This spring Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) once again rolled out their award-winning “Our Choice” project, which gives residents control of how money is spent improving their neighbourhoods. £47,000 of funding to thirteen neighbourhoods was up for grabs and only local people could decide how it was spent.
Since 2013 more than £120,000 has been distributed to neighbourhoods to fund projects including: summer activities for children; gardening for all ages; a community open day; table tennis for all ages; homework club; over-50s luncheon club; computer club; card-making club and environmental projects. The project won a National Housing Federation Community Impact Award in 2014 for creating better neighbourhoods.
Our Choice is creating stronger communities by bringing tenants together to tackle key issues and achieve best value for money by directing funds to where they are most needed. It is also strengthening the bond between RBH employees and tenants and increasing social cohesion by bringing together communities at the voting events and providing activities across neighbourhoods where residents can interact.
Our Choice has already brought major benefits to tenants by providing events and activities which meet their priorities. Equally important is the sense of community it has brought by giving residents a major say on what happens in their neighbourhoods, now and in the future. The amount of funding available is based on the number of RBH homes in each area.
Jonathan Walton, RBH Engagement Manager, said:
“Our Choice is all about empowering residents to shape the development of their own neighbourhoods. As a mutual organisation we are committed to working in partnership with tenants as they know best where money should be directed in their own communities. This is a pioneering venture which is fully in keeping with the borough’s co-operative heritage.”