Lynn Randles – Blog.

I started at Great Places almost a year ago as Customer Care Coordinator in the Development Team. It was a new role but one that the senior managers in the affordable development team thought was necessary due to the increasing number of homes we’ll be building over the next few years. I came from Capita Travel and Events where my role involved dealing with complaints from hotel stays to conference booking issues, so I had no experience of housing whatsoever.  I held this position for 23 years but due to the pandemic lost my job in November 2020 after months on Furlough.

The Project Managers in the affordable development team  I have worked with have been excellent at teaching me about the new homes and everything I need to know in order to help the residents settle into their new homes. It has been a huge learning curve, but I have loved every minute of it.  The main focus of my role is to be the main point of contact for the new residents throughout the 12-month defect liability period and to liaise with the project manager and defect contractor to ensure all defect jobs logged by customers are completed on time and to a good quality.

I have always thought customer care was dealing with complaints but this new role has really opened up my eyes to a new perception of what this means. This role is really exciting as every day is different. I get to meet new homeowners and new residents in our rented homes. Everyone has a story that is very personal to them, from couples buying their first homes after sharing homes with friends or parents and living out of small box rooms to residents that that have come from rented homes with some stories that seem truly horrific, damp, leaking, rat infested homes with very little space and very high rents to now have new affordable homes with space for children in safe environments.

Every day is different, and sometimes can be challenging but with help from my colleagues, I’m there to help our customers with any questions and issues they may  have.  I’m also involved with building relationships with our contractors and from this helping to resolve any defects that have been reported. I’m often on site doing home demonstrations and site walk rounds just so the residents have sight of me and can pop to see me should they wish. I also have onsite meetings so can stay involved with progress which again is all part of my learning journey.

 

 

I’ve met many lovely people who have moved into our new homes, each with a story to tell. Here are just a few of them:

On Petre Wood we have a couple who’ve adopted and now own an Owl, which they allow to fly freely around their bungalow. They’re planning on a huge Avery for the owl in their back garden – in their small previous home this was not possible due to space limitation. This owl has also been on holiday with them to the Isle of Wight.

Another tenant on our Petre Wood development bought her bungalow on the crest of the scheme as this has a fantastic view of the Ribble Valley , the viaduct and Pendle Hill. After her 12-month DLP period she intends to build a glass garden house, so she has the view all year round. The customer is also a very keen gardener and her home and garden look amazing.

On our Foxdenton scheme in Chadderton, we have an older couple who are downsizing and have chosen their home due to the location and the peacefulness of the area. We had a long chat and really good laugh about all the years of hoarding and how they nearly used up all their trips to the local recycling centre. Their local charity shop is now also doing brisk business. Another tenant on Foxdenton has told me how her new home has improved the health of her child who has breathing difficulties and with the fresh air flow system in her home, he slept right through the night from the very first time in years from the very first night.

Something that has really stuck with me is a tenant on Foxdenton came from a small private rented flat which she shared with her three children and partner for very high rent. The roof leaked , the flat was wet and damp , broken kitchen appliances and was rat infested , her children shared one room whilst she and her partner slept on a sofa bed in the main room. After weeks of complaining her landlord,  gave her some rat pellets and a bucket for the leak. When I went to meet her to do a home demonstration, she was so happy with her new home and garden she actually broke down, but these were tears of happiness. A truly great story of how we have improved her situation and for that of her family.

I am growing in my role and I learn something new every day.  My job is very fulfilling and I wish I had made the move to affordable housing years ago, it is very satisfying to see the impact our houses have on people lives and to see them enjoying their new homes.