Leazes Homes appoints tenant Trustee
Newcastle-based affordable housing provider, Leazes Homes, will benefit from greater insight into the lives of its customers following the appointment of a tenant Trustee.
Claire Rabbetts, who lives in Leazes Homes’ accommodation in Walker, has now been appointed to the charity’s Board, bringing the total number of trustees to eight.
Leazes Homes was set up in 2009 by Newcastle City Council and became an independent charity, limited by guarantee to provide social housing, in 2012. The charity provides a range of housing options for those in need, from family homes to supported accommodation for older people and those with additional care needs.
Leazes Homes currently has around 530 properties. Each of them received a letter from the organisation’s Chair, Bill Midgely, informing tenants of why Leazes Homes wanted to recruit a tenant Trustee and providing them with details of how they could apply to the post and how they might benefit from doing so.
Bill Midgley said: “We had been hoping to appoint a tenant Trustee to our Board for some time as we were keen to make it more representative and to benefit from the insight that one of our customers could bring.
“Our existing Board of seven bring a range of relevant business skills to their roles and a tenant Trustee, who can provide us with a far deeper understanding of what it actually means to live in one of our homes, will complement this extremely well.
“We were very pleased with the level of interest we received in this role and found all of those we interviewed to be extremely passionate about the importance of affordable housing and the need for tenant voices to be represented at a high level.
“Claire really stood out for me throughout this process – she is very engaged with other residents where she lives and really demonstrated her desire to help their voices and those of other Leazes Homes tenants to be heard. I am confident that she will be able to make a very broad contribution, while at the same time providing invaluable specific guidance around issues experienced by our many disabled tenants.
“I am very pleased to welcome Claire to the Leazes Homes Board and look forward to working closely with her.”
Claire is 49 and has been a Leazes Homes tenant since 2013. She said: “I know that some tenants who are disabled are frightened to speak up about issues concerning them so I want to be a voice for them as well as tenants without a disability – I’m keen to make a difference for everyone.
“I’m particularly interested in helping the organisation to get the best value for money when building properties for disabled people by offering advice on adaptations that can be included from the start. I’m also looking forward to learning new things – I’ve already found out about plans for new homes that I wasn’t aware of and I can’t wait to develop my knowledge in other areas.
“I’m very excited to attend my first Board meeting in April, particularly after meeting Mr Midgley today. Everyone has been so friendly and this is really helping to put me at ease – I know now that I’ll be very comfortable in the meetings and able to ask questions whenever I don’t understand something.”
Leazes Homes Trustees make a real difference to the strategic direction of the charity and are expected to act and make decisions in the best interests of the organisation and all of its customers. The Leazes Homes code of conduct states that Trustees must treat everyone with dignity and respect, value differences and respect others’ opinions regardless of someone’s age, disability, gender, race, sexual orientation or religious belief.
Leazes Homes would like to encourage all of its tenants to become more involved with the organisation – anyone who is interested can find out more about particular opportunities via the Leazes Homes website at www.leazeshomes.org.uk/whats-happening/get-involved/