Gentoo wins award for helping its most vulnerable customers

Gentoo Group has been recognised for its success and ingenuity within the housing sector by winning a top award at the NHMF Housing Awards today (22 January 2019).

The award recognises the customer impact of Gentoo’s “Something not quite right” initiative.

Diane Carney, Director of Repairs and Maintenance at Gentoo said: “We are delighted to be the only North East Housing organisation to be commended for such a valuable initiative aimed at protecting Sunderland’s most vulnerable customers.

“All of our repairs staff have received specialist training in spotting the signs of child, domestic and adult abuse and what we as an organisation can do about it. Staff are fully trained to recognise, respond and record any concerns about someone’s well-being and how to report it.

“If our staff suspect something isn’t quite right during a repair or with a customer, they raise it with our in-house Safeguarding Team who in turn can either arrange support from colleagues or make a referral to one of the relevant specialist agencies.  This means that we can get the support out to our customers as and when they need it.”

Since the introduction of the initiative in 2015, staff at Gentoo have raised a total of 944 concerns, many of which have resulted in referrals to specialist agencies such as the Fire and Rescue Service, Social Services and the in-house Money Matters Team.  

To find out more about the awards and the 2019 winners go to

Nigel Wilson has today taken up his role as our new Group Chief Executive Officer, following his appointment last year. Nigel succeeds David Jepson, who stepped down as our Interim Chief Executive Officer in December.

Formerly Chief Executive of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group in Manchester, Nigel brings a wealth of senior leadership experience following a 30-year career in social housing. He started his career as a housing officer and worked his way up to a leadership position after holding roles in tenant participation and resident engagement, before specialising in new business and regeneration.

Nigel is one of a number of senior appointments recently, following the appointment of our new board member, Carol Long, who joined the Group Board in the autumn, and Pete Lenehan, who is set to join us as our new Executive Director of Finance in February.

Keith Loraine OBE, Gentoo Group’s Chair, said: “This is a very exciting time for Gentoo and I’m thrilled to welcome Nigel to lead our fantastic team.

“I’m confident that a Chief Executive of Nigel’s calibre and experience will continue the great work we do to make a positive difference to the lives of our customers.”

Speaking about his appointment, Nigel added: “I’m delighted to be starting the New Year at Gentoo.

“I’ve been working with the team over the last few months and have been really inspired by everyone’s commitment to delivering great services to our customers. Gentoo has achieved so much over the years and this success is something that I want to build on.

“Sunderland is a fantastic city with an ambitious vision for its future and I’m looking forward to getting to know it and its people.”