We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dudley Savill, Hestia’s former Participation Officer and the architect of much of Hestia’s essential co-production work.

Dudley joined Hestia in 1991 with leading experience in encouraging tenant participation in the management of housing associations. He worked fastidiously to ensure the people supported by Hestia had a say in how our services were developed and provided, and in 1998, set up Hestia’s first Resident and Tenant Forum.

Over the years, this has developed into Hestia’s pivotal Better Lives Forum (BLF). The BLF is an every-growing group of Hestia service users who come together to use their insight and talent to improve Hestia’s services. Members assist in Hestia’s recruitment process, helping us to select the right candidates for our services, help us to co-design new projects, and guide us to ensure our services deliver what people really need.

“I have always believed in making tenant participation a real thing within organisations. The Resident and Tenant Forum constitution gave every individual resident and tenant the right to attend meetings and vote and influence policy through the Forum.” ­– Dudley Savill

Before joining Hestia, Dudley’s dedication to supporting vulnerable people spanned several decades, making a lasting impact to communities on a national and international scale. 

Dudley’s work in the voluntary sector began in the 1960s at the United Nations Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, where he worked on anti-hunger initiatives in Greece, on one of the largest overseas development programmes of its time. His work in Greece continued for some years, with Dudley going on to set up a youth and community centre in the northwest of the country.

In the UK, he worked tirelessly for equality for some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities, spending many years at groundbreaking housing associations including Notting Hill Trust and Broadway Housing. He believed passionately in tenants’ rights and tenant participation, bringing the latter onto the agenda of housing associations across the country.

In addition to this lifetime of commitment to tenants and homeless people, Dudley devoted his spare time to amateur boxing for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, believing firmly that the sport would steer people away from crime and drug abuse. He dedicated thousands of hours to people from disadvantaged communities and fought to ensure women and people from Gypsy and Traveller communities could partake in the sport without discrimination. Many of the young men Dudley worked with, including Amir Khan, went on to represent Britain in boxing tournaments globally.

Throughout his life, Dudley was committed to social justice and making a change for those less fortunate. His work has benefited thousands. Though Dudley retired in 2007, all at Hestia have been and will continue to be profoundly affected by his passion and the changes he made to put service user co-production at the heart of what we do.

Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time.