The importance of home

Andrea Malcolm new Bernicia executive director of People, Homes and Communities

The thoughts of Andrea Malcolm, our Executive Director of People, Homes and Communities on the importance of a good home on national Housing Day.

It’s never been more important to have a place to call home.

The Coronavirus pandemic has focused people’s minds on the things that mean the most to them and having a good home is certainly one of these.

It’s still the biggest kick for me and my colleagues at Bernicia to give people the keys to their new home – be they young people starting off on the housing ladder, growing families or older people downsizing as they enjoy the latter years of their lives.

We know that having a good home is so much more than just bricks and mortar.

It provides the stability that leads to job security, economic prosperity and thriving communities.

National Housing Day allows us to shine a light every year on the good that housing associations do.

This goes above and beyond providing people with good homes, demonstrating that we are anchor institutions in local communities.

We care about our tenants. Our housing officers, contact centre staff and repairs teams get to know them well, working everyday to sort out problems and offer advice.

We give tenants a voice, listening to them locally to find out how we can best meet their needs to make their home lives the best they can be.

At Bernicia, we’re reaching out to thousands of our tenants across the North East at the moment in our new ‘Your Say. Services Your Way’ campaign.

Their feedback will help us ensure the services we deliver are what they want – always learning to keep improving and evolving.

At a national level, housing association’s amplify tenants’ voices to reach the corridors of power in Westminster.

The National Housing Federation’s ‘Homes at the Heart’ coalition campaign is urging Government to put building more social housing at the centre of economic recovery plans.

During the pandemic, we’ve been agile in responding quickly to the extra pressures Coronavirus has placed on people’s lives.

At Bernicia, we diverted £200,000 from our charitable Bernicia Foundation into organisations working on the ground with people and communities hit by the impact of the virus.

Food parcels, activity packs, welfare calls, skills retraining and more ­– when communities needed us at the toughest of times, Bernicia and housing associations across the country were there for them.

That support, care and knowledge will continue to be there for tenants as we enter what could  be the toughest of winters for a number of people.

Andrea Malcolm, Bernicia Executive Director of People, Homes and Communities.