Celebrating success across Kent

5th November 2019

A celebration of success in providing housing and other services to communities across Kent saw housing and voluntary sector professionals from across the county gather at the Maidstone Hilton on Wednesday  (30 Oct).

Kent Housing Group’s (KHG) Excellence Awards 2019 recognised the very best projects, partnerships and people, but also acted as a celebration event that recognised the contribution made by the many professionals and residents who support neighbourhoods in Kent and Medway.

In the ten years since the awards were introduced, they have become recognised as an important way of sharing good practice as well as rewarding individual achievements not just in housing but in partnerships and in health and social care.

Wednesday’s well-supported event ended with a surprise presentation to two people who are both retiring after many years service both to their individual organisations and to KHG, which brings together social housing organisations and other interested bodies from across the county.

KHG Chair Jo Ellis presented Special Recognition Awards to Deborah White, who retired the following day from her role as Housing Director with West Kent Housing Association, and Eileen Martin, Director of Operations at Optivo for the past 25 years.

One of the most popular winners of the night was Alexander Roarke, who set up the Margate Kitchen in April this year with his wife Ann Newstead.

The venture, which allows diners to pay what they can afford for their meal, won the Unsung Hero/Neighbour of the Year Award after being nominated by Town and Country Housing.

The nomination explained that Alexander and his team believe sharing food “builds connections, breaks down barriers and feeds more than just bellies”. 

Another well-received winner was the West Kent-based Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Service (DAVSS), which won the Excellence in Delivery Services for Vulnerable People Award.

Guests were told that in 2018/19, as well as winning a Queen’s Award, the charity dealt with 751 referrals, including 40 men, supported 1007 children, helped 131 clients with court cases and obtained 171 protective orders for victims.

The Excellent Partnership Award went to Maidstone Borough Council’s multi-agency partnership that brings together the council, Porchlight, Golding Homes and Medway Housing Society, while the Excellent Community Project Award went to The House Project at Edenbridge, nominated by West Kent.

Winner of the Excellence in Development Award, presented by Nick Fenton of the Kent Developers’ Group, was mhs homes’ Corporation Street scheme. Nick also presented the Excellence in the Private Sector Award to the HomeFinder scheme and Lenworth House development, both Maidstone Borough Council projects

The Excellent Housing Professional Award went to Victoria Ackrill from Ashford Borough Council, while Jamie Green of Medway Council was named Excellent Young Professional and the Team of the Year Award went to the group behind Thanet’s RISE (Rough Sleeper Intervention Support and Empowerment) project.

Moat Homes picked up the Innovation in Digital Transformation Award for its financial calculator and Nicole Foad-Bailey, of Peabody South East, was named Excellent Health or Social Care Professional for her work with the integrated discharge team at Ashford’s William Harvey Hospital.

The event organiser, KHG Partnership Manager Rebecca Smith, described the ceremony as “a celebration of all the good things that have been done over the year in support of the people who live or work in our local communities”.

Unlike most award ceremonies, the event was free to attend, thanks to generous sponsorship from Kent Developers Group, Capsticks Solicitors LLP, DHA Planning, Engie Regeneration Ltd, Paramount Independent Property Services, Rentplus UK, Optivo and West Kent Housing Association.

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