06 September, 2016
The Women in Housing Awards, which take place at the Hilton in Manchester, aim to celebrate women's achievements in the Housing sector over the last year as well as more generally 'promote the innovative contribution of women' and 'encourage women to work and flourish in the housing sector.'
The shortlisted nominees were announced on 1st September and the panel of judges, which includes Alison Inman (Vice Chair of CIH), Julie Fadden (Chief Executive of South Liverpool Homes and incumbent CIH president) and Michelle Gregg (Director of Housing at Yorkshire Housing and WISH Board Member), amongst others, have their work cut out in choosing the winners!
We've been through the shortlists (as you can, if you click here) and whilst there are many worthy nominees, we wanted to focus on the 'Most Effective Project in Improving the Lives of Women or Communities Award', as some of the entries might not be so easily recognisable.
There are 7 nominees in the category, based across the country and with a range of different sized RPs. The first name out of the hat is Anne Murphy, for her work as Independent Domestic Violence Adviser at Wolverhampton Homes - the only individual singled out amongst the nominees (the others being programmes or charities established by housing providers), Anne faces stiff competition.
Part of that competition, the New Charter Group's "Bridges" campaign, was launched in October 2014 with the aim of providing 'an integrated community service such as an independent advocacy service, advice, support and access to community based agencies and help with housing' to victims of domestic abuse and substance misuse in Tameside. The project, in conjunction with Tameside Council, "brings together the council, police, victim support and other agencies to tackle early intervention with more prevention measures and support around victims' safety."
Many of this years' nominees have focused on the issue of domestic violence and this is also true of New Progress group's Clare House. The women's refuge has provided a safe haven to over 700 women since it was launched in 2000, as well as supporting a further 400 women through a community resettlement service. Their vision is "a community where all women and children have a sense of optimism, confidence, and hope for the future" whilst their Twitter account (@clarehouselanc) offers inspirational messages and quotes.
The Chrisp Street Exchange Programme describes itself as a 'new community of entrepreneurs and their businesses'. The co-working space in Poplar, run in collaboration with Poplar HARCA, offers free courses and advice, 7-day access to workspaces and business advice as well as providing "a range of loan funds to help London's start-up and existing small businesses thrive."
Melodramatics, a women only amateur theatre group established by New Bury Vision Group & Bolton at Home, have created pieces such as last year's "Seeing Red (Part 1)" to much audience acclaim and is an inclusive group which is free to attend. Member Kelly Heselwood said "Melodramatics has given me a support network that will be friends for life. We are all open with each other and that's why we have been able to do Seeing Red."
The health and wellbeing group Zest, established by Pontypool based Melin Homes, is "always looking at ways to encourage staff to lead a healthy lifestyle" and has previously received a UK CIPD award.
Last, but certainly not least in the list of nominees for the Most Effective Project in Improving the Lives of Women or Communities Award is Viridian Housing for their work in tackling domestic abuse. The team have already picked up the Oustanding Campaign of the Year award at this years' UK Housing Awards where the judges were "blown away" by "a superbly executed campaign on a hugely important issue that has secured very impressive, measurable results and probably already saved lives." Viridian will presumably be hoping to make it two out of two in November.
Forbes would like to wish the best of luck to all those nominated for this and the other awards.