A Community Champion who dedicates his life to improving services and lifelines for other residents and the community, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Craig Eastham, is in the running for Tenant of the Year, at this year’s Inside Housing’s 2017 Housing Heroes Awards.

Craig, 45, a Brunswick tenant for 15 years, was nominated by S4B because of his involvement and commitment to making a difference for the people in the area.

Since S4B began management of the neighbourhood in 2014, Craig has been very active in the community, inspiring both residents and staff.

He leads on a number of community groups, helps develop new ones and is currently:

  • Chair of Friends of Gartside Gardens and Green Spaces (FOGGGS)
  • Secretary of Brunswick Tenants and Residents Association
  • Coordinator of Brunswick Neighbourhood Watch

Craig has also partnered with local health and advice providers to develop the Well Being Café, a community hub and advice centre, established in 2016.

This is a “pay what you feel able” café at the heart of Brunswick. He engaged local students to raise over £1,300 for the project which serves food to vulnerable and homeless local people in the centre of Brunswick. It also provides access to NHS and support services for residents with personal or mental health issues.

Craig is involved in five major community groups and has developed two of them himself, the Well Being Café and Neighbourhood Watch.

And he led Friends of Gartside Gardens through some of the most challenging regeneration the area has faced. He worked constructively with S4B to ensure residents received a great park.

Craig has enabled much wider participation by securing funding for sports courses and delivering the biggest neighbourhood annual fun-day ever.

These services simply did not exist before Craig developed the projects.

Senior S4B Community Warden, Lynne Farrington, has worked closely with Craig on many different projects and said: “Craig is someone who has a brainwave a day. This can be anything from schemes that will enhance the environment, or projects that aim to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.

“What makes Craig different is his ability to enthuse others and inspire them to get on board with his projects and although Craig suffers from health problems he still finds the strength, determination and tireless commitment, to keep on going through the bad times and this is what makes him such a great role model for other tenants.

“He’s innovative, inclusive, committed and relentless in his quest to make Brunswick a better place to be”.

When told the great news that he had been shortlisted for the finals, Craig said: “”I was over the moon when I heard I had been nominated,  and when I was told I had made the final shortlist, I was bowled over.

“But I only do what I do what I do because I care about my neighbourhood and the people who live in it, and I don’t believe in sitting back and hoping somebody else will make things happen.

“People often talk about ideas and projects and how good it would be if “we had one of those round here”, so instead of just looking on I decided, in an uncharacteristically optimistic fashion, to give some of the ideas a go.

“While not all of the projects, schemes and ideas have been successful, some have, and that’s the most important. It’s deeply rewarding when other residents also get involved which helps develop a real sense of community spirit.

“Working on some of the projects has been challenging, but seeing things develop in the neighbourhood has given me a great deal of satisfaction and knowing that the projects I have helped get off the ground are making a real difference to the lives of local people, simply makes me even more determined to carry on.”

The Inside Housing – Housing Heroes Awards, showcase the people that help housing organisations do the vital work they do.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony, taking place in central Manchester on Monday 26 June 2017.