A Residents’ Association is a group of people from the same area who get together to look after their local interests. Generally local people are driven to form a community group due to a single issue that would be too difficult to resolve on their own and too detailed for a local councillor to spend large amounts of time on. These associations might organise community events for local people or take part in Council consultations. Residents’ Associations play an important role in strengthening communities and ensuring residents’ voices are heard.
A Residents Association that has been setup using a model constitution will have a legitimacy that a simple protest group may not. In that the views of its members are ratified by a majority vote. Therefore no one person can espouse views that the majority have not agreed to. It is the role of the District council’s community development team to give guidance on these matters. ([email protected] or [email protected]). However, here in Eastleigh community organization “One Community” would also be very happy to give advice on these matters. The current contact is Jean Roberts-Jones on 02380 902425 or e-mail: [email protected]
The role of a Residents’ Association
A residents’ association can;
- Sometimes achieve more than an individual.
- Represent the collective views of residents’
- Have a voice in planning for the local area
- Help improve the quality of life for all members of the community
- Represent the views of local people to the Council
- Be recognised as a democratically elected group and have more influence
Some groups are set up to achieve a specific aim, such as;
- Helping to tackle antisocial behaviour or crime
- Protesting against planned developments in their area
- Raising funds to improve local facilities, such as community gardens or play areas.
Members of residents’ associations find that;
- They can develop a community spirit
- Individuals enjoy becoming more involved in their community
- They can improve opportunities for people to meet socially
- People get a sense of achievement and pride in a community that they have helped to build
Setting up a Residents’ Association
Although Eastleigh Borough Council has a community development team that can answer your queries about setting up a resident’s Association, it does not currently have supporting on-line information. However, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea do have a wealth of information on Residents’ Associations. See their “Starting a Residents’ Association guide”.
In West End, there is only one Residents’ Association that has a model constitution and holds at least one public meeting a year to which members, councillors, the MP and council officers are invited and that is the Burnetts Lane Residents Association whose Secretary is Ruth Watson; e-mail [email protected]. At their AGMs members vote for officer roles such as Chairman, Secretary, Tresurer, etc., and vote on points of view to be taken for the Association. I am sure that they will not mind you contacting them for advice on how to set up your own Residents’ Association.