The Head of Together Housing’s Repairs and Maintenance team has been recognised for her achievements in the housing sector by being shortlisted for an award.
Angela Stuttard has been selected as a finalist for Professional of the Year in the Women in Housing Awards after fighting off discrimination in her early career.
While Angela now works for an organisation that prides itself on equality and diversity, this wasn’t always the case. She said: “When I first started out in housing 25 years ago sadly everywhere wasn’t as tolerant as Together Housing. I remember one time being asked “when’s your manager coming?” and the look of horror when I replied “I am the manager”.
“I soon realised that to be treated as an equal in a technical occupation, I would have to demonstrate my expertise and justify my position to a much greater extent than would be typically expected of a male colleague. These experiences only strengthened my determination to succeed in my chosen career and now I am somewhere which respects me for the work I do, irrelevant of my gender.”
Starting her career as a Chartered Valuation Surveyor, managing commercial property, Angela went on to work in Pendle Council’s repairs department, defending them against disrepair cases. Aside from never losing a case, it was this which spurred her on to work to improve tenants’ lives.
She said: “It was my experience of witnessing vulnerable people being exploited under the premise that they would ‘earn’ thousands of pounds in compensation that convinced me that tenants in social housing deserved much better. Convinced by inflated expectations of compensation payments, which were often spent by poor tenants before the case had even been heard, was a great injustice that motivated me to dedicate my career to improving the quality of tenants’ homes and lives.”
In her current day job, Angela is responsible for delivering an efficient and value for money repairs service including day to day repairs, empty homes and gas servicing. But for the last year, she has been heading up Transforming Together, a major programme that aims to provide an efficient and effective workspace for the future, whilst allowing for flexibility of ever changing work patterns and further growth.
Talking about what made her passionate about pursuing a career in housing, Angela describes how her nan enjoyed living in a housing association bungalow in the last 18 months of her life.
“She was proud of that little bungalow where she benefitted from much more independence than if she had gone into a residential care home. The staff and service were fantastic. They treated her how I would treat her and that’s the great value of high-quality social housing.”
The Women in Housing Awards, run by Inside Housing in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Housing, recognise and celebrate the achievements of outstanding women working in housing. The results will be announced in October.