One of the key ways for any campaign group to achieve change is to work with local representatives, Tenants and Residents Associations, local forums or the Safer NeighbourhoodPanels. These organisations allow residents to share concerns, get advice from outside bodies such as legal representatives and develop a strategy. Securing change on some of the issues we work on needs more than just elected councillors – especially when it concerns something that is not under the direct responsibility of the council.
The St Martins Tenant and Residents Association (TRA) campaign on damp in flats on St Martins estate is a campaign that has now been going on for several years. As your councillors we had managed to force the landlords to repair individual flats but it was clear to us that a more organised intervention would be needed. Tulse Hill is fortunate that there are community organisers based at High Trees – whose community organisers are highly trained in supporting local people to campaign for improvements in their area.
The community organisers worked with the TRA and councillors to look at effective ways to get change for example legal routes either individual or as an organized group. The TRA decided to put pressure on the landlords through council powers to enforce environmental action. This has resulted in an independent advisors report that is highly critical of the landlords and recognizes there main response to their residents has been “victim shaming”. You can read about the various stages of the campaign on the residents association blog. We are pleased with this progress, but it has taken far too long and there are still no credible long term plans on how to improve the quality of the stock on St Martins Estate.