It's Awards Season
Ashford housing team’s trophy cabinet is full to bursting after scooping armfuls of awards and special commendations in recent months. And there is the promise of more to come this autumn. The hard-working and dedicated professionals within the housing department have been honoured at a number of regional and national award schemes.
Kent Housing Group annual awards
The council has been singled out for a special achievement award in recognition of its unrivalled commitment to welcoming and resettling Syrian refugees.
The Ashford team responsible for the resettlement of refugees was honoured at the Kent Housing Group and Joint Policy and Planning Board Excellence Awards, which celebrate outstanding individuals, teams or projects who have gone that ‘extra mile’ to ensure excellent service for communities across Kent.
Three years ago, Ashford pledged to receive up to 250 refugees over the five years of the Government’s national Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme. It was one of the first to respond and worked closely with the UNHCR and the Home Office, who have previously commended our excellent handling of the intake.
Today, 21 Syrian families, totalling 98 refugees, call Ashford home and have been grateful for the overwhelmingly positive response from the communities in which they have settled.
At the same awards, two Ashford schemes competed for top honours in the Partnership Working category. Farrow Court Homebridge & Cherry Tree Court scooped the award, with Ashford’s other entry, the Cheyne Social Property Impact Fund, highly commended.
Julie Stalker – a manager at Farrow Court – won the KHG Excellent Health or Social Care Professional award, while Esme Ervine was highly commended in the Excellent Young Achiever (under 25) category.
Housing Heroes Awards
The council was highly commended in the Housing Heroes Awards after it was one of six finalists in the hotly-contested Development or Maintenance Team of the Year category for organisations under 15,000 homes. The talented five-strong project delivery team from Ashford has been supported by officers from across the housing, finance and property departments in an exemplary display of teamwork and collaboration on a number of high-profile projects.
Inside Housing Awards
Ashford is one of nine entrants to be shortlisted for Best Older People’s Housing Development (71+ homes) in the Inside Housing Development Awards and will be keeping fingers crossed when the winners are announced on 29 November.
Ashford’s Farrow Court has caught the eye of the judges. Farrow Court is a council built, council owned and council run care-ready sheltered housing scheme. It is fully-dementia friendly and is the authority’s flagship scheme. It was built over two phases, with the second phase being completed and occupied in November 2017.
The 104 home centre has been delivered in recognition of the need to make special provision for the needs of an ageing population – by 2026 it’s anticipated that around 40% of the residents of our borough will be aged over 50.
The scheme includes 12 flats exclusively for adults with learning disabilities known as Cherry Tree Court, a guest room and seven recuperative care units known as Homebridge, which helps people to transition from hospital to home.
Helping to secure the nomination are the fantastic range of facilities at Farrow Court – including an on-site hair and beauty salon which is also open to the local community – and the many innovations that make Farrow Court more than just a sheltered housing scheme – to the residents it is home.
Kent Design Awards
Noakes Meadow has been shortlisted in the Kent Design Awards. The two bungalows at Noakes Meadow are the first bespoke affordable homes to have been designed and built in the borough that are known to meet the optional “wheelchair user accessible dwelling” standard. Located on the site of a former derelict garages, the council’s projects team liaised with the residents every step of the way to ensure that the homes include a host of special features to meet their individual needs.
Farrow Court Phase 2 has also been shortlisted in the Kent Design Awards and the winners will be announced on 8 November.
Speaking about these award successes, Sharon Williams, Head of Housing at Ashford Borough Council, said: “They are a testimony to the professionalism and dedication of our staff and also reflect our vision to deliver quality housing and homes for all at a time when local government finances are under pressure as never before.
“We continuously seek new opportunities to enhance our portfolio of affordable and supported housing to meet residents’ needs across the borough. Recognition through these awards will enable us to continue to lead the way and allow us to be an example of how astute local authorities can deliver high-quality homes despite pressure on budgets.”