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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Making a difference

01/06/2016


Growing up on a housing scheme, I know the value of social housing, says Evie Copland.

Only you can decide if I’m worthy of your vote, but rest assured whoever you choose, your vote is in good hands.

But I must confess – this world I’ve found myself in is very new to me. I’m only beginning to make my mark. But it makes me wonder how many people there are out there just like me: ambitious young people with passion to do the very best for tenants, who could flourish with the guidance and support of Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) too.

Social housing started everything for me. I grew up in a council housing scheme with my parents and two brothers on the outskirts of Dumfries in south west Scotland – I still live there today.

After school, I went to university to study journalism. In my heart I wanted to change the world, in my head I wanted to interview world class DJs and write about techno. Three years later, I’d graduated and secured a job with the local RSL. I knew from my own experience that what we do makes a real difference to communities. Working in housing was where I was supposed to be – and the rest as they say, is history.

The competition itself has been amazing. Good fun, thought provoking and one of the best learning experiences I’ve had in my whole career.

I loved the Twitter debate – when the hour was up, I just wanted more! What a fantastic way to engage a huge number of professionals at the same time. I don’t know what I was more in awe of: people wanting to ask me these questions or Tom Murtha retweeting what I’d said.

Next up was our trip to Shipley. I felt like I was going on my holidays – it was a beautiful day to visit Yorkshire and we were welcomed with open arms. Oddly, this was the first time we’d all meet in real life, but we were chatting like old friends, sharing stories and getting ready for our team task.

I’d never heard of the Graduate Employment Mentoring (GEM) programme until the competition and took great advantage of the chance to talk to some of the people who had found their own success thanks to opportunities housing had given to them.

I could have burst with pride as I listened to the stories around the table and especially those of Nick, Georgina and Karline. Our paths were all slightly different but housing is the career we’ve made home.

The last task was an ethics interview in London. For me, working in housing is about doing what’s right for the people we serve. And what an opportunity to talk about that.

But for me, the most important question is, how do I even begin to say thank you to a sector which has given me so much? Rising Stars is a fine opportunity to make a difference, perhaps this year that difference could be me.

Evie Copland, communications team, Dumfries & Galloway Housing Partnership

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