City West Housing Trust goes MAD to award customers
Published by Bobbie H for City West Housing Trust in Housing
• Liam Royle, winner of the Stephen Sheridan Special Award
Salford’s unsung heroes got their chance to shine at an awards ceremony hosted by City West Housing Trust.
The housing association, which manages 14,600 homes across West Salford, held its annual Make a Difference (MAD) Awards at the Lighthouse, Eccles, to honour customers who are helping to inspire people in their communities and make neighbourhoods a better place to live.
More than 230 people attended the ceremony with the top award on the night going to 18-year-old Liam Royle, who has helped change the lives of dozens of youngsters across the area running a local football team and hosting coaching sessions.
Liam, who is from Swinton, received the special Stephen Sheridan Award, named after City West’s much respected Board Member and customer who passed away earlier this year.
“I understand that Mr Sheridan was a real inspiration to people who lived in Salford and was a big supporter of young people in the city,” said Liam, who recently finished studying Sport and Football Coaching at Eccles Sixth Form College. “So I’m really proud to pick up this award.”
Liam is also a member of City West’s Youth Empowerment Panel, which gives young people a voice in how the housing association is run, and says it is vital that children from the area are given a chance to show their potential.
“I loved the coaching and working with the kids. They come from all different backgrounds, and some of them were spending a lot of time out on the streets and getting into trouble. We’ve been able to work with them and get them involved in football and other projects, which has turned them away from walking down the wrong path.
“I’ve never wanted to seek out praise for what I’m doing so I’m overwhelmed that those people have taken the time to nominate me, and that City West has given me this award.”
Other winners on the night included former UK Thai boxing champion Geoff Downes, who won the Community Role Model Award for his work setting up a Thai boxing club for children, and encouraging healthy living amongst young people.
Geoff, who opened his gym 15 years ago, said: “It’s amazing how things have changed over the years. We started off at St Paul’s Community Centre with just a few of us and some roll out mats. Now we’ve got our own gym and have trained between 30 and 40 champion fighters. We’re even off to Italy in October to compete in the World Championships.
“Each youngster that comes through the door is different. Some need to learn discipline, others need to build their confidence. It not just about the fighting, it’s about working with the children to help them develop.”
William and Ann Pinkney were awarded with the Community Contributors Award for more than 25 years supporting their community at the Valley Estate. The couple, aged 70 and 66, run local clubs and events, including a local kurling team, and help maintain the community garden, while Ann is well known among local people as the ‘neighbourhood sheriff’ for her role helping to settle arguments between children from her time helping at the local breakfast club.
“I’ve always said that the people from The Valley are the best in the world,” said Ann. “You couldn’t ask for a better bunch of people.
“We started working with kids in the area even before the local community centre was built. Now those kids have children of their own and we’re involved with helping them.”
Derrick Bradbury received the Community Champion Award for supporting projects in Little Hulton, including a local garden group and community café, while Sheila Bannon, who runs a family and toddler group in Irlam, was named Number One Neighbour.
The Kenyon Tenants and Residents Association took home the Community Group Award for their work improving the neighbourhood.
David Cummins, Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods at City West Housing Trust, said: “Each person picking up an award has made a lasting contribution to improving the lives of people in West Salford. It is people like these who make our communities special and its gives us a huge amount of pride to see the lengths our customers go to in a bid to improve the neighbourhoods where they live.
“At City West, we want to make sure that their efforts don’t go unnoticed, and that’s what our Make a Difference Awards are all about.”