COLLEAGUES paid tribute to Berneslai Homes chief Helen Jaggar last week as she finally retired after 12 years with the organisation.
Jaggar’s career in local government has spanned 39 years, during which time she has worked in London and Leeds, before moving to Barnsley in 2007 to become chief executive of the council’s housing management company.
During here time with Berneslai Homes, Jaggar is credited with tackling people’s negative stereotypes of council housing and helping to challenge the stigma attached to it. She has taken an active role in campaigns such as ‘100 Years of Council Housing’ and ‘Proud to be a Tenant’.
Under her leadership, in addition to the basic council house services, she has provided added new services to ensure tenants’ health and wellbeing are taken care of. These include dealing with domestic abuse and mental health issues; helping people pay their rent; working with the council to provide extra stock by building, acquiring and bringing empty homes back into use; and employing apprentices, to name but a few.
“It has been a huge privilege and an honour to be chief executive of Berneslai Homes and I am sad to be leaving,” she said. “We have an amazing team of staff, who always go the extra mile and do the right thing. Their values and approach have impressed me every day. It’s been great to be part of this journey and to see the difference we make to people’s lives and the communities within Barnsley. I’ve become very attached to the place.”
Paul Hayes, chair of the board, said “Helen’s approach has always been about providing quality services to our customers and she’s done that with integrity, strategic vision and direction. Helen lives and breathes our values and set the direction of travel for our culture from the start and her leadership skills are such that she always gets the best out of people.”
Leader of Barnsley Council, Councillor Sir Steve Houghton CBE said Jaggar’s leadership had “put council housing in Barnsley on the map”.
“I know that Helen has transformed our approach to housing services and when I speak to other people around the country they always say Berneslai Homes is a national exemplar of good practice,” he added. “So my thanks to Helen for all she has done and I wish her well in her retirement.””
Amanda Garrard officially takes over as Berneslai Homes’ new chief executive on 1 September.
Main image: Berneslai Homes chair Paul Hayes (left) and previous chair Melvyn Lunn (right) present chief executive Helen Jaggar with her gifts and thanks for her service during her retirement presentation.