A new Better Days Hub Lead has joined Orbit to manage and develop the free customer support services provided through its community hubs.
Louise Millington, who has several years’ experience in community roles, joins the leading housing provider and housebuilder from Charnwood Borough Council.
Through Orbit’s Better Days hubs, Louise will be responsible for working with residents, partner organisations and Orbit’s Place Area Leads to provide free, tailored support that best meets local needs.
Better Days, which is open to all Orbit customers, offers free support on a range of issues including managing finances, employment and skills, mental health and general wellbeing. Louise will also manage a new network of local Community Connectors who will directly engage customers, providing information, advice and guidance, link them into support services and engage them in community activities.
Louise said: “Whilst telephone and digital services are really useful tools in helping us to support customers, we recognise that technology can be a barrier to some people. We want to ensure we are inclusive in our support and to extend our reach to as many customers as possible, which is why we’re investing in Better Days hubs and working with local people and partners to ensure that they’re offering customers the right services and tackling local issues. Together, our aim is that the Better Days hubs become key focal points of community activity, with co-designed services that offer a safe space for customers to get the support they need.”
Louise’s role is part of Orbit’s new Thriving Communities Strategy, which aims to ensure that Orbit creates maximum social value within the communities in which it operates.
In 2021/22, over 5,000 Orbit customers, alongside a cohort of non-Orbit customers living in and around Orbit communities, accessed its Better Days services. The strategy aims to build on this success and allow for increased participation in the design and co-production of the Better Days provision, involving communities and customers in determining and acting on local priorities.
Recently, Orbit announced that fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) would be providing specialist energy advice for its customers and that it was launching a Welfare Benefits Advice Service which will support around 1,200 tenants and homeowners every year, who need help to understand and apply for the benefits that they’re eligible for as well as providing coaching about how to become more financially resilient.
Other support measures include a new cost-of-living education hub on Orbit’s customer website, a furnished home pilot to help customers out of furniture poverty, and an increase of funding to Orbit’s existing mental health support service commissioned with Mind and Aspire4u Breathing Space.