Raven’s climate change champion steps into the spotlight

The woman who has led Raven Housing Trust’s work to help tackle climate change and make our homes more energy efficient is in the running for a national award.

Joanna Hills, our Director of Assets and Services, has been named a finalist in the Women in Housing Awards for ‘Professional of the Year’.

The accolade recognises someone who has delivered an outstanding contribution in the housing sector over the last 12 months.

Joanna’s shortlisting is in recognition of her role spearheading Raven’s plans to reduce the carbon footprint of our homes and services.

Jonathan Higgs, Raven’s Chief Executive, said: “Joanna takes a strategic approach to challenges while never losing sight of the personal impact our work has on people’s lives.

“The consummate professional, her experience, knowledge and commitment are second to none. So we are delighted that her passion, drive and dedication have been recognised by the Women in Housing Awards judges.”

Joanna’s work over the last year has involved assessing all our homes, exploring various options and identifying the best way to boost their energy efficiency through a range of improvements.

This work, which resulted from survey of 300 customers to identify their priorities, focuses not just on hitting decarbonisation targets but also improving our stock’s overall quality.

Our resulting environmental sustainability strategy maps out how we plan to fulfil our pledge to deliver carbon neutrality across our homes ahead of the government’s target to achieve net zero carbon by 2050.

As well as saving energy, this programme of work should reduce residents’ fuel bills and make our homes more comfortable to live in.

Joanna has helped shape Raven’s other long-term strategies too, including our plans around investment and regeneration, health and safety, asset management and repairs.

As a result, we now plan to target and tailor our support for residents such as providing carpets and curtain rails for new customers who are particularly struggling. She is particularly proud of having initiated in 2020 our proactive project to combat condensation and mould, ensuring our residents have healthy homes. We have also invested in a new IT system which ensures we keep people informed on progress after they report a repair.

Throughout her career Joanna, who is a chartered engineer, has also promoted opportunities for women to break into housing, engineering, construction or trades professions.

Winners of the Women in Housing Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Manchester in September.