IDEAS FROM COLLEAGUES AND TENANTS ARE IMPORTANT IN CREATING NEIGHBOURHOODS WHERE PEOPLE ARE HAPPY

CHIRPING OF BIRDS AND GENTLE WAVES LAPPING ON THE SHORE IN THE RECYCLING ROOM - ALEX'S IDEA LED TO MORE SATISFIED TENANTS

Alex Ostrovskiy is a caretaker at Södervärn in Malmö. His workplace adjoins the square Möllevångstorget, where there are constantly people moving about; during the day with its open-air market and in the evening with its pub and restaurant life. There was previously a recycling shed in the garden where Alex works. A recycling shed that in some ways was lacking. Alex then came up with an idea!

“I saw that there was a room in the basement that we could redo,” says custodian Alex Ostrovskiy. “We previously had recycling in the garden, but this created big problems with rats and unhappy tenants. But I wanted to do it a little differently. I wanted the new recycling room to be like a room to come home to.”

No sooner said than done. Alex took his idea to his bosses, but it didn’t get much support at first. There were already other plans for a new recycling solution at the place where the shed was already standing. But in the end, a decision was made to go with Alex’s idea, which everyone involved is now very pleased with. 

“It’s gratifying to see the results from this year’s tenant survey,” says Malmö administrator Jörgen Klementsson. “Nearly 85 percent of the property’s tenants who responded are satisfied in the “clean and tidy” category. That figure was just over 44 percent in our previous survey. The previous results led us to put extra effort into improvements. Alex’s idea and the work he and his colleagues have put in, have contributed to this positive development.”

Alex Ostrovskiy

IT SHOULD FEEL LIKE COMING HOME

Work on the new recycling room began in February this year. Alex’s thought was that if it feels like home, then everyone will want to keep it clean and tidy.

“Both myself and those I work with wanted to use all our senses when we set up the new room. We wanted a place that smelled good, was clean and tidy and where tenants would be greeted by pleasant sounds when they came in. That’s why we bought air fresheners, fixed the ventilation and then bought a small speaker that plays bird chirps and other sounds from nature, such as the sound of waves lapping on the shore. To make it really feel like home, a colleague and I went to a building supply store where we found some rather expensive paintings but that turned out to be on sale. A real bonus,” Alex says and laughs at the memory. 

When Alex visits the recycling room to make sure everything is in order, it isn’t long before he hears words of appreciation from one of the tenants.

“This has to be Sweden’s nicest recycling room, with birdsong, flowers and paintings,” says tenant Birgitta Bjerring. “It’s freshly painted and it’s clean and tidy.”

Also, on the walls and columns of the new recycling room are hand-painted birds and leaves painted by Alex fellow custodian Peter Prahl.

“It was a good joint effort by our team,” says Alex. “You have to listen and ask questions. Everyone has their strengths and if we put them to use, the results will be good. I really appreciate the help I got from my colleagues on the way. When I came from Russia to Sweden for the sake of love six years ago, I lost my self-confidence for a time. But I’ve had my colleagues who’ve supported me. And now that I feel that I’ve succeeded with this project, I’m no longer afraid of new challenges. The fact that my idea became a reality strengthens me in coming up with new
ideas in the future.”

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