Page 1

Tenants and Residents Association Handbook


Contents

Part 1 Introduction

Part 2 Step by Step guide to setting up a TRA

Part 3 Committee roles Part 4 Running a successful TRA and overcoming barriers Part 5 Resources for TR!’s Part 6 Planning a Community Event


Section 1

Introduction


Section 1 – Introduction

This Handbook will help you set up and run a Tenants/Residents Association (TRA) in your area. Your TRA can help you to form a partnership with Lewes District Council to improve your housing service, community and general environment. Our aim is to provide the best possible range of services for you. Partnership working between your TRA and Lewes District Council will help you have more of a say and to get involved in the running of your home. This pack, together with the package of financial help we have put in place, is the key to this partnership. We have divided the pack into 6 parts each of which has information you can use separately so you can just dip in and take what you need.


Section 2 – Step by Step Guide

Section 2

Step by step guide on how to set up a Tenant and Residents Association


Section 2 – Step by Step Guide

This is a step by step guide on what to do to develop a Tenant and Residents Association (TRA) and gives practical ideas on what you can do to keep it going. The handbook is laid out in sections so that you can dip in and out of it.

What is a TRA? A TRA is formed by a group of residents living on a estate or in street(s) who come together to form an Association to help make their area a better place to live in

What are the benefits of setting up a TRA? Forming a TRA can bring many advantages for you and your neighbours.

Undertake special community projects such as community clean up, summer projects

Make requests for improvements to the area

Raise awareness of issues Represent all members of the area

Advantages of a having a Tenants and Residents Association

Encourage recreational and social activities

Address issues in the area

Influence decision makers Opportunity to have voice heard


Section 2 – Step by Step Guide

Tenant and Residents Associations (TRA’s) are usually started with a handful of interested people. The following steps should keep you on the straight and narrow, but remember, you can only do so much and your time is limited. Outlining clear aims at the beginning will give your association a definite purpose.

Step 1 – Is there initial local support for setting up a TRA? You probably have a clear idea of why a TRA might be needed in your area, but it is important to make sure that other local tenants and residents feel the same. Here are a few tips for finding out if there is any interest from the outset, without using up too much energy and time. 

Speak to your neighbours and local friends to find out their views on local services and amenities and whether they think a TRA is a good idea Encourage them to speak to their neighbours and friends about the same Ask people to think about possible solutions to any issues they might have See if a few of you want to meet up to progress things - If at least three of you want to do this move on to Step 2 If no one else is interested you can always join LAST (Lewes Association of Scattered Tenants). This is a TRA that represents and works for all tenants who don’t belong to a local Lewes District TRA.

   

Step 2 – Setting up a steering group and doing some leg work! If a few of you have agreed to meet up and progress things, here’s how to build support to start a TRA:  

 

Plan some small informal “steering group” meetings – you can meet in each other’s homes, or at a local café, pub, etc or you can use the Landport Community Centre, 2a Horsfield Road, Lewes, BN7 2TA Invite one of the Lewes District Council Tenant Participation team along to your meetings. They can help you with the leg work, such as photocopying, producing and delivering surveys, helping with constitutions etc. They can be contacted by phone, 01273 487249 or email tenant.participation@lewes.gov.uk Agree which streets or area that you would like your TRA to represent. Draft a survey to go to all households within your chosen area. The survey needs to identify:  Whether the issues identified by your steering group match those of your local community  Whether there is support for any of the solutions you may have identified.  Whether there is support for community activities  Whether they are in favour of starting a TRA.  Whether they are willing to get involved in the TRA, and if they are, ask for contact details  What is the best time for most people to attend meetings  Space for any other issues or solutions, you may not have thought of  The survey then needs to go out to all households in the area. It’s a good idea to hand deliver and collect these if you can. This will give you an opportunity to talk on the doorstep about the advantages of setting up a TRA.


Section 2 – Step by Step Guide  Aim for 50% return rate of the total surveys distributed. If you have the support of over 50% of survey returns, you can plan to start setting up your TRA. Please see Appendix 2.1 – Designing surveys for details of drafting a survey and Appendix 2.2 – Sample Surveys for setting up a TRA

Step 3 - Planning your first TRA Meeting Hopefully the survey will have identified a few more people willing to join your steering group. Make sure you invite them to your planning meetings and keep the momentum going by planning your TRA “launch” meeting:  Draft a constitution for your TRA - Your constitution sets out the aims of your TRA, its membership and considers things like how often you will meet. Eg you might decide to hold a minimum of two meetings, open to all members, plus six committee meetings per year. See Appendix 2.3 – Sample Constitution. You may also wish to consider developing a Code of Conduct for Meetings, see Appendix 2.4 – Code of Conduct  Consider who, on the steering group, might be prepared to take on the officer roles of Chair, Secretary etc. Whilst they must be elected to these roles at the launch meeting, it’s important to know that there is interest ahead of the meeting as the TRA cannot start without these positions being filled.  Analyse all of the information you have got from your survey, so you have a clear idea of what is important to the people you will be representing and some ideas for resolving the issues  Set the date for your launch meeting- considering the tim ing, so you don’t clash with important events - FA cup final for instance!

 Decide where to hold the meeting. Some areas have Lewes District Council sheltered schemes with communal lounges, or community rooms or halls for hire, which are ideal. LDC can meet reasonable costs for this. If you would like to meet in a communal lounge of a sheltered scheme, please contact the Tenant Participation Team on 01273 487249 or email tenant.participation@lewes.gov.uk. In smaller areas or where there are only a few properties involved, some people have chosen to hold meetings in their own homes. Whichever venue you choose it’s important, as far as possible, to ensuring that it’s convenient and accessible to everyone who wants to attend.  Consider inviting other guests, such as the police, local councillors etc who may be able to help with issues of concern identified from the survey.  Consider what arrangements need to be made to encourage people to come along, for example paying for childcare may encourage families with children to attend. LDC can meet reasonable costs for this.  Set an agenda for the launch meeting – if possible identify some issues that might be easily fixed to discuss.  Produce a leaflet/newsletter advertising the meeting and deliver it to everyone in the area.  Talk to people and ask them to come along to the launch meeting - agree to meet up and go with them if they are a little shy.  Remember your Tenant Participation Team can help you with resources and finance for all of the above.


Section 2 – Step by Step Guide

Step 4 – Holding Your TRA launch meeting The big day! All the work of the steering group culminates with this event. Your TRA will want to make a positive impression on those attending. The following are suggestions to help make this happen:   

Be clear about what your TRA wants to achieve at the first meeting and prepare an agenda;

Arrive early and set the room up the way you want it;

Ensure there is enough agendas, constitutions etc so everyone that attends can have a

copy. Have a large copy of the agenda on display  Have someone on the door to welcome people as they arrive;  Make it a social event e.g. have tea and coffee before or maybe refreshments after;  Introduce one another; this is very important if people do not know each other.  Make sure someone chairs the meeting to ensure the discussion focuses on the agenda items. - however build in some time for “any other business” so that everyone has a chance to say something at this first meeting.  Ensure your constitution is agreed and that your new committee and officers are elected. It is a good idea to make sure somebody independent oversees the election of your committee. Your Tenant Participation Worker can do this for you.  If you have identified some possible “quick fix” issues discuss these, and agree actions to take – this will show that your TRA means business and give people confidence that you will achieve results  Make sure someone takes notes from the meeting - to include: who attended, the main points of discussion and any actions that are decided. Once your TRA has been set up it will become the main contact point for Lewes District Council to consult with over issues affecting your homes and the local area. If your TRA agrees to set up a bank account you can apply for direct grant funding from LDC towards running costs. Your Tenant Participation Team can provide training to help your TRA to gain the skills it needs to keep going and are always on hand to help with newsletters, leaflets, photocopying, funding advice etc.


Introduction


Appendix 2.4 – Example Code of Conduct

Appendix 2.2 Sample Survey for setting up a TRA


Appendix 2.4 – Example Code of Conduct

Name of Association, working with Lewes District Council, would like to find out your views and

find out if people would like to see a tenant and resident association set up.

Please could you put the survey in the envelope, which will then be collected between ________

and ________ on the _______, or failing this please post it back in the envelope. Thank you.

We would also like to invite you to our first public meeting which will be:

on insert date

at: insert venue

Where the results from this survey will be discussed

1. ABOUT OUR AREA Do you feel there are sufficient facilities for: YES

NO

Children Young people Toddlers Older people If no, please give more details and any suggestions to improve the situation. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

2.

HAVE YOU ANY CONCERNS ABOUT ROAD SAFETY AND PARKING? YES

NO

a) Road safety?

b) Parking?

If YES please provide details overleaf

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..... ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Appendix 2.4 – Example Code of Conduct

3. COMMUNAL AREAS/GREENS. For example the green outside (insert area) Do you have any concerns:

YES

NO

3a) with these areas 3b) the grass cutting 3c) the street lighting 3d) with dog fouling Please indicate any improvements to the communal areas which you feel are needed. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4.

PROBLEMS WITH ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR/VANDALISM YES

NO

Have you experienced problems with vandalism or anti social behaviour in the last 6 months? If YES please state (if you wish to) what the issue was and how you feel it was dealt with ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5.

SETTING UP A RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION (TRA)

If a residents association is set up as well as dealing with the issues above, we are hoping to run a summer BBQ, community clean up days and set up a knit and natter group YES 5a) Do you feel a Residents Association for the area is a good idea? 5b) If YES would you attend meetings? 5c) Would you be able to help us organise activities

If you would be able to attend meeting which day and time would be best for you?

NO


Appendix 2.4 – Example Code of Conduct ………………………………..…………………………………………………………………………………

Please let us know below if you have any other suggestions for things you would like to see arranged ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6. COUNCIL TENANTS ONLY - Condition of your home Are any of the following badly in need of improvement? Windows

Doors

Fittings

Guttering

Roof

Heating

Please give details ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Thank you for filling in the survey. Lewes District Council is helping us to collate the results. The information will only be used by Name of Residents Association. It would help if you could give us your address, so that we can identify which area of area of benefit the issues you have raised affects. If you have said you want to be involved in any way, please add the rest of your contact details Name………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Address ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Phone number

……………………………………………………………………………………………

Email……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Please make a note of the date of the public meeting: date and time of meeting before sending back the survey! Look forward to seeing you then. Thank you


Appendix 2.4 – Example Code of Conduct

Appendix 2.3

Sample Constitution


Appendix 2.4 – Example Code of Conduct

1.

NAME

The name of the Association shall be: Name of Group Tenant and Residents Association.

2.

AIMS

The aims of the Name of Group Tenant and Residents Association are: To work for and represent all those living in: Area Covered To promote the exercise of tenants’ rights and the maintenance and improvements of their housing conditions, amenities and environment; To organise social activities as agreed by the Committee or General Meeting of the Association which shall be open to all members; To uphold equal opportunities and to work for the good relations amongst all members of the community. 3.

MEMBERSHIP

Membership shall be open to all tenants and residents and their households living in the area listed below: Area Covered. The Association will not discriminate on the grounds of gender, race, colour or national origin, sexuality, disability, religious or political belief, marital status or age. Membership of the Association will be free and all tenants and residents will automatically become members of the Association unless they indicate in writing to the Secretary that they do not wish to be a member. All members shall have voting rights on all issues raised at meetings except on those issues specifically relating to Council House finance, where only council tenants will have voting rights. 4.

COMMITTEE

The business of the Association will be carried out by a Committee elected at the Annual General Meeting. The Committee will consist of Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and other members. The Committee will meet as necessary and not less than {x} times a year. Committee meetings will be open to any member of the Association wishing to attend who may speak, but not vote.


Appendix 2.4 – Example Code of Conduct The Committee will have power to co-opt members with skills and knowledge useful to the association who can advise and support the Association. Co-opted members of the Committee can take part but will have no voting rights at Committee meeting and should not hold officer posts or represent the association at meetings or events

The minimum (quorum) for Committee meetings shall be: one third of all members (i) Committee Meetings {x} members with power to vote or one half of the members whichever is greater shall form a quorum at meetings of the Management Committee and sub­ committees of the Association. (ii) General Meetings: {x} members with power to vote or one third of the members with power to vote, whichever is the less, shall form a quorum at General Meetings of the Association. Any member of the Name of Group that has contact with young or vulnerable people as part of the work undertaken by Name of Group must have a current Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), and copy must be supplied to the Secretary. Members shall have no mandate to represent the views of the Name of Group or to make any decision or exercise any power on Name of Group without prior express authority from Name of Group. If vacancies occur among the officers between AGMs, the Committee shall have the power to fill those vacancies except where three or more vacancies occur at the same time in which case a Special General Meeting, advertised for that purpose, must be called 5.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The Committee will call an Annual General Meeting in the month of {insert month group started} (and no later than after 15 months) At this meeting:  The Committee will present an annual report of the Association;  The Treasurer will present the audited accounts of the Association for the previous year;  The officers for the next year will then be elected; the election will be conducted by an independent person;  Any proposals given to the Secretary in writing will be discussed;  

6.

The Officers (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer) shall be elected for one year and may be eligible for re-election to serve a maximum of three consecutive years. Amendments to the constitution may be proposed at the Annual General Meeting having been given in writing to the Secretary. SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING

The Secretary will call a Special General Meeting at the request of the majority of the Committee, or of a majority of members of the TRA. At least seven (7) days notice will be given of the Special General Meeting which will take place within twenty one (21) days of the request


Appendix 2.4 – Example Code of Conduct

7.

CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

The minimum (quorum) for all General Meetings of the Association will be one third of all members. The Association has the power to affiliate to any organisation which may be of benefit to its members. The committee will try to work by general agreement but where this is not possible decisions will be taken by majority vote. If a vote is tied, the chair should have the casting vote. Minutes will be kept of all meetings of the Association. The minutes will be presented to the next meeting to be approved. The minutes will be made available to any member of the Association on request, within (x) days of the request. At all meetings, any offensive behaviour, including racist, sexist or inflammatory remarks will not be permitted. Anyone behaving in an offensive way will be warned by the Chair. If the behaviour persists, then a vote will be taken by the meeting to suspend the person from the meeting. If whilst conducting business of the TRA, any member is considered to have committed gross misconduct, a resolution to suspend that member from the TRA can be made in writing, stating the reasons why and signed by at least two other members of the TRA. The decision to suspend that member, or not, will then be taken at the next committee meeting of the TRA. Definition of gross misconduct For the purpose of this Constitution, gross misconduct is defined as follows:

a) Theft: an admission of or conviction for theft from the TRA or TRA member.

b) Assault: bodily, indecent or verbal assault, whilst conducting TRA business.

c) Fraud: fraudulent practice involving money, allowance/expenses claims, property, records,

contracts or accounts relating to the TRA. d) Discrimination and harassment: discrimination or harassment on the grounds set out under

section 3 (above) e) Drink and Drugs: being found while at a meeting of the TRA to be in an intoxicated and

offensive or incapable condition (unless caused by drugs prescribed by a medical practitioner).


Appendix 2.4 – Example Code of Conduct f) Falsification of documents: falsification of documents with an intent to defraud or deceive the

TRA

8. NEWSLETTERS The Association will aim to produce at least {x} newsletters each year. These will be distributed to each property covered by the constitution. 9. PUBLIC MEETINGS The Committee should organise at least {x} General Meetings each year in addition to the Annual General Meeting, giving all members at least seven (7) days notice. 10. UNDER 18s REPRESENTATIVES Up to two people under 18 can be co-opted onto the committee. If there are more than two people interested an election will be organised in a manner to be determined by the committee as appropriate. The under 18 representatives will be assisted in holding regular young peoples meetings in order to act as a sounding board for the views of others. 11. FINANCE The Treasurer will keep an account of the finances of the Association and will open a bank account in the name of the Association within two months of the group being set up. Three cheque signatories will be nominated by the Committee (one to be the Treasurer). Any two of these must sign every cheque. The signatories must not be related nor members of the same household. At each meeting, a statement will be given showing the income and outgoings of the Association, and accounts will be made available to any member of the association on request, within (x) days of the request. All money raised by or on behalf of the Association is only to be used to further the aims of the Association. Audited accounts will be presented at the Annual General Meeting 12. DISSOLUTION The Committee (or where the Committee no longer exists, any four (4) members of the Association) shall have the power to propose that the Association should be dissolved. To do so, they must give at least 14 days’ notice of dissolution meeting to all members, and stating the resolution to be proposed. For the sole purpose of dissolution, a quorum will not apply and the Association may be dissolved by a simple majority of those present and voting. The assets, financial and otherwise, remaining after the Association has satisfied it’s liabilities, shall be applied for the benefit of the community, by way of a donation to a charity or other organisation. Signature of Chair …………………………………………………………………… Name of Chair ……………………………………………………………………….


Appendix 2.4 – Example Code of Conduct DATE …………………………………………………… Signature of Secretary …………………………………………………………………… Name of Secretary ……………………………………………………………………….


Appendix 2.4 – Example Code of Conduct

Appendix 2.4 Example Code of Conduct


Appendix 2.4 – Example Code of Conduct

Members should at all times observe accepted practise while taking part in a meeting: • The Chair should welcome members and others to the meeting • The Chair should generally avoid getting involved in debates at meetings, their main task is to chair the meeting • The Chair should encourage all members to be involved and try to ensure that some people do not dominate or try to take over. • Speakers should go through the Chair and keep to the subject being discussed • Only one member should speak at a time and there should be no cross talking • Meeting must start at the stated time and stick to the agenda • Late arrivals should enter quietly and not disrupt the meeting with apologies • Mobile phones should be switched off during the meeting • If things are getting heated a five-minute time out can be called for at the discretion of the Chair • Wherever possible jargon should be avoided. If it is used then a full explanation should be given • It is the responsibility of each member to ensure that they are prepared for the meeting by reading all the relevant papers and bringing them to the meeting. Discrimination • No member will discriminate on any ground against any other member of the association or public. • Discriminatory language will not be used in discussions. • All those who attend meetings have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their colour, race, ethnic or national origins, nationality, gender, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion or any other matter, which causes people to be treated with injustice. Confidentiality • Members should respect all individual residents’ confidentiality, whether present or not, and refrain from mentioning specific individual cases which may cause embarrassment or identification of an individual. • Any information or items shared with Lewes District Council that is of a confidential nature must not be disclosed to anyone else apart from the members of the association in order to allow the business of the meeting to take place. Breach of Code of Conduct  If a member of the association or committee, or member of the public does not abide by the code of conduct, the Chair will warn that if they break the code again they may be asked to leave the meeting.  If an allegation of misconduct is made against the chair of the Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, the above procedure shall be adhered to, but the vice-chair or the relevant Lewes District Council officer servicing the meeting, who must undertake the action outlined above in place of the Chair.


Section 3 – Committee Skills

Section 3

Committee

Roles


Section 3 – Committee Skills


Section 3 – Committee Skills Once you have had your launch meeting and elected your committee and officers, they will become responsible for the running of the Association. This section gives you tips on how to run the committee and the TRA effectively and be an effective committee member. Rules about how the committee is elected and managed are written into the constitution.

3.1 - Positions of responsibility - your committee members Committee officers have defined role and responsibilities. The following pages outline what they are expected to do. You should read these notes before voting in members to these positions. Talk to the Tenant Participation Team for more information, and remember that money may be available to train interested residents who are keen but may not have the right skills. All committees have a Chair and Secretary, most will have a Treasurer. Some committees also have a Vice-Chair who takes on the role in the absence of the Chair. Other members may also be given particular tasks. For example, a nominated Key Holder, Social Secretary or a person in charge of a sub-committee which runs a youth club. Each group decides for itself what other positions they need. The Chair, Secretary and Treasurer are very important positions as they carry with them responsibility and more work than other committee members. Officers should be chosen with care and with existing skills and aspirations kept in mind. For example, if there is someone on the Committee who wants to get a job as an administrator, they could gain valuable experience and self-confidence by acting as the Secretary.

3.2 - Role of Committee Members The Committee is the group elected by all members of the Tenants and Residents Association to run the day-to-day business for a fixed term – usually for one year. It is their duty to ensure they keep to the Association’s guidelines as laid down in the Constitution. The Committee usually meets at regular intervals to discuss, develop the aspirations of the community as expressed in surveys and at open meetings. All members of the Committee should have a copy of the Constitution and if applicable, the Equal Opportunities Statement and Code of conduct at meetings. They should also encourage all members (especially new people) to get involved in some capacity. The Committee can consider reviewing how it is run and all its policies on a regular basis.


Section 3 – Committee Skills 3.3 - The Role of the Chairperson The role of the Chairperson is to guide the group towards achieving their aims as set out in the Constitution. The following are key activities for a Chairperson: 1. In Meetings          

Welcome everyone, particularly newcomers Sign the approved minutes of the last meeting Keep the group to the agenda and timescales given. If items raised under “any other business” need lengthy discussion, suggest moving these topics to the next meeting. Ensure the meeting is orderly and keeps to the group’s own Code of Conduct Assist in finding common ground in discussions, ensuring that everyone gets the chance to participate and that everyone has understood the main points. Summarise the discussions Agree any decisions taken or actions to be taken by the TRA. This can be done by a simple show of hands with the majority being in agreement. –See constitution for more details Assist the Committee in sharing any actions to be taken. Ensure the secretary has sufficient time to record the agreed decisions or actions, before moving onto the next agenda item. Report to the Committee on any decisions taken between the last meeting and this one (if any).

2. Outside Meetings  Prepare agendas for meetings, with the Secretary, see Appendix 3.1 - setting agendas for meetings and notes of what needs to happen at the meeting  If possible, ensure committee members carry out their actions and are updated on progress.  Liaise with the secretary to publicise TRA successes and activities.  Take ‘Chair’s Action’ in consultation with the Secretary when a decision needs to be made in advance of the next meeting. Any action taken should be reported to the next meeting.  Represent the TRA at other meetings with a view to reporting back to the next committee meeting. The Chair is the person that makes things get done – not the person who does everything

3.4 - The Role of the Vice-Chair The Vice-Chair is the person who chairs the meeting when the chairperson cannot attend. It is important that they understand the Chairperson’s role so that they can step in when needed. The Vice-Chairperson must be kept up-to-date on the group’s activities and should attend meetings regularly. Outside meetings the Vice-Chairperson should be prepared to act in the same supportive role as the Chairperson.


Section 3 – Committee Skills 3.5 - Role of the Secretary The Secretary plays a crucial role in the smooth running of the group. As with the Chairperson’s role, the Secretary’s role can be divided between two or three people. 1. In Meetings   

Keeping a record of attendance Take the minutes of the meeting or action plan, ensuring they ask the Chair for clarification on any action points/decision they are unsure of. Report any correspondence to the committee

2. Outside Meetings        

Inform relevant people of the next meeting(s)

Prepare and distribute agendas and minutes/action plans, see Appendix 3.2 – Minutes from

Meetings and Appendix 3.3 – Action plans from meetings Book the venue for meetings and invite guests (if necessary) Write and receive letters on behalf of the TRA Keep a record of relevant addresses and telephone numbers of TRA members and useful contacts Keep all members informed about the TRA (e.g. by producing newsletters or sending minutes) Being the first point of contact for other organisations, so it is important that the Secretary is kept informed of the group’s activities. Liaise with the Chair to publicise TRA successes and activities.

The Secretary’s role is quite varied. In a large group or one with plenty of activities, it might be advisable to divide the role amongst one or more committee members. For example, a group could have a minute secretary, and a letters secretary etc.


Section 3 – Committee Skills 3.6 - Role of the Treasurer The Treasurer is the person with the overall responsibility for the Association’s finance. This role is the most specific one and is usually dealt with in the Constitution. The Treasurer should:  Open and maintain a bank account in the TRA’s name (see appendix 3.4- help with

opening a bank account)

 Be one of the group’s signatures on the bank account  Keep accounts books of all the group’s financial transactions - backed up by some physical evidence e.g. bank statements, receipts, invoices, cheque stubs. (see appendix 3.5 - help with your recording income and expenditure)  You may also hold petty cash for small purchases, which should be accounted for separately (see appendix 3.6 help with recording petty cash, income and expenditure)  Prepare regular financial reports for the committee. It is very important that all members know the financial situation of the TRA. It assists them when making informed spending decisions. Your group will need to have information on: o how much money it has received and where the money came from o how much money it has spent so far and on what o how much money is left.  Allow, upon reasonable notification, any members of your group to inspect the account books.  Prepare the accounts for the annual audit or verification by preparing a balance sheet and finding an independent auditor - Contact the TP team for details of how to submit your books to Lewes District Council for auditing.  Present audited or verified accounts to the Annual General Meeting  Ensure that the bank mandate is up-to-date (that is, your three signatories to your bank account). For help with the role of Treasurer, see – Appendix 3.4 – Treasurer Tips


Making your TRA successful and keeping people involved can be quite challenging, however it is well worth spending time on this. Encourage your Association to be realistic. Being successful a little at a time will build confidence. This might mean that not everyone gets what they want straight away, but you should be more successful in the long run. Here are some useful tips to make your TRA successful, which will encourage people to get involved and stay involved: 

Your TRA will need to agree which of your objectives are achievable, and then set short and long term goals.  Make sure that you have breaks during your meetings so that everyone can relax and get to know each other.  Organise social events for members of your TRA.  Involve as many people as possible and allow for different levels of involvement. Assess people’s skills before giving out roles to members of the committee. For example, someone with existing book keeping skills may make the ideal Treasurer. However, it is also important to help people learn new skills. So take advantage of free training offered by LDC’s Tenant Participation team  Use newsletters, leaflets public meetings and door-knocking to involve your members in what is happening. See Appendix 4.1 – Tips for producing a successful newsletter  Tell everyone about you! Publicise your successes- however small. Local news and social media such as Facebook or Twitter are a great way to get your message out that you are making a difference. People are more likely to join a group that is successful and is doing something positive  Remember that personal contact is the best kind of contact. So take a little time to talk to people when you deliver leaflets or collect surveys/questionnaires. People will have the opportunity to ask questions and understand more.

Overcoming barriers You may need to overcome some barriers to help people to get involved in your TRA. Consider what stops people from becoming involved in your area- there may be good reasons why people won’t get involved. Here are just a few of the reasons people give:  Lack of child care

 Cannot access the meeting place

 Timings of meetings

 Fear of joining in

 Fear of going out at night

Try to minimise the effect of these by:  Paying for childcare/carers costs  Using a venue which is local, wheelchair accessible and well light  Varying the times of meetings - don’t arrange them at times which clash with major events  Arrange to accompany people to the meetings. Don’t get disillusioned if not everyone wants to get involved- because they wont! Most TRA’s run very effectively with a core number of volunteers who do the vast majority of the work. As long as your TRA is making a difference, is accountable to the local community and is enjoying what they do, these are the most important things.


Appendix 4.1 Tips on producing a

successful newsletter

The three things that are most likely to make your newsletter a success are:   

Involving your Committee and the broader community Having a small group of people prepared to do the work – or at least more than one person Good organisation and planning


Don’t rush off and put a newsletter together before you’ve talked to other people and thought the whole thing through. Spending a bit of time to think and plan at the start is really important. What’s the first step? The first step is to have a full discussion at a committee meeting. Make sure you allow enough time to talk everything through properly. At this meeting, there are a number of things it’s useful to discuss. You could use the following list as a guide:

1. Why do you want a newsletter? Write something down about why you want the newsletter and what you are hoping to achieve. It can just be a few sentences, but it is important to discuss and record this.

2. Do you want to print your newsletter or put it online? If everyone who will receive the newsletter uses the internet and checks their emails regularly you could produce your newsletter online. There are several websites where you can do this for free (for example www.mailchimp.com). Another option is doing both, with an online PDF version of your newsletter going out to those people using email. This information sheet concentrates on how to plan and produce a printed newsletter, but a lot of the information is relevant to both.

3. Who will decide what goes in the newsletter? This could be an editorial group meeting separately, or the whole of your committee. It’s important that the views of one person don’t dominate the content or the tone of the newsletter.

4. Who will do the work? There is a lot of work involved in producing a regular newsletter. You may want to appoint someone to coordinate the work, but it is too much to expect one person to do it all on their own. The newsletter will also be more interesting if there are a range of people involved. Be clear about what tasks are involved, and who is going to do what. Your TP team are happy to help with this.

5. How often will you produce it? Think carefully about how often you want to produce the newsletter. How long does it take to do each edition, and how much time do people have? Don’t be over ambitious – it’s better to have a less frequent but regular newsletter than one which is promised every month and fails to appear.

6. How will you get it printed? For a small number you can print it on someone’s home printer, or contact the TP team, they can help with any printing.

7. How will you distribute it? Who will get the newsletter? Have a list to make sure everyone is included – in addition to your members you may want to send a copy to your Housing Officer, local councillors etc


Can you organise a network of volunteers who will deliver to their block or street? This requires initial organisation, but is a good way of involving people. If you are struggling to get volunteers, local youngsters will often deliver them for some pocket money!


Appendix 4.2 Example Newsletter


Part 5

Resources for TRA’s


5.1 Tenants Resource Centre We provide a Tenants Resource Centre for you to use if you are carrying out community business. The Centre is based on our largest estate in the district at 2a Horsfield Road, Landport, Lewes and is staffed by our Tenant Participation Team, Mondays to Thursdays. Facilities available include;       

photocopying internet/e-mail access flip-chart paper and holder laminating scanning overhead projector desk top publishing

If you would like to use any of the facilities at the Centre on Monday to Thursday please call first on 01273 487249 or email tenant.participation@lewes.gov.uk to ensure that one of the team is around to let you in. There is also access to photocopying at the Housing Office, 20 Fort Road, Newhaven.

5.2 Grants from Lewes District Council to TRA’s Lewes District Council has put together a complete financial package which provides money to help associations get started and give them ongoing support. In order to receive a grant, the association must apply using the grant application form which is available from the Tenant Participation Team Before your association can obtain the annual grant, you must have:  A bank account with three signatories (any two to sign)  AGM minutes (or launch minutes) and up to date accounts  Elected Officers


The grant can cover any legitimate expenses that members have to enable them to take part and to run the TRA eg meeting hall hire, carers costs to enable committee members to attend meetings, telephone costs, public liability insurance etc To apply for a grant please contact the Tenant Participation team on 01273 487249 or email tenant.participation@lewes.gov.uk

5.3 Tenant Training Training is available to enable members of the committee to have a real say and to develop their skills and capacity. The TP team can carry out an annual audit of training needs with TRA members in order to plan the training programme within the budget available. To ensure Lewes District Council provide a value for money service the majority of the training is carried out by South East Training Uniting People. Lewes District Council’s Tenant Participation team, plus representatives from other local social housing providers, make use of expertise within the organisation to deliver five training sessions and one conference per year, in local venues. Subject to demand, the kind of training undertaken could include:    

tackling anti-social behaviour, effective chairing/minute taking, first aid training, training on changes to government legislation which may affect tenants.

5.4 Other Resources We also provide community rooms for tenant activities at Demontfort estate and Landport estate Lewes, and at all of our sheltered schemes.


Part 6

Planning a

community event


TRA’s often want to hold community events, such as bbq’s fun days etc. There are some things your TRA need to consider when you organise your event:        

Make sure you have plenty of time to plan your event – Consider doing an action plan – this is a good way to make sure you cover everything that needs doing. Ensure you have public liability insurance Do a risk assessment to make sure you minimise health and safety risks. Your TP team can help with this. Do you need permission or a licence? (e.g. street collections, raffles) Where are you going to hold it - do you need permission? What equipment will you need and how much will it cost? How are you going to publicise the event, both before and after? – make sure you have parental consent if you take any photographs How will you pay for the event? What jobs need doing to organise it and who will be responsible for these, make sure you have plenty of volunteers

Gazebos and barbecue hire are available to TRA’s. For more information contact the Tenant Participation team


6.1 Fund Raising There are a number of grants you can apply for if you wish to fund raise for larger events/things East Sussex County Council has a page www.eastsussex.gov.uk/community/funding/default.htm that provides useful information and a list of funders To help with details to support funding applications you can use the East Sussex in Figures website www.eastsussexinfigures.org.uk/webview/welcome.html For more help and advice on planning an event, speak to the Tenant Participation team on 01273 487249 or email tenant.participation@lewes.gov.uk

Profile for Lewes District Council

Tenants and Residents Association Handbook  

Tenants and Residents Association Handbook

Tenants and Residents Association Handbook  

Tenants and Residents Association Handbook

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