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Cleaner Peggy Harland won Yorkshire Housing’s Chief Executive’s Award at a bash held at an exclusive Leeds hotel.

 Peggy was among the staff who attended the event at city centre-based Quebecs Hotel on Wednesday, June 5.

 It was organised to crown an overall Chief Executive’s Award winner from those who had been honoured in the 2018-19 year.

 There were nine nominees – and Peggy won for running a film club at Yorkshire Housing’s extra care scheme Deansfield Court.

 She does this voluntarily in her own time at the centre, which is in Norton, near Malton, North Yorkshire.

 Benefits and money advisor Derri Reynolds and anti-social behaviour officer Lesley Drake were joint runners-up.

 The other nominees were:

  • Project manager Andy Green;
  • management accountant Colin Denby;
  • independent living officer Dawn Aitchison;
  • customer service advisor Diane North;
  • benefit and money advisor Beverley Rolph;
  • and investment admin team leader Zoe Sowden.

 There was originally going to be only one prize – but it was expanded to three due to the high calibre of the nominations.

Chief executive Nick Atkin said: “It was one of those really tough decisions, and the fact that we went from one winner to three prizes gives you an indication of how hard it was.

 

“I’d have gladly made everyone a winner. There’s so much talent and so many good things that people are doing.”

 Peggy won a cake, which she shared with residents at Deansfield Court, plus champagne and gift vouchers.

 She organises film screenings every Thursday afternoon for residents aged 70 and above.

 Peggy sources the movies herself from libraries and charity shops and vets them to ensure they do not cause offence.

 Screenings have included Billy Elliot, Kes and The Lady in the Van. Mary Poppins and a film about Stan Laurie and Oliver Hardy are to come.

 She said: “I was very surprised to win. It’s absolutely brilliant. I’ll probably have to have a day out to spend the vouchers!”

 Peggy added some of the participants had previously been harder for staff to engage with.

 But the film club brought them out of their rooms and helped them make new friends, which brought them into centre’s community life.

 Derri and Lesley both won flowers and gift vouchers.

 Benefits and money advisor Derri secured £232,000 in underpaid housing benefit for elderly customers.

This was also at Deansfield Court, where one case sparked her interest and led her to doggedly uncover many more over several months.

She instead paid to tribute to others and said: “We all do an amazing job at Yorkshire Housing.

 

“I’ve got colleagues that go above and beyond every day. But we’re so embroiled in what we do on a daily basis that we’re used to that being the norm.”

 Anti-social behaviour officer Lesley was honoured for her sterling work dealing with complex issues.

 Lesley was unable to attend the presentation due to being in court pursuing another anti-social behaviour case.

She collected her prizes on Friday, June 7, and said: “I’m overwhelmed as there are some very talented colleagues.

 

“Everybody goes the extra mile. People really care about customers and the customer experience.

 

“So to be nominated, and then to be one of the runners up out of all those people, out of all that good work, really is overwhelming.”

 The two cases that led to her nomination are subject to continuing legal action.

Chief executive Nick, who joined the housing association in April, added: “It’s just fantastic to be able to recognise and appreciate what people have done.

 

“Perhaps one of the problems is that we’re not always aware of it. In true Yorkshire style, a lot of people say ‘it’s just what I do. It’s my job’.

 

“And that for me, as someone who has come into Yorkshire Housing, makes it such a privilege to be part of this very special place.”​

Peggy Harland is pictured with her prizes after winning the Yorkshire Housing Chief Executive’s Award.

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