Julia Shepherd - Chair
My name is Julia Shepherd and I live on the edge of Dartmoor in a lovely LiveWest development. I have been volunteering for many years, first with West Devon Homes then with DCH and now LiveWest. I have enjoyed it all and got so much out of it, I’ve delighted to have also recently been appointed Chair for our scrutiny group, InFocus.
As part of my role as Chair of InFocus I recently attended a board meeting to talk to the board about the work that InFocus are doing and how we make sure that LiveWest our voices.
We have covered so many other projects and have learnt so much about how a housing association works plus we have had the opportunity to meet many of the staff which have come along to advise us on the topic we are looking at.
LiveWest do give you all the help you need, both to enjoy your volunteering and feel able to give a good opinion. I personally miss the face to face meetings as I like to have a good discussion, however the online meetings have helped us to engage with more of the InFocus group and we’ve been able to catch up with everyone.
We are a really active group and are always looking for new members to join us. I would recommend it anybody to at least give it a try and hopefully you will find you get a lot out of it.
James Masters - Vice Chair
My name is James Masters and I live in the North of Plymouth, on the edge of Dartmoor, in a small housing development that is part private owned and part social housing. I have been a LiveWest tenant for 9 years. I live with my wife and two teenage children.
I started volunteering with DCH and joined InFocus when it was setup by LiveWest in 2018. I have recently been appointed Vice Chair of InFocus group.
I started volunteering as I really wanted to make a difference for every LiveWest customer.
Being part of InFocus is very interesting and rewarding. We have covered a lot of different projects as a group and have learnt so much about how the organisation works, through carrying out service reviews.
We get to speak to different staff members who help to advise us on the subject we are looking at. The customer engagement team give us all the help and support we need to be able to complete the projects we are working on.
Overall volunteering is very rewarding especially when you can see the difference it is making for the customers and the organisation.
Hello, my name is Barbara Seacombe and I live in Minehead, Somerset.
I’ve had many years of volunteering for LiveWest. I applied to join the InFocus scrutiny group in 2019, back then we were able to attend face-to-face quarterly meetings.
It’s a really great group of people, with a real mix of interests. We get involved in various task and finish groups and meetings, dealing with various aspects of tenancies, repairs, anti-social behaviour and complaints. It’s an interesting insight into how LiveWest works and the services they deliver to their customers. I’m enjoying my time as a volunteer, learning so much about the housing sector and meeting other people, including from housing associations all over the UK.
I wasn’t personally in favour of the Knightstone/DCH merger as I was worried about being part of a large landlord, however I must say that after getting involved with InFocus, I have been pleasantly surprised. The staff at LiveWest are amazing, they want to get it right and make sure that all customers receive an excellent service and have a good tenancy.
I’d recommend for anyone to get involved in InFocus, especially if you like meeting other people and making a difference. Come and join our group!
Hi, my name is Eileen and I live in Portishead. I love living here and feel incredibly happy to have been a resident of LiveWest for 13 years now.
My last job was in London for the Citizens Advice Bureau as a Facilities Manager for 11 years. I have extensive experience in health & safety, auditing of premises/work areas and training new staff in H&S, as well as budget management, financial year-end processes, managing petty cash, the procurement of new contracts and seeking the best value for money. I have also worked for Mildmay Hospice for HIV/AIDS patients as a Secretarial Coordinator and I’ve worked for St Pancras Housing Association as a Customer Liaison Officer.
I have been volunteering with LiveWest for over 8 years. In that time, I’ve taken part in lots of different projects from procurement to website testing. I’ve joined discussions on safety and the Governments White Paper ‘a charter for social housing’.
I’m really pleased to have been selected as a member of the Housing Ombudsman Resident Panel. I have been part of the scrutiny group InFocus, since 2019, I find the role to be particularly informative and know that by working in partnership with LiveWest we are improving services for everyone!
My name is Liz King and I live in a sheltered housing scheme situated in South Devon; I’ve been a LiveWest resident for the past 7 years.
I have been retired for a number of years, having been involved in IT training, teaching and research in a variety of educational settings and the private sector. I really enjoyed introducing people to the world of computing and helping people to add to their computer skills for work and leisure. Nowadays I help my neighbours with their technology issues, but it’s voluntary and helps keep me active.
I joined the InFocus group because I liked the idea of customer’s being given a voice. I have experienced varying levels of customer service, some good and some resulting in me having to make a formal complaint to resolve an issue. I was interested in finding out why things had gone wrong, and whether changes and improvements could be made.
Being a part of InFocus is giving me the opportunity to delve into where and why there are issues. By scrutinising and reviewing the evidence we can help LiveWest improve their services for all customers.
My message to fellow customers is “we need your voice too! Your input is important, without it, how can we expect LiveWest to hear us?”
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There is so much going on in the South West this Summer for you to get involved with.