Having grown up in social housing, Hyde Property Manager Robyn is perfectly placed to help residents get the most out of their homes and community. See her video story below.
Robyn, 23, was raised in south London and still lives in a Hyde property, which she shares with her mum. After leaving college, she worked in a supermarket, while she decided on a career, when her mum received an email inviting applications for Hyde’s apprenticeship scheme.
To Robyn’s surprise, she not only won a place on the scheme, but loved it, and was offered a full-time job with Hyde after only seven months of her apprenticeship.
"I never, ever thought I’d work in housing but working for Hyde is very different," she says.
Robyn has had a number of different roles in the four years she has worked for Hyde, including customer services and administration, and particularly enjoys the rapport she has with residents. Helping people resolve problems gives her a particular sense of pride.
As well as working with residents, Robyn is responsible for making sure the communal spaces in the estates she works with are clean, tidy and safe. She recently came up with an idea to turn a green space on a Hyde estate in south London into a fruit and vegetable patch and is in the process of trying to regenerate a children’s playground.
"This green area wasn’t really being used for anything. It was overgrown, with lots of rubbish, so it didn’t look nice. The area was cleared and beds created, which are now producing an inviting array of fruit and vegetables. The residents have taken ownership of this space and are maintaining it.
"Now there are tomatoes and vegetables growing in there and the garden is well-maintained. You can see the difference that it makes to residents."
Cassell House, in south London, is part of a much larger estate that has a history of anti-social behaviour problems, which Hyde staff have worked closely with police to tackle.
"The estate had a reputation for anti-social behaviour and Cassell House needed sprucing up. Our ASB team has done a massive job working with the police and residents to tackle the ASB issues," Robyn says. "Cassell House is now an open, safe environment and there is more unity in the community, because residents speak to each other and we hold meetings with them. We are also giving the block a facelift, making it much more inviting and nicer to look at, which really helps."
Creating a welcoming and caring environment is very important to Robyn, who is aware, from personal and professional experience, that social housing can attract negative stereotypes.
"There is a stigma attached to social housing. You can be labelled as coming from a troublesome area and people think you’re probably on housing benefit. In fact, a lot of housing association homes are really nice. Some are better than the properties people rent privately. I think more education is needed so that people realise this."
Robyn feels fortunate to have a career which she finds so fulfilling.
"I realised that I’m a role model to certain people, which has been really positive for me. Now I encourage other young people. I tell them that, just because they didn’t go to university or do what they were ‘meant’ to do, it doesn’t mean that’s the end for them.
"I enjoy coming into the office because I feel that today, like every other day, I’m going to change something about someone’s life or their living conditions that will have a really positive effect."