An Achieving and Harnessing Board Diversity scheme, which is being pioneered by Progress Housing Group, Together Housing Group with Housing Diversity Network, has again been recognised as Highly Commended at a top industry award ceremony.

This time, the housing partners have been Highly Commended in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team of the Year category at the prestigious Housing Heroes Awards.

The Housing Heroes Awards are jointly organised by Inside Housing and the Chartered Institute of Housing and recognise the commitment, passion and hard work of the unsung heroes of the housing sector.

More than 100 organisations from across the housing sector attended the awards ceremony on 24 June, which celebrated 17 winners and 14 highly commended entries.

Through mentoring, coaching and training, our Achieving and Harnessing Board Diversity scheme aims to identify the next generation of influencers from all walks of life, supporting and developing them into candidates who are board-ready and promote diversity of thought, experience and skills across the housing sector.

Between them, Together Housing Group and Progress Housing Group have appointed 11 candidates to the diversity programme, seven of whom are female and five who identify as being from a BAME – Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic group.

Earlier this year, the innovative diversity project was also Highly Commended at the 24 Housing Diversity Awards.

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 two 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 highly commended by industry experts twice in a row.”

Raj Patel, Chief Executive Officer at Housing Diversity Network, said: “This programme has a truly diverse cohort that helps to fill the gaps that exist our sector in our governance structures.  It entices and equips the authentic and proficient contributions of these potential board members.  It is quite an achievement that the successes of the programme, which only began about half a year ago, is already gaining such recognition and interest”.

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.