Ahead of her session at our Smaller Housing Associations conference next month, Angela Gascoigne explains why working in housing can help change the world.
Angela Gascoigne is Chief Executive at SHAL Housing
12 October 2017
This is the question that stayed with me after I attended this year’s Influencing Academy – a three-day event that challenged, perturbed and unsettled me. The question was never really presented to us in this way. So why do I find myself going back to it time and again?
Everyone who attended the Influencing Academy admitted they wanted to change the world for the better.
We know that a home is the foundation for a good life, bringing a sense of belonging, creating the base from which we can meet the world and make our own unique contribution to it. And – to quote Robert Frost – home is “something you somehow haven’t to deserve”.
Increasingly, politicians at all levels and in all parties, journalists and the public are recognising the absolute necessity of a decent, affordable home. But we can never take this recognition for granted.
The National Housing Federation’s stakeholder survey showed that the sector was defined by others and without political allies. It also proved that to know us is to love us. So we made sure that influential people had the opportunity to meet us – and fall in love. A shock election found us more prepared than ever before to get our message out there. For the first time in my career, I engaged with parliamentary candidates – not quite sure of what I was doing, admittedly, but finding opportunities to tell our story to willing listeners.
At the Smaller Housing Association’s Conference, I’ll lead a session on celebrating our power to make the world a better place and share the lessons learned from the Influencing Academy. These include;
- Change requires power because power is the ability to get things done. So get powerful!
- Know your target. In a complex world the right conversation with the right person at the right time can make a whole lot of difference.
- Write your own stories. And create in others the desire to hear them. Be bold. Be brave. Be yourself.
- This is a process not an event. So if you don’t get the result you were looking for? It doesn’t matter. Falling down isn’t a problem. But not getting up again is unacceptable.
So, why do I work in the housing sector?
Because I want to live in a world where everyone has a secure home they can afford, where they feel safe and warm, where they can reach out and connect to people and make their own unique contribution to our world.
Because this sector has the resources, the potential and the desire to make that a reality.
Because I can be with resilient, determined, inspirational people who come to work every day with a sense of social purpose and genuine love for each other and for those we work for.
Because I want to change the world.
Just like you.
Angela will be speaking at our Smaller Housing Association conference on 2 November. Applications for the 2018 Influencing Academy will open in the new year.