A Halifax Together Housing tenant is setting his sights on expanding his fire safety project nationally, following nomination for a major award.
Justin Appleyard, who lives in a high rise block, has been shortlisted for the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Tenant of the Year Award.
Feeling horrified after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, Justin realised that tenants needed a platform for their voices to be heard and questions to be answered to help allay their fears.
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Justin initially organised a coffee meeting, supported by Together Housing, for tenants to receive information about fire safety and have the opportunity to ask their questions.
After a successful meeting, Justin formed TRIO, a tenant-led fire safety group standing for ‘The Responsibility Is Ours’.
Sitting on the Shaw Lodge Tenants’ Association, Justin already had the respect and trust of tenants. He was invited to join Together Housing’s Fire Safety Policy and Procedure Group which has allowed him to push forward with his work supporting fire safety.
TRIO is a unique approach to fire safety centred on the idea that everyone shares responsibility for fire safety – tenants, their visitors, the Fire Service and Together Housing. With this in mind, Justin has taken a number of steps to empower residents and make them aware of the ways in which they can keep themselves and their neighbours safe.
Justin said: “I feel very humbled to have been shortlisted for this fantastic award. I have to say, TRIO has been such a great success thanks to the amazing support I have received from Together Housing and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
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“I hope to be able to expand TRIO nationally, as I truly believe that we need to raise awareness of our roles as tenants in promoting fire safety, and take responsibility for the safety of ourselves and our neighbours to the best of our abilities.”
Justin has encouraged other residents to take responsibility, while raising awareness of the importance of fire prevention and alerting tenants of the fire hazards caused by smoking, candles and faulty electrical items, and the importance of having smoke alarms.
Through Together Housing, Justin has formed a strong partnership with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and has helped to successfully introduce a new system identifying the support needed by tenants to evacuate safely in an emergency. With his support, tenants have opened up about their disabilities or issues with evacuating.
The annual TPAS Awards showcase the compelling and inspirational success stories of tenants, landlords and contractors working together across the communities of England.
Justin was nominated for the Tenant of the Year Award by staff at Together Housing and, thanks to his hard work and dedication within his community, was shortlisted for the National Final.
The Awards Ceremony will take place on Friday, 29 March at the Principal Hotel in Manchester, where Justin will stand against eleven other shortlisted tenants in his category.