The House that made me – Fiona Hughes

The chief executive of Solihull Community Housing shares her love for her iPad, her obsession with the news and the fun of living in student accommodation.

Fiona Hughes 012

Q Where was the first home, the one where it all began?
A I grew up in a suburb of Bristol called Downend. It was a two-up, two-down where my journey in life began … It was warm, safe and in a great city.

Q She’s leaving home: remember that moment?
A I went to Sheffield University to study French – straight into a hall of residence so quite an easy transition. I then became more independent, living in shared student houses. It was great fun and in the days when we had student grants and housing benefit to help with housing costs. It was a great step to independence and I never looked back.

Q You can live in your dream home, anywhere in the world. What would you choose?
A On the beach …

Q Where do you live now?
A I live in Handsworth Wood in North Birmingham. It’s a wonderfully diverse neighbourhood where I have lived for the past 11 years and my children both went to school locally before they headed off to uni. The house itself is a modern open-plan and it’s been a great family home although doesn’t have the history I would like …

Q What’s the first thing to do on arriving back home?
A Usually let the cat in and check in with the girls if they are home. I’ll then make some food and catch up on the news. I am a news junkie which can be a bit depressing, I know!

Q Why does housing matter to you?
A It is the absolute foundation for building our future both as individuals, families and communities. A good quality, warm home in a safe neighbourhood provides the basis for us to develop and flourish. This is something I have always felt passionate about.

Q If you can keep only one item, what would it be?
A Apart from the obvious photo of my children, it would probably be my iPad which I know may reflect an unhealthy dependency!! It gives me access to so much useful information as well as good films, news and communication channels.

Q The more than bricks and mortar memory moment that stands out?
A Home is a place to create memories of building relationships with family and friends – parties to celebrate milestones are probably my stand out memories. Being part of enabling others to have this through the homes we manage is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

Q Home is…
A A wonderful space to breathe, to refuel, catch up with family, keep warm, entertain, spend time with friends and sleep! It’s really the place from which I am able to live life, grow and develop. I love to create spaces which make me and my family feel peaceful, content and happy.