Posted by: Lydia Stockdale09/03/2011
Twitter is abuzz with comments about last night’s Neighbourhood Watched, the second programme in the fly-on-the wall documentary series which follows housing officers from New Charter Housing Trust Group in Greater Manchester.
Last night viewers saw the housing association dealing with two young mums whose constant partying was causing havoc on their street, and re-housing Elsie and her husband Bill who had lived in their home for 50 years. Elsie, now in her early 80s could no longer climb the stairs and had to sleep in the living room.
If Raw TV, the company that produces the programme, the BBC and New Charter’s motivation for getting involved in the series was to inform the general public about social housing and the work of housing officers, then judging by viewers’ tweets, it certainly seems to be working.
@MuppetFitz asked ‘Do people actually live like this?’ while @weedydan wrote, ‘I’ve got an in growing toenail, can I have a free house please’.
Michelle and Laura, the two twenty-something neighbours, whose front gardens were meeting points for rowdy friends and family, caused outrage amongst viewers. The two women and their mates congregated and drank, argued and played loud music until the early hours of the morning… oh, and one of them nicknamed her son ‘Asbo’.
‘Jesus wept. Did she actually just call her kid “asbo”?!?!?,’ asked @RachGorst. ‘With a pet name like ASBO, this kid is definitely not going to end up prison when he grows up,’ added MuppetFitz.
‘Watching #neighbourhoodwatched jeez some families just don’t care. Why bother helping some people when they don’t wanna help themselves’, commented @Marc_Nelson. While @Dazzle3009 said, ‘#Poor poor kids on #neighbourhoodwatched and it’s our taxes that pay for those terrible parents free homes.’
The programme saw the two tenants being issued with acceptable behaviour contracts, which they broke. They were then issued with injunctions which placed a restriction on the number of visitors they could have at their homes.
The anti-social behaviour continued though, and in order to gain evidence they had breached the terms of their injunctions, New Charter’s tenancy enforcement officer Martin Bell hid cameras. These caught the necessary to arrest Laura, and eventually her home was repossessed. ‘Result!’ announced @SukkyCH.
On a more positive note, Twitter users were rooting for Elsie and Bill, who’d been waiting for more than three years to be re-housed in a property without stairs. ‘Really hope Bill and Elsie get the flat,’ wrote @pandahatjen,.
The couple were finally given a flat in residential village in Stalybridge. ‘Ah bless em - must be sad to leave their family home after all those years,’ tweeted @zandie.
So that was the general public’s reactions to the programme – but what did Inside Housing readers think of it?
Judging by viewers’ comments, do you think it portrayed social housing and its tenants in the way you would have wanted?
To see all Tweets about Neighbourhood Watched, click here.
Last night’s programme can be viewed on BBC iPlayer.
Read what Martin Bell and his New Charter colleagues have to say about dealing with ASB here.
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