A project which aims to unlock the potential of future leaders by championing diversity has been shortlisted for an award.

Achieving and Harnessing Board Diversity, which is being pioneered by Progress Housing Group and Together Housing Group partnership with Housing Diversity Network, has been announced as a finalist in the Best Diversity Scheme category of the Diversity in Housing awards.

Between them, the housing associations have appointed 11 candidates to the programme, seven of whom are female (64% compared to the industry average of 36%*) and five identify as BME (45% compared to the industry average of 6.8%*).

Jacqui De-Rose, Group Chief Executive of Progress Housing Group, said: “We believe it is important to tackle inequality and promote diversity. Our board developed this programme to enable underrepresented people to gain access to non-executive board training and opportunities. This will help to ensure there is wider representation of our society and communities and build strong governance for the future. We are very proud to be a part of this initiative and absolutely delighted it has been recognised by one of the industry’s most respected awards.”

Michelle Park, Together Housing Group board diversity champion, said: “We deliver services in diverse communities so it is only right that our board reflects this to enable us to become more rooted and representative of our tenants. We believe that diversity is important for strong and successful governance and can bring real business benefits so we are delighted that this programme has been recognised by being shortlisted for an award.”

Mushtaq Khan, Housing Diversity Network North Manager, added:“We know that board diversity is a key component of successful organisations. Achieving diversity on boards is however never enough; it has to be harnessed too so that diverse thinking and decision-making become business as usual. This programme is about ensuring that we promote authentic contributions that help shape the culture of the board and the services the organisation provides.”

“Seeing equality and diversity embedded at board level can create a sense of organisational pride. I hope that by being part of this programme, I become a role model and raise the aspirations of colleagues who might otherwise feel restricted by their background, skills or experience.” Said, Adam Dennett, one of the programme participants.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday May 16 at Villa Park in Birmingham.

If you want to find out more about joining the pilot, contact Carla Olfin at carla@housingdiversitynetwork.co.uk or 01484 652606.