Approaching a decade at Care Housing – Matthew Eddisford, Chief Executive
Very few young people grow up thinking ‘I want to be a housing officer…’ and I was no exception. After travelling through Asia, Africa, Australasia and North America, I returned home in my mid-20s deciding it was probably time to ‘settle down’. A career in housing had never been on my radar, but a job posting seeking a trainee housing manager appealed to me as it enabled me to complete further studies at university on a day release program and was completely different to anything I had done previously. Starting as a housing officer at New Fylde Housing, I loved the job from day one; it was varied, flexible and really opened my eyes to the challenges of social housing, which encompassed much more than providing a roof over somebody’s head!
After five years in general needs housing across three housing associations, and with a particular specialism in antisocial behaviour, an opportunity to work for a very small supported housing provider in Lancashire arose…and so my career with Care Housing Association (Care) started in March 2011. Looking back, I can confidently say it was the best move I have ever made. Whilst my career to that date had been rewarding and interesting, it was nothing compared to the satisfaction I have experienced assisting people to whom housing is such a key foundation in enabling them to lead as independent a life as possible.
I was the first official employee of Care and was brought in with the remit of achieving Registered Provider status with the Tenant Services Authority (now Homes England). This was achieved in September 2011 and provided the platform for Care to grow, both in reputational terms and size. Since 2011 we have nearly four times the number of tenants, converted to a charity, and have a team of 5 (soon to be 7)! Although we are still a very small housing association, I am proud that we are driven by solid values, have enhanced our reputation for quality, and continue to respond positively to the needs of our tenants. Working with Claire, Rachael, Doreen and Karen is a really positive experience and we all work towards achieving the best possible outcomes for those we are immensely proud to work with; our tenants.
The most rewarding thing about working for Care is seeing the massive impact housing has for our tenants. It provides the solid foundations to enable them to make their own choices in life; choices that many people take for granted. It’s not only the impact for our tenants that makes this such a fulfilling job; providing support for parents, families and friends (for whom the road to finding the right supported housing for their loved ones is often long, windy and rocky) is equally as rewarding.
Needless to say, I hope to be involved with Care for many years to come!