Alison Hammond celebrates resident award winners

Published on 23/11/2018

Former Big Brother star Alison Hammond proved as warm off-screen as she is on TV as she mingled with residents at this year’s Creating Places Awards. The awards are our chance to recognise individuals and groups who make a real difference in their community.

Finalists were invited to The Dorchester in London’s Park Lane. There were five awards categories – plus one special, lifetime award – up for grabs.

“I’ve been moved by some of the amazing stories and wonderful people I’ve met tonight,” Alison said. “People like you make such a difference to society – you create communities. You’ve taken individual responsibility and made things happen locally. You’re inspiring a generation.”

Alison said she knew more than most how a community can change someone’s life.

“At Brownies, my Brown Owl saw something in me and suggested I join a drama group and then got me to audition for drama school,” she said. “Without her, I wouldn’t be doing what I do today.”

The Irene Addis Lifetime Achievement Award
Belayneh Abebe

Edmonton resident Belayneh Abebe was honoured with this year’s Irene Addis Lifetime Achievement Award. He first became involved with us back in 1999, when his estate transferred to L&Q.

Belayneh became a voice for local residents as their estate underwent a huge regeneration. 

The work took six years to complete, and since then, he has helped to improve a whole range of services, from resident communications to local projects.

“He is dedicated to involving residents,” said our judges “and his impact is felt widely.”

Neighbour of the Year
Peter Gooding

Peter Gooding was nominated by his neighbours for the way he has helped to tackle anti-social behaviour on his estate. He stepped in and gave advice and then worked with us to make his neighbour’s lives better.

Neighbours say he was a lifeline during the rough times.

Not only that, but he has mentored one of his neighbours, helping her to become a Neighbourhood Champion. He proved generous with his time and knowledge.

“Peter has shown a real commitment to residents on his estate,” judges said.

Community Project of the Year
National Youth Theatre

This award is sponsored by the L&Q Foundation, which supports local projects that give young people a better chance in life and strengthen the community. This year, for the first time ever, we put the three projects that made our shortlist up for a public vote – and the National Youth Theatre proved a popular winner.

Their Playing Up project saw young people develop a production that they then took to schools across London.

“Playing Up has changed my life for the better,” said former participant Safina Simpson.

Young Person of the Year
Illyas and Kyan Dar

This award is for someone under the age of 24 whose maturity, selflessness and enthusiasm deserve our recognition and respect. Unusually, two people won this year, 15-year-old twins Ilyas and Kyan Dar.

The brothers have been taking part in basketball sessions for three years and, as they have developed, they have shared their skills with younger locals. They have gained refereeing qualifications over the time too, and now officiate matches.

“The twins are an inspiration to young people,” judges agreed. “They have taken on responsibility beyond their years.”

Apprentice of the Year
Iesha Smith

This award is sponsored by the L&Q Academy. It is a thank you to a resident we supported during the year through an apprenticeship.

Iesha applied for a hands-on role in our construction team – but her interviewer saw great potential in her and offered her a role as an Apprentice Site Manager. She’s now gaining qualifications alongside her day job.

“Iesha is an ambassador for women working in construction,” judges said.

Rising Star of the Year
Leo Chipwere

This award is sponsored by L&Q Living, our care and support arm. It is for someone who has changed their life, giving themselves greater independence and a positive future.

Leo’s hoarding was holding him back in life – but he was determined to tackle it. Overcoming it has meant that he isn’t isolated any more. Now, he can play a part in what’s going on where he lives.

“Leo is moving onto a future that had once not been thought possible for him,” judges said.