Welcome to our Tenant Board Representative, Margaret Rafferty

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 Margaret Raftery from Knocks in Fermanagh.

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

Margaret, tell us a bit about yourself?

I have been a Rural Housing Association tenant since 2019, and I currently live in Knocks, Co Fermanagh.  I am really passionate about charity work and volunteer with Knocks Community Association where I help out with adult programmes and youth projects in my local area.  I also volunteer with Darkness into Light a charity which helps raise funds for organisations which support those impacted by suicide and self-harm.


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

A staff member from Rural Housing Association suggested I get involved with Rural Housing’s Tenant Panels, and during lockdown I had the opportunity to join Rural Housing’s online Tenant Panel group.  I thought this was a great opportunity to meet other tenants from my local area, and I love to meet new people and form new friendships!  It was also an opportunity for me to learn new skills.  Before the digital project I had never used an iPad or sent emails before.  Now I have the confidence to use zoom, send emails and shop online.  This was so helpful during lockdown as it has helped me keep in touch with the outside world.


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

I was fascinated about what goes on in the background, and I felt that by becoming a Tenant Rep on the Board it would help me gain a greater insight into the work of Rural Housing Association.  I was amazed by the amount of charity work that the Association is doing behind the scenes.  It was also something different to explore and an opportunity to learn new skills.

It has also been a great opportunity to get to know Rural Housing Association staff better.  Staff at Rural Housing Association go above and beyond for us as tenants.  They are polite and patient and it has been a pleasure getting to know them.


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

It is really important for all housing associations to have tenant representation at Board level.  Boards must have a good understanding of the needs of tenants and Tenant Reps can help them do this.  It is important for housing associations’ Boards to have that connection with tenants, as we are living in their properties. It is vital we all work together for the good of tenants.


What is it you most enjoy about being a Tenant Board Rep?

I love learning new skills, and being part of Rural Housing’s Board of Management has helped me do this.  I also feel that Rural Housing Association work hard to support tenants and as a Tenant Rep I play my role in that good work as well.


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

Go for it!  It is a great opportunity to meet new people and you get to take part in different activities.  Staff are always there to help and support you.  It has been a really positive experience for me!