Renfrewshire Council

Lisa Carrigan's tireless efforts transform a tenant's life

Recognising the human impact of living our values.

Woman sitting at table smiling to camera Housing officer Lisa Carrigan has been acknowledged for her exceptional commitment to supporting a vulnerable council tenant and helping him transform his quality of life. Lisa's efforts driven by her dedication to helping those in need have been praised by her manager Andrea Verney as a sterling example of living our values.

The journey began when Lisa was working in a pop-up stall, sharing information with residents about regeneration and improvements in the neighbourhood. The elderly gentleman approached the stall curiously but appeared too nervous to speak with her and interact with others.

Recognising possible signs of trauma, Lisa immediately understood that the man needed support.  She gently approached him, introduced herself and asked about his housing needs. Over the next few weeks, she regularly checked on him, spending time getting to know him and patiently listening and learning about his situation.

She offered friendly advice and assistance, including delivering foodbank parcels to his home. This gradually meant she was able to build a relationship of trust and despite his initial reluctance to accept help, he grew comfortable enough with Lisa to invite her into his home.

That's when she uncovered the extent of his poor living conditions. She also learned that he lived alone, had no support, and hadn't sought medical attention for several years.

Recognising the urgency of the situation, Lisa swiftly mobilised support from colleagues in teams like social work, community safety, and benefits to address the tenant's critical needs. Collaboration across departments and services was key in securing him alternative housing and immediate medical care.

Lisa said: "Within about three weeks we had him set up safely in a new flat with all his basic needs addressed. There were a lot of challenges to overcome, and the gentleman told me that after being alone for so long, he was feeling overwhelmed with all the people who were suddenly in his life.

"It was imperative that I treaded carefully, and I spent a lot of time helping him understand his options and I reassured him that he was still in control of his own decisions. I merely provided him with the information and advice he needed, when he needed it and supported him to make his own choices about everything from who he meets to what furniture to get for his new home."

Lisa's dedication reflects a deep-seated commitment to ensuring every person receives the care they deserve, and she gladly goes the extra mile to support those in need.

Andrea Verney reflects: "Lisa's professional and caring approach ensured that this vulnerable individual received the support and care he desperately required before things got any worse."

In her modest response to receiving her 'Living our values' nomination, Lisa said: "I see my role as more than just a job. To me, those situations that need a little extra effort, are an opportunity to make a meaningful difference in someone's life."

She explained: "In my role, a fair approach means remembering that everyone is an individual. The key is taking the time to understand each person's specific needs and doing whatever I can to meet them."

Lisa shared her moving memory from the moment the elderly gentleman saw his new home for the first time. She recalled: "He walked in, looked around in awe, and asked me if this is how people really live. I will never forget that reaction. It was very moving, and it symbolised just how much he needed everything we had done for him."

It has now been over a year since Lisa first met the tenant and she and her housing colleagues are overjoyed to see the progress he has made. She told us: " His outlook is much healthier now and even though he still prefers his own company most of the time, he is more confident, independent and can access the support he needs.

"He's even joined the local library and developed some computing skills which he uses to access online DWP systems—achieving his goal of more independence over his welfare benefits.

"When we first met, he told me his old tenancy was "just a place to stay", but now he is settled and describes his new flat as a "comfortable home".

"It is immensely rewarding to know that we have played a role in helping this gentleman overcome so many challenges and get his life back on track."

Lisa's efforts to help this tenant despite the challenges and sensitivities she faced reveal the true essence of our values in action. Her commitment to fairness, treating everyone equally, and advocating for those in need is an inspiring reminder of the impact council colleagues can make to the people of Renfrewshire.

Nominate a colleague for living our values

Have you noticed a colleague or team who really get what it means to be fair, helpful, collaborative and value learning? Why not let them know they're doing a great job by nominating them for living our values?

To nominate: Simply complete this short form with some great examples of what they do. For more information on our values and behaviours, head over to the Living Our Values webpage

Published Friday 08 December 2023