Like many companies, charities and organisations, the last couple of years have been a challenging time, and as they come out of the pandemic many will be reflecting on this period of time, as well as focusing on the future in a post-covid, or at least, living with covid world.

QVT has been no exception, and today on our blog, we’ve decided to catch up with our CEO, our very own Ingrid Tennessee, to find out how the past couple of years have impacted the charity, and what our charity’s plans are going forward!

Hi Ingrid, it’s been a really challenging couple of years for many charities due to the pandemic- how is QVT faring now we’re heading out of it?

At the start of the pandemic, we were agile in response to our local council’s request for support in providing accommodation at short notice, for those who were vulnerable through homelessness. We were thus able to support the initiative to keep people safe and off the streets when infection rates and related risks were highest. Our wonderful staff were dedicated and committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of those living with us, and so it was all hands-on deck. This is continuing, and I am extremely grateful to them for continuing to be selfless in their service to our purpose.

What has been the biggest impact of Covid on a charity like QVT? 

Recruitment and retention! It is a challenge to recruit and retain good people, as globally people are re-evaluating their personal circumstances and making career and life changes. I imagine a lot of people are looking for flexibility and higher pay, plus hybrid working. We offer this to a great extent, except at our frontline, where we need people to be on site, to support those living with us. We pay competitively well too , however, it is still a challenge to recruit and retain talent and assets.

Is the cost-of-living crisis potentially now affecting housing charities such as QVT?

Of course, and this is not for housing charities alone. There is a hike in energy and fuel costs, and affordability is an issue as prices everywhere have shot up. Those living with us are on DWP benefits, so they have to cope with increased prices for all commodities, with no increase in benefit income. Our staff have to pay increased NI contributions, so pay rises are not really seen in pay packages either.

What are the aims and goals of QVT over the next year or so? 

QVT is taking a cautious approach in the way our business operates. We are mindful of the impact of the pandemic, heightened fuel costs and cost of living. For us 2022 is a year of essentialism; we are focussing on Pillars 1 and 3 of our 5-year Strategy. These are, as a reminder, Pillar 1: Continuing to strive for excellence in professionalising our practice, systems and processes, and in ensuring our accommodation is of the highest standard; agile and flexible in response to maintenance and in upgrading living spaces for those needing us. Pillar 3 is continuing to strive for excellence in our ‘people experience’, through planning and delivering a meaningful and impactful client service. Our aim is to support those living with us, to be prepared for move on and for life after QVT. Our programme of support includes mental health psychosocial interventions and sustainability, education, volunteering, and setting and working towards future goals.

What have you been most proud of recently when it comes to the charity and/or team? 

I am humbled and most proud to be leading the QVT family team of amazing and committed people! Throughout the pandemic and now, the team continues to dedicate and commit to offering the best service possible to those who have placed their wellbeing in our hands. When we are approached by those who fund us to provide extra services, everyone jumps in, all hands-on deck to ensure tasks get done. This is a special group of people who really care about meeting our purpose and for that I am exceedingly proud.

Anything exciting coming up or that you’d like to share?

We are in the process of developing an extensive client development programme, so watch this space!

 

Thanks so much for talking to us, Ingrid!

 

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