Wednesday 30th October 2019
Women in Social Housing (WISH), the only member-based network for women working across every discipline of UK housing, has extended its reach. The networking community of women working in the affordable housing and construction sectors has welcomed a 10th region, for the East of England which covers Norfolk and Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex.
WISH has grown organically since it was set up in 1998, becoming a community interest company (CIC) earlier this year, and now has over 500 members and up to 3,000 other women and men who support it and attend events.
“We are delighted to welcome another network to WISH,” said the organisation’s executive director and founder Nicola Dibb. “The addition of a new network will help us to reach out to more women working within housing and construction and to further focus on our mission to create opportunity, impact change, challenge gender inequality and encourage new and existing female talent to remain in the sector.”
The East region was formed after a group of women came together, supported by Greenacre Recruitment, which is one of WISH’s sponsors. “A group of passionate women from across the East came together and they were all aware of the work of WISH in other regions and wanted to be involved in setting up the 10th WISH,” said Stephani Davis, head of housing at Broadland Housing Association, who is co-chair of the East region board, alongside Isabel Varey.
“We have a balanced board made up of women from the public and private sector, including housing associations and local authorities with very distinct make-ups. The board is a collection of different voices and we are really happy to be working together to make WISH East a success.”
The region’s launch event was held last month in Cambridge and was attended by over 100 women. Speakers included Nicola Dibb, who shared her story about the history of WISH and WISH East board member, Hannah Harvey who talked about her career journey.
The event included a panel session on coaching and finished with interactive fishbowl sessions giving everyone a platform from which to share their story. The board is continuing to develop a programme of further events for the region. At the end of January it is planning to hold two events at different ends of the region in the same week to allow as many women as possible to come together and network.
“The East region is full of amazing women who work in social housing that want more opportunities to network and work collaboratively,” said Varey, who is customer experience director at Stonewater. “To enable this to happen there is a need for the women in the region to come together in safe and supportive environments to network and learn from each other. We believe that WISH East will provide the opportunity to make this happen in our region.”
The region’s aims/objectives are to:
Anyone interested in joining the East branch of WISH should email [email protected]