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Pictured left to right: David Jones (Head of Engagement and Community Development of the BCT), Steve Howells (Business Administration Assistant of the BCT), Byker tenants Martin Greenfield and Marion Naughton and Penni Pennington, (Director of sponsors Connectin) who presented the award.

Tenants from the Byker Community Trust (BCT) in Newcastle upon Tyne are celebrating after helping their landlord to win a prestigious northern industry award.

The organisation won the Excellence in Annual Reports award at the TPAS (Tenant Participation Advisory Service) Northern awards, which promote and celebrate the success of tenants, landlords and contractors working together.  Staff and tenants attended the final, which was held at the Palace Hotel in Manchester last Friday (April 24).

‘Building Byker’s future… our journey so far’ is the BCT’s first annual report to tenants which highlighted their achievements and how well they are performing in areas such as customer service and repairs.  Other areas of interest included what improvements are being made in their community, how it is governed and how money is being spent.

The BCT has established a Tenant Communications Group, which is made up of twelve tenants, who were fundamental in helping to produce the report.  Their involvement included everything from agreeing how the report should look and feel such as the style, layout and what pictures to include to what information tenants might want and what questions tenants might want to ask the BCT.

7. Byker Community Trust TPAS Annual Report Tenant Communications Group pic
The Byker Community Trust’s Tenant Communications Group have helped produce an award winning publication for tenants

The BCT was one of six organisations shortlisted in the category and as winners of the Northern final, they will now compete against winners of the Central and Southern regions in the national final to be held on July 9 in Chesford Grange, Warwickshire.

This recent award win is the BCT’s third win this month after winning two awards at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) North East awards.  Avondale House (a new housing scheme for veterans) won the Innovation of the Year award while BCT business administration assistant, Steve Howells won the CIH Student of the Year award.

David Jones, Head of Engagement and Community Development at the BCT who has been working with tenants on the production of the annual report, said:

“When we set out to develop the annual report, our intention was always to involve tenants as much as possible.  At the end of the day, we wanted to produce a document that tenants will want to read and is relevant to them.”

Jill Haley, Chief Executive of the BCT, said:

“Our Tenant Communications Group is committed to helping us improve our communications and publications and this award recognises their contribution in helping us to transform Byker.  There are many ways for tenants to get involved in helping the BCT to provide an excellent housing service and listening to our tenants is important to help us understand what tenants want and what they would like their homes and communities to look like.”

Feedback from tenants has been very positive.  A tenant living at Cheviot Mount, commented that the annual report is:

“A great thing to receive as we have never had this before, the book is easy to read and for myself someone who suffers from Dyslexia and mild learning difficulties, I understood the book reasonably well. The book is colourful, attractive, and with bold outstanding headings, I could pick the best bits that interested me. The book had lots of pictures and I recognised lots of local people, I look forward to the next one.”

A copy of the winning annual report, ‘Building Byker’s future… our journey so far’ is available to view here, or hard copies are available upon request by calling 0800 533 5442.