#HousingDay: Customers and communities at the heart of all we do

Vicki Paxford, communities manager, explains why community investment is so important to Cottsway Housing:

“I’ve worked for Cottsway for just over ten years now and in all that time the company has been committed to investing in the communities we serve.

“As a social housing provider our main purpose is to provide housing for people in need – but Cottsway have always recognised the value of supporting individuals and communities beyond simply providing them with a home.

“Our Community Fund is a great resource that enables us to fund a diverse range of projects that really benefit our communities. It’s hard to pick out one project from the many, but I was really pleased that we were able to support West Oxfordshire Community Transport as rural isolation is a big issue in the areas we work in. 

“Digital inclusion has also been a key theme for us since about 2014 and we work hard to provide online access to the 35 per cent of our customers who don’t have it, either through training or by providing equipment through our tablet and dongle loan scheme.  Getting older people online and in video contact with families in far-flung places is so rewarding, it sounds like a small thing but the difference being online can make to an individual is amazing.

“Our partnership with Travis Perkins has also enabled us to invest in a variety of projects that support our communities. A recent example is the purchase of 10 new laptops that we will be able to loan to people to help them access training and education and improve their work prospects. I’m also keen to lend them to young people at secondary school, who really need a laptop when completing their GCSEs and A-Levels.

“Travis Perkins has also funded our Hoarding Disorder Support Group which is open to anyone with a hoarding disorder. Run by a small local company, Helping Hands for Hoarders, the group provides a safe space and mutual support to help people tackle this difficult condition.

“There’s so much more I could talk about and still so much more that we can do but I know how lucky I am to work in an organisation that not only cares about the people we work with, but is committed to providing the resources we need to help them make a positive difference to their lives.”