St Leger Homes of Doncaster

Tenants' Choice Awards 2022 - voting now open!

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The polls are now open for Doncaster residents to cast their votes for the people who have made a positive difference for their communities over the past 12 months in our Tenants' Choice Awards 2022!

Once again, we have a selection of truly amazing individuals and local groups who work tirelessly day after day to provide help and support for their neighbours. We are proud to celebrate their efforts and work alongside these inspirational people!

This year we have six categories that you can vote in, and below you can read all the details about each nominee and the good work they have been doing in the community. 

When you are ready to cast your vote in each category you can do so by going to https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CIT-TenantChoiceAwards2022 and choosing your winners.

Here are this year's categories and nominees:

 

  • Community Champion

Christina Spencer

Christina is an amazing woman within the community who has community spirit at the heart of everything she does. She started to attend the Barnby Dun TARA and their groups following the pandemic as she wanted to do something to help the older people of the community, and they all absolutely love her! 

Christina attends two or three times a week to help with activities. She started off as a member and now takes on a leading role, a mini Maggie Angus so to speak! She organises events and activities for the members on weekly basis, and makes sure everyone has a cuppa and feels safe. She is so kind and caring and loves to have a sit with the members, she goes from table to table to talk to everyone to make sure that all their needs are met. She has also taken on the responsibility of becoming treasurer for the TARA. 

Despite being a mum and working part time at the school, Christina is always on hand to help out and support the members of the TARA with everything they do. She has also set up days within the school holidays to help out parents, families with children with free activities to come along and have fun. She has created all of this without support as she has the passion to support everyone in the community, young and old. She has created so much in the space of the year, watch this space and the activities to come - she does the community proud!

Fenella Brammer

Fen is what some people would term a community butterfly as she spreads her wings and gets here, there and everywhere. She is not native to the Doncaster area, but her natural warmth, intelligence and charisma endear her to those she comes in contact with. 

Fen is selfless, always willing to lend a hand and is one of those people who can turn their hand to most things. She goes out of her way to champion the underdog and is willing to go that extra mile to support people when they are at their lowest ebb. In recent months, she has supported people to appeal their Personal Independence Payment outcomes and at the last count the score was 9-0 to Fen - quite an impressive record! Fen's good work does not stop here, to be honest she does so much for her community that you could probably write a book about it. 

Helen Mahon

Helen moved to the area around five years ago and it was clear that there wasn't a great deal of activities being held in the communal hall on her street. Helen realised that a lot of people were socially isolated so she started advertising social events like coffee mornings, bingo and craft sessions, inviting neighbours and friends to come along. These events have grown from strength to strength and it has resulted in the hall being used by the groups she has formed every day for different activities, often to full capacity. 

Helen raises funds for the group and has become confident in completing funding bids for equipment and materials for the groups. Helen runs activities every day from the communal hall - she treats the hall like her home and has made it very welcoming for residents, which reflects in the number of attendees at the activities. Helen arranges afternoon teas, pie and pea nights and buffets for residents, and never lets an opportunity go by without a special event taking place. She decorates the hall and has held events for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Easter, VE Day, Halloween and more recently the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – and these events are so popular the hall is often at full capacity. 

Helen has recently been successful in obtaining a grant from The Environmental Pride Fund and is in the early stages of converting the outside area, erecting raised flower beds, making the area wheelchair friendly and planting salads and vegetables so she can start a Seed to Feed programme of growing vegetables and cooking lunches for local residents. Throughout the Covid lockdown Helen kept in touch with residents digitally and held weekly online bingo and craft sessions to combat loneliness and isolation.


  • Best Green Initiative

Denaby Well Bean Social Garden

Around 18 months ago, three pensioners in their 70s and 80s saw the state of the unloved old community allotment and decided to pick up their spades and get stuck in! Their mission was to turn this open space into a warm, welcoming and friendly environment for all to use - ‘A Great Escape’. They are forging ahead with their work and the site is like a scene from Monty Don’s Gardeners World!

Their determination and passion to improve and develop an area of allotment that had been abandoned to nature is clear to see. Most days they are on-site for what to an outsider looks like a never-ending task - weeding, pruning, preparing the ground, planting and harvesting. The group have won the love and support of other allotment holders and the wider community beyond through conversations, social media and networking with others. Their end game is to create a welcoming, friendly and peaceful environment they can develop, nurture and share with everyone, regardless of age, creed, gender or disability. 

They are planning to incorporate a sensory garden for the partially sighted, to work alongside people living with Dementia, Autism and Mental health issues. Holding several events throughout the year is also one of their future ideas. Most importantly for them, this is and will be a place to make new friendships - an outdoor green space that encapsulates everything to do with promoting and enhancing both physical and mental wellbeing for anyone within their community.

Doncaster Men’s Shed aka Friday Men’s Club

From a small group that only formed six months ago, The Friday Men's club have extended their activities to now working on two allotments in the village of Barnby Dun. The group have worked tirelessly for a number of weeks to remove rubbish and improve the general quality of the allotments that had been left to ruin. They are working with local organisations for funding to be able to provide a much needed space for men in the community to come along to and enjoy the outdoors while growing and developing the site. They are working hard to get other people on board, and it is going from strength to strength in just a very short space of time. 

They have removed countless bags of rubbish and the overall look of the site is now wonderful. They are not fully there yet, but they have the support of housing organisations to come along with a gardener to improve the site and they are hoping to engage young people as part of community pay back to come along and take care of the site. The members of the Friday Men's club are loving their new addition. 

With summer and lovely weather they are now able to get out, be physically active and enjoy their new venture. They plan to grow food and plants in the near future, and if successful with funding they are hoping to purchase a Portakabin so they have somewhere onsite for respite. In a short space of time they have cleared and cleaned the plots and are ready to develop it into a green space for growing plants and food. It is a massive improvement to the allotment and will hopefully encourage other members to join and take pride in their gardening and growing!

Moorends Pig Allotments

June Thompson is the chairperson of the Pig Hill Allotments at Moorends. Over the last four years, the allotments have undergone a huge transformation due to the dedication of the committee led by June. It is now accessible to 150 members, with more and more allotments that had been left to ruin having now been restored and renovated to their full potential. The allotments have historically been down trodden and unusable. There were a few plots that had facilities but in the main, the majority of the plots were used for storing rubbish, ponies and other wildlife. It lost the essence of what a community allotment should be used for. 

Over the years under the committee chaired by June, the allotments have been dramatically transformed. It has taken a number of years to remove the rubbish, hiring skips and taking rubbish to the tip to improve the plots so that they could be hired out. It has taken a huge amount of hours to improve the plots. There are still a few plots that are needing renovation, but there are 150 members that use the allotments with their families, coming along to plant food and flowers, and some have wildlife, donkeys, ponies, chickens all happy in a lovely environment. 

The allotment is a safe space for members of the community of Moorends to come along with their families, to learn to grow, to enjoy the outdoors, have peace and quiet if they choose or to interact with other people who hire plots. They have events where they all come together to celebrate with the local community. They are really keen to promote positive wellbeing, getting out into the fresh air and being with the community.


  • Young Person Award 

Benjamin Harding

Benjamin attends Doncaster UTC and is a kind, conscientious and intelligent student who contributes to both the school and the community. Ben won a competition, held across five year groups, for the best designed train and railway safety poster. To win this competition, Ben once more went above and beyond what was asked and expected of him as he gave up a weekend to film and edit his own video that explained the dangers of the railway and how to act safely in these environments.

Ben flourishes from helping others, his general mood around school is always upbeat and so lifts those around him. He would much rather see success for others than for himself and this shows the level of care he has for everyone who knows him. Ben is motivated greatly by praise and aside from enjoying helping others, and praise he receives, Ben often gains little on a personal level for all of the incredible hard work he displays. This goes to show how genuinely kind-hearted he is, as often his actions are incredibly caring, whilst also completely selfless.

Connor Burleigh

Connor is a young person from Doncaster that has given most of his spare time to supporting youth groups and organisations in improving services for children and young people. From the age of 14 he joined the Doncaster Youth Council where he represented his peers at McAuley school and then as an area representative for the north. He has also joined many other forums such as National Citizen Service leader and was Doncaster's IWILL Ambassador for two years. Connor believes that improving services will improve outcomes for future residents and children of Doncaster. 

Connor does have special educational and disabilities (SEND) and he will tell you that by being involved and having the opportunities to participate, he has broadened his experience, knowledge and skills. Most of all it has helped him with his social interaction with his peers and community, and he has gained lots of confidence. When Connor first started with the youth council he could not get on public transport and had to have taxis provided, but through determination he undertook the bus buddy scheme and now travels across the UK on train, busses and any mode of transport. This is a massive achievement within a short timeframe, and just one of many accomplishments he has achieved.

Jemima Teasdale

Jemima is a young person volunteer with St Leger Homes and has worked with the Young People’s Voice group for over two years. She started in May 2020 as a way to look at developing her personal skills as a young person. Jemima took part in lots of training and development around safeguarding skills, became a mental health youth champion and a dementia friend. Jemima supported the Keeping Safe Event in 2021 where she delivered a safeguarding presentation on how to keep physically fit and healthy. 

Jemima is completing a sponsored run that she is going to be doing to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society. Jemima's grandmother has been recently diagnosed with dementia, and is now living with her and her family. Jemima is really keen to go the extra mile to support her grandmother in particular and others who live with dementia. Jemima is also hosting an event for the NHS Big Tea at a communal hall managed by St Leger Homes. She is a medical student and has taken it upon herself to meet a representative from the NHS to show her support. She never stops! 

Jemima is always going out of her way to help people as much as she can. When at secondary school she was a peer champion to help some of the young school pupils. She has honed her skills to become a mental health young champion so has amazing listening and supportive skills. She is always going the extra mile to make a positive difference in people's lives, this shows with the amazing projects she has up and running. There is no limit to the goals Jemima sets herself and she will continue doing more and more for the community as time goes on!

Lily Johnson

Lily attends and helps out at Craft and Creations and Happy Hearts which both run out of communal halls in Rossington. Lily attends most sessions each week and will help staff with setting the room up, taking refreshments to tables, joining in with the activities and socialising with the service users to make them feel welcome and encourage them to join in with activities. Lily has started calling the bingo and is trying to learn the nicknames for the numbers, such as two little ducks!

As well as volunteering with the Craft and Creations sessions and Happy Hearts, she also volunteers in the café at the Holmescarr Centre. At present Lily is home schooled and volunteering with St Leger Homes is giving her work experience and has helped her confidence to grow. She is building up her life skills and loves socialising with the service users, which also benefits her too as she is doing this in a safe space and where she feels comfortable. Lily has completed her food hygiene course and is now doing a first aid and safeguarding course which will help her in applying for work.


  • Community Project/Event

Angel Wings Community Lunches

Angel Wings Community Lunches are unrivalled for the price, and if there was a Michelin Star award for community projects then they would surely receive this accolade! They provide hearty and nutritious home-cooked food at its best, based at the Denaby Avenue Communal Hall in Conisbrough. 

Each week, a two course meal is served up to all those who wish to join. There is no geographic boundary but attendees predominantly come from Conisbrough and Denaby. For those who are housebound or struggle to attend, there is also a delivery service available to the immediate area for a cost of just 50p to cover the containers used. Meals are varied and often chosen at the request of those who have attended the week before. Top picks from people who have enjoyed them include quiche, shepherd’s pie topped with cheese and the legendary meat pies. Community is at the heart of the project, which not only provides low-cost food provision but also provides a space for social interaction. Healthy meals support the development of healthy communities - what better way to come together than over food!

Community Wardens

Community Wardens have made our communities more sustainable using an holistic approach to meet the needs of those benefitting from the service. The support they are able to offer by linking in with key partners aids those in the community who do not know who to contact or how to do it when they are in need of support. All of the wardens are peer supporters who give their time voluntarily. Wardens receive support to recognise the signs when people are in need of help and they are able to make referrals through to South Yorkshire Fire Service, neighbourhood teams, St Leger Homes and many more services. The wardens all have highly visible hoodies and ID badges, they work in pairs and they try to keep the same rounds to support relationship building. Wardens have done jobs such as going to the shop, collecting medication, making appointments, bits of gardening, clearing up wet leaves and gritting people's paths. 

One of the wardens gives up his time when he is on leave from the army. He met someone on his round who has spent their career in the army and had recently experienced the death of his wife. These two agreed to become pen pals, with the man giving his wisdom and experience to support a young man just starting his army career. Mutual support at its finest. A gentleman aged 92 told wardens how upset he was that his television was broken and it was the only thing he had for entertainment. The wardens were able to get him a new TV and set it up for him. They have a warden that takes her two year old granddaughter on their round. Their youngest ever warden is a big hit with the people they visit and they are teaching the power of being a good neighbours from a young age! 

Funding has now been secured to roll-out Community Wardens for a full year in Intake and Denaby. Both schemes run a little different as they have been guided by the community. There are 67 households signed up In Intake and after their first 2 weeks in Denaby, there are 10 households but a growing number of residents who join us at Reresby Walk Community Centre for a cuppa and a chat.

Doncaster Youth Council

Doncaster Youth Council recently ran a successful #ReduceDomesticAbuse campaign. As young people who are all dedicated to their education, they have voluntarily and passionately committed to hours of planning in order to address this issue in a sensitive and effective way. Their work led to the creation of a film based on coercive and controlling behaviour, an art piece which depicts the emotional trauma attached to an abusive relationship, and a media campaign which featured digital bus stop posters designed by the Youth Council. This has been a bottom-up piece of work led by young people for young people who have a genuine desire to make a difference in their community. 

They recently hosted a #ReduceDomesticAbuse event at Danum Gallery and Art Museum, which was well attended. They unveiled their art piece which was displayed in Danum Gallery and Art Museum and also presented their film. They delivered a presentation which encompassed their entire journey from start to finish. Since launching in cinemas and across social media, the Youth Council's film has been viewed over 80,000 times, and their digital bus stop poster campaign was viewed over 51,000 times! The 'RED FLAGS' film is being used as one of the resources within a larger educational package on healthy relationships which local Domestic Abuse teams are developing for every secondary school in Doncaster.


  • Community Group

B:friend

The work that B:friend do through setting up social clubs and organising volunteers to visit people at home has had a positive impact in Doncaster, especially following on from the pandemic. Instead of elderly and socially isolated people being left at home all day they now have social clubs to attend and lots of willing volunteers who visit. It may only seem like a ‘natter and coffee’ but to many people it’s a lifeline and someone they look forward to seeing each week. They organise guest speakers and groups to attend the social clubs so that everyone who attends can learn new skills such as chair based exercises, and they ran activities to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

The group has benefitted the community by giving people who are isolated and lonely a meaning and a purpose. Some people receive weekly visits from a B:friender which can include a coffee and a chat or a trip out to gardens centre, cafes and trips to the seaside. The social groups are held at venues across Doncaster and the attendees have fun with all the activities which help to provide a feeling of enjoyment and purpose. The groups and the visits have helped reduce social isolation across Doncaster for those people who are on their own, and all of the volunteers get a great deal of these new friendships as well.

Signposting, Support and Pals

Signposting, Support and Pals does as its names suggest – they signpost people to help services that they are in need of and then support the person to engage with them, which is important if they are a little wary. They have had a number of successes including signposting and supporting a lady to access housing services through St Leger Homes. The lady lives in a rented property that does not necessarily meet her needs and she lives with anxiety. The groups close relationship with St Leger Homes’ Customer Involvement Officers has allowed the lady’s individual needs to be met and enabled her to get support to make the first steps in registering for a more suitable property.

They are also able to support people to make initial claims for Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Council Tax Reductions and accessing Universal Credit. People know that Signposting, Support and Pals is a safe space and that anything they discuss with us will be kept in the utmost confidence. Alongside this, they are also a very active social community group who meet each Tuesday and have upwards of 20 members. There is a rolling programme of activities including quizzes, bingo, singo bingo etc interspersed with a monthly session provided by local services or community interest. Over the Easter Break they broke from tradition of just supporting adults in our community and welcomed families with children to take part in egg decorating and an egg hunt that was co-facilitated by Denaby Well Bean Social Garden. They also add extra activities throughout the week that are based out in the community, including going out for a meal, trip to the coast and Bury Market to name a few. Signposting, Support and Pals offer a complete holistic approach to support individual and allow people to engage with their community on a level they feel comfortable with.

Toll Bar TARA

Every year the members of Toll Bar TARA plan a full programme of events for the next 12 months. They hold events for Easter, summer holidays, Halloween and Christmas - with lots of other events along the way, like the recent Queens Platinum Jubilee and summer galas. All activities are free of charge and they believe that everyone should get the opportunity to be involved regardless of their ability to pay. They give up their own time, often a daily basis to raise their own funds so they can pay for food and things like children's entertainers. 

Toll Bar is a very deprived area with lots of school age children on the estate. Many of these children may not ever leave the estate, go on holiday or go to events outside of Toll Bar. The TARA brings joy to these children, allowing them to join in activities and feeding them with lunches, healthy snacks and offering drinks during these events, all free of charge. Attendance is always high with around 50 to 70 children attending every event.


  • Tenant of the Year

Margaret Tarren

Margaret is 88 years old and has been fundraising for different charities for most of her adult life. Margaret has raised a staggering total of more than £45,000 for different charities like Macmillan, British Heart Foundation, Firefly, Marie Currie, Doncaster Hospitals, mental health charities and many more. During the pandemic Margaret raised funds for a defibrillator for the community of Arksey which has made a huge difference to the community and surrounding areas. 

Margaret's brother died of a heart attack in 2000, so this spurred her on to collect items and raise funds for The British Heart Foundation. She collects items for their shops and she is well known in the Doncaster branch – no-one is Arksey throws any furniture, books or clothing away without checking if Margaret wants it for the British Heart Foundation!

For many years Margaret has run weekly coffee mornings and periodic pie and pea nights from Marsh Lane Communal Hall where she welcomes everyone with open arms. She is very well respected in the community, everyone knows her and has the upmost respect for her. Despite her aging years and limited mobility, Margaret continues to hold tombola, book sales and bric-a-brac stalls at local community events to add to her fundraising – with her latest one raising a further £3000 for the pot!

Maggie Angus

Maggie is the chairperson for Barnby Dun TARA. She has held this position for a number of years, and the TARA and all of their activities have been going strong for over 12 years. Maggie is a tenant of Peacehaven and Barnby Dun village and really wants to make a difference to her community. She is a force to be reckoned with. She is always putting on activities and events at the communal hall, Peacehaven, as well as ensuring that the tenants and residents of the village and surrounding areas are given access to bus trips and other special events. 

Each week Maggie runs a coffee morning and games afternoon at the hall. Maggie organises raffles, games to play, and makes sure that all from the village are included. They have regular members, with 20-30 people attending each week, and when there is a special event the full capacity of 40 turn out. Maggie works tirelessly to help the community and is always on the other end of the phone if someone is in need. Over the last couple of years, despite being extremely unwell with COVID during the first lockdown, Maggie has continued to support her community. She has knitted and crocheted blankets for the Jasmine Centre, hats for the premature baby units and much more. She is always thinking of fundraising ideas and ways to help others. 

Recently she has organised day trips for the members, and is working hard to get a defibrillator installed in the building to make sure that everyone feels safe and knows that life-saving equipment is at hand should anyone need it. She works alongside the foodbank in Stainforth to provide items for members who really need the extra food. She arranges deliveries and makes sure that those in need get the items. Maggie also supports the new Dunscroft Together group by donating items, raffle prizes and has been to help on occasion, despite already having a very busy time with the TARA. She really is a first class lady, who cares deeply about her community. She wants the best for everyone and wants to make sure everyone is looked after and supported. She is an incredible lady who never, ever stops!

Ron Rickwood

Ron was nominated last year for the Tenant of the Year award for the amazing hard work that he has given to St Leger Homes over the years. He has played an active role and helped to make a difference as part of the Tenants and Residents Involvement Panel, as a Get Involved Group volunteer, and as part of the Young People group. Ron was the life and soul of a meeting, whether that was held physically or virtually, and always had the respect of the others members of the groups he worked in.

Unfortunately, Ron was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer early in 2022 and has sadly passed away. It would be a great tribute to honour Ron, in the same way he and his family honoured St Leger Homes. St Leger Homes even made its way in to his eulogy with remembrance of the times and passion that Ron put into his work with St Leger Homes to help and support others. He is going to be sadly missed by all in the community for the effort he put in every day to make a difference for staff and customers. He deserves recognition for his life’s work to support others - even in his darkest days he helped and supported everyone.


Remember, to cast your vote in each category you must go to https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CIT-TenantChoiceAwards2022 and choose your winner in each category. Good luck to everyone who has been nominated, you are all doing a fantastic job for the people of Doncaster!



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