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ARCH urges council tenants to get involved in shaping the future 19/05/2011 Labelled as Tenants

Tenants were urged to get involved in shaping the future of council housing at ARCH's Tenants' Conference 2011.

More than 120 council tenants from across England got together on 19th May for the event at Milton Keynes Dons Stadium. The fifth annual Tenants' Conference was a chance for tenants in stock retained authorities to hear about latest developments and give their views, which will inform future ARCH policies. Topics discussed at the conference included the Localism Bill, new housing finance arrangements and the future of regulation.

ARCH Tenants' Group chair, Jennifer Holmes, a West Lancashire District Council tenant, told delegates: 'There are a lot of changes going on. We are all concerned about where our future lies. As tenants, now is the time to take note of what is happening, become involved and try and shape the future as we want it to be. I encourage you all to get involved as much as you possibly can and comment on new government proposals and discussions that are arising.'

ARCH's national chair, Cllr Milan Radulovic, leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, said: 'ARCH wants to make sure tenants are really at the heart of council housing and we are delighted that this fifth annual ARCH tenants' event has been led by tenants for tenants.' He said: 'The Localism Bill will impact on housing, changes to the self-financing system come into effect next April and there are concerns about flexible tenancies and where funding for new build is coming from. Local authorities and tenants must be part of that debate. While there are concerns, this is also an opportunity to shape the future.'

This year's conference was supported by ARCH member authority Milton Keynes Council. Jane Reed, Milton Keynes Council's Assistant Director of Housing, said: 'We are very pleased and proud that Milton Keynes is hosting this national event. It gives us the opportunity to showcase the city and to highlight the housing challenges we face, and some of the innovative solutions we have come up with. The conference brings council tenants together and gives them a unique opportunity to share ideas and experiences.'

The conference saw the launch of a new ARCH publication Home Truths: Tenants' Tales of council housing, which features interviews with tenants about their experiences of living in council homes.

ARCH awards were also presented for: ARCH Tenant of the Year, Excellence in Participation and Innovation & Sustainability.

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