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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 full nominations below. You can vote for your favourite by following this link.
You have until 10 July to cast your vote.
1) Donna Foote and Sadie Masters
These two Sanctuary residents have helped organise a huge Covid-19 response group made up of local people in the south side of Glasgow, filling the gaps many of the services in the area couldn’t fill at the time of the crisis.
They helped organise and coordinate the following:
- Shopping for people who couldn’t
- Emergency food parcels straight to the door
- Cooked food deliveries
- Prescription pick ups
- Info stand Monday to Friday handing out leaflets and working with an organisation who provide a rickshaw to assist people travelling to the shops
- Laundrette visits for people who need support
- Taking people to appointments
- Crisis calls and links to agencies
2) Adele Rae
Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association
Adele is a long-time customer at LYHA and has been a customer representative on the Board for the last five years. She is passionate about community and is the Development Director the Kirkstall Valley Development Trust which has ambitious plans to regenerate and unite the west Leeds area where she lives. This has included setting up a community hub, known as Unit 11, which Adele and team, including another LYHA customer - Martin Knox, have recently transformed into a Covid 19 support centre and food distribution hub, working tirelessly to help Kirkstall residents who are vulnerable, elderly, and/or living in poverty. Adele is also a TPAS Board member.
3) Jim Ford
In his own words, Jim Ford has never been so busy. He’s always volunteered for EastEnd Homes, as well as the NHS and Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery. Throughout Covid he has supported the local Mutual Aid group and started volunteering at the Christ Church Food Bank on the Isle of Dogs, helping to treble the numbers of food they process and people they support. Every week Jim helps unload, shelve, bag up and distribute over 500kgs of food, and then personally delivers around 80kgs. He also looks out for the elderly in his community dropping off shopping, keeping people safe.
4) Maisie Waller
Tower Hamlets Homes
Maisie is 88 and attends LinkAge Wapping coffee mornings. Being upset by the difficulties people were having getting hold of face masks she asked her daughter to show her how to make them from her hospital bed. Saying she ‘wanted to ‘do her bit’ to support others during the crisis; to date she’s made more than 100 masks for LinkAge staff and volunteers helping them to help others safely. She’s making them for family and friends and takes orders from anyone who wants one. Maisie is inspiring everyone who knows her, delivering shopping and supplies to the community; wearing her own creation masks of course.
5) Betty Asprey
Housing Plus Group
Betty has been busy supporting neighbours during the coronavirus crisis. Betty has always enjoyed helping people and in lockdown, that’s what she has done. Following the temporary closure of the on-site restaurant, Betty helped organise the delivery of carvery meals to her community. She has collected for a ‘bonus ball’ draw and sewn uniform wash bags for carers. Crucially, she’s been someone to talk to, for neighbours unable to see family and friends. “I tell everyone that we will get through this and life will go on. I hope it won’t be quite the same, though. It would be nice to think we’ll appreciate the little things a bit more.”
6) Bob Skipp
Clarion Housing Group
Borehamwood resident Bob, 73, spends most of his day walking through his local estate to report repairs and go shopping for those less able. Since the pandemic began, he’s worked in partnership with Leecliffe Big Local Trust and Clarion to make a positive difference to the residents of his community. One of his initiatives has been a colour-coded cards system for vulnerable residents to put in their front window to indicate their needs. Green means everything is OK and red means that the resident needs something like groceries or prescriptions. Bob will then go and get what their neighbours require.
7) Jane Johnson and Simon Day
Junction7 is led by two dedicated Livin tenants in Newton Aycliffe. They have provided outstanding services to their community in crisis. Jane and Simon work seven days a week and are available 24 hours to meet their community’s need for essential goods parcels. Never turning down a cry for help, they have galvanised their local Councillors, police and residents to prepare and deliver over 200 parcels, lunches and kids activity packs every week to those in dire need. Recognised by Livin and other funders they have been awarded over £30,000 to continue their critical service that goes the extra mile.
8) Colleen Usher
One of our residents Colleen Usher worked as a volunteer at our local general hospital the John Radcliffe in Oxford. When the lockdown started Colleen was unable to continue within the hospital as a volunteer as she was classed as vulnerable. Through the volunteer coordinator at the hospital Colleen was made aware that the COVID research team were in desperate need of scrubs. Colleen approached a number of residents here and a sewing party was organised. The group appealed for financial funds to purchase material for the scrubs. Within three weeks a total of 30 sets of scrubs were made. It was a great team achievement working 2 meters apart from early morning to late afternoon. This achievement deserves recognition.
9) Nigel Prior
There’s a new bloke here at Mountbatten Court - Nigel Prior. He is my neighbour - I’m 81 and he is 80. It started when a man fell ill with Covid but we didn’t know at the time, and Nigel helped him when he collapsed until medics arrived. Nigel then had to isolate. No sooner was Nigel out of isolation when he started doing shopping and errands for many others on the court. No fanfare - he just gets on with it. He has also actively encouraged another resident to go for a regular long walk - often walking with her and encourages her when her health is not great. I’ve not had to ask him for help as I’m out and about as a private Carer but he often offers. I mentioned once I’m struggling to find flour - next thing someone was at my door with flour. I think the fact he does it without drawing attention to his good deeds is what makes him special.
10) Ronnie Challis and Charles Rycroft
Epping Forest District Council
Since the start of the pandemic, two tenants at Pelly Court, Ronnie Challis and Charles Rycroft have been helping other tenants with their shopping requirements and essential provisions by setting up their own shop in the communal hall at the scheme. Purchasing goods from a local cash and carry as well as near-by shops, Ronnie and Charles have opened their shop for an hour every day and if a tenant needs a particular item that is not in stock they put it on a list and make it available the following day. They adhere to social distancing rules and they are not doing this for profit or gain but out of kindness and care for their neighbours. This is a wonderful demonstration of the community spirit that we have seen across our sheltered schemes during the pandemic.
11) David Schumann
Homes for Haringey
David Schumann is a resident in Tottenham and has started volunteering with my team back in September 2019. He helped Homes for Haringey set up the Foodbox Project by donating his time, money and skills to build the store room for the project. He has also worked hard to re-decorate our community centres as well as assist with fundraising and collecting donations for our FoodBox (FoodBox is a combination of a foodbank with additional support like counselling, debt advice, employment support…ETC) Since the start of the pandemic, David has volunteered alongside me in running the borough’s food hub in Tottenham where he delivers daily to over 25 families in the community as well as organise volunteers in the hub to ensure the operation runs smoothly and effectively. Since the start of the operation, David has helped deliver over 2000 food parcels.
12) Sarah McCarthy
We’re nominating Hyde resident, Sarah McCarthy, who is dedicated to helping those in her local Brighton community who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Since the outbreak, Sarah, who is chair of the Phoenix Community TRA, has worked tirelessly in supporting her neighbours by delivering food. She is out in the community handing out essential food items to neighbours who are struggling to make ends meet, as well as those who are having to shield or self-isolate. One resident said: “Without Sarah’s help, we wouldn't have eaten today.” We think she’s a true community hero.
13) Maureen Flaherty
Rural Housing Association
Despite recently losing her husband, Maureen continues to volunteer within her local community during COVID-19. Maureen has worked in a local charity shop for 14 years but since its closure due to Coronavirus she has been supporting young mothers, who are vulnerable, isolated or in need of support through regular telephone calls as part of the Home start project which she has been volunteering with for years. She also helps organise regular zoom book clubs and bingo session for seniors in Castlewellan, to help maintain social contact for isolated seniors during the COVID pandemic.
14) Claire McKeefry
Rural Housing Association
During Covid-19 Claire, who is 60+, has been working at a HUB school as a Classroom Assistant for a 14 year old child with autism who's parent is a key worker. Claire travels to this school outside her own area to accommodate this child. She is doing four hours three days a week and acknowledges this is making a big difference to this young man. She also is a care assistant in her local Care Home doing Night duty. To date, wonderfully they have remained free of Covid-19, although they are to be regularly tested.
15) James Wilson
Places for People
During the pandemic, James Wilson of White Rose House has worked really hard to help other customers and staff he has completed shopping for people who are shielding every morning he will collect a list of the 36 customers and walk to town to collect food. He has collected food parcels for the vulnerable people. He orders supplies for the customers and calls them every day to check on their wellbeing. He has also run and arranged activities for people which helps support their mental health. James is a very caring person and will go above and beyond for others. James also supports his friend who has seizures and has help her with her recovery. This has taken pressure of the NHS.
16) Jane and Alan Hankins
Poole Housing Partnership
Fareshare has been operating from 13 PHP hubs across Poole for some time. The café service, run by residents for residents, closed in March as it couldn’t meet social distancing requirements. However, residents, Jane and Alan Hankins, with support from PHP, transformed the Fareshare scheme into a food delivery service and has managed to turn approximately half a tonne of out of date food into food parcels and meals for over 150 households each week. Residents cooked the food donated (maintaining social distancing of course) and then PHP staff and other residents delivered the meals to those in need.
17) Kerry Thompson
Kerry Thompson is a wheelchair user from Milton Keynes who created her own ‘I’m shielding’ posters so delivery people and visitors are aware of her vulnerability. This inspired Habinteg to create our own version of the posters, which are now being downloaded and used by disabled tenants elsewhere. Kerry has blogged for us on staying healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic and has written a powerful article about the importance of accessible homes for disabled people during lockdown. Kerry also joined forces virtually with disabled tenants in her role as a valued member of our Insight Group.
18) Ken Robinson
At very nearly 90 years old, Ken puts the rest of us to shame. He recently raised £1500 for NHS & North west Ambulance Service. He says his inspiration was Captain Tom. Ken is a fit and healthy member of our community, and already helps many by help run slimming world groups though out the week. These have been closed due to current lock down restrictions, making ken at a loss of something to fill his time in. With this in mind, his grandchildren came up with a plan for him to walk 500 laps of the scheme carpark, which they would in turn sponsor him for. So Ken set of on his journey, doing approx. 30 laps a day. Which he had completed in no time, his efforts were put on face book, and soon his donations had risen to £1500.
19) Chris - PHP Residents’ Befriending Service
Poole Housing Partnership
This idea came from local resident, Chris, who asked whether he could call other residents rather than them just receiving a call from PHP. This was discussed with other residents who agreed it was a great idea, which would make them feel useful and hopefully lead to some new friends. PHP identified suitable “befrienders” and then asked people whether they wanted to be included in the scheme. We currently have 25 befrienders who each call about five people each week, and the numbers keep growing. This has been a huge success and very much appreciated by residents.