Welsh triumph in welfare awareness award
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Bill Payments, Local Government, Universal Credit
Your benefits are changing
A national campaign to increase awareness of welfare changes in Wales has scooped the top prize in a national award run by payment specialists allpay in association with 24housing magazine.
RCT Homes, Wales’ largest social landlord, teamed up with the membership body for social landlords across Wales, Community Housing Cymru (CHC), to deliver the campaign which has seen more than 50 other organisations across the country adopt the branding and message.
The ‘Your Benefits are Changing’ campaign made a 10-strong shortlist – decided by a top panel of industry experts – before it clinched a public vote ahead of runner up Places for People. Both the winner and runner up will receive a day’s free training in social media from the award’s partners NS Design and Red Rocket Media.
Both entries will be awarded the prizes at a roundtable event at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) offices in London this month.
The other eight shortlisted entries, who allpay and 24housing would both like to thank for contributing to the strength of this year's award, were:
- City West Housing Trust
- New Charter Housing Trust Group
- Halton Housing Trust
- London Borough of Lewisham
- St Vincent’s Housing Association
The shortlisted entires and their strategies, which can be viewed here, attracted more than 2,000 votes.
Judge Nick Peplow, allpay’s business development director, said RCT and CHC’s entry had created something that was lacking across the rest of the UK – national brand awareness of the benefit changes. Places for People, he said, had recognised “the role of resident and regional champions” to cascade the welfare reform message.
Both Labour and Conservative MPs praised the award and the landlords who had made the shortlist.
Michael Meacher, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, said: “The awards are an excellent initiative, recognising as they do the outstanding work that many housing providers have undertaken in order to assist and inform their residents of the benefit changes currently taking place. This period of change will prove very difficult for both housing providers and tenants alike and it is important that tenants receive assistance to help them maintain their homes whilst losing benefit and managing change."
Alec Shelbrooke, Conservative MP for Elmet and Rothwell, said: “It is so encouraging to see the nominees making such progress with new technology which in turn is reaching out to housing association and local authority tenants as well as third sector organisations across the UK. Combined with the number of people who have taken the time to vote, it suggests that these innovative strategies are very welcome to people across society. At a time when welfare changes are being enacted and with the introduction of Universal Credit later this year an award like this couldn’t have come at a better time."
The judges were: Nick Peplow, allpay; Deven Ghelani, Policy in Practice; Sam Lister, CIH; Michael Gelling, TAROE; Jon Land, 24housing; and Malen Davies, Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion.
Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) director of policy and practice Gavin Smart said of the award: “Welfare reform is going to have a huge impact on both housing providers and tenants. Good communication will be crucial to ensure residents are fully aware of all the changes and the support on offer to help them adapt. This award has highlighted the most innovative and effective strategies housing providers have worked hard to develop and will enable other organisations to learn from them. The CIH is delighted to have been part of the judging process.”