Berwickshire Housing Association’s Senior Financial Inclusion Officer Marion Rayner has won the Margaret Vass Award for ‘Excellence in Frontline Housing’ in the CIH Scotland 2019 Excellence Awards.
The award recognises those who have excelled in the management and delivery of everyday tasks which are too often overlooked but are essential to the success of social housing providers.
Marion and her small team were already providing a fantastic service assisting tenants but in 2014 BHA were successful in receiving funding of £568,213 for a period of five years as part of a Borders-wide investment from the National Lottery’s Investment in Communities Fund to assist tenants with their financial worries.
Since 2014 advisers have helped 2,046 tenants of BHA, Scottish Borders Housing Association and Waverley Housing to open bank accounts, prioritise their bills/debts, make savings on food and lifestyle costs, reduce home energy bills, work out a personal budget and maximise their income through benefit claims.
The project helped secure total benefit gains worth £2,414,501.55.
Since Marion has been involved with the Financial Inclusion project at BHA she has personally dealt with over 1,000 referrals and managed 30 tribunals or appeals (21 of which were upheld).
Some of Marion’s outcomes for customers have been simply life-changing and her determination and passion for the job has been commended by BHA Chief Executive Helen Forsyth.
“Marion is a unique and exceptional member of the staff,” said Helen. “She is a quiet leader, better informed than most on the complexities of welfare benefits and the legislation surrounding it.
“She will not rest until she has solved a problem for a tenant and her track record in championing tenants and winning tribunals is exceptional. She is determined, rational, steadfast and passionate.
“She believes in the eradication of poverty and empowering people through removing their money worries. She has a loyal team around her who love their work and the culture and commitment that Marion brings.”
Marion was presented with her award at a ceremony in Glasgow last week.
BHA were also shortlisted for three other CIH Scotland 2019 Excellence Awards – ‘Excellence in Communications’, ‘Excellence in Health and Wellbeing’ and ‘Excellence in Leadership’.