Interview With Tanya Martin
Tanya Martin is the Chair of the Services Committee and a member of the Poplar HARCA board. She tells us a bit about herself and the work of the Services Committee.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved with Poplar HARCA.
I have lived in Poplar for 13 years with my partner and I was previously raised and lived in Hackney. We have just started our family and have a 7 month old, beautiful baby girl and a lovely little doggy! I currently work in education as a lecturer and also as a manager within the private property sector. Having worked in the private property sector for many years I have always been interested in housing but I never had an opportunity to really contribute back to my community in a meaningful way, until I became a resident of Poplar HARCA and learnt more about their work within the local area. By being a resident board member Poplar HARCA has provided me with the opportunity to directly influence and shape their service provision within the area in order to improve the quality of life of residents and the wider community.
How would you describe what the Services Committee does?
The Services Committee at its very core provides assurance that the services that Poplar HARCA offer are efficient and effective in supporting residents and the wider community. The services Poplar HARCA deliver are plentiful and wide ranging, from local community centres delivering training, education and employment support to sport programmes for children and sustainable green projects! It is the Services Committee’s role to monitor these services to ensure the community benefits as much as possible from them. We meet four times a year to discuss performance, policies and strategy in a very friendly and embracing environment.
How important is it to have residents sitting on the committee? What impact do you think this has?
It is absolutely vital for residents to sit on the Services Committee for a number of important reasons. Firstly, residents bring a unique perspective to the board with regards to what the local community needs and would benefit from. Having residents on the committee also helps to ensure that the board is diverse and dynamic, which ensures we address matters from a variety of viewpoints. Last but by no means least, resident board members are key to ensuring that Poplar HARCA are continuously challenged to meet their obligations to tenants and to improve the service provision they offer to the wider community, therefore residents have much responsibility and control on the board which is whole heartedly embraced by Poplar HARCA.
The Services Committee is looking for a new member, what advice can you give to people considering applying?
For anyone considering joining the Services Committee I feel it is important to engage with the development and training opportunities that Poplar HARCA offer to board members. This enables residents to develop their skills as board members so that they can carry out the role as effectively as possible. However, I feel the most vital qualities to have are passion and enthusiasm to improve the lives of the local community, which I would argue is the key motivational force behind all of the members who sit on the Services Committee.
What are some of your favourite things about Poplar & Bow?
There are many things I love about Poplar and Bow! Being an obsessive dog lover I thoroughly enjoy walking through the green spaces on offer with my dog, such as Bartlett Park and Tower Hamlets Cemetery. Overall though, I am really grateful for the community spirit I feel where I live and the exciting changes and projects that are popping up all over the borough. Poplar’s regeneration is well under way with new housing, transport and leisure facilities on the horizon which will make it an even more amazing and vibrant place to live in the not too distant future.