Portadown community stalwart Phyllis Abraham helps NI Housing Executive celebrate 50th birthday

A Portadown woman is helping the NI Housing Executive mark a very big birthday in 2022 as the social housing organisation celebrates its 50th year.

Phyllis Abraham, chairperson of the Edgarstown Residents Association, is one of a number of contributors to a series of special video interviews with tenants and organisations engaged in great work at grassroots level.

Phyllis has been a Housing Executive tenant since she was 17-years-old and she speaks passionately about her love for her area and the Housing Executive funding that has helped her organisation make a difference locally.

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Phyllis said: “In Edgarstown, we work with quite a lot of vulnerable people, especially with the detached team.

Phyllis Abraham, Chairperson of Edgarstown Community Association which is based in Portadown, Co Armagh.

“The Housing Executive would be one of our best funders and they fund most projects in our area.

“Tenants come to me with queries, especially elderly people and we have 11 on the committee, 25 volunteers and then associated members.

“During the pandemic we served out over 10,000 meals. We did hot meals and activity packs for old and young and food hampers every week.

“I had an outdoor bingo, which was a great success and we did it three days a week in every area – we were well looked during the pandemic which was mostly funded by the Housing Executive again.”

Phyllis is especially proud of the Smile Project that she runs, helping the elderly.

“It’s close to my heart and it started out to help the elderly and there was a need for support for people who didn’t have anyone, especially over Covid - we have helped with shopping and collect prescriptions too.

“I was born and bred in Edgarstown, I know many people around the area, and it took the Smile Project to show that there were people there to help them.”

Phyllis also sits on the Housing Executive’s Central and Regional Housing Board for South Region.

“I would say 10 years ago I couldn’t tell you what the Housing Executive did and my eyes have been opened since then and some of the things have amazed me.

Edgarstown Residents Association has been running for over two decades and Phyllis took up her post seven years ago.

It offers an after schools club, a drop in facility, Smile programme to support individuals living in Edgarstown and a senior citizens group two mornings a week, as well as detached street work, the association works for all the community.

Phyllis also helps deal with all sorts of enquiries for the Housing Executive and other statutory agencies.

A video of Phyllis can be seen on the Housing Executive’s social media platforms.