by Sarah Dunne Rogers
I joined Fold Ireland in Sept 2021 as a Tenant Engagement Officer.
I was the first tenant engagement officer in Fold, so I had a fresh slate to build Fold’s strategy, which was very exciting. In the early days of my appointment, I linked in with Supporting Communities, completed several training courses, and joined the Tenant Participation Practitioners Network. I find the support and experience I gained from Supporting Communities have made a significant impact as I began to shape Fold’s tenant engagement practice. I especially found that the opportunity to connect with other professionals has helped me understand what tenant engagement truly means and how to build strong foundations in Fold’s journey.
I first attended a Supporting Communities training session with Aidan Kearney in November 2021, where I met several other tenant engagement professionals from the Republic of Ireland. The training was informative and interactive, and I learned a lot from it. At the end of the training, the other TE workers and I asked if the group would be interested in sharing contact details as we all had gained a lot from the training and from each other.
Within days a group email thread had started, and we were sharing our experiences and resources. We decided to meet via Teams to continue the discussion online. By the time we got to our arranged meeting in February, the group had grown from three to seven and included two more housing bodies from the Republic of Ireland.
I have found setting up this network of professionals to be very exciting. I feel it is invaluable to our residents across all associations to have a strong support network of professionals sharing information and best practice. Our group discussed what we should do going forward, and the consensus was that supporting each other was key.
We met again in April, this time in person, which was a great experience as we have all had many months of meetings through screens. Again, our numbers had grown to eight tenant engagement professionals across five organisations. We discussed formalities and the ongoing direction and goals of the network. It was another very positive meeting with valuable information shared. The culture of support throughout all these meetings has been very strong. We have agreed to meet regularly going forward, both online and in person.
I am very excited to have been part of this network from its inception at the Supporting Communities training in November. Seeing it grow so rapidly shows the willingness of TE professionals in the Republic of Ireland to learn from each other to create robust and nationwide tenant engagement for residents. I look forward to being part of the network as it progresses and hopefully continues to grow.