Hardwick Court Residents Association is a residents association at a sheltered leasehold scheme in Erith. The group was set up November 2017; having heard good things about what the group had achieved, we caught up with them a year later to find out more.
Why did you set up the group?
The main reason was that we had a lot of problems, especially around service charges. We used to moan about problems but as we all got on so well, we thought, “Why not set up a group?”
Tell us a bit about how your group works?
Our group is self-funded with each member paying annual subs of £5 and getting a membership card, this brings in £170 a year. (We decided to go for Tier 2 recognition with Hyde.) Every resident at the scheme opted to join, except for one. We have a committee of six (including three officers); however everyone is invited to all meetings. We meet bi-monthly and also have a very active social schedule. We share information via minutes and a newsletter, as well as our social activity schedule. We also work very closely with our scheme officer Wendy Woods.
Tell us a bit more about your social activities?
We have a weekly coffee morning as well as a Friday social club, and a monthly film club. We also organise trips out, barbecues, birthday parties and various Christmas events. We club together to jointly fund social activities as well as improvements and equipment for the scheme. We also have a weekly raffle which helps fund some of our social activities and also raise a small amount of money by letting out our communal lounge once a month.
How do you do everything?
We all work together with everyone playing a role, whether that be gardening, making the coffee, organising the raffle or monitoring the contractors or the gas and electric meters.
And what achievements are you most proud of so far?
- Getting a service charge refund for all residents at the scheme and negotiating our legionella testing down to twice a year.
- Catching a carer stealing from a vulnerable resident and a con woman, leading to CCTV being set up.
- Raising £600 for Macmillan.
- Last but not least, the sense of community here!
And what advice would you give to other groups looking to set up?
The biggest challenge is getting confidence up that this will work in the first place and getting people to go on the committee. We’d also advise people to get advice and support from the Customer Involvement Team so you can make sure things are set up properly.