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Could YOU be a Block Champion?

We meet Fran Jefcoate, to find out more about the Block Champion programme, and how other Poplar Harca residents can get involved.

What is a Block Champion?

A Block Champion is a concerned resident who works alongside the regular cleaning staff to identify any cleaning issues and get them resolved quickly. Also, to liaise with other residents – inform them of refuse disposal, local events and general issues on the estate.

Can you describe Block Champions in 3 words?

Positive, friendly neighbours!

Why did you decide to do it?

I didn’t decide – it’s something that slowly happened, I’ve been working with my caretaker and his supervisor on monthly walkabouts for the last 2 to 3 years, so it’s something I’ve been doing anyway, but I’m excited at the prospect of this idea rolling it out across all estates.

What’s good about being a Block Champion?

The close contact it gives me with our cleaning staff and on occasion other residents – being able to identify issues at an early stage, before they become problems, and the satisfaction I get for seeing a well-cared for estate.

Are there any downsides?

The frustration I feel sometimes, when I know how hard our cleaners have worked and careless residents not disposing of rubbish properly.

Why should others get involved?

To help strengthen community spirit, pride in our estates and to strengthen the feeling of belonging. Block Champions is just a title but it instils a sense of pride, it gives us a voice and the knowledge of who to speak to, to get a job done.

How much time does it take?

An hour a month – most estate walkabouts are monthly and last a maximum of an hour – I do the whole of my estate, 1 block may take 15-20 minutes.

An effective Block Champion should be able to report to the estate board and give feedback from them and work as a bridge between the residents and cleaning staff.

Who would make a good Block Champion?

Anyone who has an eye for detail and who is concerned about their estate. Block Champions don’t have powers to change anything but they do have the authority to raise cleaning issues, make sensible suggestions on how things can be improved and generally be the eyes and ears for the cleaning staff.

How do you see Block Champions growing?

I would like to see more people getting involved and working together with our cleaners to deliver safe, clean environments for us all to live in and restore some community pride.

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