December 8, 2014 @ 10:37am
This year mid-November marked the Annual General Meeting for Argyle Community Housing 2014, during which a small gathering of around 80 people representing Argyle staff, their stakeholders, and tenants came together for a few hours in the Phillip Room at Campbelltown Catholic Club. Many people travelled a distance to be included, with representatives coming from as far as Griffith, Wagga Wagga, Queanbeyan, Ainslie Village, Young, Crookwell, Bowral and Campbelltown. On closing a light lunch was provided and gave people an opportunity to mingle and become acquainted.
Overall the event was very informative, and while one might expect a great deal of corporate jargon to be conveyed at such a meeting, I was pleasantly surprised to find the content was indeed interesting. Glenda Chalker a woman of Aboriginal descent carried out the traditional custom of Welcome to Country, and respectfully acknowledged Indigenous people as Australia’s first inhabitants. In paying respects to the heritage of Aboriginal Australia and the theme of social connectedness, a spectacular performance was presented by the Yaama Boys Dance Troop. The performance was explained to be a presentation of cultural sharing, depicting Indigenous knowledge and teachings through dance. The movements portrayed by the troop reflected animal (such as the Emu, Kangaroo, and Lyre Bird) connection to Dreamtime and place. The Yaama Boys Dance Troup’s core goal is to keep culture alive by helping young men to connect with their Indigenous culture and find their space. And they did a mighty fine job.
Moving into the thick of things the assembly reflected upon corporate visions, strategies and benchmarkings as a way to commemorate staff and organisational achievements. Tenants were rewarded for outstanding efforts and awards were presented to those who had proudly been nominated by client service officers for their continual assistance, service and commitment and for outstanding efforts as volunteers and coordinators.
Furthermore, the congregation celebrated corporate growth as Chairman Mr Terry Spencer outlined Argyle’s progress over the past 30 years starting from its beginnings as the Macarthur Community Tenant Scheme and moving through to the 1997 merger with the Wingecarribee Community Tenancy Scheme, which effectively led to the formation of Argyle Community Housing as we now know it. It is impressive, and Argyle tenants should feel reassured to know that Argyle has become a model standard for other community housing agencies as a result of their recent registration as a national regulatory system for community housing (NRSCH). For those who don’t know, the NRSCH ‘aims to ensure a well governed, well managed and viable national community housing sector that meets the housing needs of tenants…’.
Chief Executive Officer Wendy Middleton revealed some of the organisations progressive moves which have effectively allowed staff more time to focus on existing tenants, for example, centralised rent reviews, and no more Wednesday morning office closures. A great emphasis was also placed upon future goals that will most definitely improve the tenant’s situation, including things such as more local tradespeople to result in more responsive maintenance, as well as the strengthening of existing tenancy committees. Board member Trevor Fair addressed the Receipt of Financials revealing that a surplus of $18.9m will go towards the purchase of new properties. This is great news considering that strategic workshops held by Argyle have identified a chronic need for housing in social welfare which has led to government proposals towards more affordable cottages and boarding homes.
Interwoven into the meeting agenda was the airing of ‘Tenant Videos’. Tenants who have viewed their Annual Reports (sent in the mail recently) would have seen in the Welcome notes an invitation to download a mobile phone app. When used the Aurasma app creates an interactive viewing of these ‘Tenant Videos’. Each video is in informative, revealing tenant’s individual stories, all of which are powerful as they depict individuals overcoming homelessness and helplessness and give insight into how wellbeing and security comes through the heart of a stable home. So take a look if you haven’t yet.
This article has been prepared by Argyle tenant Magdalena Whipper