It's official - Sam's a Good Neighbour

A customer at one of our housing schemes in Wolverhampton is officially a superhero after scooping an award for his contribution to his local community.

Saini Ghansham – known as Sam – won the Midland Heart Good Neighbour award in the Unsung Heroes accolades, organised by City of Wolverhampton Council to celebrate residents of Whitmore Reans who go the extra mile.

Sam moved into our supported living scheme Firsbrook House in 2017 and has achieved an independent tenancy.

He won the award because of his many big-hearted activities including shopping for neighbours, buying and sharing food in the communal areas, giving emotional support to other residents and fundraising for charities.

Another Firsbrook resident, Rachel Treasure, won a Brighter Futures award sponsored by the Gloucester Street Community Centre which she attends.

Lesley Cotterill, Scheme Manager at Firsbrook House said: “Sam is such a kind, caring man who takes time to look after his neighbours. He’s generous to a fault and will always help someone in need. He supports Midland Heart too through his voluntary work on the customer scrutiny team and as a customer representative on interview panels.

“Before the restrictions on social gathering, he regularly organised small events for the Firsbrook House community, including for the Maha Shivaratri festival in February, as well donating both his time and money to charities," she added.

Vicki Brownhill, Head of Housing Management, said: “We were delighted to support the Unsung Heroes awards by sponsoring the Good Neighbour category. Sam is an inspirational good neighbour and volunteer and a very worthy winner of our award.”

Sam said of his success: “It’s brilliant; I’m very proud and I’m going to add it to my CV!” He added that his role as an “involved” customer for Midland Heart included helping to inspect properties. He also took part in a recent scrutiny project to look at how we can make our retirement living offer more accessible to people from different ethnicities.

He is also a volunteer inspector for Healthwatch in Wolverhampton, helping to inspect health services across the city.

Rachel, who has also lived at Firsbrook for three years, said she was making positive progress with courses and other activities arranged by Gloucester Street Community Centre. Unfortunately, a voluntary placement at a nursery was cancelled due to COVID-19 but she was looking forward to starting an English course soon.

People were nominated for a range of awards earlier this year, with categories celebrating everything from being a good neighbour, promoting community spirit, being an eco-warrior or inspiring others.

An awards ceremony planned in April had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and so representatives from the organisations involved safely presented certificates to the award winners. The Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Claire Darke also sent a personal message of congratulations to each winner.

As well as Midland Heart, the council and ward councillors, organisations involved in the initiative included Wolverhampton Community Cohesion Forum, Wolves Foundation, Wolverhampton Homes, Gatis Community Space, Wildside Activity Centre, Newhampton Arts Centre, TLC College, Whitmore Reans Connect, Gloucester Street Community Centre, the African Caribbean Community Initiative (ACCI), West Midlands Police and the local library and primary schools.

11th September 2020 | 2020