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Record Numbers at Annual NFTMO Conference

Well over 300 delegates enjoyed each other’s wit and wisdom as well as what keynote speakers, workshop leaders and exhibitors had to offer. Exhibitors included welcome repeat visitors from 2014 – Anthony Collins Solicitors, Newman Francis, GCN Accounting, Open Communities and Co-op Homes. Others, like Ocean Edge Media, joined the merry throng and reported our delegates were as inquisitive, lively and talkative as we have come to expect. WATMOS used a corner of the exhibition area to turn many delegates into movie stars for the Sunday morning session – a great short film reflecting the positive, playful and persuasive outlook of people in the sector

On the Saturday morning following introductions from Chair Nick Reynolds and Co-ordinator Steve O’Hagan, keynote speakers took the stage to outline some of the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

Tim Morton of SHOUT (Social Housing Under Threat) summarised housing policy prospects post election and emphasised the rallying calls from the manifesto of the cross party lobby group including:- build 100,000 homes for Social Housing each year and work to end the demonisation of social housing tenants.

Tom Quinlan from DCLG Community Rights Mobilisation Team challenged delegates to think about taking up rights to have more control over issues and premises in their own neighbourhoods.  Our friends from the Bloomsbury EMB, Maxine Bradburn & Mark Lolley  - under the banner ‘still learning, still developing’ – summarised the 25 year Bloomsbury adventure for delegates.

All of the keynote speakers led lively workshops and other workshop opportunities included Nic Bliss on the Tenants Leading Change (TLC) initiative. Supported by the 4 National Tenant Organisations – NFTMO, TPAS, TAROE & CCH – TLC demonstrates that tenant involvement is an investment rather than a cost with a wealth of practical and case study evidence.The business like approach to doing nice stuff in neighbourhoods was reflected in well attended sessions on leaseholder management, governance, data protection and the like whilst delegates were reminded to look after themselves and their neighbours with sessions on community singing, employability training and mental health first aid. Saturday evening included the Achievement Awards with special recognition for Bloomsbury in their 25th year and for the recently retired, well loved and respected NFTMO Co-ordinator Trevor Bell. More to follow soon on awards, the film and other images<