Aico hosts inaugural edition of Community Awards in Birmingham
07 June 2022
HOME LIFE safety solutions developer Aico recently hosted a new awards ceremony – the Community Awards – at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. This awards scheme is designed to recognise excellence within social housing and the local community. A total of 11 curated categories allow entrants the opportunity to showcase inspirational projects and innovations.
Aico also used the event to raise funds for the Electrical Industries Charity, which itself offers a range of vital support services to individuals – and their families – who serve within the electrical sector.
With 300 guests in attendance from across the UK, the event was hosted by Carl Jones, the BBC Radio Presenter who served as Master of Ceremonies. Speaking about the Community Awards, Jones observed: “It was a fantastic evening of celebration. The hall delivered a real ‘wow’ factor. Standing at the lectern as Master of Ceremonies is always a privileged position at events like these because it means you can witness the magical expressions on the faces of winners when their names are announced.”
Jones added: “You can see how much it means to people to be recognised in front of their colleagues and peers on an evening when so many made new friends. It was a joy to share the stage with such inspirational individuals.”
Also in attendance were special guest speakers George Clarke (the architect and TV presenter) and triple Olympic champion Ed Clancy OBE. The latter spoke to the audience about the importance of teamwork in achieving success, drawing on his own experiences as a Team Pursuit cyclist for Great Britain.
Clancy noted: “It was a great evening and a privilege to be a part of the Community Awards 2022. It was fantastic to hear all about the positive work that Aico and its partners are doing for local communities.”
The finalists were chosen from over 200 entries and selected by the five members of the Judging Panel: Neal Hooper (managing director of Aico), Gavin Smart (CEO of the Chartered Institute of Housing), Dame Judith Hackitt (chair of Enginuity), Fayann Simpson OBE (Group Board member and senior independent director at L&Q) and Mandeep Bhogil, director of operations at Tower Hamlets Community Housing.
The first award of the evening was presented to a Shropshire-based educational facility, Derwen College, which won College Initiative of the Year. As a specialist college for young adults with special educational needs and disabilities, Derwen’s entry focused on its Vintage Charity Shop that provides valuable work experience for students.
Pete Evans, commercial manager of Derwen College, commented: “We were delighted to be shortlisted for the College Initiative of the Year. To find out we were the overall winners was wonderful, especially as the competition from across the UK was so strong. We were very proud to be recognised for creating and opening our Vintage Advantage charity shop. Launching during a pandemic was challenging, to say the very least, but everyone’s efforts have made it all worthwhile. The shop is proving to be a huge success.”
The ten remaining awards were received by a diverse range of organisations that operate or offer services within the housing sector. Fire protection company Millwood Servicing was the deserving winner of the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative Award. The company’s entry included two unique employability schemes designed to realise fair and equal opportunities specifically for the disabled and disadvantaged.
The winning initiative for the Resident Engagement Award was one of Scotland’s leading housing, care and property management providers, namely the Wheatley Group. Through engaging with vulnerable residents via events and home visits, the organisation has significantly improved fire safety.
Kerry Storrar of Berneslai Homes won the Woman in Fire Safety Award for the improvements she has brought to the organisation while working as a firefighter in her spare time.
The Neighbourhood Transformation Award was won by Grand Union Housing Group for the improvements it has made to a local estate through working in partnership with the local authority, the police service and the community.
Sita Luka of Northampton Partnership Homes won the accolade of Inspirational Colleague of the Year for her work with the most vulnerable residents to implement an innovative solution that improves fire safety.
Lesley Baird of TPAS Scotland was the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Through her determination and targeted strategy work, Baird and her team have positioned the organisation as the Number One for tenant engagement expertise north of the border.
The Community Awards recognised Adam Pearce of the North Star Housing Group as its Rising Star for his passion and enthusiasm in relation to his role as property and repairs manager.
The Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the strategic Housing Authority for Northern Ireland, won the Sustainability Project of the Year Award for its evidence-based pilot project, which has helped to reduce carbon emissions and fabric heat loss within the housing stock.
The Best Distributor Community Initiative Award was bestowed upon Quantum Electrical Distribution, whose ‘green initiative’ programme is making a meaningful difference within the business and the communities it serves.
The final award of the evening celebrated the Electrical Contractor of the Year. ADS was the winning nomination due to its proactive approach towards service delivery from inception through to completion, going the extra mile to ensure good customer service.
The inaugural Aico|HomeLINK Community Awards was a great success, celebrating the achievements of inspirational individuals and organisations who are innovating, demonstrating excellence and putting people first.
*Further information is available online at www.aico.co.uk