Charlie's Story

Mum-of-four Charlie is one the newer recruits in our Customer Call Centre.

She started working as a Customer Service Officer last October – a job that she loves and takes great pride in, but just a few years ago Charlie’s life was very different, and she credits social housing for transforming her life…

In 2016, Charlie and her family’s lives were thrown into turmoil when their private landlord announced they were selling their home. To make matters worse her husband was made redundant from his job as a supermarket manager around the same time.

With four young daughters, including a new baby, the couple didn’t know where to turn until a friend suggested they apply for social housing.

Charlies explains: “At the time, I had misconceptions about social housing and I didn’t think we would qualify as we were both working. I wrongly thought that social housing was just for people on benefits.”

Thankfully, Charlie and her family were offered a Salix Homes property – a home they love and a move that has changed the course of their lives for the better.

On top of everything else Charlie was dealing with at the time, she was also diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis – a rare form of arthritis that can lie dormant and be triggered by stress. The condition left Charlie in chronic pain, and it got so severe that she was forced to give up her job at a supermarket.

“I was in such horrendous pain, particularly in my hands and knees,” she said. “I had to give up my job as I couldn’t physically stand all day or do the tills with my hands. It was devastating for me to give up work as I’ve never not worked. I felt so low at the time, and I lost all my confidence.”

After trialling different medications, Charlie was eventually able to manage the condition, but after being out of work for several years, the thought of getting back into employment was a daunting prospect.

That was until a chance text message from Salix Homes helped set the wheels in motion for a new direction for Charlie.

She said: “I wanted to get back into work, but my confidence was so low and I was a nervous wreck. I received a text message from Salix Homes about an opportunity to join the Customer Committee and I thought it would be a good way to dip my toe back in the water and get myself back out there.

“It was something that really appealed to me – I’m quite community-minded and I liked the idea of helping to improve things and make life better for other tenants.”

The Salix Homes Customer Committee is made up of our tenants, giving them a powerful voice and the opportunity to help influence and improve our services.

Charlie added: “Joining the Customer Committee marked a huge turning point in my life, and I’ve never looked back. It’s helped me learn new skills and grow in confidence, and it’s really opened my eyes to the housing sector.”

With her new-found knowledge and experience of the housing sector, and her arthritis now under control with medication, Charlie felt ready to apply for a job in our call centre and is thriving in the role. Though the move has meant she’s had to give up her place on the Customer Committee.

She said: “I was sad to leave the Customer Committee, but it’s been such a positive move for me. I love working in housing and I feel for the first time that I’ve got a career now and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me.”

Our Contact Centre is often the first point of call for our customers, and the team deal with a wide range of customer calls and queries, from raising repairs to taking rent payments.

Charlie added: “We say in the call centre that it’s a job where you have got to know a little bit about a lot of things. There’s such a good team – we all have a great bond and always help each other out.

“Salix has been so supportive of me as well, particularly with my health condition. Andy, my manager, and the rest of the management team, check in with me regularly and I’ve been given extra adapted equipment to support me with the job.

“I think being a tenant as well as an employee also really helps me in the role as I can relate to customers and what they’re feeling and I’ll often say to them ‘I’m a tenant too’. The best thing about the job is knowing that you’re making a difference for our customers and that you’ve made their day that little bit easier, even if it’s just by listening to them.”

Now, eight years on since Charlie and her family first got the keys to their social housing home, their lives have been transformed. “Social housing and Salix Homes, really has changed mine and my family’s lives for the better,” she added.

Sue Sutton, Salix Homes Chief Executive, said: “Charlie is an absolute asset to the Salix Homes team and her journey is testament to the transformative power of social housing.

“It’s not just about providing a roof over someone’s head; it’s about creating opportunities and building communities. Social housing has the potential to change lives, giving people like Charlie the stability and support they need to rebuild their confidence, learn new skills and thrive.

“At Salix Homes, we are committed to making a lasting impact on the lives of our customers, helping them to not only find a home, but also a place where they can grow and succeed.”



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