HQN Frontline Stars Award: Individuals shortlist | News

HQN Frontline Stars Award: Individuals shortlist

As a centrepiece of its annual conference in July, HQN has launched a special award in recognition of those frontline workers, volunteers, residents, and members of the housing community who have gone the extra mile during the Covid-19 crisis and made a tangible difference to the lives of others.

Please see the below the full nominations from the "Individuals" category. To vote for your favourite, please follow this link.

The other two categories shortlists, "Residents" and "Teams", can be found by clicking the links.

You have until 10 July to cast your vote.

1) James Appleton Carroll

Places for People

As part of our response to COVID 19, Places for People, set up a taskforce designed to contact all of our customers, providing support for those who need it. A key member of the team, James has single-handedly contacted over 2000 households, supporting 840 customers.  Dealing with complex care issues or trivial chatter he has given every customer the same level of care and attention.  James has instructed local support services to combat loneliness, assist with shopping or to provide medical deliveries. Managing his own workload alongside the additional duties of the taskforce; he has been a real frontline hero.


2) Jane Beresford - Court Manager at Limestone View


At the onset of Covid-19, seven residents tested positive and sadly one died. Jane left her office and worked throughout with the Support workers, because she wanted to set an example: she did not want to ask them to come in and work face to face if she was not prepared to do the same. As a result of hers and their dedicated work Limestone View was thanked by the local GPs for containing the outbreak.


3) Saed Mohamed – Housing Team Leader


I would like to nominate Saed Mohamed because of his tireless efforts coordinating our COVID-19 housing response. As Housing Team Leader for ACH, a housing association offering supported housing and emergency accommodation for newly arrived refugees, Saed has worked tirelessly during the pandemic and lockdown to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of vulnerable tenants. Saed has coordinated the Housing Team in their efforts to execute a remarkable response, putting the health and wellbeing of tenants far above their own. By managing our food delivery response, Saed has gone door-to-door to deliver vital staples such as rice, eggs, cereals, canned food, vegetables and cooking oils – whilst ensuring his team, and tenants are fully protected and knowledgeable about social distancing rules. We want Saed and his team to know how much we admire and appreciate their tireless energy and commitment in these challenging times.


4) Beth Prashar – Customer Support Coordinator

Places for People

Beth has gone above and beyond her role during the Covid-19 pandemic by ensuring the service and office has remained open throughout. Beth has completed two sign up’s face to face, one family fleeing persecution and one family fleeing domestic violence, both of these were urgent even though lettings were on hold. Beth has managed the risks, followed Government Guidelines and Places for People policies to provide safe and secure accommodation in this time of uncertainty. Beth has also maintained collections of Fareshare food donations and distributed these to our customers which has involved travelling to all the dispersed properties across the city.


5) Alan Conran, Housing Officer

Estuary HA

Alan Conran, Housing Officer was formerly a paramedic and a police officer.  He heard help was needed in Care and Support and set up a service to deal with elderly people who may fall and be unable to get up.  “Alan has been such an asset to the team, the services have had to make huge adjustments because of a shortage of available ambulances to deal with falls. Having Alan on hand is a very welcome additional resource with his expertise at a time when we are stretched to the limit.  Alan has also been out to services to train new care assistants in manual handling, basic life support and first aid training.


6) Maureen Craddock, Sheltered Housing Manager

Irwell Valley

Maureen has dedicated her career to supporting elderly and vulnerable people. Due to retire on 31st March, she felt passionately about supporting residents at this difficult time and volunteered to postpone her retirement. Her dedication to supporting customers is phenomenal. When there was a spike in cases at one sheltered housing scheme, she created her own track-and-trace system, contacted everyone over the weekend, checked how they were and supported them to get tested. All were checked, were OK and felt reassured. From innovative, quick thinking, to practical help like cleaning out resident’s fridge’s whilst they have been away from home at this time – if Maureen can help, she will.


7) Adam Wallworth, Plaster

Irwell Valley

With the spike in domestic abuse, demand for women’s refuges has been increasing. Before lockdown came into force the homes team at Irwell Valley Homes were renovating a new women's refuge in Salford. Not wanting to let social distancing stop progress, Adam volunteered to work on his own to compete the renovation and ensure the handover to the service provider could take place on time. This would never normally be a one-person job, but Adam worked tireless on his own to complete the build and deliver this much needed new supported hosing scheme.


8) Dave Dickens, Director of Income & Customer Services


Dave Dickens has worked tirelessly to support residents facing hardship since the start of the pandemic. In response to the overwhelming demand for emergency food in the pandemic, Dave worked with Bradford Council to set up, stock and manage a local food distribution hub. Dave is passionate about helping others and has played a central role alongside council colleagues in coordinating the delivering of over 10,000 parcels to the doorstep of vulnerable residents. Jenny Cryer, Bradford Council’s assistant director for performance, commissioning and partnerships, adds: “Dave has an absolute focus on meeting the needs of Bradford’s residents and his commitment to partnership working was essential to the success of the project.  His sense of social purpose is inspiring and is worthy of special recognition.”


9) Darren Cook


Gas Engineer Darren Cook really has gone “the extra mile” during lockdown, clocking up hundreds of miles to deliver in excess of 3000 food parcels to some of Walsall’s most vulnerable households. Darren gave up his spare time to support Walsall’s community hubs. He quickly gained a rapport with local charities and supported the development of critical food hubs and co-ordinated a small of team of delivery drivers to ensure vulnerable residents received essential supplies and prescriptions. His enthusiasm and tenacity has also seen him negotiate with local companies for free food and supplies, even securing two electrical cool boxes to help transport fresh meat.


10) Ian Brunning, Repairs and Maintenance Operative

Muir Group Housing Association

Ian busily transported rolls of material to seamstresses across the North West so they could be made into vital PPE ‘scrubs’ for frontline NHS staff. Using a Muir Property Solutions van, he would also distribute finished items to hospitals and care homes, helping to protect doctors, nurses and care home workers. A dedicated MPS operative, Ian’s work to provide such important PPE typifies his passion for helping others and volunteering, doing so for more than 40 years with Meals on Wheels, Victim Support and Blood Bikers.


11) Karolina


Radian would like to applaud the fantastic work of Karolina, our Recovery Administrator who received a call from a customer that suffered domestic abuse. Karolina effortlessly executed a difficult line of questioning to assess the risk of the customer, without alerting the offender at property. Thanks to Karolina, the customer was offered removal of the offender by the police, a lock change and access to support services and alterative accommodation within 24 hours. Domestic abuse is a weighty subject matter – and on this occasion Karolina handled the situation impeccably and delivered a tremendous result for the customer.


12) Maureen

Clarion HG

As a Neighbourhood Response Officer Maureen is normally out and about on Clarion estates but even while having to stay at home she has been supporting communities by making use of her 3D printers… Maureen and her son Tom, an electrical engineer at Broomfield Hospital are creating PPE for healthcare workers. Using the 3D printers, they’ve created over 250 face shields and over 1,550 ear straps to healthcare workers including care home staff, district nurses, doctors’ surgeries, ambulance crews and police.


13) Mert Kaya

Clarion HG

Clarion Response Multi Trade Operative, Mert Kaya, split his time between completing emergency works and volunteering his spare time to help set up several Intensive Care Units (ICU) units within two London hospitals. He travelled 450 miles a week to make sure he could put his skills to good use. "I volunteered initially for a few days, but there's so much to do that I decided to stay until it was completed. At the moment the weekends are just another working day, but the NHS is absolutely incredible and I'm proud to be able to do my bit."


14) Laurinda Hornblow


Our Head of Income, Laurinda Hornblow, is an expert on Universal Credit. Her level-headed guidance of a forward-thinking team saw 100 advisors retrained and upskilled to give expert tenancy support advice from the very outset of lockdown. Under her guidance we’ve supported more than 2362 residents with new and existing applications for benefits and other sources of income during the last two months. Laurinda’s steady hand and data-led approach will mean that we continue to back up our pledge that no one will be made homeless due to Covid-19 with solid advice translated into practical action for our residents.


15) Jozella Silcott, Anti-social behaviour officer

Tower Hamlets Homes

Unfortunately coronavirus hasn’t stopped ASB making lives a misery for communities and Jozella wasn’t going to let a global crisis stop her from protecting an extremely vulnerable 88 year old tenant from danger.  Jozella took legal action to prevent the lady from her daughter and co-tenant who was using the flat to take part in the drug trade, taking advantage of her mother being helpless to stop her due to dementia and being in lockdown.  Jozella gave lengthy evidence in court and obtained an injunction and powers of arrest, meaning the resident is now safe and supported.


16) Aladine Omar


“I like to send out a Big Fat Cheer for my colleague Aladine Omar. Not only is Aladine continuing to carry out his regular duties, often working from a satellite office every few days to keep our service moving. He has also worked multiple shifts at other locations to cover staff shortages in our hostels. He has even had to work a late shift as cover completely by himself. This in my opinion makes him a Hero for our services and I believe his efforts should be recognised and praised.” For attending properties and being physically present every day in them. This presence made a huge difference. He also gave support to my customers whilst I was on furlough and supported them wonderfully whilst juggling his own caseload.” Since the social distancing measures and Covid19 regulations began, Aladine has gone the extra mile by:

  • Moving bulky items of furniture in his car / strapped to the roof of his car so that we could redistribute this across the whole borough and 22 buildings in order to fill our voids.
  • Picked up one of the highest number of shifts to help out other services.
  • Being a first responder to incidents and complaints as one of the few team members who drive, meaning that he is attending locations where he doesn’t have a caseload to manage challenging and anti-social behaviour.
  • Being a lead on liaising with contractors to ensure access and maintenance is carried out wherever possible.
  • Remaining positive, ambitious and dedicated throughout all the challenges.  Without his efforts and tenacity, we would have struggled with many more challenges.


17) Martin Jones – Property surveyor

Selwood Housing

Since March, Martin has volunteered his time to lead on managing welfare calls, a system that was set up to check in on our most vulnerable customers (over 1,000!). Martin worked 10 hour days and often gave up evenings and weekends to look after our customers. Just a phone call asking how they were made a huge difference to our customers lives in this time of uncertainly and in some cases, quite literally saved lives. Martin dealt with huge volumes of calls every day, managing a team of staff, and various IT problems but took it all in his stride and never let our customers down.


18) Karen Jones, Sheltered Housing Team Leader

London Borough of Newham

Karen has shown exceptional leadership in managing Newham’s 6 sheltered housing schemes during the COVID19 pandemic.

Karen has developed and implemented guidance for both staff and residents to keep them safe during this difficult period.  Managing a team of 8 officers for over 380 residents Karen has ensured that daily welfare checks continue to be carried out for all residents and worked alongside HelpNewham to deliver food parcels, medicines and befriending services to those residents who requested support. Karen’s efforts have been commended by the Council’s Public Health Team.


19) Jill Orr

Town & Country Housing

Jill works as a Graduate Researcher for Town & Country Housing. 3 months after moving almost 600 miles (from Aberdeen to Tunbridge Wells) into a new job in a new town, where she had no previous connections, Jill found herself working from home; locked down in her room in a shared house. Jill has proved resilient, adaptable and good humoured and committed to her role, which has changed dramatically as a result of Covid19. She provides invaluable support to our rapidly developed welfare calls project which has provided advice and help through over 3500 calls to vulnerable residents to date.  


20) Rosie Barnes, Graduate Trainee

Tower Hamlets Homes

After a long week of making phone calls to vulnerable residents, one of our youngest members of staff, Rosie contacted a man, late on a Friday afternoon, left in severe hunger by the crisis.  He had no money or food; hadn’t eaten all week and she pulled out all the stops to get help, giving up her weekend time. The resident was unable to leave his flat due to severe health conditions, the main council emergency COVID support services were so overwhelmed it might take 2 days to help.  With other organisations closed for the weekend she made personal arrangements that got food delivered to him, even offering her own money.