’s Housing Needs and Strategy Manager spoke about the different options available to those in need of a home. Sue Bewes, the council’s Housing Landlord Services Manager explained how working in the community helps reduce isolation, build confidence, sustain tenancies and improve local areas.

Amy Gilbert, East Devon’s Property and Asset Manager, gave more details of a six month trial of a new free handy person support service for elderly and disabled tenants. The trial is taking place in Exmouth Town, Honiton and Axminster areas. Sylvia Martin, Chair of the Tenants Scrutiny Panel told the conference about the work of the panel.

The conference also heard from two of East Devon’s Community Development staff Victoria Robinson and Mark Gerry, who highlighted how their team works in the community to enhance the lives of tenants and their families.

Victoria and Mark will be arranging a young peoples’ conference next February thanks to some funding from the tenants group that arranged the Moving Forward conference.

Conference delegates later took part in a ‘speed dating’ event where council officers moved from table to table to answer questions from tenants. The ‘speed dating’ proved so popular that the sessions will be extended next year for officers to spend more time answering questions.