Caring Derbyshire housing trust manager wins national award for helping people into work

Posted 31.01.2022

Leaders of a Derbyshire housing trust are “over the moon” to see a caring staff member win national recognition for her work helping people going through tough situations get back on their feet.

Julie Howells, Head of Employability Services at Derventio Housing Trust, won the Frontline Manager of the Year category of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) awards, one of only five people shortlisted.

The awards, which were held virtually on November 25, celebrated the unsung heroes who work to improve the lives of jobseekers, communities and the wider workforce across the UK.  Over 200 nominations were sent in from across the private, voluntary, social enterprise and public sectors. The Frontline Manager of the Year award was sponsored by Alderwood Recruitment.

Derventio Housing Trust is a Derbyshire organisation providing housing, support and specialist projects to people going through troubled times in their lives. Many face a range of problems including poor mental health, isolation from family, and issues with substance use.

As part of her role, Julie has set up four services with the aim of helping people get economically active again. One of these, Talent Match, has supported 222 young people.

She manages a team of fourteen people across three projects, and helps everyone fulfil their potential, whether it’s their first job or they have years of experience. In this team alone, Julie’s support has led to two colleagues going on to become social workers.

People helped by Julie over the years, along with her team, paid tribute to her calm, unflappable attitude and unwavering support in helping them during difficult times in their lives, including Stephen who was facing homelessness, Nick who set up his own drystone walling business, Amber who did an apprenticeship, and Simon who got work for nine hours a week which was increased to a full-time job.

Jackie Carpenter, Assistant Director of Strategy at Derventio, said: “We are absolutely over the moon to see Julie’s hard work, dedication and amazing qualities justly rewarded. We have always known that she is a special lady and it’s nice that she has now won national recognition. There were hundreds of entries to these awards, so it’s quite an accolade. The other nominees were amazing too.”

Julie said she enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing someone coming from a low ebb to being economically active again and said her nomination was all down to the hard work of her team.

Julie said she was “blown away” to have won the award. She said: “I’m overwhelmed, but without my team nothing would be possible. They make me proud every single day.

“Working with people in my role is brilliant. Seeing what they go on to achieve is something that hits you every single time because everybody’s story is completely different and when you’re working with people and going with them step by step through that journey, watching them going through it – there isn’t really another feeling like it. I want to say a big thank you to all the participants for their hard work.”

Established in Derby in 2010, Derventio Housing Trust currently manages 600 bed spaces of accommodation for single homeless people, working strategically with partners including local authorities and not-for-profit organisations.

It helps more than 1,100 people each year by offering housing, support and specialist projects in order that they improve their health and wellbeing, increase resilience and prepare for independent living, learning and employment.

For more information on Derventio Housing Trust, visit  If you know anyone who would benefit from award-winning support from Julie and her team to get into – or nearer to – paid work, apprenticeships, training, you can contact Julie on 07985 555067.

BBO is having a significant impact on individual lives, supporting people to increase their confidence, independence and achieve their employment aspirations.

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