Watford Community Housing has nominated Christine Blackett, Chair of the Gateway Membership Team, for the Watford Observer Community Heroes Award.

For the last 15 years, Chris has been passionately and actively advocating for social housing and the rights of tenants. As one of the most active members of Watford Community Housing’s Gateway Membership Team for a decade, Chris has shown that she cares deeply about ensuring tenants’ voices are always part of the conversation. Chris has recently once again become the Chair of the Gateway Membership Team and, with the rest of the team around her, continues her dedicated work for residents from all backgrounds.

The Gateway Membership Team is a committee of tenant representatives who volunteer their time to champion tenants and ensure that they are at the heart of Watford Community Housing’s work. By working closely with the housing association, the team helps to ensure that its activities benefit residents and the wider community.

As Chair, Chris has recently brought back the Residents’ Community Group, similar to the Community Action Group which previously existed, which brings together all the residents’ associations from areas across Watford. This allows each separate group to come together to share ideas and work collaboratively. She has also previously worked to reduce anti-social behaviour in her area, Sherwoods, and has helped to create Tenant Question Time events which have opened up another avenue for constructive dialogue between tenants and staff at Watford Community Housing.

Amy Willcox-Smith, Head of Customer Relationships, says of Chris: “Chris Blackett’s honest and forthright approach to getting the best for tenants has made her a real asset to Watford Community Housing. Her ability to act as a ‘critical friend’ has resulted in a constructive relationship which always seeks to drive the organisation forward. This, coupled with her friendly, empathetic and animated nature, makes Chris an invaluable advocate of the benefits of social housing and tenant involvement in Watford. The dedication of her time and passion over the years has made her the epitome of a community hero, and we hope she will help us to deliver friendlier communities for many more years to come.”

On finding out she had been nominated, Chris said: “I’m thrilled to be nominated as a Community Hero! My main aim throughout all my campaigning and volunteer work is to provide a platform for the voices of people in the community, and to campaign for the rights of tenants, so to be nominated for standing up for others really means something. Working with Watford Community Housing in their Gateway Membership Team is one of the best ways to fight for what I believe in – affordable homes and a landlord which delivers for the people it serves. I hope to continue to work together with staff and the incredible people in the community to provide the best for people in Watford.”