Enhancing Social Values, Community Identity and Wellbeing: The impact of participatory working with housing association tenants

Authors: Thomas Lambourne*, University of South Wales, Suzanne Jenkins*, University of South Wales
Topics: Social Geography
Keywords: Participatory Geographies; Community Engagement; Housing; Social Geography; Wellbeing
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon C1, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Tenant participation is now embedded in the work of housing associations and local authorities in the UK, as a way of enhancing community development and involvement. This research takes as its focus, Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association (MTHA), based in the South Wales valleys; a region that has experienced deindustrialisation, peripheralisation, and as a result, some of the UK’s highest levels of socio-economic deprivation. The importance of participatory working outside of a regulatory agenda and boundary will be explored, to evaluate how tenant engagement builds community capacity. The data was gathered using an ethnographic methodology, working with tenants on housing association facilitated projects to explore the role of engagement on tenants. It draws on two distinctive tenant initiatives: a slow cooking group and a tenant ‘youth forum’. The research finds that through these methods of engagement, a number of positive outcomes can be identified across the tenant body, namely (i) the forging and embedding of social values, (ii) empowering tenant groups and sustaining community identity and (iii) enhancing tenant wellbeing.

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