Voices and Choices Evaluation

In April 2016 Rotherham Federation won £401, 800 from the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund to deliver its Community Voices and Choices project. The 36-month project adopted the Community Organiser approach seeking to address the lack of social capital, building community strength and empowerment in eight of Rotherham’s most deprived communities.

This is the final evaluation of the project produced in January 2019.

A Vision for Social Housing

Shelter has produced a comprehensive report on  ‘Building for our Future- A Vision for Social Housing’ in January 2019. 

Amongst a number of recommendations to improve social housing, the report calls for a stronger voice for tenants including support for independent tenants organisations like Rotherham Federation. A key recommendation of the report is that “residents of social housing must have a voice with national, regional, and local government. Government should support the establishment of an independent tenants’ voice organisation or tenants’ union, to represent the views of tenants in social housing within national and local government. It should involve as wide a range of tenants as possible.

Rotherham Federation of Community fully endorses this report and supports the recommendations made within  it. 

The Full Report – A Vision for Social Housing

RMBC Cabinet to Recommend 1% Rent Reduction

At their meeting on 21st January 2019, RMBC Cabinet will approve  a recommendation to the full council of council house rent reductions of 1% this year.

Whilst this is great news for hard pressed tenants, this will continue the squeeze on funding needed to deliver services required in the HRA Business Plan (services for council house tenants).

The Full Report

More Voices and Choices

Tbe Big Lottery Fund is  awarding £272,732 to Rotherham Federation of Communities (Rotherham Federation) for a further 3 years to  enable residents living in eight of Rotherham’s poorest and most excluded areas to become engaged in local life, have an effective voice and be empowered as a community to influence change in their area. The project will train and directly employ 3 full time Community Organisers from our local communities in Rotherham to undertake this work.

Steve Ruffle, Chief Executive Officer of the Federation said “this project will meet continue the excellent community organising work we have been undertaking during the last three years. We are using the innovative Community Organisers approach to involve local people in planning and delivering community change.”  Community organisers will help support local people get their views listened to, support them to run their own activities and bring community groups together.

Rotherham Federation supports communities to grow and develop, working with them to build their sense of belonging, community pride and spirit. We work with and through grass roots community groups that are committed to bringing communities together, giving all communities a voice and creating local solutions to local issues.

The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK and  are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery for good causes and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.  Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £33 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.

For more details of the More Voices and Choices project funded by the Big Lottery Fund  contact Steve Ruffle on 01709 368515 or by email at steve.ruffle@rotherfed.org.  The Federation  is based at Springwell Gardens Community Centre.

Derek Corkell

Derek Corkell was born in May 1934 and died on 14th December 2018 after a long illness. He was a member of the Rotherham Federation of Communities  board between 2007 and 2013, He was both Vice Chair and Company Secretary of the Federation at different times. Derek was also a Board member of Tenants and Residents of England and chair of Windy Ridge Tenants and Residents Association in Aughton.

Derek was passionate about involving allunderrepresented groups in what the Federation did – he was an important architect in supporting the establishment of Rotherham Deaf Futures group.  Derek always encouraged people to work together – in relation to the council, our landlord he always promoted our role as critical friend, challenging when need be but never falling out for the sake of it.

Community Organiser Regional Meet Up

Community Organisers Regional Meet Up hosted by Co-Collaborative Ltd. Building on the one-day Introduction to Community Organising training, community listening’s and previous network gatherings, this is an opportunity to ask ourselves;

  • What we can do together that we cannot do on our own?
  • How can we use the power of the Yorkshire network to strengthen what we are doing, support each other and to take-action on the things that together we care about most?

The national network is already mobilising around the issue of benefits sanctioning and Universal Credit – is this an issue you care about? Find out how you can get involved in our national campaign.

A buffet lunch will be supplied.

Who can attend?
Anyone who is a member of Community Organisers
Anyone who has completed the one day Introduction to Community Organising workshop
Individuals in your communities that would benefit from the one day Introduction to Community Organising workshop

Get your tickets here

Board Elections 2019

2 positions on the Trustees Board are open to election and one co-optee position will be reviewed. Elections are up for representatives from  Wentworth North (presently Sue Fox) and one Community of Interest position (presently Kim Addy).

Nomination forms out                                  Week Beginning 3rd December 2018

Nomination forms returned                        Friday 25th January 2019

Candidate Interviews                                  Week Beginning 28th January 2019

Ballot papers out                                          4th February  2019

Ballot papers returned                                15th March 2019

Election Results Announced at AGM       26th March 2019

Rotherham Federation is a charitable company support communities to grow and develop, working with them to build their sense of belonging, community pride and spirit. We work with and through grass roots community groups that are committed to bringing communities together, giving all communities a voice and creating local solutions to local issues.

Trustee Nomination Form 2019 (word file)

Please speak to Steve Ruffle the Chief Executive Officer if you want more information about being a trustee – either by phone on 01709 368515 or by email at steve.ruffle@rotherfed.org

Final Response to Social Housing Green Paper

32 people attended the workshop held on Thursday 11th October 2018 at Springwell Gardens Community Centre. This complemented the consultation by Federation volunteers at Rotherham Show in September 2018 and an online consultation by RMBC in September and October 2018.

Rotherham tenants from the Federation have also been involved in discussions on the Green Paper at the ARCH (Association of Retained Council Housing) Conference in Kettering on Tuesday 18th September 2018 and  the North East Tenants Alliance meeting in Barnsley on 24th September and as well as Board meetings in August 2018 and October 2018.

Rotherham Federation is pleased tenants for whom social housing is their home are being widely consulted on their views. We also welcome the changed language from Government that recognizes social housing tenants as equals in society. However, we do believe there are too many questions, too much jargon and feel many tenants found it difficult to engage with such a document.

Though the number of questions was overwhelming, Rotherham Federation wish to highlight 4 particular issues in their response to the Green PaperThese are:

Green Paper Workshop 11th October 2018

Question 20: Effective Engagement and Scrutiny

   Whilst tenant engagement and scrutiny is of high quality in Rotherham with the recognition by RMBC as landlord of the important role of an independent tenant organisation locally (Rotherham Federation) unfortunately the important role of tenant involvement and scrutiny is not universally recognised  by all social housing  landlords in England. We believe mechanisms to ensure all social housing tenants have effective means to independently engage and scrutinise their own  landlord services is critical.

Question 21: A National Tenant Voice

The Federation believes that the national tenant voice  should be recognised as powerful and heard, influencing government policy in all areas affecting communities. It should be an organisation that is involved in potential housing legislation, overseeing the condition of housing, increases in affordable housing, promoting the right to rent and encourage renting as a tenure of choice. It needs to be a key route into government, influencing and shaping government policy

Key would be recognition of the importance of an independent and active tenant movement supporting active tenants and TARAs to have a say. We see that social landlords have a role to support the tenant movement locally which would feed into regional networks like the North East Tenants Alliance. We would expect national government to resource the national tenant voice.

The national tenants voice should be unifying and representing tenants, taking up their concerns with a view of empowering all parties in the aspirations of their quality of life. It will unify tenants federations, regional tenants organisations, supporting good practice and ensuring effective collaboration. It needs to be one voice representing all tenants but recognising the specific local needs of tenants and the different needs in each area and of different individuals.

Representing and providing support to tenants needs to be core to the work of the National Tenant Voice. It will ensure tenants rights are maintained. A key task needs to be communication – both ensuring tenants receive information and their views reach government and key agencies. Tenants need to be told of what is happening. It needs to involve itself and help tenants become meaningfully involved in major consultation activities.

Question 38: Tackling Stigma 

Irresponsible reporting in the media unfairly promotes the perception that social housing tenants are troublesome. Some high profile politicians occasionally reinforce this misconception by stereotyping tenants.

The allocation of social housing on the basis of need leads to few homes being let to those without significant needs. The Decent Homes Standard, unaffordable house prices and high quality landlords offering a level of security, means social housing is the tenure of choice for renters.

While social housing is principally used to house those in acute need, social housing tenants will continue to be stigmatised- this  will increase as the number of social housing homes decreases and the number of people in acute need increases.

Only a significant increase in social housing number and the accompanying opportunity to house more than just those in acute need, will destigmatize social housing tenants.

Question 45: Extending Supply

Rotherham Federation recognises increased supply of housing is critical to resolving our present housing crisis and must be taken forward developing housing of mixed tenure and ultimately mixed and thriving  communities.

Getting Peoples Views 11th October 2018

Link to Housing Green Paper

Put Your Views Here

Getting Online Small Grants Distributed

Rotherham Federation are pleased to announce that, with funding from Rotherham Borough Council, a total of 16 Applications for the “Getting Online” Grant were successful and have received grants for their Group to help residents “get online”.

Treeton Community Centre – £300 towards start up of a Digital Cyber Café

Aspire Community Hub – Running Digital Sessions to users – £300

Friends of Rosehill Park – £300 to turn knit and natter sessions into Digital Sessions

Crafty Talk – £288 for MiFi units/tablets to get online

Bakersfield Court – £300 towards Tutor for computer course sessions

Action Housing – Run Digital Drop in Sessions for users – £300

MVNA – Digital Sessions run at the library – £300

UMMEED – £300 to do digital sessions for service users

Rotherham District Explorer Scouts – £300 for MiFi units across the borough

Rotherham Drop in Community Centre – £250 for MiFi and Digital Sessions to users

Hellaby Community Project – £300 towards WIFI and Tutor Sessions

Harley Village Mission Room Trust – £300 for Tablets to offer Digital Sessions

Asian Ladies Society – £280 towards tutor costs for Computer Course

Swinton Community Focus Group – £300 towards running digital sessions to users

Fitzwilliam Association – £300 for MiFi and tablets to run digital sessions

Leverton Way TARA Group – £274.99 for WIFI and Digital Sessions to users