A WOMAN who has helped house Wearsiders for more than 20 years has been honoured by the Queen.
Gentoo’s executive director of vision and culture, Caroline Gitsham has received an MBE in today’s Birthday Honours.
She said: “I was astonished when I opened the letter.
“I work in a great sector and for a fantastic organisation. Throughout my career I’ve had the support of people both at Gentoo and elsewhere and I love what I do.
“I work with brilliant people who make a real difference to our city and change lives every day, and I am delighted to accept this honour in recognition of their commitment and contribution.”
Chief executive Peter Walls said the award was richly deserved.
He said: “Caroline is one of the most inspiring of people, who enhances lives. I am obviously, both professionally and personally, immensely proud of her.”
Caroline started her career in local government in 1983, and worked for councils in Teesside before joining Sunderland Borough Council as a Housing Manager in 1991. In 1997, she coordinated the Safer Estates Task Force which was a joint housing and police initiative and was invited onto the Government’s Social Exclusion Unit Policy Action Team on Anti-Social Behaviour.
She was Lead Officer on the 2001 tenant consultation which saw the city council transfer 36,000 homes to the Sunderland Housing Group, which later became Gentoo.
Caroline joined Gentoo Living in 2007 and since then she has been involved in a number of pioneering projects.