Council colleagues were delighted to be part of this year’s East Lothian Tenants and Residents Panel (ELTRP) awards ceremony which, of course, had to be done a little differently.
Instead of a traditional event, guests gathered on Zoom to hear about the achievements of the panel, the many residents’ groups around East Lothian and their work with East Lothian Council to help us be the best landlord possible and to make sure tenants’ views are always at the heart of what we do. There were also awards for individuals who have gone the extra mile to support communities.
Councillor Jim Goodfellow, the council’s spokesperson for Housing, was delighted to present the first four ‘Contribution to Community’ Awards. These went to: Beach Lane Tenants and Residents Association (TRA); Elphinstone Community Association; Haddington East TRA and Ormiston West TRA. The winners were all judged to have had an outstanding impact on their local area and achieved great outcomes that others can learn from in the future. The work of these local groups has added value to their local area and improved community spirit; strengthened relationships and communication; and championed community and tenant participation.
James Coutts, Service Manager for Community Housing and Homelessness, presented the remaining three Contribution to Community Awards to: Hallhill TRA; Harkness Crescent TRA and Golf Drive TRA.
A special Spotlight Award was presented by East Lothian Council’s Chief Executive, Monica Patterson, to Deborah Piner, Service Development Officer with Community Housing. Deborah was praised for her work with ELTRP and for her exceptional commitment and passion for tenant participation. She was described as ‘a joy to work with’.
Douglas Proudfoot, the council’s Head of Service (Development) had the honour of presenting the inaugural Jeanette Boyd Award. Jeanette was a founding member of ELTRP and also worked tirelessly in her own community of Windsor Park, Musselburgh. She volunteered on the Tenants Panel with the Scottish Government and was on the Board of the Tenants Information Service. She passed away in May this year and is sadly missed. This special award went to Pat Macrae, Chair of Brunton Court TRA. Pat has gone to great efforts over the years to ensure residents of Brunton Court, and other sheltered housing complexes across East Lothian, get the best possible service.
The council’s latest Tenant Participation Strategy was also officially launched at the event. The strategy ensures a two-way flow of information between tenants and the council. It sets out what information the council will provide and what matters tenants will be consulted on, over the three year period up to 2023.
It was also announced at the ceremony that the council had retained its Scrutiny Approved Accreditation Gold standard, awarded by the Tenants Information Service in partnership with Scotland’s Housing Network.
ELTRP Chairman Jim Herron said: “On behalf of the East Lothian Tenants and Residents Panel I want to thank everyone who attended our Sparkle Awards and made the night such a fantastic success. It was heart-warming to be part of the celebrations and to recognise all the good work being done by our local tenants and residents groups within our communities. The determination to try and make a difference to people’s lives despite these very challenging and worrying times is a real achievement in itself and only strengthens the bond and spirit that lives within our communities. These awards were a first but certainly won’t be the last!”
Councillor Jim Goodfellow said: “At the end of a very challenging year for all of us, it was a real pleasure to attend ELTRP’s Sparkle Awards. It showed that, despite the pandemic, the good work done by our tenants and residents groups, individuals and council staff over the years has not just continued but really strengthened. Community spirit has been so much in evidence this year and partnership working has never been so important in helping to support everyone in East Lothian, particularly our most vulnerable residents. Congratulations to all of the winners. Each award was well deserved. The official launch of our Tenant Participation Strategy and the announcement of our Scrutiny Approved Accreditation Gold Standard created a fantastic end to a fantastic event.”