Award recognition for ‘magnificent team’ which brings unity to local communities in Leeds

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Leeds-based housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise has been shortlisted in the Team of the Year category for the 2024 Northern Housing Awards.

The accolade recognises housing teams which are “truly making a difference to the lives of residents and the communities” where they operate.

Working alongside housing officers, Unity’s Employment Services and Enterprise team supports people in marginalised communities in Leeds to access employment and training or become volunteers.

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They also help those in work - particularly female entrepreneurs - enhance their career prospects, boosting economic wellbeing and regenerating neighbourhoods.

Cedric Boston, Unity Homes and Enterprise Chief ExecutiveCedric Boston, Unity Homes and Enterprise Chief Executive
Cedric Boston, Unity Homes and Enterprise Chief Executive

In the last financial year, the team helped 198 people to find jobs, 256 people to improve their skills and employability through training and 15 people to enter voluntary work.

Since being established in 2011, they have supported a total of 3,131 people into employment and training.

The team also operates three business centres providing 142 affordable units for more than 80 diverse businesses which collectively employ over 900 people.

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The number of business units increased from 130 following the recent completion of a £1.8 million Leeds Media Centre redevelopment scheme - in partnership with Leeds City Council and the European Regional Development Fund - which created 12 new units and a hi-tech business hub.

Unity Homes and Enterprise head office in ChapeltownUnity Homes and Enterprise head office in Chapeltown
Unity Homes and Enterprise head office in Chapeltown

Cedric Boston, Unity Homes and Enterprise Chief Executive, said: “I am thrilled that our small but magnificent team has received this well-deserved recognition.

“They are focused on addressing inequalities and changing lives by providing a hand-up to personal development and a path to economic opportunity.

“They also deliver pathways to business support by establishing trust-based relationships with black and minority ethnic communities in Leeds – fostering local networks through partnerships.

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“The team do not remain behind desks waiting for people to come to them. Instead, they are pro-active on the ground and are constantly finding new ways to engage.”

Adrian Green, Unity Enterprise Manager, said: “The newly refurbished Leeds Media Centre has been a gamechanger for us, especially as a catalyst for the team’s efforts to help local women and girls establish and grow their own sustainable business.

“It was recently the venue for the inaugural meeting of West Yorkshire Ethnic Minority Women in Tech, and it hosted the launch of Breaking Barriers, an innovative series of workshops for female entrepreneurs from black and minority ethnic communities.

“We are currently finalising preparations for a series of events themed on entrepreneurship to celebrate the completion of the centre’s new business hub.

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“Being shortlisted for this prestigious award has provided a welcome and timely boost to these endeavours.”

The winners of the 2024 Northern Housing Awards will be announced at ceremony in Manchester on Thursday 23 May.