Shruti Bhargava, Chair of Leeds-based housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise, has been awarded the prestigious title of Board/Committee Member of the Year at the Women in Housing Awards. The accolade was presented to her during the opening ceremony of Housing 2023, the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Housing and Europe’s largest housing festival, held in Manchester.

The Women in Housing Awards aim to recognise and celebrate exceptional leaders, innovators, and changemakers in the housing sector, highlighting the accomplishments of women and sharing insights from individuals and teams within the industry. The Board/Committee Member of the Year Award specifically acknowledges a female board or committee member who has exhibited remarkable dedication and performance over the past year, resulting in a significant positive impact.

Ms. Bhargava has served as the Chair of Unity Homes since 2015 and is scheduled to step down from her position at the association’s upcoming Annual General Meeting later this year. Cedric Boston, the Chief Executive of Unity Homes and Enterprise, expressed delight at Ms. Bhargava’s recognition, emphasising her transformative leadership during a period of considerable change within the organisation.

Boston stated, “We are delighted that Shruti has won this major national award. She has provided transformational leadership to the association over a prolonged period when Unity has undergone many changes. Shruti has an unbreakable commitment to our social purpose to fight inequality and empower BME [Black and Minority Ethnic] people to improve their lives by creating opportunities and helping to regenerate communities. She has made an exceptional contribution to Unity’s success story.”

Ms. Bhargava herself expressed surprise and gratitude upon receiving the award. She thanked Ali Akbor, her predecessor as Unity CEO for six years, as well as past and present Board members Rav Panesar and Andy Welsh. She also acknowledged BME National Chair Cym D’Souza and Charlie Norman, Co-Chair of the Better Social Housing Review Steering Group, for their kind testimonials. Ms. Bhargava extended her appreciation to all those who supported her throughout the years and specifically mentioned her gratitude towards Unity Homes and Enterprise for providing her with a purposeful role that deeply resonated with her. She expressed the belief that finding a similar level of synergy in the future would be a stroke of luck.

Shruti Bhargava’s remarkable achievements and dedication to promoting social equality and community empowerment have been recognised and celebrated through this prestigious award. Her contributions to Unity Homes and Enterprise have played a vital role in its success, making a lasting impact on the lives of marginalised individuals and fostering positive change within communities.