Wallsend customer Michael Lisle shares with us his very personal reasons for joining Connect with Karbon and why he's urging others to do the same.
"Many moons ago I ended up homeless and very quickly found that homeless people don't have a voice. It's a terrible feeling to have no influence on your life or where you live. You feel very helpless.
"I'm glad to say things have changed for me and I moved into a flat in Wallsend. One day I saw an article in Karbon's magazine asking for volunteers to come forward and join Connect with Karbon, Karbon's resident involvement panel, a group which gives residents the opportunity to help improve services and the local area.
"It made me realise that my voice does count and I actually had a way to make it heard. I seized the opportunity, seeing it as a chance to really have a say on how things are done. I also wanted to represent the thousands of other customers who are too shy or nervous to speak their minds on what they want or what they think about their housing situation and services.
"I've been involved for a long time now and couldn't recommend the experience highly enough. Over the years I've done everything from setting up a customers' festival to helping Karbon test their policies. Karbon is making a big effort to get customers involved with the work they do and I'm looking forward to lots of new projects, like helping to shape the compliants and compliments procedures. These things really matter because that's how you get to influence how services run right from the very top.
"I love being involved. It feels very satisfying. There are huge opportunities to learn, to meet other customers from other areas, share your knowledge and experiences and make some excellent friends. It's built my confidence and self esteem, and it's nice to know I'm valued as a person and my opinions are taken on board. I have taken all of the learnings, ideas and experience into other things I do in my life.
"It's good to work alongside your landlord because it's not a case of 'them and us'. We can work together to get the kind of quality services and opportunities that customers quite rightly expect and deserve.
"It's really easy to get involved - even if you have other commitments or have issues with mobility. I have cerebral palsy so if I can do it anyone can! All the input is valuable. Everyone has an opinion and I'd encourage others to use theirs to make a different to daily life for Karbon customers."
We need you!
We're looking for Karbon customers of all ages and from all walks of life to get invovled with Connect with Karbon and all the things that we do to improve your home and neighbourhood. There are different levels of involvement, ranging from providing us with your thoughts and feedback digitally, to joining project groups that enable you to get involved with the development of specific services and new offerings that are of interest to you.
Get involved online, from home, or come along to a friendly get togethers. Groups meet at various times and travel expenses are covered. We can even provide a taxi to help you get to venues. Of course, tea, biscuits and a good chat come as standard.
We'd love to hear from you. Just contact our Customer Relationship Team on 0808 164 0111 for more information