A Sunderland-based housing group has scored a top award for its success and ingenuity in helping vulnerable tenants at the NHMF Housing Awards.
Gentoo won Best Customer Impact for its ‘Something not quite right’ initiative at the awards, which are organised by the National Housing Maintenance Forum.
“We are delighted to be the only North East housing organisation to be commended for such a valuable initiative aimed at protecting Sunderland’s most vulnerable customers,” said Diane Carney, Gentoo’s director of repairs and maintenance.
“All of our repairs staff have received specialist training in spotting the signs of child, domestic and adult abuse and what we as an organisation can do about it. Staff are fully trained to recognise, respond and record any concerns about someone’s well-being and how to report it.
“If our staff suspect something isn’t quite right during a repair or with a customer, they raise it with our in-house safeguarding team who in turn can either arrange support from colleagues or make a referral to one of the relevant specialist agencies. This means that we can get the support out to our customers as and when they need it.”
Since the introduction of the initiative in 2015, Gentoo says its staff have raised a total of 944 concerns, many of which have resulted in referrals to specialist agencies such as the fire and rescue service, social services and the group’s in-house money matters team.