Chat & ChipsASB | Community Cohesion | Digital Inclusion | Employment/Training | Financial Literacy/Capability | Isolation/Loneliness | Physical Environment | Place-based Approaches | Strategy
What is the project?
Chat & Chips is a programme of 8 events taking place during the summer months which engages with residents on their estates or local areas providing fish and chips for chatting and engaging with staff. The locations are determined by the business needs of service areas across the organisation.
The engagement is a mixture of consultation, information giving, recruitment for Shareholding and Gold Membership and other involvement opportunities. Residents who attend speak to each team present before receiving their fish and chips and fruit for themselves and members of their household.
The events take place on a weekday evening between 5pm – 7pm.
Who is the project targeted at?
Phoenix tenants and leaseholders are the beneficiaries. Other stakeholders and partners can attend, examples are: Safer Neighbourhood teams, Local Councillors, Phoenix Community Chest grant holders who advertise and recruit residents to their projects and adult education providers.
Why did the project come about?
We wanted to increase our engagement with residents. We identified that there were many residents who were not attending engagement activities. We decided that, if residents weren’t coming to us, we’d go and engage with them in the areas where they live.
How was this project implemented?
Locations are identified which will accommodate the fish and chip van, 2 gazebos, chairs and are large enough for approximately 40-60 residents to attend.
Marketing for the events is via an invitation door-drop to 300 tenant and leasehold homes in the area surrounding the event location. Banners advertising the event are sited at the location. In addition, the resident newsletter, website and social media.
Attendance is supported by phone calls from the Community Engagement Team to invited residents.
How was this project funded?
The project is funded from the Community Engagement core budget. Additional funding for one programme was secured in partnership with the Metropolitan Police to support a strategy initiative. Funding has also been provided at specific locations by contractors where works are in progress.
Outcomes so far
Each year, around fourteen teams, including the Phoenix Repairs Service and Care taking are represented at one or more of the 8 events which take place from June - September. In 2019/20, 385 adults and children representing 181 unique households attended and of these, 7% were leaseholders.
The project has been particularly successful in reaching residents who have not previously engaged (64%). Examples of consultation are the Community Engagement & Empowerment and Customer Access Strategies, future environmental works, development plans and community development proposals. Information given to residents has included financial inclusion, energy saving advice, employment and training opportunities, post Grenfell fire safety, other engagement events and Community Chest projects. Residents have become shareholding and Gold members, joined advisory groups, forums and other involvement opportunities and 54% of attending residents booked to attend the Annual General Meeting.
Satisfaction is very high (95%) with both the information provided by staff and the overall event. Residents consistently say how informative the event has been and how much they’ve enjoyed meeting staff face-to-face.
One resident said: "I thought it was a very good event. I like that the staff from Phoenix come out to the community where the people are so they can access more thoughts and feelings of the community as it’s on the resident’s doorstep. It’s a lot of information and it’s nice to put a face to the name."
Chat & Chips has become an established annual engagement programme. This is championed by residents, senior managers and staff. It delivers excellent value for money at just under £5,000 for a programme of 8 events.
It provides teams with opportunities for consultation/recruitment in an informal setting and supports team plans and business objectives. One team said: Chat & Chips events work in terms of resident engagement right across the business. Otherwise we would have to do this as a department which would be resource heavy.