Great Places has won two awards at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) Housing Heroes Awards.
The organisation’s Repairs Team won the Maintenance or Development Team of the Year award, while customer Stuart Hutton-Brown, who runs the Blackpool-based Counselling in the Community mental health, service won the Tenant Innovator of the Year.
Great Places says its repairs service as undergone significant change to create an efficient repairs function, delivering a cost-efficient service through its innovative in-house supply chain service.
The team has also launched the Ian Hamill Fund in memory a former colleague, which is used to fund Great Places’ apprentice and graduate development programme – with the service employing over 20 new people during the year.
Mark Foster, director of Repairs, said: “As an organisation we pride ourselves on delivering an excellent service to our customers, so to be recognised as the Maintenance Team of the Year is testament to the hard work, commitment, and effort made by all our Repairs and Maintenance colleagues.
“It is also a great achievement to have our newly launched employment scheme, The Ian Hamill Fund recognised.
“Ian, a former Great Places colleague who is sadly no longer with us, was passionate about investing into young people and receiving this award it is a fitting tribute to Ian and his legacy.”
Tenant Innovator of the Year
Tenant Innovator winner Stuart Hutton-Brown spent 30 years in retail and following a period of sickness retrained as a counsellor.
Despite some difficult times, his Counselling in the Community service is now going from strength to strength.
The service was helping around 80 people a week prior to lockdown but is now dealing with an estimated 120 people per week.
Great Places has so far donated £3,000 to the service, which has 34 volunteers, and has been supporting the development of the business and linking Stuart into supporting tenants.
“I’m so chuffed. I’m still trying to process it all as it doesn’t seem real,” Stuart said.
“This is a testament to the hard work of many people and they deserve all the credit.
“We had a few people watching along and we were so happy and I can’t wait to share the great news with everyone else.
“I can’t thank Great Places enough for everything they have done for me personally and the service.
“To hear my name read out at the virtual ceremony was just an amazing feeling. Winning the award really puts the service on the map and I hope it raises our profile.”
Counselling in the Community is now preparing to set up a second base by the end of the year.
The Housing Heroes Awards were held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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