Landlord's equality and diversity practice praised
Published by Kelly Elliott for Cestria Community Housing in Housing and also in Communities
Cestria’s Corporate Services Officer Arshia Bhatti (centre) and Chief Executive Paul Fiddaman (right) are presented with the North East Equality Award for Practising Excellence in the Housing Sector by John Hindmarch of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Ser
A County Durham housing association has been recognised for its efforts to ensure equality and diversity is at the heart of its work.
Cestria Community Housing was named the winner of the ‘Practising Excellence in the Housing Sector’ category of the 2012 North East Equality Awards.
Held annually, the awards recognise and reward employers, learning providers and individuals who strive to ensure that good equality and diversity practices are implemented in the workplace.
Cestria, which owns and manages 4,200 properties in and around Chester-le-Street, has carried out a range of initiatives to ensure it is meeting the diverse needs of its customers.
This has included setting up an Equality and Diversity Working Group, made up of staff, tenants and Board Members, who help Cestria make decisions about policy-making, service delivery and employment, as well as promoting equality and diversity throughout the organisation.
Members are given on-going support, including carrying out Equality and Diversity qualifications and drama-based training, using acting and role-play to raise awareness of E&D issues.
Cestria is also in the process of achieving the Leaders in Diversity and Investors in Diversity accreditations, which are both awarded by the National Centre for Diversity.
Cestria’s Corporate Services Officer Arshia Bhatti, said: “We are completely committed to ensuring equality and diversity is at the heart of everything we do and have introduced a variety of initiatives to help us achieve this.
“We have carried out extensive customer profiling to ensure we understand the diverse needs of our tenants and have involved them in the implementation of E&D practice through our working group.
“Recently we have introduced new systems to ensure good E&D practice is embedded in our procurement practice and are also working towards achieving E&D accreditations to demonstrate our commitment.”
Cestria chief executive Paul Fiddaman said: “We are all delighted that Cestria has been recognised with a North East Equality Award, it is testament to the hard work that has been carried out by our staff, tenants and Board Members.”
The North East Equality Awards are organised by Equality North East and took place at the Gosforth Park Marriott on Friday 19th October.
Liz Reay, Chief Executive of Equality North East said: “Despite cuts and economic uncertainty, our finalists and winners are still seeing the benefits of good equality practice and are going to impressive lengths to embed fairness into their organisations.
“The category for Housing Sector organisations was new this year and it was a pleasure to be able to recognise Cestria Community Housing for the excellent work they carry out.”
Cestria also sponsored the award for ‘Employers of up to 50 staff’, with Chief Executive Paul Fiddaman presenting the award to representatives from TRN (train) Ltd.