The tenants’ voice

Joyce ward was naturally curious about her new landlord when she moved into her first Sovereign home in 2018.

Little could she envision where that curiosity would lead 11 years later.

Joyce Ward was a homeowner until about 11 years ago, when her circumstances changed and she bid for a Sovereign property.

The future looked uncertain, but in Joyce’s own words: “I didn’t know at that time what a fantastic opportunity was opening up for me.”

As a retired educationalist, former head of special education, and consultant for education for young men with special educational needs in Young Offender prisons, Joyce has worked in schools all over the country and with families from all walks of life.

After moving into her first Sovereign home, a one-bedroom flat for over-55s in Wantage, Oxfordshire, Joyce’s curiosity to know more about her landlord led to her getting involved with the organisation.

Over the next few years, she worked with Sovereign on a variety of projects, including the Oxfordshire Residents’ Panel and the Residents’ Council, of which she was chair and vice-chair respectively.

Following Sovereign’s merger in 2016, engaged residents formed a working group to co-design a new engagement structure. Building on Joyce’s experience with both organisations, the award-winning ‘Triangle of Engagement’ was created.

“My skills, experience, and vision of how residents could really engage with their landlord and help shape this new approach to resident involvement was core to what I wanted to achieve,” she says.

As the first chair of the Resident and Board Partnership – a strategic residents’ group that reviews policies and implements real change – Joyce also shared her experiences with other housing associations, illustrating from a resident perspective the lessons learned from the merger.

Through her involvement in local community groups, Joyce gives feedback to the board, ensuring residents’ voices are heard at the core of the business. Her blog ensures residents are kept up to date.

In 2018 and 2019, Joyce helped design and lead on the Resident Conferences, celebrating the hard work engaged residents achieved by making the Triangle of Engagement a reality.

Joyce’s hard work has been recognised nationally. Last year, she won highly commended in Housing Heroes’ Tenant Innovator award, and she helped deliver a tenant engagement workshop at the TPAS national conference.

This year, she was selected to join the NHF’s National Tenants Advisory Panel to work on the Together with Tenants Plan.

“I’m truly committed to making sure the voices of residents are heard and that they receive great services from Sovereign,” she says.

“It’s about building a team – the board, residents, and employees agreeing a shared vision for the future.


Joyce Ward Head and Shoulders March 18

Joyce Ward 

Where: Letcombe Regis, Oxfordshire

Landlord: Sovereign

Tenant Since: 2008

Activities: Holidaying around the world with friends