Latest News | 24 November 2021

Caring housing trust manager up for national award

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A manager at Dervention Housing Trust will find out today whether she has scooped a national award for helping people into work.

Julie Howells, head of employability services at Derventio, is one of five shortlisted in the Frontline Manager of the Year category of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) Awards.

The awards, which are being held virtually, celebrate the unsung heroes who work to improve the lives of jobseekers, communities and the wider workforce across the UK.

Nominations were sent in from across the private, voluntary, social enterprise and public sectors.

Derventio Housing Trust provides housing, support and specialist projects to people going through troubled times in their lives.

As part of her role, Julie has set up three services with the aim of helping people get economically active again. One of these, Talent Match, has supported 222 young people.

One of the many people she has helped over the years is Stephen Fletcher, of Riddings.

Facing homelessness because he struggled with the paperwork to get himself a new place to live, Stephen credits Julie with helping him turn his life around.

As soon as he was referred to Derventio, Julie took Stephen under her wing.

Her support included getting him a bank account, hiring a removal firm, sorting housing benefit, registering him for council tax and utilities, and even helping furnish his new home.

Julie, who works from Derventio’s office in Ilkeston, said: “I’m overwhelmed, but without my team nothing would be possible. They make me proud every single day.

“Working with people in my role is brilliant. Seeing what they go on to achieve is something that hits you every single time because everybody’s story is completely different and when you’re working with people and going with them step by step through that journey, watching them going through it – there isn’t really another feeling like it.

“You know that people have got the ability, and they can do it. They just need that person behind them believing in them.”

Derventio’s assistant director Jackie Carpenter said: “As head of employability services, Julie has been instrumental in setting up and delivering Derventio’s employability contracts from scratch.

“Everything Julie does places the people we work alongside first and foremost.

“This shines through everything, from her friendly rapport with participants and her willingness to go above and beyond to help people reach their employment goals, and her unwavering support in the background to the staff team.”

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