Q: What qualifications’ did you get Chris, when leaving School, College or University?
I considered myself as a late developer. I didn’t do particular well at high school ended up with 4 O levels. Which at the time, school said I should have done better. I didn’t enjoy school that much.
Then I went to college and University, I ended up doing a Master’s degree in housing in the 1990s.
Q: Please tell me a little about any jobs you had before joining BITMO?
I’ve worked in housing or particularly things to do with housing since 1993. Once I left university, and for the last 22 years I’ve worked in housing in different areas. I started off working in different Hostels in Manchester for the homeless. Worked also for a housing association in London. I have also spent a lot of my working career with tenant management associations. Which helped to develop BITMO obviously and to manage it on a day to day basis.
I have done other jobs while I was at college. I’ve worked as a street cleaner in London and a van driver. So I’ve done a wide variety of things. Mainly in last 20 years, around housing in one shape or another.
Q: What have been the most enjoyable moments since joining BITMO?
I think I would have to say there are a variety of them, I would not like to pick out one, I think I would say every day in enjoyable in one way shape or form.
To get such a turnout so many people voting and such a high 90% that really tells you that most of the time you are doing the right things, and people support you.
Also enjoyed working with the board, the staff and working for such an organisation.
Q: Outside of work, what do you enjoy most with home life?
I have a busy home life because I have two relatively young children. So I end up doing a lot with them, and the usual activities children get involved with. Some days swimming and the like. Hmm what do I like doing, I don’t play golf, I’m very keen on football, my playing days are well and truly over. I also enjoy watching football. I think generally after a hectic week at BITMO I enjoy spending time with my family.
Well I think BITMO is unique. I think when I first came here in 2009, BITMO had been through a lot of issues and a lot of problems in the couple of years previously.
I think what we’ve done as a team, staff and board, we’ve turned BITMO round and we’ve turned it into a higher achieving organisation. It’s not only recognised in Leeds, but latterly with these awards it been recognised across the country as doing good work and making good progress to making Belle Isle a better place to live in. Really I think that’s the biggest achievement and making the organisation something to be proud of and an organisation that people trust locally.
Q: What’s your favourite food and drink?
My favourite food and drink, well I would have to say I do like Malt Whisky that’s my favourite; I try not to drink too much. I’ve actually visited some distilleries in Scotland; I’m interested in the history side of Whisky.
In terms of food I have to say I enjoy a wide range of food, I do enjoy my food probably I would say my favourite food is fish, various types of fish, so if I had a chose I would order fish.
Q: Which is your favourite holiday destination and why?
My favourite holiday destination. Hmm two really, one would be the Yorkshire Dales and the other one would be France. Both because I spent a lot of time in France when I was a young man with Mum and Dad and Family. So enjoy taking my family to kind of enjoy the experience that I enjoyed, so yes Yorkshire Dales and France.
Q: Please tell me about how you feel about BITMO, along with Julie shortlisted for the Housing Sector awards?
Incredibly proud, I mean I’m really proud to be associated with the awards. I’m really pleased with Julie as well. I think she has done a magnificent job over the last year with setting up the Ancestry group, I think she obviously has the talent for doing that sort of thing. I’ve heard nothing but good reports about it from the people who attended (Including me, Ken). So really pleased for Julie, hope she does well, I called her this morning before setting off I said whatever happens to have made the final is a massive achievement for Julie and just pleased for BITMO to be associated with that as well.
Thank you Chris is there anything else you would like to add to this interview.
Just to say I am a big supporter of South Leeds Life (right answer Chris). I also get the News Letters delivered to my inbox every day and it’s quite often I read with interest every day. There is a really good variety of stories. I think really they’re grass roots stories as well, similar to BITMO really South Leeds Life is a generally a grass roots organisation . I’m pleased to be associated with it.
Interview took place at BITMO offices in the inner sanctum of Chris’ office, as he put it. On the same day as the team went to Manchester having been nominated for awards.
Listen to my interview with Chris Simpson here: