The Nominet Trust has announced what for us is some jolly exciting news, which is that they have approved us for funding to develop OurHousing, a new social startup that will encourage dialogue between social housing tenants and their landlords to improve services and enhance community spirit.
Fraser and I are delighted because we’ve been working on this, under the radar, for most of the year so far.
We’ve been really impressed with sites like Patient Opinion and MyPolice, which use the web in very simple, but useful ways to bring public service users into the process of improving those services. At the same time, we’ve been keeping tabs on the movement to digitally enable those living in social housing, whether as tenants or within shared ownership schemes.
Bringing these two strands together made perfect sense, and OurHousing was born. Social housing customers leave feedback about their landlords on the site, where it can be discussed publicly, and the landlords can respond officially. As a result of these discussions, services can be improved with the knowledge gained via the independent feedback process.
In developing OurHousing, we have been helped enormously by Jayne Hilditch of Thames Valley Housing. TVH is a development partner of OurHousing, supporting us financially by investing early in the service, and by advising us on the finer points of the social housing sector and relevant policy.
Our team is also starting to develop, with Philip John providing the technical nous, and Janet Harkinleading on the marketing effort. We’re also blessed with a fabulous advisor on the business side of things, in my old boss Mary McKenna.
We’ve a long way to go, but with the funding we have attracted, the people on the team and our own enthusiasm and motivation, we feel we’ve got a product that can make a real difference to people’s lives.
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