Over the past six months we’ve been speaking a lot about The Resident Voice Index™ project, which launched this year to gather insights into those living in social housing in the UK. Now we are finally able to share what the almost 4,000 social housing residents who joined in feel about where they live!
The first survey topics explored by the Resident Voice Index™ project included:
- What facilities and amenities neighbourhoods have and how important they are to residents
- The part that housing providers play in communities and what they could do to improve
- Feelings of caring and belonging amongst social housing residents in the UK towards their neighbourhood
- Perceptions around safety and suggestions for making neighbourhoods safer
Key numbers: Neighbourhoods
In terms of the facilities and amenities provided in neighbourhoods, the most important things for residents were related to wellbeing and health.
It became clear that generally, neighbourhoods in the UK are well provided for. Only in one case (‘access to healthy and affordable food’) did the importance of this amenity score more highly than its provision in communities.
Key numbers: The role of the housing provider
84% of survey respondents didn’t believe that their housing provider improves their sense of community. Beyond simply dissatisfaction, other reasons that we discovered for residents feeling this way included poor communication between housing providers and residents.
Some residents didn’t know what their provider does within their communities. While for others, it became clear that for them, the role of the housing provider does not extend beyond bricks and mortar.
Key numbers: Belonging and caring
Levels of respondents that reported feeling as though they belong to their neighbourhood were low (around 3 in 10).
However – positively – the levels of respondents who cared about being involved in their neighbourhood were much higher… almost one half!
Given this, we think that the right interventions could have great success in improving levels of belonging in neighbourhoods.
Key numbers: Safety
40% of survey respondents felt safe in their neighbourhood and those who felt safe were four times more likely to feel like they belonged.
The four most common topics that emerged to improve feelings of safety in communities were:
- Increases in policing
- Tacking drug misuse
- Better street and estate lighting
- Improved CCTV
When comparing North to South and East to West, there wasn’t much difference in the answers given. The exception was those living in Greater London who, statistically, felt safer and enjoyed a higher level of neighbourhood belonging.
Across most questions, younger people reported more negatively than older respondents and communities appear to be better suited to older generations. We suggested in our report that investment and planning for the communities of the future may benefit from more involvement of the young at the planning stage.
One of the main takeaways we have found from this project has been that issues in communities cannot be addressed or solved by housing providers alone, they are the responsibility of all members of society, from policy makers to residents themselves.
We want to thank all of you that participated in the first Resident Voice Index™ survey. Your voice matters!
If you would like to learn more and read some of our recommendations, find the full results and report for free here.
We are currently running workshops about the next topics to explore with UK social housing residents. If you would be interested in getting involved, please email info.ResidentVoice@mrisoftware.com
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