|5 minute read
Home Group colleague wins major award 10 years on from being homeless
Matt Roberts, PR and media advisor
Stepping on stage to win the 2022 Women in Housing Inclusion Champion award earlier this month, Becky Leonard-Dixon was a long way from where she found herself 10 years earlier.
A decade before, the Yorkshire-born Becky was living in a mental health service. She was faced with nowhere else to go, struggling with untreated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and hiding her true sexuality.
As Becky describes it: “I was in crisis. Homeless and too unwell to work full time for four years, I was closeted, deeply depressed and on the brink of suicide.”
So, how did Becky go from a very difficult situation to stepping on stage in Manchester to collect a respected industry award? Mostly through self-drive and the support of her current employer, Home Group.
Becky has been on a long journey with Home Group, having gone from being a volunteer in those early days to now being a vital cog, driving diversity and inclusivity across the business.
Now the Engagement Advisor for the Midlands region, Becky describes her journey: “During the last two years of [living in the mental health service], I was volunteering for Home Group and then started an apprenticeship with the Engagement team.
“I was relearning skills as an involved customer, and my confidence was growing every day. It still is!
“The person-centred support I’ve had, the inclusive environment and the opportunities to progress from customer to volunteer, to apprentice and now permanent colleague, gave me what I needed to manage the change and sustain my wellbeing long-term alongside a job I love!”
Fostering that positive wellbeing has not only seen Becky thrive at Home Group but introduce and help develop a vast array of inclusivity initiatives which have helped other colleagues and customers in the business adapt and succeed too – and scooped her the Women in Housing Award.
These include being the bi representative for Home Group’s LGBT colleague network, as well as a co-chair, and working with the company’s Honest Opinions group which is aimed at giving customers from learning disability and mental health services a voice in decision making.
Becky has been involved in reverse mentoring with the executive team and is now working with senior leadership in her Midlands region, to better support them to keep inclusivity at the heart of everything they do.
It has been about bringing different voices into the conversation, and Becky’s role in the customer engagement team at Home Group positions her perfectly. She explains: “The diversity and inclusion work is something I’m passionate about. I’ve been really lucky to have such a supportive manager who lets me do that as part of my job.
“My job is customer engagement and I’ve always used my experience of having been a Home Group customer to help me engage with customers and get them involved in all our different opportunities.
“I involved them in as much diversity work as I can.”
All of this culminated in Becky earning the 2022 Inclusion Champion award at the Women in Housing industry awards in Manchester on June 27, 2022.