Loan shark initiative results in award hat trick for Derwentside Homes
Published by Kelly Elliott for Derwentside Homes Ltd in Housing and also in Communities
From l-r: Derwentside Homes staff Tony Cooke (director of corporate services), Phillip Curran (business development manager), Geraldine Wilcox (chief executive), Keith Tallintire (director of resources) and Phil Toal (Vice Chair of Derwentside Homes) with
A community project set up to allow people to buy household items without turning to loan sharks has won a prestigious national housing award.
The Store is a weekly payment scheme which gives people the chance to buy furniture, white goods and electrical items without getting into debt, whilst also encouraging regular saving.
Run by social landlord Derwentside Homes and Prince Bishops Community Bank, the project was named Community Initiative of the Year at the UK Housing Awards 2012.
Derwentside Homes was also named Most Efficient Landlord of the Year in recognition of the way the association has responded to the economic crisis by maximising efficiency while continuing to invest in innovative projects to support tenants.
The success at the UK Housing Awards comes just days after The Store, based in Stanley, County Durham, was named winner of the ‘Fulfilling Lives – Older People’ category at the Financial Inclusion and Capability North East (FINCAN) Awards.
Derwentside Homes’ chief executive Geraldine Wilcox said: “This is a fantastic achievement and I am incredibly proud of all our staff for their hard work which has resulted in these award wins.
“There has been extensive coverage in the news recently about the increase in people turning to expensive credit providers and we have experienced problems with loan sharks operating within our own communities.
“Ensuring our tenants are given financial support is especially important in the current economic climate. As an efficient landlord we are able to support community projects which give financial support to tenants and The Store is part of our strategy to help us achieve this.
“The hard work our staff have carried out to improve efficiency within the organisation has allowed us to continue to invest in our communities despite the economic downturn and these awards are testament to that.”
Customers using The Store pay for their items weekly, with a proportion of each payment being deposited into a credit union account, encouraging regular saving and steering people away from loan sharks and other high cost borrowing options.
Products available include cookers, fridge-freezers, bedroom and living-room furniture and televisions, with the total cost to customers around 40% lower than some other repayment stores.
The UK Housing Awards are organised by Inside Housing magazine and the Chartered Institute of Housing, with the award ceremony taking place at the Park Lane Hilton, in London, last Wednesday.