Chester-le-Street housing group recognised for equality drive

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A HOUSING group has been recognised for its commitment to promoting equality and diversity in the workplace.

Chester-le-Street-based Cestria Community Housing has been upgraded to The Equality Standard Gold Award after a re-assessment, becoming the first housing association to achieve the top rating.

It achieved the Equality Standard in 2010 after working to ensure it is meeting the diverse needs of its customers.

Cestria, which owns and manages 4,200 properties, has established a group made up of staff, tenants and board members who help it make decisions about policy-making, service delivery and employment, as well as promoting equality and diversity.

The title follows the news that Cestria has been shortlisted in the equality and diversity category of the Northern Tenant Participation Advisory Service awards and will compete against other housing associations at the regional final in May.

Cestria’s corporate services officer, Arshia Bhatti, said: “This accreditation is testament to our commitment to equality and diversity practices within the organisation, and I am extremely pleased as we have not just retained the standard, which we achieved in 2010, but we have been upgraded to the Gold award.