Our own Community Development Officer, Jim Playle, has featured as an ‘everyday hero’ in Inside Housing this month.

Jim was featured in the popular housing sector magazines ‘From the frontline’ section of the February 10 edition, which puts the spotlight on the everyday heroes of the housing profession.

Jim answered eight short questions about what he does, why he does it and why he loves his job.

Take a look at the questions and Jim’s answers below.

Tell us about your job:  My role as a Community Development Officer is to work with my colleagues, other agencies and our residents to tackle community-wide issues. The job involves empowering our residents to make a real positive contribution to ensure where they live are safer and more attractive places.

Why housing?:  After 23 years working for The Post Office I wanted a job role that enabled me to make a difference to people’s lives – housing provides that. I started work for bpha 14 years ago and feel I’ve had the opportunity to bring about some really positive change to many neighbourhood areas and to the people living in them. I’m proud to work for a Housing Association that truly recognises the contribution community development work can, and does, make to our customers lives.

What does a good day look like?:  I just love it when a plan comes together!  I’ve recently worked on a project that managed to bring together a number of Partner agencies to tackle some anti-social behaviour issues that are affecting our customers. To be able to get buy-in from a number of organisations, and know that our joint efforts will enable us to make a real difference to people’s lives is a real buzz! Any day I go home feeling that I’ve done something that has changed someone’s life for the better puts a smile on my face!

And a bad one?:  Any time I feel I haven’t been able to achieve what I’d set out to do, or not met with someone’s expectations of me, is a bad day. I think I’ve got pretty high personal standards when it comes to customer service, so if I let those standards drop, it’s a bad day at the office!

What would you change about the sector if you could?: I would rethink the whole affordable housing strategy. Whilst I want to see as many people as possible achieve their ambition of home ownership, I would like to see more high quality homes built for people to rent. A house that is too expensive for a person earning minimum wage to rent may as well be on the moon as far as they are concerned. Decent high quality homes at truly affordable rents is what I would like to see.

What’s the most private thing you would admit to colleagues?: Its far too naughty to commit to print, if they want to know they’ll have to come and ask me, but it involves a time when I had my leg in a plaster cast and was on my way to a football match!

What is your dream job?: In all honesty, I think I’ve got it. I’ve had some real highs during my time with bpha and I’ve got a job that enables me to work with some fantastic and truly dedicated people – that puts a smile on my face and you can’t beat that. Obviously if Halle Berry’s Personal Assistant role becomes available I may have to reassess my future career options, but until then I’m very happy with where I am.

If you were Prime Minister for a day what would you do?: I would get out from behind my desk and go out into the real world to speak to some of the people who have been most affected by the decisions I have made the day before.  I would want to learn from real people the impacts those decisions are having on their ability to pay their rent and put food on the table for their loved ones. Education, health, housing all need addressing, but if I only had a day I’d want to glean enough information from the people most affected to make balanced and informed decisions for the benefit of all into the future.