Last year SEC sponsored three under 30s with their Chartered Institute of Housing membership. It’s part of our promise to support colleagues to develop their careers in the Housing sector. One year on we caught up with two of those we sponsored to learn more about the benefits they’ve experienced as a CIH Member.

Paulina Cumbicus, Customer Involvement Officer, Southern Housing Group

1. Tell us a little more about yourself – which organisation do you work for? And, what does your current role entail?

I am based in London and I am a Customer Involvement Officer at Southern Housing Group.

I’m part of a team of 4 and we have recently had one of our resident’s join us on a work placement as a Resident Involvement Administration Assistant. Our team makes sure that our resident’s voices are heard throughout the organisation and that they have the chance to influence wider issues and policies. We work with our colleagues and residents on opportunities to improve and co-produce services.

2. What do you enjoy most about working in the housing sector?

For me it has to be the people, from colleagues to the residents. As my organisation is spread across the UK from Bedfordshire to the Isle of Wight, I have had the opportunity to meet a wide range of individuals and get an insight into the lives of our residents.

3. Why did you want to become a CIH Member?

When I was forwarded the opportunity to be sponsored by SEC I did not know much about CIH- If I am honest. I was quite new to housing and after reading what CIH did I thought I could not pass on the opportunity.

I decided to become a member because I saw that the CIH was a great platform for me to receive support as a housing professional. From networking to attending events, webinars and receiving sector updates and advice on best practice was an opportunity I could not pass as I was new to housing and my role.

4. How did you make use of your CIH Membership in the past year? And what do you think are the most important benefits to Membership?

The main things I made use of were the webinars on topics of interest. For example, I attended a webinar on diversity in the work place. I also attended other webinars on Anti-social behaviour, this think tank was great as it was great to get an insight into what other organisations were doing to manage this.

I am also involved with other organisations on a project for “Tackling Stigma in Social Housing” and as a member I had the opportunity to view the toolkit that CIH develop with “See the person”. You also get the Inside housing magazine- there is always something of interested to read there.

Finally, it was also great to have the opportunity to attend board meetings and mentoring sessions with a member. I learned a lot especially around chairing, leading meetings and what I need to do to progress in the housing sector.  The main benefits for me have been the exposure to good practice, the professional development opportunities and that as a member of the CIH you stay up to date with what is happening in the housing sector.

Megan Redhouse, Housing Advise Co-ordinator, Nucleus Legal Advice Centre

1. Tell us a little more about yourself – which organisation do you work for? And, what does your current role entail?

I work for Nucleus Legal Advice Centre as the Housing Advice Co-ordinator. I started this post in June 2019 and it is a new project to try and help prevent homelessness. We work with clients facing evictions, in rent arrears, currently homeless and in unsuitable accommodation and try to support them through the process and if possible keep them in their current property. I work directly with clients, I manage two case workers and also set and establish links with other organisations and councils so that we work together.

I have been working in housing for nearly 5 years after graduating from University. I worked originally for Centrepoint in one of their hostels, at a small housing association and now at Nucleus. I have always been interested in housing, specifically preventing homelessness and I am excited about pushing myself further to make a real difference.

2. What do you enjoy most about working in the housing sector?

I enjoy working with people and seeing a positive difference made to their lives. I feel that it is really sad that people are often not listened to by landlords and forced to live in awful conditions because they don’t have enough support behind them. When we can help to improve their lives it makes such a difference.

3. Why did you want to become a CIH Member?

My old manager was involved with CIH and told me how good they are for training and networking.

4. How did you make use of your CIH Membership in the past year? And what do you think are the most important benefits to Membership?

The training sessions and webinars are really interesting, often making you think outside the box and reflect on what you’re doing. The opportunity of being on the board and helping to run an event was also really good and enjoyable.