Loughborough community champion Josie is ‘Customer of the Year’

Stonewater tenant Josie McCree-Falconer from Warwick Way in Loughborough has been named housing association Customer of the Year at the prestigious Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Annual Midlands Awards 2015 for her outstanding community contribution.

Josie, who was put forward for the award by her landlord, affordable housing provider Stonewater, has lived in the Warwick Way housing community for 18 years and chairs its tenants’ association.

Over the years Josie has managed to secure over £30,000 worth of funding to improve the lives of residents of the development and has encouraged them to work together to make a difference in their housing community.

“It’s wonderful to have the hard work that I’ve dedicated to improving our community recognised through this fabulous award, although I think it’s important to acknowledge the incredible contribution made by Warwick Way residents which helped make it possible,” says Josie. “Everything I’ve done has been as a means to improving the place that I live, not just for me but for everyone”.

As Chair of Three Close Tenants’ Association, Josie’s many achievements include setting up an innovative furniture-recycling project to help new residents on limited incomes create a home, providing a bulk waste storage facility and creating a recycling area to reduce fly tipping. She has also been the driving force behind a number of community schemes from halving the crime rate in the area to enhancing residents’ surroundings with communal flowerbeds and vegetable gardens.

Josie’s events are so popular that last year Stonewater secured funding to build an extension to the community resource room which now has its own income generating café and provides a venue for activities such as healthy eating and fitness sessions, internet access and gardening clubs. Over 3,000 people have used the centre in the last six months.

“The CIH Annual Midlands Awards was a perfect platform for one of our customers to get the recognition she deserves for all the hard work that she has contributed to the local community,” says Sue Shirt, Stonewater Executive Director of Housing. “Josie goes that extra mile to help improve the wider community and her enthusiasm and energy know no bounds! We are thrilled for Josie.”