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Tenants’ champion leaves legacy of selfless work 02/03/2017

We're sad to report that Michael Hewlett, a key member of the ARCH Tenants' Group has passed away following a short illness.


  Michael Hewlett Photo


Michael represented Croydon Borough Council on the group and brought more than 20 years' experience. He first became involved in tenant affairs in Croydon in 1994 when he responded to a council call for people living in its properties to become more involved in the management of their homes and estates by joining their local customer panel.


This was a new initiative enabling tenants to meet regularly with local councilors and those who delivered housing services. Within a short time Michael became the panel's chair. His desire to improve services for tenants across the borough saw him give up his spare time to work with a number of tenant groups including the main tenant and leaseholder panel in Croydon, which he also chaired for long periods during the past ten years.


Over the years, he played a central role in developing a range of opportunities for others to get involved. Croydon's innovative approaches to resident involvement have won national recognition over the years. Mr Hewlett supported officers on numerous occasions in sharing Croydon's good practice to officers and tenants across the country, including speaking at the Institute of Housing Conference in Harrogate in 2010.


More recently, he was involved in developing Croydon's commended approach to tenant scrutiny. He gave many hours of his time ensuring that tenants had their say in the appointment of new council contracts for the responsive repairs service and planned maintenance. He was also a member of housing's All Ages Group as he was keen to ensure that there was excellent provision of activities for young people on housing estates.


Michael always found time for his local community. He was part of a local church committee that planned and developed the Longheath Community Centre, and he subsequently played an active role in the running of the centre, including a weekly meal club for the estate's older residents.


Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning, said:


"This is terribly sad news, both for the many friends he made among council officers, and, more importantly, for tenants across the borough and further afield.


"He was a positive, happy man who had a great sense of humour and was always smiling, which helped him form good relationships with officers and fellow residents' representatives.


He'll be greatly missed by officers, councilors, fellow tenant representatives and his local community."


Chair of the ARCH Tenants' Group, Jenny Hill, paid tribute to Michael's contribution to the group:


"Michael was a valued member of the group. He was like an Elder Statesman and very passionate about tenants' rights. He was very knowledgeable about housing matters and his input into our meetings was invaluable. He was very humorous and very well-liked and made new members feel welcome. We'll miss him." 


Michael passed away, following a short illness, on 10 February, aged 81, at the Princess Royal Hospital, with family members at his side.

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