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Saxonby co-founder nominated for 24housing award


Saxonby James Wood 2

James Wood, a co-founder of Shropshire construction company Saxonby, has been nominated for a prestigious industry award.

Wood hopes to secure the 24housing Awards’ Housing Professional of the Year at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, 06 October. Described by the organisers as a ‘big category’, the judges are looking to find one individual who has made the greatest difference to social housing and who has gone far beyond the call of duty to make the sector that little bit better.

Saxonby was established in 2008 and Wood’s vision the company has resulted in the design, development and delivery of 230 innovative, affordable homes throughout the West Midlands. Corporate social responsibility and corporate governance are now embedded into Saxonby’s business ethos and practices. His constant dialogue with housing associations on how to innovate has led to the successful completion of developments such as the one at Kinlet on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border. Part funded through Shropshire Council’s Community Led Grant scheme the project used off-site manufactured structural insulated panels, the first for a social housing development in the county. It was championed by David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, who described it as ‘brilliant'.

Wood has confronted and found solutions to key business challenges facing the sector including the loss of public grant funding, competing for land with large housing developers and skill shortages.

Drawing on his already significant private sector experience and business acumen, he has held or been appointed to many important housing organisation posts including chair of Shropshire Housing Alliance, Shropshire’s biggest homelessness charity, board member of The Wrekin Housing Group and committee member of Shropshire Association for Sheltered Housing. He is also the co-founder of Reviive, a household recycling and resale community interest company and social enterprise.

In 2013 Saxonby was awarded a Shropshire Chamber of Commerce Business in the Community award for its work with local charities and grass roots organisations. Wood has raised money for youth homelessness and Barnardo’s by sleeping rough, encouraged and helped young entrepreneurs – Shropshire Born & Brewed – and was the keynote speaker at the Shropshire Young Enterprise awards 2014.

Commenting on his nomination, Saxonby co-founder and director Andrew Copson said: “James Wood has developed a very recognisable brand in Saxonby and is now leading the changing face of delivery within the sector. Whether building homes or providing indirect support through his numerous benevolent activities he is a true champion of social housing. Well done James and good luck!”

Picture: James Wood, co-founder, Saxonby.