Eunice reflects on 11 years as a tenant champion
Eunice Rowley knows more than most how rewarding it is to be involved in shaping local services. She’s worked with us as a tenant representative for more than 11 years.
Eunice has covered a variety of roles and has dedicated herself to championing the needs of tenants while helping us improve. As she prepares to retire from her current role as member of the Operations Committee, we asked Eunice to reflect on her time with us.
“I first got involved with Bolton at Home when it was managing homes on behalf of the council. I was part of a team that put together the offer document for tenants on the proposed transfer. “As we worked on the offer, one thing I pushed for was a separate budget for home adaptations. This would enable disabled people to live in a home that suited their needs. It went ahead, with £1.25 million ringfenced for aids and adaptations. It made me realise that tenants could actually influence decision making, and I decided to carry on.”
Board and committee positions As we transitioned into a housing association, Eunice became a tenant Board member. She’s also been Chair of the Customer Committee, is a current member of the Operations Committee, has sat on procurement and service review panels and, in the early days, even interviewed our current Chief Executive for his job.
As Eunice steps down from her committee role, she’ll continue to be our tenant lead on the Equality in Action Panel. The panel makes sure that all our policies are inclusive and take the needs of all our tenants into account.
Talking about the changes she’s seen as a tenant over the years, Eunice says: “The biggest impact came after the transfer when Bolton at Home began the property improvement programme. It was phenomenal. “We got new kitchens and bathrooms, and tenants were able to choose the fixtures and fittings for their new kitchen. When they did my house, I invited other tenants in to have a look round. I even welcomed two coach parties of local councillors into my home. I felt very proud of it.”
“We got new kitchens and bathrooms, and tenants were able to choose the fixtures and fittings for their new kitchen."
Challenging decisions As a tenant representative, Eunice says she got a lot of satisfaction from challenging decision making and has seen many of her suggestions taken onboard. “The organisation is very good at supporting those who want to get involved.
“It’s an inclusive and welcoming environment where everyone is listened to. Staff have supported me tremendously and that makes me want to do more.”
When asked what she thinks we’re good at and where we could do better, Eunice replied: “I’ve looked at what other housing providers do and we’re miles in front. I remember speaking at a housing event about our UCAN centres and realising the service is quite unique. Others don’t do what we do. We’re more than a housing provider. We do a lot of work to support communities.
“The pandemic is an example of this. I’m in awe of how the organisation has gone the extra mile to make sure that vulnerable people got what they needed. We’re also very good at partnering with others who work in our communities to make the town a better place for everyone.” And what can we do better? “I think more decision making could be handed over to tenants. Also, I’d like to see management act on our recommendations more quickly. We have a service review group made up of tenants and sometimes our suggestions take a while to be put into practice.”
"I like to think that I’ve made a difference on behalf of my fellow tenants."
Proud to be involved
Eunice says she’s always felt proud to be involved and that it’s kept her busy over the years. Not long after retiring from her job at a fuel depot 20 years ago, Eunice’s husband, Michael, sadly passed away. Tragically, one of her four sons, Barry, also died a year later. “Working with Bolton at Home has given me purpose. The people I’ve met, both tenants and staff, have become my friends. I’ve learnt so much about the business as well, both on the job and through various training courses. I could tell you everything you need to know about damp and condensation!
“But most of all I’ve felt valued by the team. And I like to think that I’ve made a difference on behalf of my fellow tenants. It really is the best thing I’ve ever done.” We’d like to thank Eunice for her unwavering dedication and support over the last 11 years. Her valuable insight has helped to shape decision making across the organisation. We’re delighted that Eunice is staying on as the lead tenant member of our Equality in Action Panel.