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Community housing | A real ‘Good Neighbour’ receives award recognition
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A real ‘Good Neighbour’ receives award recognition

Whether it’s organising days out, looking after a neighbour’s pet or helping to keep the community where she lives tidy, nothing is too much trouble for Sue Bowler, winner of this year’s Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) Good Neighbour Award.

The area’s leading provider of affordable homes recognised Sue’s efforts during the housing association’s Annual General Meeting last week at its headquarters in Parker Court, Stafford.

The community-spirited resident of Lotus Court in Stone was nominated for the annual accolade by neighbour Pamela Smith. She explained how Sue is always there to offer a helping hand or just a friendly chat, as well as organising meals out at local pubs and even a trip to the seaside for residents of the Independent Living Scheme managed by SARH.

On receiving the Good Neighbour Award, retired nurse Sue said: “Winning came as a real surprise as I’ve only done what I know my neighbours would do for me.

“We’re all great friends at Lotus Court, I’m fortunate to be living alongside such a great bunch of people; we all have a great time on our trips and nights out.”

The award was presented by the Mayor of Stafford, Cllr Aidan Godfrey, and SARH Chief Executive Karen Armitage, who said Sue’s dedication to her neighbours provided a shining example of the community spirit enjoyed by many SARHomes Independent Living customers.

“Sue really has proved to be a good neighbour and thoroughly deserves this award for helping other residents when they are poorly, and bringing other residents together to enjoy some good times as well,” she said.

“One of the major benefits of our Independent Living schemes is that they enable customers to enjoy additional support and be part of a real community whilst enjoying the privacy of their own self-contained home.”

The AGM also provided the opportunity for Karen to highlight some of the housing association’s achievements over the past year – including the completion of 290 new affordable homes in 2016-17 that have propelled the organisation into Inside Housing magazine’s top 50 builders list of UK housing associations.

Introducing the theme of the AGM, Making Every Contact Count, she also outlined how the housing association was embracing new ways to communicate with customers.

“From dealing with initial applications for housing to responding to requests for repairs, this approach embraces the latest technology and has been developed in response to feedback from customers,” Karen explained.

“This has enabled us to speed up applications for housing and our responses to enquiries whilst keeping customers informed on the progress of their enquiry.”

Led by the Chair of the Board, Alison Hadden, the AGM also saw presentations made to a number of SARH employees, including Ambassador of the Year Carl Wallace and Apprentice of the Year Kayleigh Cooper.

Pictured: Good Neighbour 2017 winner Sue Bowler (centre) is congratulated by the Mayor of Stafford Cllr Aidan Godfrey, and SARH Chief Executive Karen Armitage.

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