14th Aug, 2020

Honouring south Warwickshire's unsung heroes

Ian Hughes 15th Jul, 2020

UNSUNG heroes in south Warwickshire are set for national recognition after being shortlisted for a prestigious community award.

Community champions are being applauded in the annual Orbit Thriving Communities Awards and for the first time the public is being asked to decide the winners, with voting closing on July 26.

The awards celebrate the housing association’s customers and partners who go the extra mile to make a contribution to their local area or who have made a positive impact on their own lives.

The south Warwickshire nominations are:

* Cassandra made the difficult decision to leave behind both her career and home to flee an abusive relationship. With literally just a couple of hours to escape with the clothes on her back, Cassandra fled to a women’s refuge before moving to an Orbit property. Single-handedly, she was juggling locating a new school for her children, arranging a new tenancy and supplying furnishings and white goods for her new home. This was in addition to managing her debts and her own mental health, all in a place that was completely new to her and her children. Once the lockdown situation improves, she is planning to get herself integrated into the community through volunteer or part-time work and then will be looking into self-employment.

* Wendy Walters works with Hastings House Medical Centre in Wellesbourne, working alongside the practice nurse out in the community. She has spent her time visiting customers in general needs homes, extra care schemes and Independent Living properties, working closely with Orbit employees and medical staff to ensure that customers are being supported.

* Rubbish Friends was created in 2017 with a vision to bring like-minded and passionate individuals together to keep communities clear of litter for residents and wildlife. Three years on, led by Becky Reynolds, there are a small army of Rubbish Friends that meet all year around to pick up discarded litter on the streets, parks and waterways of Stratford. It is now a registered charity with volunteers and has inspired many other local groups to join in in doing their bit for the environment; groups meet regularly in Southam, Redditch and further afield.

Orbit group chief executive Mark Hoyland said: “While many award schemes have been cancelled due to the pandemic, we felt it more important than ever to put our customers first and to recognise our community heroes.

“We want to shine the spotlight on the amazing people, charities, social enterprises, and businesses that share our values and make the world a better place, especially in current circumstances. We are always looking at ways to increase our impact on communities and these awards are to say well done and thank you.”

Visit betterdays.orbit.org.uk/orbit-community-heroes for details of nominees and to vote.

Winners will be announced on August 14.

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