He has been the driving force behind Pickering and Ferens Homes for 18 years and it is truly with a heavy heart that Roger Elliot bids farewell to the association to embark on his retirement.
It is clear to see that Roger is very humble about his achievements since being appointed to the role of Director in 1994 and in that time residents have been left in no doubt about his sincere desire for the organisation to succeed. But come 2013 Roger will be handing over the baton to a new Chief Executive.
Roger has over 40 years’ experience in housing. Prior to joining Pickering and Ferens Homes Roger was employed by the Hull City Council, where he had spent 20 rewarding years involved in various housing roles. Indeed he occupied the position of Assistant Director of Housing for the central and west Hull areas at the point when he completed his time with the authority.
A former Hymers College student, Roger initially completed an associateship in Housing Administration at Sheffield Polytechnic.He spent a year of his four-year long course in industry, working as a housing trainee at the Salford Housing Department. It was after that and following a year working for the Leeds Housing Department in Gipton, that Roger joined Hull City Council’s housing department as a rent collector in the summer of 1974. He quickly rose up through the ranks of roles such as Assistant Housing Manager for Orchard Park, Housing Manager for Bilton Grange, Principal Housing Officer in charge of lettings, and Principal Housing Officer for the effective housing management of 20,000 Hull City Council owned properties.
Roger, who has been a member of the Institute of Housing since 1975 and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing since 1993, also got married in 1975 to his wife Chris and they went on to have two daughters, Laura and Claire. “I always knew I would work in housing,” explained Roger. “I always liked dealing with people, I was also interested in architecture and just genuinely wanted to do my best for people in society. I saw it as an industry where I could make a real difference.”
When Roger first joined Pickering and Ferens Homes, it managed approximately 500 properties. He says he has successfully increased the portfolio over the years to help meet the demand from the growing number of people over the age of 60 who are seeking the high quality accommodation, and services that the association can provide. Pickering and Ferens Homes now owns and manage nearly 1,250 properties in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire.
Held in high esteem by his colleagues, Roger has successfully led his long-standing team of staff which has grown from 11, when he first joined as the first ever Director, to the 45-strong team in place today. With fond memories of key milestones such as when The Archbishop of York came to officially open Malin Lodge in 1996 through to the recent developments at Rokeby, Junella and Askew Avenue, Roger also recalls negotiating more choppy waters such as when nearly 200 residents had to be temporarily rehoused during the June 2007 floods resulting in a £9m insurance claim, together with the recent loss of Supporting People Income.
Roger says 1998 was a key turning point for the organisation during his time, when he was delighted to secure a £16m loan to purchase properties and redeem loans in order to expand the organisation’s property portfolio. “I have real pride in what has been accomplished over the years,” he said. “I am very sad and have very mixed feelings about leaving. I will truly miss all of the staff and residents but I am pleased to be handing over the organisation in a first class condition, and indeed fit for purpose for the future.
“Over the years I have held a firm belief in continuous improvement in all areas and I have placed a great emphasis on ensuring systems and policies are in place to enable us to achieve accreditations such as Customer Service Excellence and the Investors in People Award.”
“A key measure of our success is that the Homes and Communities Agency considers Pickering and Ferens Homes to be financially viable, well governed and well managed. We have enjoyed surpluses every year since 1994 and the last surplus recorded at the end of March 2012 resulted in an operating surplus of over £800,000, which is a fantastic position to be in.”
Roger is also proud of the fact that all of the association’s Key Performance Indicators are very good and says it is his belief that Pickering and Ferens Homes is a well-respected organisation within the local community and has high levels of resident satisfaction.
He added: “I really didn’t know how the organisation would proceed when I first joined. We were based at the Hull Business Centre, on Guildhall Road, at the time and have obviously since enjoyed the move to Silvester House, which we purchased in 2003.
“There is always something new happening in this line of work. I have however always upheld traditional principles in the running of the organisation. I have been pleased to oversee amalgamations with several other smaller charities and also to have ensured the refurbishment of existing properties.
“All of the residents of Pickering and Ferens Homes are really wonderful people and I have enjoyed meeting them over the years. I must make special mention of the staff here too and especially my fellow members of the Senior Management Team, who have all been outstanding individuals, including Janet Akester who started in our reception team in 1992 and became my PA in 2004. I also take this opportunity to thank the Board of Trustees for their assistance and support during this time. It has been a privilege for me to have served as the first Director of this wonderful organisation”.