Current coronavirus restrictions couldn’t eclipse the enthusiasm for the Kingdom Group’s hugely successful Summer Gathering event which this year was hosted entirely online using video conferencing platform Zoom.
Tenants from across Fife and beyond logged in on Saturday morning to meet up virtually with other tenants, to share their views on the subjects that matter to them most and to discuss ways in which they can continue to be involved with tenant participation in the future.
Free workshops were offered to all who attended including mindfulness, harp therapy, a virtual garden tour of Kirklands House & Garden in Saline and an insight on guide dog training with an appearance from a very special guest, Duke a German Shepherd-Golden Retriever cross. Younger guests were catered for too with children’s workshops from Wild Planet Explorers and award-winning cellist Greg Sinclair.
Max Scotto, Kingdom’s Tenant Participation Officer said: “Holding our Summer Gathering virtually allowed us to engage with a number of tenants who, in most cases, had never participated before. Although it took a lot of work behind the scenes for us to help people connect digitally, it was all worth it when we finally saw them enjoying the programme and having meaningful conversations about issues that mattered to them.”
“Despite current restrictions we managed to hold a great Gathering with a varied audience. From Aberdeen to Clackmannan we brought customers, staff and board members together. Those who delivered workshops, which also included some of our tenants, gave us very positive feedback. Many who attended said they now feel more confident using digital technology and we will continue to offer more activities that will strengthen their ability to participate in this way.”
The event, one of the first of its kind in Scotland, proved to be a hit with all involved, even though the technology was new to some.
Mrs Ward from Methil said: “I have never used video conference before so I was a bit apprehensive but Max was very patient and helped me over the telephone to connect. We also had a practice session a couple of days before the event and this helped me remember how to use Zoom. I was amazed at how well everything worked and I enjoyed all the interesting sessions I attended. I live on my own and lost my husband recently so during lockdown I have felt quite down sometimes. I loved using Zoom to talk to other people from the comfort of my home and I’ll use it again. Thank you Kingdom for making this possible.”
Matthew Busher, Kingdom Housing Association’s Interim Director of Housing added: “These are challenging times and we are having to rethink how we can engage with customers and provide opportunities for them to participate. So we’re especially pleased that we were able to hold our annual Summer Gathering on a virtual platform. It was something of a learning curve for all involved but the event was a real success. And feedback has indicated that there is an appetite for digital engagement like this to have a permanent place as one of the participation options that we offer”
If you’d like to find out more about how you can get involved with tenant participation, email firstname.lastname@example.org