Peter Sullivan, right, receiving his award from John Golding, East Devon Strategic Lead for Housing & Environment

Tenants and leaseholders had much to enjoy at annual conference with informative talks, Q&A sessions and awards presentations

Caring for our community was the theme chosen by East Devon District Council tenants for their 2019 tenants’ conference, which they also arrange and run.

This popular annual event, which took place on 21 October 2019 at Westpoint Conference Centre, Clyst St Mary, Exeter, was attended by 59 East Devon tenants, as well as 18 young persons, 12 members of staff from East Devon District Council, Ian Williams (East Devon’s housing repairs contractors), two councillors and several guests.

Peter Sullivan, a tenant from Sidmouth, who is also a Tenant Housing Review Board member, chaired the event, which featured a variety of informative talks, as well as opportunities for tenants to meet and talk with East Devon’s new contractors Ian Williams, East Devon staff, councillors, plus representatives from Devon Carers, Care Direct and Fareshare.  

There was a special Millwey Memories display arranged by East Devon Mobile Support Officer Lucinda Cliff. This is a project, which helped Axminster residents share their memories of Millwey Rise from 1930s to the present day.

Sue Bewes, East Devon Landlord Services Manager, and Peter Sullivan gave a presentation on the recently updated Resident Involvement Strategy, explaining the ways tenants can get involved with the housing service.

Sue Bewes and Laura Hicks, East Devon Mobile Support Officer, gave a presentation about the work carried out by Mobile Support Officers, explaining how they can support vulnerable tenants living in supported accommodation. Tenants were also able to learn more about Home Safeguard services and how their products can help vulnerable people.

Katie Buckley from Devon Carers gave an interesting talk about the different levels of support available to carers. If any carers need advice they can call Devon Carers on 03456434435.

Tenants and housing staff were asked to put forward their nominations for a number of awards, which were presented at the conference to the following winners:

  • The Outstanding Service to your Community Award for an East Devon District Council tenant who deserves the thanks of the community, was won by Peter Sullivan from Sidmouth.
  • The Excellent Customer Service Staff Award (given to someone who can be relied upon to be helpful, friendly and provide excellent customer service) was presented to East Devon Mobile Support Officer Sarah Routley.
  • The winner of the Youth Award (for a young person who helps others or makes the community a better place) was Bailey Hall, from Axminster, aged 17.

There was a free raffle with many of the prizes donated by the conference committee.

Cllr Megan Armstrong, East Devon’s Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Homes and Communities said:

I have always been pleased to attend previous tenants’ conferences, but this year I was especially delighted to be asked to present the Youth Award to Bailey Hall (received by Victoria Robinson on his behalf). As usual, the conference was very well attended with excellent speakers, good food and a great atmosphere.

Many thanks to the conference committee for organising such a wonderful event and long may these conferences continue as a way of bringing tenants, staff and councillors together for an enjoyable and informative day.

Cllr Ian Hall, Ward Councillor for Axminster said:

We have so many excellent officers and especially the Community Development Team and housing officers that help support and build our communities. There were so many worthy nominations that could come out on top, but in my mind you are all winners and thank you for your dedication.

Peter Sullivan is a stalwart, who just keeps giving and has been such an integral part of the Housing Review Board for many years. I have had the pleasure of knowing Peter since 2015, I have found Peter's approach to be very helpful and encouraging and this is besides his other community commitments. Last, but not least, Bailey Hall who has stepped out and found his own way forward. Bailey has become a 'young and inspiration leader', an achievement of which he should rightly be proud.