We Speak Your Language
Language is a common barrier to accessing housing provision. Almost 10% of residents have asked us tocommunicate with them in a language other than English – over 1500 households. Bengali is the most commonly required language, followed by Somali. There is also a growing need for eastern European languages, such as Polish.
"We Speak Your Language" is an innovative project which has made Tower Hamlets Homes’ services more accessible to residents who can’t speak or read English.
As a result of the project, a number of improvements have been made to the way that we deliver services. These include:
- Producing a range of translations and ‘Talking Leaflets’ available on our website
- Positive action to recruit more officers who speak community languages
- Recognising staff who go the extra mile with a Community Language Honorarium
- Producing a programme on a Bengali TV channel giving advice on welfare reform
- Advertising our services in other languages through social media, such as Facebook and Twitter
- Producing picture-based reference cards for front counters
- Creating automated letter templates in Bengali and Somali
As a result of the project, the number of Bengali-speaking residents who feel that Tower Hamlets Homes keeps them informed about their housing services has risen; in 2010/11 it was just 59% - now it is over 76% in 2012/13 (year to date).
In the same period, the number of Bengali-speaking residents accessing THH’s services has increased from 80% to 95%. The number of Somali residents accessing our services has also increased, from 59% to 85%.