Catching up with Patrick, Chief Executive of the Abbeyfield & Wesley Society

How does your career experience suit you to the role of Abbeyfield & Wesley CEO?

I have been involved in housing since my first “proper” job after university, and for the past five years I was the Deputy CEO at the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations, where I got to know the local housing providers and the challenges involved in delivering quality social housing here. Those five years have given me considerable insight which I intend to bring to the role.

Having recently joined us in September 2023, what attracted you to the role at Abbeyfield?

Having previously worked in lobbying for the type of housing
Abbeyfield & Wesley provides, I saw this job and realised this was an opportunity to turn the theory into practice and deliver the things I had been campaigning for. The ethos of tackling loneliness and staying engaged with the community are things that I value in Abbeyfield & Wesley. Being able to provide the right type of housing and having a valued group of volunteers to assist our fantastic team ensures that we are genuinely connected with the communities we serve.

What are the key strengths of Abbeyfield & Wesley and how can you build on its success?

It’s my intention that we ensure that our unique housing offering remains relevant and attractive in the social housing space and can continue to thrive, and our residents can thrive with us.

What are your priorities for your first year in the role?

For now, I want to focus on ensuring our houses are attractive and welcoming to appeal to new residents, as well as trying to create new links and referral routes, so that people can better understand what we offer.

What is the best part of your job so far?

Besides quickly realising I have a great team who deliver great things, meeting our residents has been very enjoyable. I was able to help celebrate our oldest resident’s 105th birthday in September!

What are your biggest challenges?

Ensuring that the type of accommodation we provide meets the expectations of our future residents; and, as a housing provider, how we play our part in meeting the government’s net-zero ambitions.

As CEO, how do you think you can best support your staff team to deliver a high-quality service for your residents?

My door is always open. I want to ensure the team can feel comfortable coming with ideas as well as issues. They understand our ethos, but it’s important that we all see it from our residents’ point of view too – we can only deliver a high-quality service if we are in tune with their expectations and needs.

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