North East housing provider strikes gold with Ministry of Defence Award

We've been recognised as one of the most supportive organisations in the UK for Britain’s Armed Forces, scooping the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Gold Award in its Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS).

We are one of only a handful of organisations in the North East, alongside Sunderland University and Shaid, which have received the Gold Award from the MOD, the highest accolade available to companies. The award celebrates our positive attitude and policies towards the North East’s Armed Forces community as well as highlighting our partnership work and backing for veteran employees, spouses and families.

Since 2016, we have rehoused more than 500 UK Armed Forces personnel and reservists and gives priority to returning service personnel through its housing allocations policy. 

We're also an active member of Sunderland Armed Forces Partnership, which works to develop links between businesses and Armed Forces across the city. Through this partnership in November 2019, we were awarded Platinum Partner status by Veterans in Crisis, following their work to house more than 30 homeless veterans in Sunderland.

Through our Aspire grant scheme, we have provided more than £3000 in funding to support community events in Sunderland such as Armed Forces Day and Cuthy’s Big Bike Ride which raises funds for military charities.

For our employees, we provide our reservists with an additional ten paid leave days each year and facilitate a Veterans Group to support ex-service colleagues and the family members of serving personnel.

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Gentoo Group said: “We are honoured to be recognised for the support we give to our armed forces community both at Gentoo and in Sunderland.

“These individuals and their families make sacrifices each day to protect our country and we are delighted to be able to give something back to them through our flexible working arrangements and positive housing policies and processes.”

Ger Fowler, Founder and Project Lead of Veterans in Crisis Sunderland explained: “The partnership Veterans in Crisis Sunderland and Gentoo have is getting stronger by the day. They are a constant support for the veterans of Sunderland and the outcomes of the collaboration have been brilliant. We have managed to get homeless veterans off the streets in no time at all.

“Their Gold Award status is incredibly well deserved and testament to the great work they do for our Armed Forces community.”