After nearly 11 weeks of being a Rising Stars finalist, there are just now 4 days left of voting and 9 days until the winner is announced. So this is my final post as a Rising Stars finalist, the next will be as either the winner or a runner-up.
This post is all about showing you why I should win and why you should vote for me here. It’s also a summary of everything I’ve done during the competition.
As part of the competition, I’ve been asked a couple of times if I want to win and why people should vote for me; when I think about winning, part of me turns to clichéd views such as ‘it’s the taking part that counts’, ‘winning would be the icing on the cake’ or ‘I’m honoured to be in the final’. But when I imagine not hearing my name when the winner is announced a week on Monday in Manchester, I feel completely gutted, so my honest answer is that I am desperate to win.
And not because it will look good on my CV, open career doors and boost my profile in the sector, but because it would give a massive boost to the work I’m doing at Futures Homescape to develop affordable housing in partnership with local PRS landlords, developers and investors for the benefit of the local community. And hopefully, others would be interested in learning from my work and developing their own initiatives, in fact, just this week, colleagues from local authorities in Northamptonshire and Derbyshire have been in touch wanting to know more about our Private Sector Leasing scheme as they’re looking to develop their own scheme.
To anyone that has voted for me, thank you so much! It really does mean a lot, it’s the best recognition and support that I could hope for and what it says to me is that you’re behind my idea, you support the work I’m doing, you want to see more of it and you see the potential in me to tackle the housing crisis in some way.
If you haven’t voted for me yet, here’s why I think you should: because my Rising Stars idea is all about tackling the biggest and most fundamental problem the sector and society is currently facing, a massive shortage of affordable housing. It’s about taking direct action and doing the right thing by our communities (see my last post for why I can’t just sit around waiting for new policies to be announced or Government funding to be awarded). And it’s not just a load of blue sky thinking, my idea is very much rooted in the work I do at Futures so I know it works and it can deliver.
Whether I win or not, I’m determined to make my idea a reality and will use and abuse my status as either winner or runner-up to grab as many opportunities as possible, in fact, I’ve already started: HQN have already agreed to run a benchmarking exercise, produce a case studies publication (which I am writing) and are considering hosting a workshop session on ‘Developing in Partnership’. NHF have also invited me to host a session at the HotHouse Young Leaders event in July and my idea features in the De Montfort University Student Policy Commission report which will be presented to the House of Lords on the 23rd June.
Hopefully, you’re convinced I should take the crown (well, certificate is probably more realistic) this year, but if not, that’s ok, there are plenty of reasons why you should vote for Nicola or James too.
So I’ll leave you with a round up of all the thing I’ve done during the Rising Stars competition in case you thought CIH and Inside Housing had given us an easy ride!
- Started this blog and written 11 posts; in 10 weeks over it has been viewed over 1000 times!
- Created a Pinterest board to inspire the housing sector with examples of developments funded either without Government grant or in a nontraditional way
- Been interviewed by Inside Housing for the article announcing who’s in the final three of the competition
- Contacted as many friends, family and colleagues as possible through email, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to ask them to vote for me!
- Written an article for the Guardian Housing Network on how to turn empty properties into affordable homes
- Been asked 10 questions by the CIH to find out more about me both personally and professionally
- Written a blog post for the De Montfort University student blog page on the importance of being a student and the benefits that continued studying brings to your professional career
- Written a blog for Women in Social Housing and Womanthology magazine about being a women climbing the career ladder
- Spent a day with the Shelter campaign team to refine my idea (Inside Housing write up here) and written a blog on what I learnt during the day
- Appeared in the local press here and here
- Created two infographics
- Taken part in a Twitter debate, frantically answering questions for two hours! (Storify here)
- Had an Apprentice style grilling by 3 senior housing industry figures (Inside Housing article here)
- Presented at the DMU & CIH East Midlands student conference (Student confrence presentation here and Storify of the day here)
- Drummed up as much support as possible on Twitter, resulting in endorsements from Natalie Elphicke and David Cowans amongst others.
Phew, I’m going for a lie down :)