Tenants transform Forum

Since David Grant took up the post of Chair of Castle Rock Edinvar's Older Person's Forum over a year ago, meetings are now more positive and focus on promoting a positive lifestyle for those it represents.

"The Forum has changed beyond recognition over the past year and is much more of a collaboration with Castle Rock Edinvar, but now driven by residents.  We hold our meetings quarterly and invite speakers from Castle Rock Edinvar to talk about maintenance and budgets," says David.

"Where we used to get together to complain, now we discuss how we can do things that will improve the lives of residents.  People were fed up with the whingeing and the result is that we are making things happen. We organise a wide variety of events, from afternoon tea parties where everyone is invited, to summer barbecues. We have held a social event in Musselburgh which had a great reception."

The new-style forum has delivered positive results in smoothing the process for managing maintenance matters and uses a round table discussion to facilitate a positive approach to managing collective issues. David believes the group is well placed to explore a wider role in providing a single voice for residents across a number of retirement living developments who are trying to get things done by the council.

"We have around 30 delegates who regularly attend meetings, but they are open to everyone and there should be elected representatives from each Castle Rock Edinvar development. The mood of the meeting changes when we move on from discussing individual complaints.  It's good to visit other developments and meet the residents," says David.

"We have achieved a lot in the space of a year. We are ambitious, more positive and enjoy a better relationship with the landlord. We have an active Facebook group and our own page on the website."

So what's next for the Forum?

"We are changing our location of the meetings to now go onsite at each retirement living development to help raise the Forum's profile and improve on resident engagement. This means we can tackle any development specific concerns efficiently and to a high standard. We have decided to hold a full group meeting twice a year where, for example, we can ask someone from City of Edinburgh Council and someone from Scottish Government to come along to explain what their responsibilities are towards older people and social housing."

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