A North East housing association has won a prestigious award in recognition for the quality of its tenants’ newsletter.

Byker Community Trust (BCT) housing association’s ‘Byker News’ newsletter won a gold award for ‘Best Publication’ at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) North East PRide Awards 2016.

The annual CIPR PRide Awards recognise the outstanding work public relations agencies and in-house teams deliver for their clients and employers across the UK.  The winners are selected by a judging panel of industry experts.

Produced quarterly and delivered to over 1,800 households and communal areas on the iconic Grade II* listed Byker Estate, Byker News aims to raise awareness of the projects and services the organisation is delivering on the Estate, promotes forthcoming activities and community events, encourages community engagement and participation and improves communication between tenants, stakeholders and the organisation.

Judges praised BCT’s approach by involving their Tenant Communications Group, which is made up of twelve tenants, by ‘delivering a publication which directly meets the needs of its readers, working closely with tenant representatives so that the newsletter’s content, was informative and user-friendly.’

It’s the second year in succession BCT has picked up an award for the quality of its publications.  In 2015, the organisation won the Excellence in Annual Reports award at the TPAS (Tenant Participation Advisory Service) Northern awards for the production of its first annual report to tenants, ‘Building Byker’s future… our journey so far’.

Jill Haley, Chief Executive of BCT, said: “We are constantly looking at ways to improve communication with our tenants and our Byker News newsletter is an ideal platform to keep tenants informed and updated of key projects and services.  It’s important to try and get the right balance between community-based stories and corporate information but keeping the reader engaged and interested.

“Byker News was the only housing association publication in the country to win a CIPR PRide award this year. This is a magnificent achievement for BCT and credit to our Tenant Communications Group who are fundamental in helping us to produce each publication.  Engaging with tenants and getting their feedback, enables us to improve the quality of the publication with each issue.

“We produce two key publications and what a success it is that both our tenants’ newsletter and annual report have now received prestigious awards.”

Tenant Communications Group member, Carol Oxborough of Michaelgate in Byker, said: “The newsletter tells me what is going on and is full of useful information. It grows from strength to strength. For me each edition gets better and better. It’s topical, easy to read and engages all age groups.”

Byker News was one of three titles shortlisted in the ‘Best Publication’ category and is produced by BCT’s external PR agency, Up North Communications.  To view the latest issue, please visit www.bykercommunitytrust.org