We are thrilled to announce that our Chairman for Red Kite Community Housing, Jennie Ferrigno, has been awarded with a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List to mark her services to the community of High Wycombe – in particular social housing and her voluntary work as chair of Red Kite Community Housing.

Having lived as a tenant for more than 30 years, Jennie is a true ambassador for the work of housing associations and their ambition to improve the lives of everyone who is supported by social housing. She is also determined to see communities flourish and is actively involved in local community organisations that nurture young people. After becoming part of tenant participation 15 years ago, her drive to make sure that everyone had a choice and a say in their homes saw her voted in as Chairman of the Tenant and Leaseholder Committee for her local authority. In 2010, she was then elected as Chair of the Shadow Board for Red Kite Community Housing and worked relentlessly to get a positive ballot and achieve the first whole stock, tenant-led transfer in the country in 2011 to us.

Jennie’s dedication, commitment and passion are infectious. Her character is synonymous with doing the best that social housing can for tenants, never losing sight of its true meaning. Her approach has seen her gain the respect and trust of tenants, leaseholders, staff, Councillors, consultants and everyone she comes into contact with.

Jennie has involvement and engagement in her blood and a genuine passion to work for the good of everyone. As Vice-Chairman of the Board at Wycombe Youth Action, an organisation that empowers a diverse range of young people to build hopes and aspirations, Jennie is committed to social enterprise and inclusion by supporting youth volunteering and development needs. She is a also a founder member of the Bucks, Berks and Beds Chairs group for local Housing Associations who meet regularly to support and motivate each other. By inspiring others, she is also regularly invited to present at events.

John Potter, Jennie’s Vice Chair on the Tenant and Leaseholder Committee in 2010, said:

"When I first got involved I was immediately struck by Jennie’s tremendous personality, leadership and passion for improving the service and caring for all tenants and leaseholders. Through her unswerving dedication and belief, she has encouraged and inspired us all. She is most gracious in everything she does and to everyone she meets. What she has achieved in promoting tenant participation is remarkable."

Steve Fox, Managing Director of IPB Communications Ltd who worked on the transfer to Red Kite, said:

"I have worked on a number of transfers over the years that have claimed to be tenant-led. This transfer was, in my opinion, the first to be truly tenant-led, which was down to the leadership, passion and drive demonstrated by Jennie."

The British Empire Medal was recently reintroduced to recognise people who are actively engaged in charitable or voluntary work within their local community. Jennie’s undeniable enthusiasm for social housing and community, giving everyone the same opportunities, are admirable and we are incredibly proud of her for being recognised with this award.