Spotlight on Gavin Houghton, Community Engagement Manager

Hello, I’m Gavin Houghton – Gentoo’s Community Engagement Manager. I was appointed to the role in late October 2018. Previously I was a Neighbourhood Coordinator covering Downhill for 3 years. In total I have worked for the Group for 10 years.

There is no typical day within my role as every day and week is different. I manage six Community Partnership Coordinators (CPC) across the City. The team of six are made up of three CPC’s within our HUB that look after city wide and group wide agendas, and three area CPC that work in our local areas closely linking with community groups in their area. Within our remit there are a total of seventeen different agenda items. These range from the newly formed Community Engagement Forums, Information and Knowledge sessions, community rooms and Tenant and Resident Associations.

My first three months in post has been focusing on getting to know all these different agendas and understanding how these benefit our customers and the wider residents of Sunderland. The staff do a huge range of work that creates real impact upon communities and individuals, a lot of which I was not aware of. One of my major priorities is to ensure that the work been undertaken by the team is recorded and publicised across not only Gentoo but the whole of Sunderland.

Most recently a new Community Engagement Plan has been developed to pinpoint everything that we undertake and set out where we want the team to go over the next 12 months. A major focus that flows through the whole document is ensuring that we as an organisation listen to the customer voice and making sure that senior leaders of the organisation get to hear what you are all saying. Within the next 12 months I will be looking to ensure that the opportunities that are offered to our customer and communities are increased and more focused to the needs of our neighbourhood.