Ashford Borough Council’s reputation
in the housing sector continues to earn plaudits, with the authority
shortlisted in the national Inside Housing awards and also in a host of
categories at the annual Kent Housing Group (KHG) awards.
Inside Housing’s panel of expert judges has shortlisted the council for its new sheltered housing scheme at Danemore in Tenterden in the best older people’s housing development (up to 50 homes) category. The winners will be announced on 27 November at The Intercontinental O2 Hotel in London.
The first tenants moved into the £7.5m Danemore scheme this spring. Located a short walk from the town centre, Danemore has 25 one bedroom and nine two-bedroom apartments, built to a high standard. Facilities include a large cosy communal lounge and kitchen, laundry room, guest suite, buggy store and cycle racks.
Danemore is also nominated for an award in the Excellence in Development category in the Kent Housing Group Awards. The scheme is designed to be dementia-friendly throughout, taking into account colour schemes, light, corridor lengths, patterns and memory shelves. It recognises the needs of an ageing population – by 2026 it’s anticipated that around 40% of the residents of Ashford borough will be aged over 50.
These awards celebrate outstanding individuals, teams or projects who have delivered against the odds or gone that ‘extra mile’ to ensure excellent service for the residents and communities across Kent and Medway.
Three staff at Ashford are nominated for individual KHG awards – Victoria Ackrill, Ellen O’Connor and Ellie Ludford are hoping for success when the results are revealed on 30 October.
Victoria makes the shortlist in the Excellent Housing Professional category. She has excelled in what is a new post for the council, one that has seen the authority, and Victoria, demonstrate considerable dynamism in the face of fresh legislation on homelessness and an increased workload.
Ellen is shortlisted in the Excellent Young Professional category. Ashford is proud to have an electrician forging a career in a very male orientated business. It is rare that females come through any of the trades but having joined Ashford in August 2015, Ellen completed her apprenticeship and is now working in a permanent role. In May she obtained an EAL Level 3 NVQ diploma in installing electro-technical systems and equipment and she was considered ready for the qualification before the end of her four-year course. She passed her three-day practical ‘achievement and measurement’ test with a staggering 98%. In her first year she won the best apprentice in Kent award and the accrediting body JTL wanted her to be their poster girl to get more young females into apprenticeships.
Ellie is also nominated in the Excellent Young Professional category. Arriving from a private sector letting agent, she has brought energy and professionalism to the council’s social lettings agency, ABC Lettings, which aims to reduce homelessness and sustain tenancies. She also manages the properties owned by the council-owned A Better Choice for Property Ltd. Ellie is the face of the company at a user level. She excels because she is friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. Her outstanding work and her calmness under pressure have raised the profile of the team.
Cllr Bill Barrett, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for housing, said: “At Ashford we are proud to do things differently. Recognition through these awards will enable us to continue to lead the way and allow us to be an example of how astute local authorities can deliver high-quality homes despite unrelenting pressures on budgets. I wish all our staff shortlisted for these awards every success.”