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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

EM Update: 50 years a CIH member!


This year, East Midlands Board Member David Greatorex celebrates 50 years as a member of CIH – we asked him to share his membership journey with us.

It was in early October 1964 that notification was received that my application ‘to be admitted as a Registered Student had been duly considered and approved with effect from 1 October 1964’. However, my enrolment on the Register of Members (of the then Institute of Housing) was subject to the payment of the appropriate entrance fee and first annual payment within two months. So, I promptly made the payment of £2.17s.9d in entrance fees (£1.11s.6d) and first half-year subscription (£1.6s.3d). Post decimalisation that is about £2.89!

Also, I was told that the next full year subscription was due on 1 April 1965 – and that, on payment of the fees, I would become eligible to sit the Intermediate Examination of the Diploma in Housing Management in 1966.

The next years were to be very busy in undertaking the study for the Diploma by correspondence course (provided by the NALGO Correspondence Institute) and I was allowed ‘day release’ to assist in this. It meant being in a room with several other council staff colleagues doing correspondence courses. No one else was doing housing so little interaction was possible and my tutor was a ‘letter away’.  Any questions I had were sent by mail to the tutor for comment and response. The turn round time was at least two weeks – this applying to any papers to mark as well.

In the study period I was also allowed to go to events provided by the local branch, particularly useful were study visits and the opportunity to meet and talk with other students.

Examinations were held in Birmingham over a four-day period and consisting of seven three-hour papers for both the Intermediate and Final Examinations, completed in 1971. I had the notification of ‘successful pass’ a few days before my wedding, having originally been advised by my local mentor to ‘keep away from the women lad while you’re studying!’

As I developed my career in local authority housing I was fortunate to be allowed to supervise many students as they progressed along the route I had taken – but hopefully with more support. They were also able to take advantage of the many ‘new’ ways of studying and courses available in numerous education establishments and the ability to link and interact with tutors and fellow students was much improved. 

My membership of CIH has always been important to me and I have tried to use it to the benefit of others, particularly students. I was not greatly involved in ‘branch work’ for some time until my then director suggested I become involved as an education and training officer. This I did in the early 1990s and it allowed even more opportunity to help students during their studies. I have served on the Regional Board of the East Midlands since it was formed in 1998, being given the honour of being Chair in 2004 – 2006 and after that Treasurer.

So, what more does my membership of CIH mean to me – and maybe others? 

In my early years of membership I made many useful contacts where I was helped, particularly, during my study period. I have tried to ‘repay’ this by being available and supportive to and for students over many years. All students have moved on in various ways but it has been pleasing to see them at various events doing their own networking and thus developing their own careers.

Membership has served me well on several occasions in being invited to serve on external committees and groups (often multi disciplinary) where a specific housing input was required. The most notable of these was a government working party developing the first truly national housing benefits scheme. It was also good to be involved in many initiatives promoted by CIH, such as working on validation of courses and more recently representing the East Midlands region when the governance review was undertaken.

Networking advantages are always available but I believe membership of the CIH has helped develop contacts - and friendships - over the years, many of which still exist today.

Membership of CIH is important - it has certainly been good for me!

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