Sunderland housing firm Gentoo wins national award

Stephanie McGovern (BBC Breakfast), Pam Walton (Gentoo Group), Martin Hilditch (Inside Housing).
Stephanie McGovern (BBC Breakfast), Pam Walton (Gentoo Group), Martin Hilditch (Inside Housing).
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One of Sunderland’s biggest housing organisations has scooped a national award.

Social business Gentoo Group was announced as the winner of the Diverse Company Award in the Housing Category, in the Excellence in Diversity Awards 2015.

The Excellence in Diversity Awards identify companies that have shown outstanding contribution to harnessing diversity within their workforce, commending the work of inclusive employers and diversity champions across public, private and voluntary sectors.

Gentoo’s award recognises its commitment to valuing and celebrating diversity in all areas, not only as an employer, but in the ways which they engage to build stronger and inclusive communities.

The panel of judges hailed the Wearside company’s dedication to initiatives and projects put in place to encourage and embrace diversity both internally and externally, as ‘outstanding’.

Martin Hilditch, Inside Housing, presenting the award, said: “Gentoo makes it their business to champion causes to eradicate inequality, drive change and challenge conventions, promoting diversity and inclusion across so many spheres.”

Final judging was influenced by the number, variety and quality of comments submitted by a wide range of third parties.

These included statements from staff, individuals and organisations both within the city, across the region and nationally.

Peter Walls, Group Chief Executive of Gentoo, which is one of the biggest employers and landlords throughout Sunderland, said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to have received this award.

“As a responsible business, an important part of our philosophy is to welcome and celebrate equality and diversity amongst our workforce and our customers.

“We are committed to providing an environment where staff feel they are able to be themselves at work and provide services that recognise, respect and respond to customer needs so that they can fulfil their Art of Living.”

Gentoo Group says its whole ethos is about believing nothing is impossible and finding new ways to challenge conventions.

It aims to make society a better place to live and to make a real difference to the way people live their life.

It says the work is focused around three key areas to maximize its impact, people, planet and property.