Preston pensioners hit back with online forum

Ron Entwistle

Ron Entwistle

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Two pensioners have set up a new online forum for tenants of Preston’s Community Gateway Association.

The site - www.gatewaytenants.co.uk - is the brainchild of Ron Entwistle and Jam Imani Rad, who want to offer residents of 7,000 other Community Gateway Association (CGA) properties a place to discuss issues with their homes as well as sharing news and a ‘buy and sell’ section.

Jam Imani Rad

Jam Imani Rad

They claim it is in response to being denied an official older people’s forum by housing association bosses, something Ron has been calling for for years.

Ron, 79, who lives in Sunningdale, Broughton, said: “This website is important to us, someone has to stand up and be counted.

“It’s a self-help group for the residents. We’ve been asking for an elderly people’s forum for a long time and we’ve been refused.

“So if they’re not going to allow us to have one, we’ll do one ourselves online.

“It’s the first of it’s kind as far as I know and it’s completely independent of Gateway.

“We’ll see how it goes and see if the word gets spread. If it really gets going then I’ll look for someone younger to take over.”

A spokesman for CGA said the housing association would not comment on the forum, as it formed part of ongoing legal proceedings with a customer.

CGA are currently involved in a court case against Mr Imani Rad, who they claim has made alterations to a communal garden outside his home in Harrington Street without their permission.

He says he spent £5,000 on the project as he wanted to set a good example for other pensioners and improve the city.

He has refused CGA’s request to remove some items from the garden, including statues and lights, which they claim pose health and safety concerns.

Mr Rad and Mr Entwistle met after the story about the garden was featured in the Evening Post and made headlines nationally.