Making a Difference
to people's lives

Joanne Rooney, Retirement Living Coordinator

Joanne Rooney - Retirement Living Coordinator joined Wrekin Council in 1995 and then moved to The Wrekin Housing Group in 1999, when it was known as the Trust.

For Wrekin's 25 year anniversary in March, we caught up with staff who've been with us since the very beginning, asking about their Wrekin journey and highlights over the years.

Starting at the Oakengates shop, Joanne went on to work at Hazel Way, Frizes Leasowe and then transferred to Hallcroft Close where she is based today. She was also part of the Tenancy Support Service, initially a team of just 4: "That was a new experience for me because I could be working with vulnerable tenants from age 18 to 80. I specialised in domestic abuse – it was stressful but very interesting. Our focus was enabling victims to be able to stay in their own homes.”

Asked what the biggest changes over the last 25 years have been, Joanne fondly remembers the technology they used to have to carry round when visiting Retirement Living tenants!

“Our only equipment was a large hand-held box. You could be ankle deep in snow but we would still need to carry this box around to each property and plug it in. The only time you knew there was an alarm call was when you plugged it into someone’s house. Otherwise, the only technology was the phone in your office. We even had to make our own posters with felt tip pens! You could easily get quite isolated as you didn’t know what was going on at other schemes. It is very different now."

Joanne recalls how, although her role is more office based these days working on rents and voids, to many customers she will always be the warden: “We’ll always be the warden and we always work for the council! Tenants still ask us to tootle off to the shop or bake cakes in the communal room. The role is very different now but we still help where we can.”

“I’ve seen all sorts over the years. One night an emergency call came in from a lady needing help getting the top off her brandy bottle. Another lady asked if I could run an errand for her. When I went to see her, she answered the door almost naked! People coming into the office half clothed was quite common.”

As for her highlights over the past 25 years, Joanne talks about taking part in the Wrekin Choir:

“We went to the Wrekin Reviive opening, Christmas parties, summer fetes and performed at Oakengates Theatre. A trio of operatic singers were performing and we went as their backing choir. I had to stand so ridged because I thought I would collapse! I just loved it.”