Being a CIH board member

If you’ve read the ‘About my work‘ page, you’ll know that in September 2013 I was invited join the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) East Midlands Board as a student co-optee following my successful application to their student bursary scheme (I’m studying a BSc Housing at De Montfort University, currently writing a dissertation on the role of the Government in subsiding affordable housing).

So far I’ve attended 3 board meetings and also had the honour of being jointly nominated by the Board and my tutors at DMU for the CIH Midlands Student of the Year 2013 prize, which I was awarded in October 2013.

Last week I attended my first Board planning day; we welcomed our new chair Michael Bruce (Waterloo Housing), vice chair Natalie Robertson (Orbit Heart of England) and board member Sarah Huseyin (Wellingborough Homes). We started the meeting with an ice breaking game of bingo where we had to match the facts on our bingo cards to Board members, for example I learnt who on the Board has a shotgun licence, who had trials for Leicestershire County Cricket, who raised £800 playing 10 pin bowls for 24 hours dressed a Ali Baba, who can juggle three clubs and who once appeared in a three act play with sitcom star Richard Beckinsale (Godber in Porridge). As you can see the Board is made up of some interesting and fun individuals, but we soon got down to more serious agenda items.

The focus of the Board is to represent the housing profession in the East Midlands. We mainly do this through hosting local events and seminars. We also have established a strong link with De Montfort University (Dr Jo Richardson is a Board member) to promote careers in housing to students and housing courses to current housing professionals.

A significant part of the meeting focused on these two activities: we had an update on our first student conference (DMU, 3rd June) including the final agenda and current number of bookings. We also discussed having a live twitter wall at the conference, a hashtag and storify-ing the tweets after the event. I was keen to find out the latest on this conference as a) I am responsible for the Board’s twitter account and b) I will be attending the conference as a CIH / Inside Housing Rising Stars 2014 finalist and taking part in a panel discussion with my fellow finalists. We also planned our events and seminars for the rest of 2014/15, watch out for: a drinks event in Derby on 30th May, a digital inclusion event in Derby on 8th July, a legal update in Grantham on 30th September, an awards ceremony held jointly with CIH West Midlands on 23rd October in Birmingham (hosted by Mark Easton with entertainment from comedian Larry Lamb), a health and housing event in Northamptonshire on 4th November (organised by yours truly), a leaders round table in partnership with Kate Warbuton from NHF East Midlands on January 27th in Hinckley and finally the AGM and a sharing best practice event featuring winners and finalist from the awards event on 10th March at Leicester Tigers.

Finally we talked about the Board itself including making sure we have a highly effective and efficient Board through conducting regular appraisals, skills audits, yearly recruitment, recruiting champions in key Derby, Leicester and Nottingham organisations, charging non CIH members to attend events, better marketing of the Board and our activities, and broadening the membership of the Board to include members from related professions such as solicitors, housebuilders, chartered surveyors, HR professionals, health professionals and funders.

As you can see it’s going to be a busy year with hopefully something for most housing professionals in the East Midlands to engage in, please do get in touch if you have any suggestions of what you’d like to see the Board get involved in.

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