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SFHA Engagement Conference speaker interview: Paddy McKenna

Ahead of her session at our virtual Engagement Conference on 7 September, Paddy McKenna, Community Development Manager at Cassiltoun Housing Association, shared her thoughts with us on how to engage with young people.

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What will you be discussing during the conference and why is it an important issue?

We’ll be discussing what has worked well, and not so well, when it comes to youth engagement.  Importantly, we’ll be providing insights from our Youth Advisory Panel on key themes that have emerged from us asking them a number of questions, including 'why do you keep coming here?' and their thoughts on what other housing associations can do to include young people.

What role can the housing sector play in helping to ensure Sotland is the best place to be young and grow up?

The housing sector can play a hugely important role in ensuring Scotland is the best place to be young and grow up. As a sector, we have the capacity to build partnerships and positive relationships with our tenants and, therefore, whole households. We have the capacity to create multiple platforms for participation that are interesting, creative, and meaningful. We also have the capacity to have a huge number of links with local and national organisations. This, together with the right resources and values, can create avenues for voices to be heard, local decision-making and prioritising the aspirations of those that know what their communities need.

What can housing associations and co-operatives do to ensure better engagement with young people? 

We can meet young people where they’re at, both physically and with their understanding, knowledge, and experiences with the housing sector. So if that’s postering that phone box they meet at, sticking up QR code surveys at the bus stop they hang out at, chapping the door they’re behind or delivering a workshop at the school and clubs they go to, physically going to where they are to build relationships is so important. Likewise accepting and valuing that their experiences may not all be positive, alongside having a genuine interest in their experiences, opinions and huge array of skillsets, will indefinitely lead to better, and genuine, engagement.

SFHA Engagement Conference

7 September, Virtual Conference

Paddy will be speaking during the 'Today's youth, tomorrow's customers: The hows and whys of youth engagement' session at our virtual Engagement Conference on 7 September. 

Click here to book your place. 

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