By Josh Murray, Blackpool Costal Housing

At Blackpool Costal Housing we started our green and clean warden customer involvement activity around eight years ago.

It’s been one of our most successful and long-term customer involvement activities.

We have 42 customer volunteer green wardens covering 92% of our community green spaces and 19 volunteer clean wardens covering 70% of our communal blocks.

Our contractors, who deliver our environmental contract and cleaning contract, are based locally in Blackpool and the Fylde coast and therefore know the areas they work in and are very familiar with the communities and customers.

Green wardens are customers who are invited to monitor a section of green space in their neighbourhood. This can be anything from the area they can see from their lounge window to a large area they choose to walkaround.

Each warden is asked to score how well our contractor cuts and maintains the area. They feedback performance scores each month, from March to October.

If a low score is reported, we ensure a phone call is made to the warden to look at how we can improve. Likewise, as a clean warden, our customers who live in communal blocks provide their monthly cleaning feedback throughout the year and we ensure that any low scores are picked up and addressed.

We also provide a pictorial score guide and carry out regular walkabouts with our wardens and encourage them to make suggestions for improvements to their area, and work with us to implement these.

We encourage all our wardens to meet with our contractors to work together and make sure their areas are maintained well. This has built some excellent working relationships.

We feedback to all our wardens each month and publish our contractor performance to them and also on our website.

To thank our wardens, we carry out a monthly prize draw. We produce a newsletter for both our clean and green wardens twice a year.

Overall, this service has not only been key in assisting with reporting on contractor performance, it’s a mechanism that we use to identify areas for improvement for the contractors and how we can also tailor our services across our stock, to ensure that residents continue to shape how our communal spaces appear.

Further to this, we involve our green wardens in our winter improvement works and they’re key when designing any changes to our communal green spaces.

We’ve continued high levels of engagement with the warden service, and this also strengthens our partnerships with involved residents, many of whom play an active role in other keys areas.

For example, being part of our scrutiny panel, internal complaints procedure, and throughout the contract tender processes, to name a few.