Residents’ reward

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PEOPLE have been rewarded for their hardwork to improve the quality of life for housing tenants.

A string of residents have been recognised in the East Durham Homes Annual Customer Excellence Awards 2011 for helping to change or improve services.

The winners were presented with a certificate and a gift voucher by East Durham Homes chairman Keith Gallagher and representatives from partner firms who sponsored the awards.

Tenants and East Durham Homes staff were asked to nominate people who they thought deserved to receive an award and the nominations were judged by a panel including representatives from Kier, Wates, FHM, Morrison, East Durham Homes and the Housing Partnership.

The Don Mercer award was won by community-spirited Horden man John Barnett, who is an active member and chairman of Horden Colliery Resident’s Association, which has carried out a number of local projects to help and improve the neighbourhood.

The most involved award was won by George Dowse, from Peterlee, who is a member of the resident scrutiny panel, mystery shopping group, the editing panel and a number of service review panels, one of which he chairman.

The idea of the year accolade went to Joan Zettle, from Horden, who had the idea of having a “card in the window” scheme for elderly or vulnerable customers.

The scheme is being trialled in Shotton Colliery where people can now put the card in their window to show that they want to speak to an estate officer when they are in the area.

There were two winners of the special achievement award.

They were John Gardner, from Peterlee, who works tirelessly behind the scenes for the Housing Partnership and is also an active member of a number of service review panels, the resident scrutiny panel and is on the stock options appraisal steering group.

The other winner was Lena Devine, from Wingate, who is the secretary and key member who helped to set up a new residents group at Gully House in the village.

Keith Gallagher, East Durham Homes chairman, said: “I was really pleased to present the awards on behalf of the company to the winning tenants. They have helped make a real difference to our services and people’s lives.”

Paul Tanney, East Durham Homes chief executive, said: “The Customer Excellence Awards are our way of saying thank you to those customers who get actively involved in our various groups, forums and meetings and who have helped us to improve our services to them and all of our customers.

“The awards show that we really do listen to our customer’s views and that we appreciate the time they give up to become involved.”