I enjoy working at Castles & Coasts, there is a real positive, can do, culture within the organisation. I will always remember when I first started, not only did I find my new colleagues extremely helpful and friendly, but everyone had positive things to say about working here.
In my role as a Property Surveyor with the planned maintenance team, I work on projects to benefit our residents such as carrying out component replacements and upgrades to our housing stock. I never get bored because there is a lot of variety in my job, ranging from on-site inspections and meetings, to the scheduling of works and contactor supervision. One of the most enjoyable aspects of my role is seeing the improvements we make to our properties and the difference that makes for our residents.
There are many benefits of working at CCHA, but for me the most significant is the time and support they have invested to help me complete my Building Surveying Degree through the apprenticeship scheme with Northumbria University.
The degree apprenticeship route has given me the opportunity to study alongside my work, gain the necessary skills required and link them to my learning on a daily basis. Working while I study also means that when I complete my studies, I will have the required experience to apply for professional chartership.
My aim is to be a fully Chartered Surveyor by the end of 2022, and I have every confidence that I can achieve that. Castles & Coasts will also benefit from the apprenticeship as I learn and grow, I take those skills and knowledge back to the organisation and put them into practice to achieve great outcomes for our residents and the communities we serve.
Maintaining a good work/life balance is always a challenge in modern life. I have my work as a Surveyor, my studies and I also have a young family. Castles & Coasts has always been supportive with benefits such as a generous holiday entitlement, a flexi-time scheme and providing the tools I need to make it easier to do my job.
If I was going to describe the culture at Castles & Coasts in one word, it would be compassionate, they care about their employees which creates an atmosphere where staff are happy to come to work and enjoy what they do.
I have worked at Castles & Coasts for nearly 3 years and can honestly say they have been the happiest 3 years of my career and I look forward to achieving more with this great team.
Olivia Day, Customer Experience Assistant
“I was extremely honoured to be successful in my application for the Customer Experience Assistant role at Castles & Coasts Housing Association (CCHA). I can honestly say that I’m glad I applied for this role, as it has broadened my knowledge and experience of Social Housing and I’m looking forward to playing my part in supporting our current and future residents.
“After completing my GCSEs, I knew I did not want to go down the university route. I wanted to work and learn at the same time and I was lucky enough to be accepted for an apprenticeship in Social Housing. I wasn’t specifically looking for a job in the housing sector, but I’m glad I accepted the offer, because working in housing is very rewarding and I’ve now set my sights on a long-term career in the sector. When I saw the advert for my current role, I knew it was the ideal opportunity to progress my career.
”I applied for the position at the end of December 2019. The process was very simple and extremely quick. Right from the start, I was informed of when I would hear if I’d been selected for interview and the date the interviews were scheduled, which meant I could plan accordingly. I was very well informed throughout the process and by January 2020 I had become the newest member of the Customer Experience Team.
“Much like the recruiting process, my induction was well planned and informative, equipping me with everything I needed to make a success of my new role. During the induction, I had the opportunity to work alongside all the other departments in the organisation.
This was a great way to broaden my skillset and gave me a wider understanding of the business. I got to meet colleagues from across the company, who made me feel very welcome. I met the Chief Executive, who told me about the organisation and its culture. From the first day I was made to feel at ease by everyone. I really felt part of the team and was excited about my prospects and working for CCHA.
“I find my job extremely rewarding, as I am not only supporting our residents, I am also heavily involved in working with our internal customers. Part of my role is to work with colleagues looking for continuous improvement, this could be to identify best practice for our internal processes or creating surveys to gather customer or employee feedback.
“I find the culture at CCHA extremely flexible and compassionate, always considerate of the wellbeing of staff. I’ve already had some good training and development opportunities, which keeps my knowledge up to date and fresh. I am encouraged by my colleagues and always want to do my best to contribute to the business I feel has really supported me.”
Suzanne Foster, Corporate Support Officer
As a Corporate Support Officer, my role involves providing support to the Chief Executive, her PA and the Board.
I was initially unsure whether to apply for the role, as I did not actually have any experience of working in a similar position, but I did have lots of experience from other roles, which I have found has helped. After completing my Law degree and postgraduate diploma in legal practice, I held a variety of posts, ranging from the legal sector, to third sector money advice, to debt advice and litigation for businesses, in organisations both large and small.
As soon as I was interviewed by CCHA, I knew that this was different to every other organisation I had worked for. My interview was with the Chief Executive and, immediately, I got the feeling that this is an organisation that cares about its employees.
I was delighted to be successful in my application and could not wait to begin my new role.
On a day-to-day basis, I provide support to the Chief Executive, for example, by attending and minuting meetings, and am the first point of contact for Board Members with any administrative matters. I also work closely with the Chief Executive in organising and providing support at Staff Forum meetings, where staff have an opportunity to have meaningful dialogue with her.
At times, I have found that my role can involve spinning various plates and I have drawn on my organisation and time management skills which I have gained from previous roles to enable me to work calmly and efficiently.
Aside from providing administrative support, my role involves a lot of checking and proofreading documents and I have found that I am very well suited to this, thanks to my ‘critical eye’ picked up from my legal background.
During my time at CCHA, I have also learned more about how the organisation engages with residents. Having dealt with social landlords in previous roles, the thing which stood out to me the most was the way CCHA always seems to go the extra mile for its residents, especially during the pandemic. For a period during this time, I was seconded to the Income Team to assist with making phone calls to residents to check how they were getting on, and whether there had been any changes to their income as a result of, for example, being furloughed. Reaching out to residents, some of whom lived alone and had not had any contact with others, was considered to be very important by senior management, not only to discuss any potential income issues, but also from a wellbeing point of view – and this seemed to be a view shared by residents.
One year on at CCHA, and every day has been a delight. I am looking forward to growing and developing in my role and I hope that there are many more years to come.
Darren Lee, Development Officer
“I joined Castles & Coasts Housing Association (CCHA) in July 2019 a year after I left the Army, where I served for eight years with the Royal Corps of Signals specialising in communications. When I decided it was time to try a new direction, I wanted to find a job that offered me a challenge and a long-term future with good career prospects. I can honestly say I feel that I have found that here.
“I hadn’t previously considered a career in the housing sector, but the job advert stood out to me with its commitment to finding the right person and developing them for the role using their transferable skills. The more I read about the role and the organisation, I realised that I had gained most of the skills and experience they were looking for during my military service.
“During the interview process, it was accepted that I lacked technical industry-related experience, but credit to the interview panel who recognised I had a lot to offer. I was able to show that I’m self-motivated, I have good people and communications skills as well as having experience of problem-solving, innovation and planning, all vital for the role of Development Officer.
“I was delighted to be offered the job and a training program to learn the additional skills I’d need for this role. The training so far has been a good blend of inhouse on the job training as well as external courses. In my first 12 months I’ve already completed two Health and Safety courses on construction, trained on bespoke software systems for property development. I am already building the skills and experience to have a successful career with CCHA and the wider sector.
“After my first year with CCHA I am thoroughly enjoying my role as Development Officer and working as part of the wider team. My role is challenging, varied and rewarding in equal measure. It might sound like a cliché, but no two days are the same which keeps me motivated. Handing the keys of a new property to a customer is an extremely rewarding end to an often-challenging build process.
“I would describe the culture at CCHA as friendly and helpful. They are a genuinely compassionate employer who take care to reward their team for their contribution. There is an emphasis on striking a good work-life balance, with a generous holiday entitlement and a great flexible working scheme. I get regular feedback and support from my line manager. Colleagues and staff are friendly and senior management, all the way to the Chief Executive, are very approachable.
“If I had to sum up how I feel about working here I’d say, “I’m proud to work for an organisation that is making a real difference delivering new housing solutions in the communities we serve.”
Stephen Morris, Income Officer
I know that working in the housing sector wouldn’t be everyone’s first answer when they were asked at school, what they wanted to do when they grew up. For me it was, even if I didn’t know exactly what. From a very young age I knew how important a home was to a family. That is why I always aspired to work in the housing sector. My first career goal was to get a job where I could help make sure everyone had somewhere to live.
I was brought up in a single parent family with three siblings, life wasn’t easy for us. Money was tight and we often relied on benefits to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. I can remember the stigma of coming from a low-income family and living in social housing. I also remember being faced with the threat of eviction as a child and thinking there must be support for families in our situation. That experience gave me the drive to choose a career in housing.
I have now worked in the sector for 8 year and I’ve had a few different roles. In that time, I have managed housing support services, worked as a housing officer, and for the last three years I have specialised as an income officer. I know I can’t change the world in my role, but I can change the world of one person. As an income officer, I take pride in working with residents on preventative measures to help them maintain their tenancies. There is a lot to this role that people might not realise, like supporting our residents to make benefits claims, helping them to balance the household budget and maximise their income. We can even help residents sourcing furniture to make their house a home.
It is fair to say I get a lot of reward from my job. I especially enjoy helping families from similar backgrounds to my own, by offering the advice and support they need to maintain a successful tenancy. We were very much a family of generational poverty, which I am not afraid to admit. I enjoy talking to our residents and hearing their interesting life stories, many of them I can empathise with. Listening to our residents really helps to build effective working relationships to get the best outcomes.
I enjoy working at Castles and Coasts because we have a friendly and inclusive culture that I can attest is open to all. As a mixed race, gay man who works in a region with low diversity I can honestly say our differences are seen as a strength at this organisation: and I look forward to a time when the term ‘minority’ is obsolete. Teams from across the organisation work collaboratively to offer our customers and stakeholders the best possible service. It really helps me do my best that the management team is so approachable, and I like how our Chief Executive gets to know staff by their first names and goes out of her way to meet everyone soon after they join.
Christine Undrill, Customer Services Assistant
After a life changing accident, I was forced to re-evaluate my working life and wanted to find a career that made the best use of the skills I had developed during a successful career in retail.
I began looking for a new job that would provide me with a challenge and an opportunity to learn something new. When I saw the advert for a Customer Services Assistant (CSA) at Castles & Coasts Housing Association (CCHA), asking for a confident, caring, flexible people person, I knew I was right for the role. I made an application, and I haven’t looked back.
My daily role offers me so much variety. On any given day, I could be dealing with administrative tasks, logging repairs or liaising with other departments within the organisation to deliver excellent services to our residents. On another day, I could be taking rent payments or having a general chat with a resident to check on their welfare. In my role, you never know who is going to call or what they will ask, and just to be able to help someone makes my job worthwhile. So, as you can see, no two days are the same for a CSA. The best thing for me is that I get to make a difference to someone else’s day.
Working from home during the last year, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, was different at first and challenging at times, but the support from Castles & Coasts has been fantastic. I have felt supported the whole way through lockdown, I have not wanted for anything and genuinely feel as if the company genuinely cares about my welfare. Every single colleague within the organisation has pulled together and has made each other feel better equipped to cope during these unprecedented times.
I can honestly say that I have learnt so much since joining CCHA in 2018 and I am very proud to work here. The organisation has been conscious of my needs and I have an amazing team working alongside me. I have already had so many opportunities to learn and grow my skill set and I’m looking forward to further honing my skills as I look to the future.
All of my training has been tailored to my individual needs and I have regular conversations with my line manager so they know how to support me at work. I have even been seconded to a Customer Service Officer role for 12months. The secondment was a great opportunity to learn more and prepare me for future opportunities, when they come along. It is really good to feel trusted to step up into a different role and develop my skills further.
If I was asked to describe the culture at CCHA in three words I would say: compassionate, motivating and supportive. As an example, the Chief Executive, Steph Murphy, regularly takes time out to speak to each person. The working relationships I have built during my time here have made me feel like a valued member of the team and I am looking forward to many more good years working with CCHA and the opportunities that brings.
Staff survey results
I believe CCHA is run on strong values & principles
I am committed to the success of CCHA
I feel proud to work for this organisation
I would recommend CCHA as a good place to work
Our Corporate Values
For further information about joining CCHA, please contact our HR Team via email: