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Salix Homes scoops top award for helping tenants get online

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Salix Homes scoops top award for helping tenants get online

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Published by James Allan for Salix Homes in Housing and also in Care and Support, Education, Universal Credit

Georgina Neild and Jackie Crook from Salix Homes with the NFA Award Georgina Neild and Jackie Crook from Salix Homes with the NFA Award

A social housing provider is celebrating after scooping a national award for helping its tenants ‘go digital’.

Salford-based Salix Homes won an NFA Award (National Federation of ALMOs) in recognition of its ‘Connecting Customers’ project, which teaches tenants essential IT skills and money management.

Salix Homes, which manages 8,500 homes across Central Salford, launched the project in January this year to help prepare tenants for the introduction of Universal Credit, which combines six key benefits paid in one monthly payment and requires residents to apply for and monitor it online.

As part of the project, tenants who have been identified as unemployed and claiming benefits, have been taking part in free computer classes where they’ve been learning essential IT skills as well as tips and training on job searches, CV writing and interview techniques.

Judges were impressed with how the project taught tenants’ essential computer skills while also encouraging people to save, as a requirement of the course is that all participants must open a savings account with Salford Credit Union, which they could then use to purchase a low-cost lap-top through the scheme.

Sue Sutton, chief executive at Salix Homes, said: “We are absolutely delighted that our project has been recognised on a national scale and winning this prestigious housing award is a real testament to the hard work and commitment of everyone involved.

“With the onset of Universal Credit, we are increasingly dependent on our tenants having internet access and the skills to manage their finances online and this project has really helped to address some of these issues.

“The aim of ‘Connecting Customers’ is to not only help prepare tenants for Universal Credit, but to teach them essential skills that will help them find employment and we are thrilled at its success.”

The project, which is now being introduced across Salford, won the Helping Prepare Tenants for Universal Credit through Digital Inclusion Award.

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