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Female resident turns community around

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Female resident turns community around

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Published by Sophie Willett for Sanctuary Housing Association in Communities and also in Housing

Sanctuary Housing resident, Kaff Sowdon Sanctuary Housing resident, Kaff Sowdon

In honour of International Women’s Day, Sanctuary Housing is recognising the hard work a local female resident in Paignton has put back in to her local community, with the help from an independent charitable foundation.

Kaff Sowdon, Sanctuary resident, who heavily volunteers her time in the local community centre, Great Parks, has been acknowledged for her immeasurable efforts, thanks to the ‘Women & Communities Network’ organised by the South West Foundation.

In total six women across the South West received the accreditation by the Lottery funded foundation. Kaff stood out from competition due to the transformation of the local community centre and the services now on offer to all residents of the neighbourhood.

Kaff originally joined forces with Great Parks as a way to make friends, but with extensive volunteer training and support from Sanctuary Housing her bold ideas have been converted to services.

Great Parks Community centre lies in the heart of the neighbourhood offering health and fun clubs to all ages, including Bambinos for Paignton’s preschool youngsters, ROC Café for local teenagers and MS Society health class for senior citizens.

Kaff, who moved to Paignton 11-years-ago, had a vision to create a community hub for all to be proud of. The Sanctuary resident’s efforts have lifted community spirit as well as improving crime rates in the local estate – a reduction of 50 per cent in anti-social behaviour reports.

As with any woman who is recognised as part of International Women’s Day, Kaff’s plans are not going to stop anytime soon. Future dreams for the centre and the local neighbourhood include planning, fundraising and campaigning to get a play-area to accompany the multiuse games area for local youngsters to enjoy.

Kaff said: “I was overwhelmed when I was contacted by South West Foundation. I love and thoroughly enjoy all the hard work that I put into it, especially as the community and the local children need it. I never wanted to receive any acknowledgement, but now that I have, I am very grateful.”

Jan Crawley, from South West Foundation, added: “The Women & Communities Network, funded by Awards for All, was a fantastic way to promote the difference females make in their local community, which in turn builds self-esteem and confidence.

“We continue to offer our Community Research Programme and plan to reach many more residents in the future.”

Alison Kenny, Sanctuary’s community development manager, continued: “We have been working with Kaff and Great Parks Community Centre for some time now, and it’s been an absolute privilege to witness her confidence grow and in turn the community centre.”

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