Rural Welcomes Tenant Representative Claire Mc Keefry to Board of Management

Tenant representation at Board level is a key element of our governance structure, as it ensures the voice of our tenants is represented at the most senior levels of our organisation.  Over recent months we have welcomed two new Tenant Representatives on to our Board of Management.   One of our Tenant Board Representatives is Claire Mc Keefry from Castlewellan

Claire took the time to participate in a short interview with us, to share her experiences of being a Tenant Representative.  Read her interview below:

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I have been a Rural Housing Association tenant since 2004 and was one of the first Tenant Panel members on the Castlewellan Area Panel.  As a member of RHA’s Tenant Panel, I represent other Rural Housing Association tenants living within my area. I also recently joined Rural’s Board as a Tenant Representative.

I work as a Classroom Assistant in a local school, and I am also a Carer in a local Residential Home for adults with Learning Disabilities. I find both my role as a Carer and Classroom Assistant very fulfilling, as it gives me the opportunity to support both children and adults within my local area.

In my spare time I also enjoy crocheting and playing the tin whistle.

How did you first get involved with Tenant Participation work at Rural Housing Association?

I was one of the first Tenant Panel Members to join the Castlewellan Area Panel.  When I first heard about the Tenant Panel, I thought I would be ideal for the role, as I had worked for the Housing Executive in Downpatrick, and felt I had a good understanding of housing.  I was also amongst the first tenants to move into my area after the scheme was completed in 2004.  Therefore, I felt I really knew the area well and was well placed to represent the needs of local tenants.

What attracted you to the role of Tenant Representative on Rural Housing Association’s Board?

I was encouraged to apply for the role of Tenant Rep by Rural Housing Association staff, due to my role on the Castlewellan Tenant Panel.  Due to my previous experience working for the Housing Executive and my knowledge of the housing sector I thought I would be a good candidate to represent tenants at a Board level.  I also  felt the role would help me broaden my knowledge of the work of Rural Housing Association and it would help me learn more about the development side of the business.

Why do you think it is important for tenants to be represented on Housing Association’s Boards?

Housing Association Boards need the voice of tenants around the table.  By having a Tenant Representative like myself at board level, we can be that tenant voice.  Tenants are at the heart of the business, so it is important that their voice is heard at Board level.

What is it you most enjoy about being a Tenant Rep on RHA’s Board?

I think for me, it is lovely to get an overall view of every department and the work they do.  I get to see the broader picture and understand what is happening across the whole organisation.  It is really interesting and eye opening.

If you had one piece of advice for tenants considering  joining a Housing Association Tenant Panel or board, what would it be?

My advice would be not to worry and give it a try.  Go along to a Tenant Panel meeting and listen to what takes place and see if its for you.  Just by being there you are making a difference.