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Engagement panel

Residents have been involved from day one in everything we do at Brighter Places. Our engagement panel is key to how we get things done.

The engagement panel today

In April 2021, when Brighter Places was formed, the engagement panel was set up.  There are currently 10 resident members with plans for five colleagues to join and work with them.  The panel has a role to:

  • monitor our customer service performance
  • shape future services
  • review and help us develop our policies and plans
  • Co-design and support our wider resident engagement activities

This work continues and the panel meets every four weeks. Updates are shared via our news pages, Brighter News magazine and our regular e-news.

We are keen to hear from other residents who are interested in the panel’s work. There are always opportunities to get involved, such as joining a panel meeting as an observer. Please use the contact form to get in touch or request more information.

How the panel started

Around 30 residents from Solon and United Communities were involved in talks about our merger in 2020. So we set up a working group – Team Voice – to define the role of a engagement panel for our new organisation.

Team Voice was so successful that they sent a proposal to the board that a new engagement panel should work the same way.  The board supported this request and gave approval for 10 residents and five colleagues to form the panel.

How residents joined the panel

In March 2021 we asked for ‘expressions of interest’ from residents who wanted to be on the new panel for Brighter Places. We set up a taster session and one-to-one meetings so residents could find out more. 

From these sessions and meetings 10 residents were selected to sit on the panel. Two residents, Pete Kennedy-Watson and Angela Russell, became co-chairs of the panel which is now fully formed and meeting regularly.

I really do think the panel will continue to make positive change for tenants – a real voice at the heart of the organisation.

Pete Kennedy-Watson, co-chair of engagement panel

Engagement panel meetings

The panel meets every few weeks. Our most recent meeting was on 3 November 2021.

Get involved

There are always opportunities to get involved.  For example, you can attend an engagement panel meeting as an observer. Or join our Connected Voices network, a new initiative that gives all residents a chance to easily get involved in our current engagement activities and connect with each other to share ideas about community action.   If you would like to know more, use this form to get in touch.

Meet the engagement team

Who’s who – the team members who support our resident and community engagement activities. Find out more

Contact us by email

engagement@brighterplaces.co.uk

Meet the panel

  • bp66912-Pete-Kennedy-Watson-4-resize-576x768

    Pete Kennedy-Watson

    co-chair

    Pete Kennedy-Watson

    co-chair

    Hello, I’m Pete.  I live in Welsh Back, Queen Square, Bristol.

    My interests include resident engagement, anti-social behaviour, communities, truly affordable homes, and the environment.

    During my career I have worked mainly in the not-for-profit sector and since August 2013, I have worked for the NHS mainly as a researcher (self-harm and suicide, working on the Bristol Self-Harm Surveillance Register). Since March 2021, I have worked as a research data manager (Paediatric Haematology, Oncology and BMT). I have hon. status at The University of Bristol (Bristol Medical School).

    I joined the panel because I have lived experience as a resident, but I wanted to build on this, working with the panel of residents and colleagues. I felt the merger was a good time for us all to engage and have our voices heard.

    I am also pleased to have joined the steering group looking at equality, diversity and inclusion, so important given the pandemic.

    As someone who lived in social housing until I was 20 when I left home for university in Plymouth, I know that secure housing had a large part to play in making my life safer, happier, and allowed me to move forward in life.

    I would encourage other residents to take any opportunity they can to engage – it is so rewarding!  I am happy to discuss my experience with anyone who is interested, and I be contacted via the engagement team at Brighter Places.

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    Angela Russell

    co-chair

    Angela Russell

    co-chair

    Hello, I’m Angela. I was born in Essex but have lived in Totterdown, Bristol since 1970.

    I’m now retired but I was an intensive care nurse until an injury stopped me working as a nurse.  I then worked for several years in the estates department.

    I’ve always been loved being in the community, and I used to run the local playgroup. I’m very proud to say that the Totterdown children’s workshop was started in the early 1980’s by myself and a group of other keen parents. This is still running today.

    I volunteer at a local charity shop and spend one day away providing activities at a dementia specialist nursing home.

    I joined the panel because I am passionate about community inclusion. Totterdown is an area with many different nationalities and faiths living together in harmony.

    I have a special interest in the maintenance of both accommodation and community spaces. My local community managed to secure an area as a village green thus preventing it being built on.

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    Roselyn Ramgeet

    panel member

    Roselyn Ramgeet

    panel member

    Hello, I’m Roselyn and I live in St Paul’s/Montpellier, Bristol.

    My passion is helping young people and community engagement.  All my previous jobs have been around helping young people in some form, from working in schools, to youth work and family support.  I’ve also invested lots of time over the years helping others and organising events in my community.

    My last job was based in the East/Central community.  I was a community empowerment officer, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I worked with adults over 50, helping them utilise their skills and making sure they were not lonely or isolated.

    Away from work, I really enjoy playing sport.  Netball and basketball are my favourites. I’ve always had a passion for arts and crafts, and I’ve just recently started making hand-made wooden ludo boards again.

    I joined the panel for a few reasons. After my last job in the community, which was working for a different house of association, I realised that we had lots of stressed people unhappy with their living conditions. I am a very good listener and negotiator; I love talking to people in my community and I think I have skills to offer.

    I also like to make a difference.  There are numerous things that need changing within the housing association. I like to voice my opinion, so I was delighted to come on board.

    Rather than moaning to people who can’t help, I’m being proactive, a shout out was made for panel members, so here I am, hoping to make a difference with the rest of the team.

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    Vixie Male

    panel member

    Vixie Male

    panel member

    Hello, I’m Vixie and I live in Clifton.

    I moved to Bristol four years ago after spending 10 years in East London and growing up in Somerset.

    I work as a hospital doctor in and around Bristol. If I have any spare time, you can find me outdoors; walking, running or paddleboarding or eating at one of Bristol’s great restaurants.

    I joined the panel to gain experience in management. I have experience as a trainee rep for my colleagues and feel I can represent other people’s views fairly.

    Having lived in ex-social housing in East London and currently shared ownership in Bristol I hope that I can empathise with most people’s situation and have an awareness of the problems they may have.

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    Mike Sheppard

    panel member

    Mike Sheppard

    panel member

    Hello, I’m Mike and I live in Southville, Bristol.

    I’ve been a (Solon) now Brighter Places resident for over 30 years, living in Southville for 30 years.

    I have done a lot of personal growth over the years, graduating university to having worked in factories and on building sites.

    I have worked in various areas of operation including computer programming, gaining lots of experience and qualifications. In my later years, I have suffered with ill health which has meant I have had to slow down.

    I joined the panel because I felt it was a good opportunity to be involved to improve things that have not worked well over the years, but also to ensure that things that have worked well are held onto.

    I am impressed by the intention of Brighter Places, to make it as user-friendly as possible by letting resident get involved and be at the heart of all it does. I believe Brighter Places does want to give the best service it can to its residents.

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    Amber Whitlock

    panel member

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    Jon Kent

    panel member

    Jon Kent

    panel member

    Hello, I’m Jon and I live in Totterdown, Bristol.

    I worked in local journalism as a photographer for many years but now I work as a visitor assistant at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

    I’m involved in art and music, and I am currently working on a photography project about Totterdown.

    I joined the panel because I believe we should all have a voice, and we should all be involved in the changes we’d like to see.

    I think there are several areas of our housing association that need looking at that and that could be done better.  In particular, maintenance/repairs and general communication.

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  • Sophia Smith

    panel member

    Sophia Smith

    panel member

    Hello, I’m Sophia and I live in south Bristol

    I am a mother of four children who keep me busy! But when I do get some time to myself, I enjoy walking and helping others where I can.

    I joined the panel because having been a Solon resident (now Brighter Places) since 2004, I have been lucky to experience when things worked well, but also when things didn’t work so well. I have seen and felt the changes over the years, and hope that the joining together of housing associations bring positive, and productive change.  I believe some of the old systems worked well and should never have changed. Perhaps these need revisiting.

    I currently work in the emergency services so can offer knowledge around topics, concerns that others may not have an insight into. Working with the other panel members and the skills they bring, we hope to be a voice for those of you who feel unheard, to assist with decisions that impact on us all.

    As fellow residents, your input is important to help shape Brighter Places to be a housing association you trust to get things right first time, and one where you feel safe.

    Please get in touch and let us be the impartial help you may have been missing.