Maria Cutting - Housing Performance & Standards Officer

Maria Cutting with resident Muriel

I love my job. I have found homes for hundreds of people in our ExtraCare Schemes and Villages and I love making a difference to someone’s life.

I spent 20 years managing pubs, clubs and restaurants but gave that up after my son was born because my partner and I didn’t want to bring him up in a pub. I joined ExtraCare nearly eight years ago.

I am Housing Officer for 14 locations throughout ExtraCare. The job includes meeting new applicants, showing them around the property, going through our waiting lists, delivering training, auditing files, and dealing with residents’ queries about housing benefits. I also carry out void inspections, get involved with policies and procedures and sit in on regular allocation meetings.

It’s a big team effort at ExtraCare. There are three Housing Officers including myself. I love what we do. I love going around the Schemes and Villages and meeting the local staff. I think most of the time the local staff don’t realise what a good job they do. I think sometimes they need to be reminded of that.

It makes you feel good to have been able to make life that little bit easier for people. That makes the job worthwhile. One lady who came in was very underweight, she was very frail. She now volunteers in one of the shops, she has put on a stone and a half in weight and she looks fabulous. She goes around talking to everybody, saying how wonderful the place is. Her granddaughter is pleased about how well she has done.

There was a lady who hadn’t been out of her house for two years after her husband died. Her two daughters were really worried. She moved to a Village and after about seven weeks her daughter said she had to telephone her mum to book an appointment to see her! She is volunteering in the café bar and she goes out with her friends on the bus into town.

I’m meeting another lady next week who doesn’t know which way to turn. Her mum and dad are not very well and she doesn’t want them to go into a home. I’m going to show her a couple of properties, show her what we offer and I can reassure her. It makes me feel good to be able to do that.

I get a buzz from my job. I get quite excited.