About us video transcript

Full transcript of the 'About us' video, including non-audio content for who is speaking and other information.

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Gentoo Group

Gentoo is a housing association, a registered provider. It now manages 29,000 homes with 60,000 people approximately living in those homes, which is roughly a quarter of the homes across the whole of Sunderland.

The North East, as I've discovered in the almost 3 years that I've been here, is quite unique in that people tend to stay quite local. There's a huge amount of loyalty and dedication.

The greatest satisfaction is our ability to do all the things that we do. So, providing that core housing service, that repairs and maintenance, the investment in the homes. But it's far more than that.

There's a growing number of tenants and residents who need different support from us.

Whether that's about advice with benefits and managing their money, or helping to employment and training, help with their domestic situation, or people who are dealing with a very complex family or mental health issues. And our job is to provide that support and help as part of our commitment to the community.

Izzi Jackson, Development Manager, Gentoo Group

We are genuinely committed to making really nice homes for people to live in, homes that meet people's needs and I think that's what makes Gentoo different from so many other people that are out there.

Leanne Thompson, Head of Customer Experience, Gentoo Homes

We're all about people, whether that be our own people or our customers. And working and with them and understanding and taking their feedback in terms of how we can improve and create that better customer experience.

Craig Parkinson, Operations Manager, Gentoo Group

A lot of boilers going down, a lot of burst pipes, water and electrics, you're there front end, usually within one or two hours even on a night, out of hours.

We have gone over and above what you would expect from a housing organisation.

Izzi Jackson

Building new houses is really important for Sunderland because, with them being Gentoo houses, it means that more people have got access to all our range of tenant services.

It also creates lots of jobs within the local area and then the energy saving measures that we're putting in are going to help Sunderland move towards being a more sustainable city.

Craig Parkinson

Gentoo isn't just a normal organisation, but we give everything we've got and we do that 24/7. I think the customers appreciate that.

Leanne Thompson

We've all got to be delivering a great excellent customer service regardless of whether you're buying a home from Gentoo or you're renting a home from Gentoo. I firmly believe that, whilst the might be a different offering, it should feel the same.

Craig Parkinson

When you look at the size of organisation, I think 29,000 houses, 60,000 tenants. It is a big part of Sunderland. So we need to be at the forefront and leading by example.

Leanne Thompson

This is one of the big redevelopments of the city that we're really proud of.

It gives people more choice, more opportunity.

Izzi Jackson

Tenants face a really wide range of challenges, but I think the one that we probably help with most is someone who might not have a house at all or either they've got a house, but it doesn't meet their needs.

So we're providing over 200 new homes a year which allows a household to move into a house that does meet their needs.

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Everyone has the right to live in a good quality home they can afford.

By delivering a 24/7 property maintenance service we help to keep tenants safe and secure.

This is fundamental to our landlord compliance.

Through our Affordable Homes Programme we're bringing much needed new affordable homes to Sunderland.

We are on target to deliver 1200 new homes in the city by 2026.

Mr Davey, Gentoo tenant

My name is Nigel Davey. I lived in a 2 bedroom, small terraced house, not very convenient for me and my two girls. Basically not a very nice place, not very nice area, neighbours getting drunk outside, fighting each other, drug dealing going on outside your front door.

It was a double room and a single room. So, I always thought it fair to give my daughters a bedroom each and I lived on the sofa in the sitting room.

Adjoined to that was the kitchen, so everybody had to pass through. There was no privacy whatsoever. It also meant I couldn't have a partner either.

There was no where to go. I literally lived in my sitting room. It was just no life.

Gemma Hardy, Neighbourhood Co-ordiantor, Gentoo Group

Mr Davey applied with us, he had been on the list for quite a while, so he was absolutely over the moon when we rang him to offer him the property.

Mr Davey

I couldn't believe it at first as it all happened so quick. Within 3 weeks I had the keys, I'd signed over and the house was mine.

Gemma Hardy

When I called back out to see Mr Davey after he moved in, you could just see how much it had changed their lives.

Mr Davey

It has given me a lot of hope, I feel better in myself, happier for my children and we laugh a lot more. There's no doubt about that. Our sprits have been lifted.

Gemma Hardy

They are the heart of our business, making them feel happy and healthy in their home is our main aim.

And they know they can come to us with any issues.

Mr Davey

Gemma has been fantastic. She's been my hero for what she's done to get me in this property. It has changed my life. There's no doubt about it.

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Neighbourhood Co-ordinators play an important role in supporting our tenants.

Providing additional support services beyond tenancy management, like helping with drug and alcohol issues, is essential to supporting our communities.

We make life changing differences to the lives of our tenants.

Andrew Bowes, Neighbourhood Operations Manager, Gentoo Group

The Money Matters Team provide a range of services working with vulnerable customers who need our support and advice so that it makes them a lot more comfortable in their day-to-day life.

We try and do everything that we can to correct their issues and make sure that they come out with a positive outcome. Gentoo have gone out of their way to provide a service like Money Matters.

More and more customers need that support. If we can make sure that our customers have their their income and their health then that is always going to have a positive effect on our connection with the customer.

Customers are going to come and talk to us and engage with us if they know that service we provide is something positive and something that is going to help them in their day-to-day life.

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By putting our tenants a the heart of everything we do and listening to their voices, we can build great homes and create strong communities.

Wherever we can, we aim to support vulnerable tenants.

Our wellbeing team enables them to live fuller and happier lives and live as independently as possible.

Kevin Nichol, Scheme Manager, Gentoo Group

My team is the Wellbeing Team. We mainly look after people who are 60 and above that need extra support.

Eddie, Gentoo tenant

I needed to downsize because I was on my own, I've got a bad heart, ischemic heart condition, I've had a hip replacement, so I was struggling with the stairs a bit.

Kevin Nichol

The Wellbeing Team that linked in with Eddie assessed him and said to be honest you really need something more secure where you've got support. He didn't know where to go or how to do it, literally walked them through everything about getting into here.


I managed to to get through all the paper work and the visit and I got sorted.

Kevin Nichol

Eddie came here. I met him and I showed him the property, I told him about it and he was quite excited.


I came down here and they showed me around, straight away I liked it. With the heart condition, if I over exert myself that's what brings it on.

I'm more chilled down here, I've got more people here that I can meet and have a coffee, talk just relax, instead of being sat in the house by myself.

Kevin Nichol

The thing with sheltered accommodation is they think that they're going to lose their independence, things are going to be taken away going to be taken away from them. They move in and they realise that's completely the opposite.

We support them to remain independent as long as possible with as many safeguardings in place as well. And they all say how lovely it is that they've got people around them, they've got the safety of the building. They've got the support with the staff and the say that they do feel valued and very cared for.


They are fantastic, I have no complaints about none of them.

Kevin is brilliant. He will sit and listen to you. If you've got any problems, he will sort it out for you.

Kevin Nichol

We can alter their lives to be more happier. And safer within what they do.

I do take quite a great deal of pride in my job, being able to support the tenants, it makes a job what it is.

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We understand by working in partnership with others we can achieve so much more.

Our younger persons service helps young adults to equip them with the skills, experience and confidence to maintain a home and become independent.

We can enable vulnerable tenants to sustain their tenancy and live well in their home.

Each year we respond to around 800 support referrals and 1,500 applications from vulnerable people.

Aaron Scott, Gentoo tenant

I'm Aaron Scott. When I first met Carla, I was a very unwell person. I was a lost cause, nobody wanted me, nobody wanted to deal with me.

I was living in supported accommodation. I was very unwell and I jeopardised my stay there. Because nobody wanted me it got put on the meetings that they do every Wednesday and Carla took me on. She's supported me all the way through.

Carla Cuthbertson MBE, Support Co-ordinator, Gentoo Group

Liaising with multi-agency teams, mental health services, his doctor's surgery ambulance services, accidents and emergencies, everything, helping him and also supporting him getting back in touch with his family as well.


Yeah with Carla supporting me and stuff, I've managed to find my feet and get a good job, and be mentally stable. But it's been amazing actually, I didn't expect the support that I got.


I think without our support, I don't think some of these would succeed in a tenancy.

A lot of them would just go undetected with their mental health, drug and alcohol, and they wouldn't manage their tenancy at all without the support.

Getting them from one end and hoping that you flip them to the other side. It just, it's lovely to see.


If Gentoo didn't care they would obviously just leave people the way that they are, but they didn't leave me and they helped me with the house and, like, getting somewhere to live and I'm forever grateful.

Nigel Wilson

The pride for me is listening to the stories of tenants talk about extraordinary things my colleagues do every day, every week, that make a difference, that keeps somebody in their home, that help them get by, that we've made a difference.

And it can be the smallest thing from repairing a door latch or a kitchen handle, to giving somebody a home, and I think every day people are making that intervention to really care about our tenants.

And I think that's the thing that matters most.

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We are Gentoo.

We are more than just a housing association.