Tackling social housing stereotypes in the media

A Riverside tenant has played a key role in a campaign to tackle social housing stereotypes in the media, and to encourage fair reporting in the news.

Sally Trueman has taken part in the Benefit to Society campaign and a media guide, called Fair Press for Tenants, has been put together in collaboration with the National Union of Journalists.

The guide is aimed at journalists, documentary makers and PR professionals to encourage them to cover stories about people living in social housing in a fair and accurate manner.

Riverside is one of 17 housing associations sponsoring the campaign.

Sally Trueman, who is a Riverside Board member, is involved in the Benefit to Society campaign.
Sally Trueman


“I’m really pleased to be involved in the Benefit to Society campaign. I think it’s time for us to stand up and change the perception of people living in social housing, and how we are portrayed in the media. We need to dispel that myth because there’s a rich mix of people from different backgrounds and social classes who live in social housing,” explained Sally who has been a Riverside customer for seven years.

She added: “I moved to Newcastle 18 years ago and was married, had cars and a house – what society depicts as a ‘normal’. But through no fault of my own my life changed direction.

“It’s not just young people and students that rent properties – it’s all ages! A lot of people don’t want to own their own home, but prefer to rent because they don’t want the responsibility or the cost of doing repairs. There’s also less job security these days, so the fear of losing your job and unable to pay the mortgage is a massive stress to bear.

“It’s much easier and less hassle to pay rent and get the repairs done by a social housing provider. We need to show that there’s nothing wrong in choosing to rent.”

Sally volunteers for a number of charities, is a member of the Riverside Group Board and the Riverside North Tenants and Residents Federation Executive. She’s also been a youth leader and helped in activity programmes and summer camps for 11-18 year olds.

“There’s a wealth of knowledge and experience that tenants have, and we do all sorts of jobs including professional roles. I worked as a teacher but gave it up due to ill health and now I do volunteering work.

“Volunteering is a fulfilling role and it’s giving something back to society. Volunteers are a valuable resource because without them, a lot of charitable organisations would collapse and events wouldn’t be able to take place. Volunteers give their time for free and undergo training to carry out the role effectively.”