Brendan's flying start to radio stardom
West Kent’s groundbreaking work to help vulnerable people find secure tenancies received countywide publicity on Monday when our own Brendan Abernethy featured in a breakfast show special on the rental sector.
He told the BBC Radio Kent audience about some of the innovative work that our Flying Start programme, commissioned by Sevenoaks District Council, has been doing to help people get on the housing ladder.
Brendan organises and runs seminars that help people find their way through the rental maze, give them useful advice and tell them about opportunities and support they might not have known about.
Asked by the radio station how the Flying Start sessions could help people looking for rental accommodation, Brendan pointed out that it could come down to something as simple as looking smart and presentable when visiting a property.
“You need to convince the landlord that you are going to be a good tenant. Wear a suit and look good, carry yourself well and convince them that you will be a good tenant, even on benefits,” he said.
While he acknowledged that West Kent could not control the demand or supply of rented homes, or the housing benefit rules, he said the association was keen to “upskill and resource” people to give them a better chance to finding a home.
He also stressed that an important part of the Flying Start programme was to help people understand the importance of budgeting so that they could be confident about paying the rent. It was about empowering tenants, pointing them in the right direction and giving them good advice, he added.
Brendan told the Radio Kent audience that the message to people at the sessions was: “You can do it – you can upskill yourself.” They were encouraged to be good tenants by paying their rent on time, being good neighbours and managing their property well, he added.
Brendan also took the opportunity to highlight the fact that West Kent remains committed to building new homes despite the financial challenges facing housing associations. “You have got to be smarter and work harder but there are still opportunities there,” he stressed.
The next Flying Start workshop will take place at our Sevenoaks offices at 101 London Road, TN13 1AX, on Thursday 15 September from 10am to 1.30pm. Workshops are free and include lunch, childcare vouchers and help with travel.
For more information about Flying Start ring 01732 749964.
To hear Brendan on Radio Kent, click on the link below (only available for a limited time) and listen to the show from 2hrs 6 minutes in.