Posted by: Alex Wellman14/12/2011
Ok, it is time to get up on my high horse, ride it to the top of a soapbox and have a moan about something that really bugs me.
To do it properly, I have to resort to a different sort of communication so, if you will excuse me for a minute, ‘what iz wiv sum of da landlordz?’
I understand that it may feel awkward reading that and completely out of touch, but that is really my point.
I say this having read my umpteenth news report from a council, charity or social housing provider where they are celebrating their youth.
Nothing wrong with that whatsoever. I am all for it. More, I say.
However, as I scan the details and begin looking for the name of the award or training programme a familiar sinking feeling appears in the gut.
‘At the first annual CitizenZ awards…’ AARRGGH, not again.
Why oh why do local authorities, charities, housing providers or whoever or whatever feel the need to make something more ‘street’ to appeal to young people.
While not a problem in rural areas, it is incessant in urban ones and, I believe, completely patronising to those people it is attempting to celebrate.
As said, I wholeheartedly support anything that gives young people in more deprived areas or situations either a boost up the ladder or shot of confidence.
However, I seriously do not believe that we have to make this celebration conform to stereotypes that much of the right-wing press peddle out daily to their millions of readers.
Do we think so little of our youth that we believe the only way to get them interested in something is to spell it with a ‘z’ and make a flyer look like graffiti?
It is akin to your dad trying to dance to Drake (I had to ask my stepchildren for a current act!) at a wedding. Just seems wrong.
So what could be done right and why are you talking about this in a repairs and maintenance blog I hear you say.
Well, if we are to look at engaging with the youth then we need to take stock of what happened in August with the riots.
Now, don’t all go shouting at once. I am well aware that the stats so far show a small per cent of convicted people coming from social housing, but the stats have said that a large number where young adults, so we have that group to look at.
In the wake of the riots, contractors Lakehouse immediately came out and said that they would be investing in the deprived communities in which they work.
The company also pledged to create 20 work placements, 50 apprenticeships and donate 30 days of staff time to volunteering.
This, to me, sounds like the best way of supporting young people and I think that if landlords want to go someway to empowering their young tenants they could do worse than work out similar agreements with contractors when they are awarding work.
Contractors, like many other businesses, stretch past their core work so have marketing departments, human resources, legal advisors.
With a bit of different thinking, we can get a more harmonious relationship with tenants, landlords, contractors and more.
From Can we fix it?
Alex Wellman takes a look at what’s going on in the social housing contracting sector