Back row from left to right: Michael Lomas, Marta Diaz, Cynthia Alloyda, Vicki Gallagher and Margaret Bryant. Front row from left to right: Darren Quirk, Keri Muldoon, Rashidah Owasehi, Charlotte Haines, Jason Marland and Madison Wheeldon.

FROM BARRISTERS TO BARISTAS, INTRODUCING OUR NEW CUSTOMER COMMITTEE

Earlier this year, we launched our new Customer Committee giving our tenants a real voice by allowing customers unfettered access to scrutinise the organisation.

The committee is made up of 12 Salix Homes customers from a range of backgrounds, professions and talents and sits alongside the organisation’s board in how it is governed. We created our customer committee to put customers at the core of how we operate.

The 12 members were hired after an in-depth application process saw 129 customers apply to be a part of the innovative scheme.

Applicants included everyone from barristers to baristas. The process included a written application, open day, as well as a face-to-face interview at head office.

As part of the committee, members are responsible for ensuring that the business meets the consumer standards and that value for money is being achieved across all services areas.

We caught up with them to find out why they decided to apply to the committee and what they hope to achieve within it…

MEET THE FACES OF THE COMMITTEE…

WHAT MADE YOU APPLY TO JOIN THE COMMITTEE?

KAREN: After working in care roles in the past, such as being a sheltered care scheme manager and a care home manager, I felt I had a lot of skills that were transferable for the Customer Committee role.

VICKI: As a child, I have memories before going into care, of spending nights in bus shelters as we had nowhere to stay, so I fully understand the importance of a working social housing system and the difference they truly make to the quality of life. I want to be able to give back to a sector that has helped me in my life.

MADDISON: After being asked to leave my private rented property due to a change in my landlord’s circumstances and having nowhere to go at short notice, I was at the risk of becoming homeless, so I fully appreciate the role the social housing sector has to play in society and want to do whatever I can to help the sector to be able to help others like myself.

CHARLOTTE: I’ve always had an interest in volunteer work, so when the opportunity arose for me to apply to be on the new Customer Committee I jumped at the chance.

MARTA: I love the community that I live in and I want to try and help to improve it further and support the people within it who welcomed me when I moved here from Spain.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT THE COMMITTEE?

KAREN: I love where I live and I’m passionate about my community so I can’t wait to see how I can help make positive changes in the area where I live.

MICHAEL: I can’t wait to look back in a year and look at the positive impact we, as a collective, have had on the communities and the people within them.

KERI: I’m looking forward to being able to see more behind the scenes and to find out all the different aspects of housing and how positive changes can be made.

JASON: I’m excited to be a voice for other Salix Homes customers and help to drive important decisions, but I’m also looking forward to being involved from a personal perspective and can’t wait to learn more about the sector.

MADDISON: I can’t wait to be involved in the important decision-making processes that’ll have a direct impact on customers. I have a personal interest in objective reasoning, and I hope this will have a positive effect on the committee.

CYNTHIA: The in-depth, practical decision-making process is something that is of personal interest to me, and I can’t wait for the challenge the committee presents to use my skills to work towards making positive changes to the lives of Salix Homes’ customers.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE WITHIN THE COMMITTEE?

VICKI: As a care-leaver myself, I have a personal interest in the process care-leavers go through when they officially leave care and how they can be supported further so this is something I’d like to make a focus within the committee.

RASHIDAH: I want to be able to help put in place innovative improvements that will help make Salix Homes customers lives better.

CHARLOTTE: I hope to be able to watch the direct impact that the positive changes we make have in my own community because of decisions I helped to make.

MARGARET: The committee members are enthusiastic and as Chair, I hope to be able to lead them to be a dynami c and resourceful committ ee, committed to ensuring that Salix Homes residents have a “Customer Voice” that is heard at Board level.

"I’VE ALWAYS HAD AN INTEREST IN VOLUNTEER WORK, SO WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY AROSE FOR ME TO APPLY TO BE ON THE NEW CUSTOMER COMMITTEE I JUMPED AT THE CHANCE."
Charlotte

Despite the pandemic, members have still been able to continue their work virtually.

Keep an eye out for the first piece of scrutiny work, published later this year.

You can learn more about our Customer Committee at www.salixhomes.org/ customer-committee