Boss of Peterborough’s Cross Keys Homes is awarded MBE for services to housing

The dedicated work of the chief executive of Cross Keys Homes in Peterborough has been recognised with the award of the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

By Paul Grinnell
Friday, 11th June 2021, 10:30 pm
Updated Friday, 11th June 2021, 11:21 pm
Claire Higgins, chief executive of Cross Keys Homes.
Claire Higgins, chief executive of Cross Keys Homes.

Claire Higgins (58) who joined Cross Keys Homes at its creation in 2004 rising to become chief executive six years ago, has worked in the housing sector since leaving university in 1985.

She said the honour was significant because it showed that the social housing sector was noticed nationally and taken seriously.

Mrs Higgins (58) said: “I am absolutely delighted and overwhelmed.

“It is especially significant because it is for services to housing.

“I have been involved with the sector since 1985 and it is great that it is taken seriously.

“This honour will inspire me to keep on doing more to improve the lives of our tenants.

Mrs Higgins said she did not have any idea who put my name forward and only found out when she received an email from the Cabinet Office stating that she was to be recommended for the MBE

She added: “My husband, Harry, was thrilled at the news and we’re both looking forward to the investiture which will be either at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle although it might be some time yet as I understand there is a backlog because of Covid.

During her time at the top of Cross Keys Homes, which manages 12,500 homes and is responsible for about 35,000 people, Mrs Higgins has increased turnover and led an ambitious development programme to build 500 homes a year.

Originally from Stockport, Mrs Higgins says she experienced first-hand how much not having a safe, warm home could affect a person’s life and she was determined to tackle the issue.

She has worked tirelessly to provide safe and decent homes, tackling homelessness, minimising deprivation, improving neighbourhoods and ensuring everyone gets a chance to improve their life regardless of who they are.

●She set up a communities strategy with three stands, Health and Welling, Inspiring the Next Generation and Employment, Enterprise and Skills.

●She established the Tall Ships programme now in its ninth year that works with eight schools across Peterborough. It has seen over 400 children take to the high seas.

Mrs Higgins is also Governor of Ravensthorpe Primary School and Chair of the Board of Trustees for Peterborough Keys Academies Trust as well as being vice chair of PlaceShapers and vice chair of City College Peterborough and Chair of City Culture Peterborough.