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#CoProductionWeek – how Connect is putting power in the hands of our neighbourhoods

This #CoProductionWeek, we’re showing you how putting power in the hands of our residents can ensure we make a real and lasting different to their lives.

Co-production is at the heart of our new Neighbourly Places strategy and we’re taking steps to ensure it’s here to stay. All Connect Housing staff will be taking part in a co-production workshop that will become part of our induction process for new starters from now on.

We’re also introducing co-production champions, as well as establishing a co-production Community of Practice to support our work as well as the work of our partners.

Director of Neighbourly Places, Christine Fox said:

At Connect, we’re so excited about our new Neighbourly Places Strategy and plans for putting more power in the hands of residents. We are looking forward to hearing more about what matters, and to working alongside the people that know best to support them to help build happy, healthy neighbourhoods.

The nature of co-production is that it will grow organically and change course along the way, as it needs to be led by the people we work alongside. To make sure we’re on track, we’ll have regular conversations with residents, customers and everyone involved to ensure that we’re being led by what’s important to those living and working in a neighbourhood.

Epiphany Kidd, our Senior Manager for Neighbourly Places and a passionate advocate for co-production said:

Co-production is a mindset, not a method. Once that falls into place everything else flows. Don’t be afraid of it, it’s simpler than the term suggests. Be afraid of not doing it as you remain in a state of ignorance about the art of the possible and the joy which that will bring.

So, I’m sure some of you are sat thinking – what actually is co-production? Co-production is an approach used when creating something that relates to a group of people. It brings together professionals and citizens by sharing power in the design, planning, assessment and delivery of services. It recognises that everyone has a vital contribution to make and that’s why it’s a key tenet of our new Neighbourly Places Strategy, which you can read here.

It recognises that everyone has a vital contribution to make in order to improve quality of life for people and communities. That’s why it’s a key tenet of our new Neighbourly Places Strategy, which you can read here.

As part of the Neighbourly Places Strategy, we’ve already been putting co-production into practice and working with our communities to design their services, policies and so much more. A great example of this has been the Pet Policy for our Todmorden scheme, Yew Tree Court.

Having just taken over the scheme from a previous housing provider, we needed to draft a new pet policy so that residents were happy with being able to keep their pets, and that owners were being respectful of the communal areas.

Policies for pets are one of the most contentious areas in social housing so we were so pleased that residents gave such great feedback. We are able to draft the policy based on their feedback ensuring a happy community of cats, dogs and humans! This really showed the power of co-design. Have any of you ever been involved in the co-design of a policy like this? Get in touch here if so.

What’s the story of #CoProductionWeek then? This is the 6th annual co-production week, having originally been started by the Social Care Institute for Excellence back in 2015. The event was created as a way for organisations nationally to share good practice, connect with each other and grow the understanding and use of co-production.

This helps us as an organisation to learn lessons from organisations and improve our ways of working, so we can focus on giving real choice and control to residents, customers and everyone who touches on our services in some way.

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Connect Housing Association Limited is a charitable association registered in England and Wales under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 (Company No. IP17445R) and with the Regulator of Social Housing (No. L2285).

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