I’m a CIH & Inside Housing Rising Stars 2014 finalist :)

So my first blog post is more of an announcement… I’m in the final of this year’s Chartered Institute of Housing & Inside Housing Rising Stars competition!!

The first Inside Housing article is here: http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/home/analysis/7003301.article

I’m so thrilled to be one of just three people chosen by an expert panel of judges. I wasn’t sure if the ideas in my entry would appeal to the judges so I was certainly shocked when I received a phone call to tell me otherwise!

What makes this really special is that the ideas in my entry were based on the work I’m doing at Futures Homescape, so it makes me incredibly proud to have my team’s work recognised in this way :)

I’m really passionate about my work so I’m really looking forward to sharing this with others and encouraging and supporting them to develop their own schemes.

At this stage all I know is:

  • Between now and CIH Housing 2014 in June, we three finalists will be asked to perform a range of tasks that will showcase our skills, knowledge and professionalism.
  • Colleagues from across the housing industry will be encouraged to vote online for their favourite Rising Star throughout the process and specifically after each task
  • The overall winner will be announced at a gala awards ceremony on Monday 23 June 2014

I’m feeling a whole world of emotions at the thought of what the next two months have in store for me: nervous, scared, excited, optimistic, challenged, ambitious… but I know that it’s going to be a great experience no matter what.

I’ve reproduced my entry to the competition below, if you like what you see please share, like and vote for me here: http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/SPIN2_NO_ADS.aspx?navCode=2098

And of course please leave comments, ask questions, share your experiences and join the debate.


Without promoting any political party, how would you go about establishing a campaign which raises housing as a key issue for the forthcoming election?

  • Your campaign title: Doing it for ourselves


  • Who your target audience would be and why you would target them? (max 150 words)

The housing sector needs a new approach to how it funds and develops housing at an affordable price. Government funding for the sector is increasingly limited and, no matter which party is in power following the 2015 elections, this looks set to continue.

I would call upon all housing associations (HAs) and local authorities (LAs) to focus on what they can achieve without Government funding.

We are an innovative, financially robust and committed sector that can do much for ourselves and much for the communities we serve. Indeed, our communities are relying on us to provide the affordable housing they so desperately need.

We are well placed to forge strong relationships with the wide range of people and organisations that support our work, such as credit unions, local faith groups, training and apprenticeship providers, local developers, self-builders, local investors and entrepreneurs, etc.

  • The key message(s) of your campaign? (max 150 words)

That housing associations and local authorities can do so much without Government funding.

That we can start now, we don’t need to wait for the outcome of the next election to provide more homes in our communities.

That the words profit and commercialisation are not necessarily dirty words if you still have a social purpose at your heart.

That housing needs local solutions and we are well placed to deliver the right solutions, at the right scale, with the right partners.

To inspire HAs & LAs to action by highlighting examples of how others have innovated to meet the housing needs of their communities without Government funding. For example, as part of our private sector leasing scheme in Amber Valley we have worked with a small local developer to transform an empty office into 18 brand new apartments at a rent local people can afford. The developer has wholly funded the development, no HA, LA or central Government funding has been required.

  • How you would engage with people to get your message across? (max 150 words)

I would contact LAs and HAs directly to discuss how they are and can develop affordable housing without Government funding through local partnership working.

To inspire people to answer my call to do it for ourselves, I would highlight the financial and non-financial benefits of taking this approach for the benefit of our communities, including, creating local training and employment opportunities, supporting local supply chains, increasing council tax and New Homes Bonus receipts, increasing footfall in local towns to support local businesses, supporting local developers, reducing waiting lists, improve health outcomes through quality housing provision, reducing poverty through affordable housing provision and reducing benefit dependency. All without Government funding, and even without LA or HA funding. How could anyone say no to all of this?

As detailed above, I would give examples of how others have innovated to meet the housing needs of their communities without Government funding. This would give HAs and LAs confidence to do it for themselves.

  • How would you judge whether your campaign was successful? (max 150 words)

This campaign would be successful if every HA and LA recognise that they can do much for their communities without Government funding and they embrace and utilise their ability to do it for themselves.

As a result of this campaign HAs and LAs would work in new and creative ways with their partners for the benefit of their communities; in every borough and district, HAs and LAs would develop quality housing at an affordable price through local partnerships rather than with Government funding.

Most importantly, communities would benefit hugely as those stuck on waiting lists, in expensive temporary accommodation or sofa surfing are provided with quality, affordable housing, jobs and training opportunities are created, local business are supported through supply chains and increased footfall and poverty, poor health and benefit dependency are tackled. And all thanks to LAs, HAs and their partners building homes.




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