Residents revel in fantastic theatre performance

Cardboard Citizens provided a thought provoking performance at Plumer House asking questions around the difficulties that face social housing residents and staff.

Friday saw residents and staff from social landlords throughout the South West take part in our first ever live streamed resident event, complete with a performance from London based theatre company Cardboard Citizens.

Residents and staff came together to focus on resident involvement – what residents gain from helping PCH to improve our services and share their different experiences of working with different areas of the business.
Elaine Pellow gave a rousing speech to kick off the event, explaining that it was an interactive session where people could be as involved as they want to be.

Cardboard Citizens performance ‘Kick the Bucket’ touched on some key themes about the frustrations that people face in social housing. Showing the perspectives of residents and staff gave those present at the event a lot to discuss and demonstrated how residents getting involved helps social housing landlords improve the services that we offer.

Cardboard Citizens are a theatre company who have been making life-changing theatre with and for homeless people for 25 years. Andre Skeete from the Citizens said: “We try to create great theatre that makes a real and positive difference to our society and those living in its margins. With Citizens, the acting is only a small part of it – it helps to build people’s confidence. After that we signpost people to training and help them to get ready for employment.”

After lunch residents and staff took part in some interactive sessions around resident involvement strategies and how resident involvement should be marketed to people.

We also showcased our new webble which will be on tour around our estates over August to register residents for our new interactive online portal MyPCH.

The afternoon wound down with a feedback session on the day’s events and it was found to have had a positive impact on those who attended.

Shirley Knibb, PCH resident and member of the Resident Scrutiny Team said: “It was a great day, and I loved the performance from the theatre group. It was an interactive session that involved residents getting stuck in and helping to direct the second half of the play which was really interesting to see.

“Different people would have handled the scenarios in their own way, there was no right answer but it just goes to show the difficulty residents and social landlords have when they are dealing with real people’s lives.”

Jill Palmer, Resident Involvement Coordinator arranged the event and said: “I was delighted to see so many people attend and the afternoon sessions discussed 6 key themes that will feed into our new Resident Involvement Strategy. With an event like this we are able to get good ideas and practice from other landlords which will help us to reach those that we want to engage with.”

Rachel Coombe, Project Officer for Cornerstone Housing in Exeter said: “I was really impressed with how engaging the day has been. We got down to some interesting discussions this afternoon and managed to look at a whole range of topics of resident involvement. There were some key themes that were interesting, in particular how we market resident involvement to people.”

Anita Merritt and Lisa Needs are Housing staff from Cornerstone Housing and told us what they got out of the event: “When you come to an event with people from different landlords then you soon realise that the problems staff and residents face are the same for all of us, we’re in it together and not on our own. When we work in partnership like this there are some great ideas thrown around and we are able to all to work together to improve the services that we offer to our residents.”