Welcome to my November Chief Executive's Blog. Today I want to introduce a new customer involvement project that we are launching this year, and highlight how you can be involved.

The power of listening

During this strange and often difficult year, it has become clearer than ever that good communication is vital, listening intently to one another as we deal with the changes to our lives and society.

Southway Housing celebrated its 13th birthday in November and, looking back, it is clear how much we have changed in that time. As the years have passed, our commitment to our communities has grown in strength and ambition, and this is reflected in our work. Recently I have been particularly proud of the way our Community Support Services have expanded to address new and growing support needs due to Covid.

As the year draws to an end now is the time to start thinking about what will come next. When the pandemic starts to ease as the vaccination programme rolls out, we want to think abouthow should we respond to the impact on the economy, work and personal finances, and health and wellbeing.

I want Southway to shape our next steps around the needs and wants of residents. To understand exactly what these are, we want to hear from as many of you as we can using the principle of our new landlord promise which is that we are:

Inspired by our Communities

This will be a real opportunity for your views and experiences to influence Southway’s future priorities and how we use our resources.

Engaging in the way you want

We want this consultation to go further than our traditional engagement by actively increasing the number of people we listen to, the range of views we hear, and the commitments we give to take action.

We will listen:

  • To a range of people and views, making sure responses reflect the diversity of our communities
  • To stories from people in their own words, so we hear and understand real life experiences
  • In more ways – through the routes that suit you best, whether that’s talking to us one on one, or answering a quick text or email survey
  • Openly, sharing the results as we go.

Should things be different after Covid-19?

One key focus of the consultation will be exploring how Covid has changed what residents want from us.

For the first part of the consultation, we have collaborated with the People’s Powerhouse, who are asking people in the North for their views on life after Covid.

They have found that, amongst the understandable difficulties, there are some positives that people have taken from the pandemic. These include the community spirit we have seen; the shift in focus towards local communities, initiatives, and businesses; and the slower pace of life, which has allowed us to spend time with loved ones, and appreciate the local environment. We will be considering these themes in our own consultation. 


By the end of the consultation, we want to have:

  • A better understanding of our residents’ views and wishes
  • Real-life examples to inform things like staff training, in line with our values
  • A knowledge base of ideas to adapt to the post-Covid world
  • Proposals to change or adapt our policies, service standards and delivery
  • Information to shape the next version of our Customer Voice Involvement Strategy
  • Plans to continue building trust and respect with our residents.

Getting involved

Over the next few months, we will be in touch with all residents directly about the project, as well as working closely with our tenant involvement groups, including the Scrutiny Panel and People and Places Committee.

We would also like a group of tenants to be involved in this throughout. If you are interested in playing a regular part in Inspired by Our Communities, please get in touch with me at chiefexecsblog@southwayhousing.co.uk, or through the Customer Hub.

There are a wealth of skills, initiatives and knowledge in our neighbourhoods. We want to work with you to better understand the future you want and how we can help to accomplish it.