As this week draws to a close I am about to set foot outside of the Lab and move into the big wide world of Localities!

It’s been let’s say ‘several’ years since I was last directly involved in communities where our customers live, and it’s true to say that lots has changed - even how we describe what we do.

In the old days it would be tenancy management, monitoring arrears, letting homes, dealing with problems etc.. etc.. but now at Bromford we have evolved this relationship and really quite honestly flipped that on its head.

We put our customers at the heart of our service and as part of that we are grouping our service offers across ‘localities’ where Bromford homes and communities are located. This enables our neighbourhood coaches to focus on relationships with fewer customers than we may have done historically and then focus on what people can do, rather than what they can’t, helping to connect our customers with each other and with their communities so that they can thrive and grow.

What has been really interesting for me is my own involvement in how this has evolved.  I may not have realised it when I was a Housing Manager over 16 years ago, but I remember designing my own questions when interviewing customers for a brand new estate in Dudley.  I was really passionate about this new community and wanted the customers to feel that way too! I asked them, what skills do you have? What do you like doing? I got residents to sign up to lead classes in the new community centre or organise their own community group!

Fast forward 15 years and I became partly involved in Bromford’s Deal Den - a select crew of innovators who were set the challenge to mobilise this through tests and pilots to where we are now.

So even though the last few years I have been in the world of Innovation it has certainly developed my approach and skills and exactly what I need to take on the role as Head Of Locality in the Black Country.   We look at problems, understand them, design some ideas and test them out, finding out what works and making change happen.  

So I am taking innovation on the road into the heart of places where our customers live and I am so excited - I know our approach will continue to evolve over time and I have just planted my flag in the heart of the Black Country… bring it on!

Bye bye Lab and my fabulous but slightly disfunctional family.  So it has happened! My work Husband of 16 years Paul Taylor and I go our separate ways but I am relieved to say it is a harmonious uncoupling . But I leave our grown up kids in your care - our 'rebellious' son Tom Hartland and our 'good girl' Amy Morgan.