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Home Group’s ‘human library’ hailed for improving equality and diversity

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Home Group’s ‘human library’ hailed for improving equality and diversity

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Published by M Parker for Home Group in Housing and also in Care and Support

ONE of the UK’s largest affordable housing providers has been hailed for the work it does to tackle inequality and discrimination.

Home Group beat off tough competition from other social housing providers to win the TPAS northern region Equality and Diversity award for 2014.

The housing provider was recognised for its Human Library initiative which it established to help colleagues better understand the needs and sensitivities of minority and underrepresented groups of customers and clients.

The award was handed out at a ceremony in Manchester by judges from the Tenants Participations and Advisory Service – a body representing the interests of social housing customers.

Rosemary Du Rose Home Group executive director of customer service, said: “We’re thrilled to have won this award and been recognised for the work we’ve done to with our Human Library.

“Improving equality and diversity is something which is very important for everyone at Home Group and the Human Library offers an opportunity for colleagues to meet face to face our customers and clients who form some of the underrepresented groups which may often be in danger of being overlooked or misunderstood.”

The Human Library works by bringing diversity to life through the real stories of customers and clients. Members of the library take part in interactive events and help to deliver bespoke training for Home Group colleagues.

One popular event has been the ‘life swap’ sessions where colleagues are encouraged to meet customers and clients and ask awkward or difficult questions and see life through a different perspective.

Ms Du Rose added: “The colleagues who have been involved in the Human Library have said that it has given them a fresh and wider perspective on the lives of our customers and clients and in turn it has enabled them to provide a better level of customer service.

“Some of our customers and clients are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in society and it’s important we understand them if we are to help them and champion them.”

The Human Library was established in April 2013 and during its first year involved more than 300 clients, customers, colleagues and stakeholders. Home Group intends to at least double this figure during the next six months as it further develops the programme.

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