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Localities leader, Darrin Gamble explains why we’re here, what we believe in and how we're changing the way we do things. 

Over the past year we have developed our new strategy that focuses on offering our customers the right home and right relationship with us - all part of delivering our single purpose of inspiring our customers to be their best. We believe that if we create an environment where our customers can thrive, they’ll achieve great things.

One of the most crucial pieces of the jigsaw was to revolutionise the way we build that relationship with customers to make our purpose a reality. This is our Localities programme, with a new role – the neighbourhood coach at its heart.

Before we talk about the new way of working, here’s a quick recap on how we got here…

5 years ago we revolutionised the way we delivered our services with the introduction of the Bromford Deal – being more proactive to help customers get in to work, training and volunteering – breaking the cycle.

4 years ago Welfare Reform started to roll out – major changes to benefits meant that we had to build a better understanding of our customers’ circumstances so we could help them prepare for a more challenging future.

3 years ago we worked on how we could make the Bromford Deal get even better outcomes for our customers and for us as a business by helping customers do more for themselves.

2 years ago as a result of this new thinking, we started running some pilot services – testing out new services and ways of working with our customers.

1 year ago we tested out a multi-skilled coach role to see how we could deepen our relationships with customers by asking one colleague to deliver more services on a much reduced patch -rather than having separate parts of the business delivering different services, how could we deliver everything our customers need from within one team and in the main, through one colleague?

Step forward, the neighbourhood coach. Each coach will work with 175 households as opposed to the 500+ homes a housing manager traditionally deals with – so they can really build a lasting relationship with their customers and communities.

The aim is to develop strong and productive relationships - finding out what our customers want to achieve and helping them to do it. The neighbourhood coaches will be part of the community, connecting customers with local services and each other to help build thriving neighbourhoods and resilient customers.

As you can see from the whistle-stop tour above, the Deal has evolved and changed over the last five years, leading us to the introduction of working in localities.

Our localities initiative aims to completely transform the relationship we have with our customers. We aim to shake off the traditional housing association/customer relationship that’s paternal and focuses on fixing problems. Instead we will focus on what people can do, what they can bring to their community and how they can make the most of their talents.

Coaching

The style and approach we use in our relationship with customers will also be different – we have adopted a coaching approach to help customers identify and own their own solutions. We want to harness the skills that exist within communities so that people are able to do more for themselves and each other.

The benefits of this approach for our customers is that they should feel more in control of their lives. By encouraging people to do things for themselves and each other, we will build resilient individuals and communities who are well equipped to deal with change or when things go wrong.

This approach isn’t about doing things for people, it’s about empowering them to get what they want out of life. And the benefit? Long-term sustainable communities that fix things for themselves, customers achieving their ambitions and really inspiring people to unlock their potential – reducing dependency on the welfare state and improving society for all.

Recruitment

As you’ve probably guessed, to deliver this service we need more colleagues – in total we’re looking for around 140 neighbourhood coaches to help bring our communities to life.

Recruitment is well underway to find our new intake of colleagues. Some of these will come from within Bromford, but we’re also recruiting new colleagues - you might have seen a few of them on Twitter already!

 



  

 

 

Whether we’re recruiting new colleagues, or helping existing colleagues settle into their new roles, this new way of working demands that we rethink our traditional training packages. With this in mind we’ve developed a new training pathway to help all colleagues (new and existing) become brilliant neighbourhood coaches.

Our localities

We have split our operating area in to six localities – each with a head of locality who will be responsible for guiding their team of neighbourhood coaches to turn this vision into a reality. To help make the transition to this new way of working run as smoothly as possible we have launched in just two areas to begin with - Staffordshire and The Marches have already seen neighbourhood coaches hit the streets. One thing we’ve realised since the introduction of the Deal is that there is always something new to learn so we’ll be taking the time to consider what works in these first two areas. This learning will help make the roll-out across the remaining four areas over the next twelve months or so run as smooth as possible.

The future

I think this new approach offers a radical alternative vision for what 21st century housing services can look like, a transformational programme all rooted in one aim – to deliver our vision to inspire our customers to be their best.

At a time when others are scaling back we thought it was important to invest so that our colleagues have the time to build deeper relationships with each and every one of our customers.

After all, our core belief in people is still at the heart of our approach; and investing in our customers’ futures can only be a good thing for everyone.

 

If you think you can help our customers to achieve their goals and aspirations take a look at our current vacancies

Localities leader at Bromford, Wolves fan and budding pop song writer. Passionate about devising and implementing improved services that help our customers and colleagues to reach their goals.

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