Tina Cribbin celebrates recent achievements of local residents and members of On Top of the World in Hulme.

In our tower block there was always a sense of hopelessness with the tenants just having given up after years of making no impact upon where they lived no matter how they approached. An example: it took three years to get a bench for residents to sit on. When I think back to all the energy that took!

But after On Top of the World and CLASS began to work together we work differently. We have had lots of little wins like new benches, mobility charging points, support for our digital inclusion work, and now we are developing a partnership with our housing provider One Manchester to look at ways to provide supported accommodation for older people in Hulme. I realised the importance of where you take your concerns and how to negotiate – someone at CLASS said, sometimes, we have to create a space for professionals to help us. It’s really stayed with me because previously I would have just blamed the professional for not listening to us and giving us a hard time. These little nuggets are the things I’m soaking up for myself and, more importantly, for my community.

Recently we had a meeting with the Director of Place at One Manchester about supported accommodation and we mentioned the laundry facility in the block being closed and how this impacted on the tenants. She was quite open with us as we now have built a relationship.

The other day, Jack who is 81 came to me smiling – ‘well Tina’, he says, ‘the laundry rooms now open’. I said that’s great. Then he said ‘in our next meeting, what we must do next, is make sure we get a new washing machine!’

This may not seem much but after working with these guys for over three years it is the first time they felt that had the power to make an impact. And the belief that his voice will be heard. How do you measure that?

Since we started up our savings group, I’ve also been able to buy myself a new sofa – it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever bought a sofa new – it’s like I said in our ‘story so far’ report – I was never taught how to manage money because we never had any.

If I could sum up the benefits of working with CLASS as a member of the Greater Manchester Savers network, this would be it…

Change and giving voice to the voiceless.