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ACVO News May 2024

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Apr 24, 2024

Grampian Housing Association employee wins Rising Star category at Northern Star Business Awards 2024

Nicole Thompson, neighbourhood officer at Grampian Housing Association has been recognised as a future star who is destined for great things at the Northern Star Business Awards 2024.

The awards are run by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce in association with Brodies LLP.  They celebrate the exceptional accomplishments of individuals and organisations across the North East of Scotland over the year.  In the Rising Star category nominations were sought for individuals who had made a significant impact on their organisation.  

Carol Reid, director of customer services at Grampian Housing Association said:- “Nicole regularly goes over and above in her role of neighbourhood officer and in my view, she epitomises everything that an effective neighbourhood officer should be.  Nicole ensures she is a “known face” to her tenants.  She usually comes away from surgeries with a list of complaints and issues as long as her arm, but goes about solving them in her own creative way.  

“I am delighted that her positivity and real “can do” attitude has been recognised through this award.”

One of Nicole Thompson’s tenants said:- “Congratulations and very well deserved it is too. You caught me as I was falling.  Your intervention and help in getting me noticed by all the correct organisations was literally life-saving. You are a shining star, within an organisation that too is very willing to help its tenants.”

The Rising Star award marked a double win for Nicole who was also voted by staff as Grampian’s Great Colleague of the Year in 2023, presented annually to the Association’s most inspiring colleague.

Nicole’s career has seen her working mainly in housing and social work environments.  Her main highlight has been finding a career where she is able to feel daily job satisfaction, provide support to tenants facing various challenges and to learn and develop every day.  


Nicole said:- “I have found an organisation I feel privileged and fortunate to be a part of and which works within the same values I look for in a job.  What is important is the difference I can make to improve people’s lives by supporting them.”

The varying opportunities Nicole has had and the different people she has been able to support has enabled her to continue to fulfil her passion. Another was being on the children’s panel where she found it incredibly rewarding to be in a position, out with work, to promote children’s voices and ensure their well-being and safety. 

At Grampian Nicole has responsibility for a patch of approximately 485 properties in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.  She organises her work ensure that tenants needs are at the forefront of her day and that she can be seen in her schemes on a regular basis.  She reaches out to tenants how may not have been in contact before simply to check in and make sure they are coping well.  

One of Nicole’s many successes was visiting a single parent who had lost their spouse. They had their own health issues and were in a very challenging situation, living with no food, electric or heating and was struggling to organise benefits and manage debts. 

Nicole provided support to sort benefits, set up payment arrangements for debts, clean up the property, access support with electric and food costs and sourced clothing for the family.  GHA had been awarded £20,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund for its “Heat and Eat” initiative and was able to provide an air fryer and heated blanket as well as food parcels.  This enabled the tenant to save on electric and for the family to cook meals together.  

Grampian has a long-standing mission to provide new affordable homes across the North East of Scotland for social rent to address the housing supply crisis.  The Association is also committed to supporting tenants with the cost of living crisis with help to address fuel poverty and rising household costs.

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