Three cheers for Joan!
Published by RichardBrown for The Regenda Group in Communities and also in Environment, Housing
Joan with the team which supported her
A disabled woman in her 60s from Macclesfield has been shortlisted for a prestigious award, after bravely standing up to anti-social behaviour in her neighbourhood.
Joan Lowden, 61, is partially wheelchair bound and has lived alone since her husband died six years ago. Joan lives in Garden Close, Macclesfield, in a property owned by North West housing association Regenda.
Her problems began when a new resident moved into the close, and began playing loud music and holding drinking sessions in her home. She was also visited regularly by her abusive partner, which caused police involvement on several occasions.
Both the police and Regenda stepped in to try and sort out the situation – but events escalated, with threatening behaviour towards Joan and other neighbours. On one occasion, Joan was slapped in the face; stones were thrown at her cat; she was threatened with having her throat slit, and burning matches were left outside her front door.
Attempts to have the disruptive resident evicted were long and complex, and were only eventually successful because of Joan’s courage. Not only had she kept a diary of events, but she was willing to give her testimony in court. This resulted in the resident being evicted, and in her and her partner being officially excluded from entering Macclesfield for two years.
Duncan Thomasson-Khan, Regenda’s Tenancy Enforcement Officer, nominated Joan for a SLCNG Award for her community spirit, for which she has now been shortlisted. Duncan said: “This was an incredibly difficult situation, which was eventually resolved by Regenda and the police working in partnership with residents – but without Joan’s bravery, we would not have had the evidence we needed. Despite all the threats and intimidation, Joan was determined to see this through, and we are very proud of her. Regenda takes anti-social behaviour extremely seriously, and by working together, we can all play our part in ensuring that ASB is not tolerated.”
Joan added: “It was very difficult, and very stressful. I’d be lying if I said any different. But at the end of the day, I love where I live, and I am very happy here. I didn’t see why I should be the one to move when she was the one causing the trouble. I may be a widow and use a wheelchair, but I am not anybody’s victim. I’d like to thank Regenda and the police, who worked really hard to sort this out, and who were so supportive of me all the way through. I didn’t do it to win any awards, I did it for my neighbourhood – but it is nice to be recognised!”
Joan has been shortlisted for the SLCNG (Social Landlord Crime and Nuisance Group) Awards, the UK’s premier awards for effective practice in tackling anti-social behaviour. They are designed to recognise the outstanding contribution of residents, housing officers and others in making communities safer. Joan will be attending the finals at the annual conference of the group, in Solihull on November 13.