Tenant Focus

After emerging from a period of personal hardship around a decade ago, Janet Mulcock – AKA Mrs Christmas has made it her mission to combat social housing stigma.

Janet Mulcock - keynote speaker at our Festive Tenant Conference

Janet’s passion to support others is driven by her own real-life experiences.

She has suffered extreme adversity and come out the other side to develop both as a person and as a professional.

Along with fellow co-founder Jonathan Thorne, she now runs Phoenix Initiative, a digital-focussed community interest company that aims to “help our learners, who may have taken a few knocks in the past and help them overcome barriers, gain the skills to succeed, and make a difference”.

But it would be remiss to say Janet is just a digital champion and trainer.

She is as tenant and a volunteer; a board member and a mother; she is a role model and an advocate for her course participants; she voluntarily trains small groups in locally accessible venues; and although focussed on IT skills, her unique approach fosters confidence and raised levels of self-esteem, all while combating social isolation and promoting further learning.

Oh, and she also dons a Mrs Christmas outfit each year during the festive season just to see the smiles light up on people’s faces.

And as for her achievements, where to begin?

She has delivered training to almost 300 individuals; recruited 35 volunteers; created more than 20 partnerships; won various awards, including for Best Community Leader/Unsung Hero at Women in Housing 2017; helped design and launch the MyRHA app, which helps others manage their rent accounts, report repairs, and keep up to date with latest news; and has spoken at keynotes, instilling aspiration and ambition in others.

Janet’s progression has been astounding.

Alongside many of her personal and professional commitments, she has met twice with the chief economist of the Bank of England on RHA’s behalf to discuss affordable housing need and deprivation in the South Wales valleys, and she has got stuck in with various tenant groups, all of which are improving aspects of Rhondda Housing Association (RHA) services and the lives of tenants.

“Janet is a role model, advocate, and peer support for digital inclusion participants,” says a peer mentor, “always going the extra mile to nurture their passion and interests.”

A course participant adds: “Janet sparked a passion in me to access the online world, and I have saved money and improved my family’s life.”

Acknowledging her own journey, Janet says: “I was really low in 2010, but I had a helping hand from staff at RHA with their Find Your Future project, and this had a really positive impact for me – that I want to help them help others to get involved.

“We all need to break down the stigma of social housing and offer a helping hand to those who need it.”

FACT FILE

Janet Mulcock - Women in Housing - 2017's Best Community Leader Award Winner

Janet Mulcock (AKA Mrs Christmas)

Where: Rhondda

Landlord: Rhondda Housing Association

Tenant Since: April 2002

Activities: Serving as a digital superhero, volunteering, and fancy dress!

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