On Thursday 24th June at the Chartered Institute of Housing Annual Conference in Harrogate, Habinteg Board Member Christine Morton, joined Sarah Webb, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute Housing to launch the Nicky Chapman Award.
The Award commemorates the work of Baroness Nicky Chapman, Habinteg’s Chair (2006-2009), People’s Peer, disability campaigner and mentor to younger disabled people looking for opportunities in education and employment. The Award will be presented annually to the highest achieving Positive Action for Disability (PAfD) housing trainee, from next year’s Presidential Dinner onwards.
The Positive Action for Disability came about through Habinteg’s challenge to the CIH, to get more disabled people into employment in the housing sector. Habinteg hope that this scheme and others will improve on the percentage of self declared disabled people working in housing.
Habinteg have been looking for an opportunity to recognise Nicky Chapman's contribution to disability rights and the housing sector. Sponsoring this prize is a tribute to her legacy and Habinteg are delighted to see both PAfD and the Nicky Chapman Award inspiring and encouraging disabled people to make a difference in housing. Peter Chapman, Nicky’s father, attended the launch after working with Habinteg to develop an Award that reflects the spirit of Nicky; her aspirations, interests and belief in people’s abilities.
As a tenant and a disabled person, Nicky understood the importance of homes and services that reflect individual needs. For Habinteg, this means a commitment to Lifetime Homes and the inclusive design of homes and services. Less than 2% of housing association staff declared a disability in 2005 despite over 50% of households in social housing reporting at least one disabled person.
Debbie Smith, PAfD trainee, said,
“It’s not just about earning a wage. It’s about self-respect, confidence and opportunity. The CIH have been very supportive and it just gives you that confidence that you could get help if you needed a bit of extra support.”
CIH Chief Executive Sarah Webb, said: "It is particularly apt that PAfD trainees will be aspiring to gain an award that bears the name of a truly inspirational and pioneering disabled person.
I am sure that Nicky Chapman would have been proud to be associated with our project, and would have cheered our trainees on to become housing professionals and future leaders – who also happen to be disabled people."
Paul Gamble, Chief Executive at Habinteg, added: "Habinteg applauds the PAfD programme – it's a massive step in giving disabled people the opportunity to shape the future of housing from the inside.
Habinteg has been looking for an initiative to support in Nicky's name. She was passionate about giving disabled people a chance. She fought so hard herself, for so many things, and gave back so much as a mentor. The fact that this award is linked to Nicky’s name recognises the tremendous influence she had on all of us who were lucky enough to know her – disabled and non-disabled alike – in ensuring that disability is about ‘us’ not ‘them’."
Also on the final day of the Annual Housing Conference, Grant Shapps, Housing Minister, addressed delegates about the future of housing as he received the Chartered Institute of Housing's Housing Pact.