News & Updates

A year to shine

This year WHL’s Development Manager, Holly Messenger has been short-listed for the CIH Rising Star awards, her blog piece below talks about what this will mean to her and her professional development in the year.

After some persuasive encouragement from the team at Wokingham Housing Limited (WHL) this year I took the plunge and submitted my application.

I hope that through doing this, 2018 will be my year to ‘SHINE’ as the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Rising Star.

As part of this process I have to write this blog piece and so here I am, starting with what becoming the Rising Star will mean for me.

I want to:

See beyond bricks and mortar. I currently work in the development side of the sector but that’s only one part of this diverse industry. I also have a huge interest in the homes that ultimately provide…

Housing for individuals who need it most and I continue to have an appetite to learn more about that. If I was the Rising Star I hope that I could use this opportunity to become an…

Inspiration for other future rising stars once I had made the most of the process. What I hope to get out of this application is access to…

Networking and partnership opportunities for succeeding. I still have a lot to learn but luckily for me…

Every day’s a school day and being shortlisted will help progress my learning.

I see the process of Rising Star 2018 as an amazing opportunity to raise the profile of myself and all the nominated candidates.

This is important because I want to succeed in the sector beyond my current role as development manager.

When asked to consider my professional development in the year it is easier to talk about what happened last year.

It was a big year for WHL and myself. I was heavily involved in the planning and eventual delivery of two flagship developments, as well as five other smaller schemes.

I also had some professional development highlights in the successful completion of my Level 7 Certificate in Housing and attending the Chartered Institute of Housing South East conference in Brighton.

If I was fortunate to win the Rising Star award, I would look to continue this professional development through focusing on key issues.

These include the Hackitt Review paper and the recommendations that follow, the Homelessness Reduction Act, affordable housing and Universal Credit roll-out, and how these will affect Wokingham Housing.

A big part of the Rising Star experience is the all-important networking.

This is something that I have started to improve on and I have come to realise how useful and rewarding it can be.

Having a network of people, whether online or in person, to discuss important topics allows me to be the best at my job for current and future tenants who are ultimately at the receiving end of the professional decisions I make.

I finally joined Twitter at the end of last year and have discovered how supportive people in housing are, and how willing people are to share ideas.

I am trying to actively become a part of the housing Twitter world.

If I am named Rising Star 2018 I will shine by continuing to explore networking and sharing my genuine passion for housing with those I meet, and perhaps one day through the opportunities this award will give me I can return the favour to new individuals coming into the sector.

What this award will do is open doors to peers and leaders in the industry and this presents a fantastic opportunity to share best practice and learn important industry lessons.

I was fortunate to sit at the same table as Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the CIH, at a CIH leaders’ lunch in Brighton this year listening to her discuss issues with those at my table.

I found this really inspiring and I want to work towards becoming someone who inspires others in housing, appreciating the positive contribution you can make through working in this sector.

Collaborative and partnership working can be vital tools in delivering truly affordable housing and services for those who need it.

Meeting peers and leaders outside of WHL and maintaining these relationships is an important part of ensuring the delivery to the tenants of what they want and need.

I really appreciate being shortlisted for Rising Star 2018 and the opportunity this affords to raise my profile in the sector.

Holly Messenger, development manager, Wokingham Housing