As the coordinator of the Private Tenants Forum, something that I’m really keen on is how we can find different ways to hear from people about renting.

Quite often when we’re talking about legislation and regulation, we’re talking about huge documents, lots of detail and the need for lots of knowledge. There’s quite a few barriers in place that stop people from commenting and participating on how private renting policy and practice is developing. When we know that the private renting sector is growing – and shows no signs of slowing down – the need for people to participate in their own housing is crucial.

A question for all of us interested in participation and diversity is then, how do we make sure that we’re hearing from everyone, and not just people who can, and want to, plough through Government policy?

We know that young people who have been supported, whether they’ve had looked after status, or they’ve been in refuge, or in supported accommodation, have particular needs and vulnerabilities. We also know that this group is often overlooked, ignored and underestimated. As we know, there’s no such thing as hard to reach people, only hard to access services – but this goes for policy too. We wanted to find a creative way to work with young people to make sure that their stories about renting are heard. We wanted to make sure that everyone gets to have a say about their home.

Working with the fantastic Open Aye, we’ve developed a really exciting summer project for young people. Using photography, we want to hear all about renting: the good, the bad, the ugly, and what young people want when they rent.

We’re hosting a session on the 21st April at the Serenity Café in Edinburgh from 2-4pm to give a wee insight into what the sessions will look like, and what they can expect from Shelter Scotland, and from Open Aye. We’re running this through our volunteering programme, so on top of learning (or improving!) photography skills, young people will also get something on their CV and gain useful experience. It’s all free and we can cover travel expenses too.

If you’re working with young people who might be interested – or if you want to get involved – come along to the taster session, sign up to our private tenants forum or get in touch.