For the second year running Co-op and Neighbourhood Watch launched a nationwide competition to find neighbours who go above and beyond to help their neighbourhood and surrounding community. Nominations closed on the 18th October and winners of the Neighbour of the Year category and Community Spaces Champion category were announced. Regional winners are still to be announced.
Neighbour of the Year Winner is Nilesh Chohan
Nilesh from Leeds is crowned winner of the Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch 2019 Neighbour of the Year competition.
A well deserving winner, Nilesh helps neighbours across a wide range of issues from resolving disputes to celebrating neighbours and building communities. The disruptive behaviour Nilesh helps with ranges from disputes at student parties to overflowing bins on pavements, or rubbish in gardens.
Nilesh is a star at bringing people together. He organised residents to pot bulbs in containers and donated them to over 100 local homes, and he improved his local community by convincing the council to stop a dangerous local car rat run.
Nilesh set up a Facebook page for 400 residents in which he shares critical information about local safety issues, but he didn’t stop there. Nilesh also set up a What’s App group, which offers support to over 40 long term residents as they share information about events and local problems.
Nilesh is widely known for proactively engaging with his community. He knocked on 400 residents’ doors, introduced himself, listened respectfully to them, and asked them to join the Facebook page. He has a gift of being incredibly positive, friendly and caring and as a result everyone signs up.
Nilesh is the first person to help someone with a problem and has a talent for organising social events. Over the last few years he organised a ‘welcome to all residents’ street event, sponsored by local councillors. Whilst setting up the stall he used the opportunity to share useful information about the area and offer free pakoras, onion bhajis and drinks to anyone passing.
Despite his abilities, Nilesh takes a back seat at resident’s meetings, yet it is him who has the imagination, gets out in the community and proactively engages. Nilesh grasps issues, writes letters to organisations, phones heads of departments and arranges meetings. Nilesh – you are amazing, and we thank you!
Community Spaces Champion Winner is Kevin Plicio
Kevin, from Sutton, initiated and continues to lead on the ‘Your Space Sutton’ community project, which converted a disregarded and unused area behind a park into a wonderful inclusive place where everybody is welcome and treated equally.
Kevin continues to put his life and soul into the project despite many setbacks along the way. A huge fire reduced so much of his efforts to ash. Kevin saw years of work going up in smoke, but he picked himself up, brushed himself down and got straight back to work! Your Space Sutton consequently gained more interest as appeals were made to find the arsonists.
Kevin and his team of volunteers work incredibly hard and are keen to continually develop the site. Kevin thinks of everybody’s needs including tiny tots — a little garden with play equipment has been lovingly created especially for them. A Your Space Sutton Facebook page and website www.yourspacesutton.org provides residents with regular photos and updates.
The local community would like to show their gratitude and thank Kevin and his team of volunteers for turning a neglected area into somewhere they can meet for delicious homemade cake and afternoon tea.
“It is a place of calm and tranquillity, a place where friends meet and where people come together”
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