Manningham Housing Association (MHA) chief executive Lee Bloomfield has been named as Mentor of the Year at the prestigious Housing Heroes awards.
Organised by leading trade publication Inside Housing in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), the national awards recognise the commitment, passion and hard work of the unsung heroes of the UK housing sector.
The ceremony was held as a curtain raiser to Housing 2019, the CIH’s annual conference which was addressed by Theresa May in one her final speeches as Prime Minister.
Mr Bloomfield was recognised for his achievements as a mentor on the Housing Diversity Network’s Board Excellence Programme.
Taf Sharif, a board member at the Stockport-based Equity Housing Group, was someone who benefited from the MHA chief executive’s guidance.
She said: “Lee’s housing knowledge, support and words of encouragement have been invaluable in shaping and improving my role as a board member at Equity Housing.
“He has guided me throughout the year providing practical support and tangible actions for me to put into practice. This has enabled me to perform more conscientiously and effectively, adding value to the board as a whole.
“Lee has been approachable and has made a positive difference to instilling confidence and assertiveness to a young, female, minority ethnic non-executive director in the housing sector, such as myself.”
Rebecca Asady, also a board member at Equity Housing Group, was equally keen to praise Mr Bloomfield’s work.
She said: “I was lucky to have Lee assigned as my mentor. He has been generous with both his time and expertise, guiding me in a supportive and professional manner even after the formal mentorship programme ended.
“Lee's exemplary values inform his advice and this provides real assurance in approaching new situations as a board member."
Barrington Billings, chair of the MHA board, said he was delighted for Mr Bloomfield.
He commented: “This is more excellent news for Manningham Housing Association after recently being shortlisted for four other national housing awards, winning a Northern Housing Award and becoming the first association in the country to be officially accredited for our work in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion.
“Since he joined MHA in January 2018, Lee has skillfully steered the association through a change programme which has significantly improved the quality of everything we do.
“Using his knowledge and experience to improve the performance of others outside MHA is typical of him, and it is wonderful to hear the compliments he has received from Taf and Rebecca.
“I certainly regard Lee as a housing hero. It’s wonderful that this status has been made official.”
Mr Bloomfield, who spent almost four years as chief executive of the Leeds Jewish Housing Association before joining MHA, said he was humbled by winning the award.
He continued: “I am obviously very pleased to win, but knowing that I have been able to positively impact the work of colleagues in the housing association sector is even more satisfying.
“It is never a chore to mentor others. I have received excellent advice from many very knowledgeable professionals throughout my career and it is great be able to pass this on whenever possible.
“Being part of the Housing Diversity Network’s Board Excellence Programme is a privilege and an education in itself. I would like to thank the MHA board for enabling me to be involved.”
With an annual turnover of £8.5 million and a staff of 32, MHA manages more than 1,400 homes for families, the elderly and those in need in Bradford and Keighley.