As part of its ‘Good Neighbours make Great Neighbourhoods’ campaign, the Housing Executive thanked tenants Saoirse McEvoy and Craig McMahon for helping residents throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.
During the summer, Housing Executive staff and members of its Housing Community Network nominated tenants who have made a difference in communities all over Northern Ireland.
Saoirse has lived in her flat in Glenville Park for the last three years and works for the Northern Ireland Youth Forum.
She is passionate about helping young people and shares their views with the Housing Executive so they can shape the services they provide round them.
Saoirse said: “Young people are often unfairly judged by their neighbours, as people assume that they will want to have lots of noisy parties or participate in anti-social behaviour.
“This is something that I see young people facing every day in my job as a Peer Mentor in the Northern Ireland Youth Forum. Really most of them are like me, they want to make a positive contribution to their community and help in whatever way they can.
“I love living in Glenville Park as everyone here is really friendly and looks out for each other. My neighbours are really thoughtful and helpful. I’m delighted to be recognised for being a Good Neighbour.”
Craig was also chosen as one of the Housing Executive’s Good Neighbours and has lived on the Ballyduff estate for 44 years.
As the Community Development Officer for the Ballyduff Community Redevelopment Group, he’s been helping his neighbours stay connected and access basic services throughout the pandemic.
Craig explained: “Every day members of our group are out checking in on people. We’ve delivered food parcels, topped up people’s gas and electric cards and organised socially distanced events that allow them to get out of the house to meet their neighbours.
“Everyone in Ballyduff pulls together whenever someone is in need and this is why it’s a great area to live in. I feel very proud to be chosen as a Good Neighbour but this isn’t just about me.
“I couldn’t do my work without the support of all the community group members and this acknowledges everything we have done to help our neighbours.”
Breige Mullaghan, the Housing Executive’s South Antrim Area Manager, added: “Our estates are full of phenomenal people like Saoirse and Craig, who make living in their community so special. This is why, as part of our 50th birthday celebrations, we are recognising them through this campaign.
“Through her work with the Northern Ireland Youth Forum, Saoirse helps young people access housing support and provides them with opportunities to improve their quality of life.
“Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, Craig has worked tirelessly to support all of the residents in Ballyduff. Since restrictions eased he has been busy organising activities in the local community centre that all of his neighbours can enjoy.
“Saoirse and Craig both play incredibly important roles in their communities and I am delighted to be able to thank them, on behalf of everyone at the Housing Executive, for being good neighbours in Newtownabbey.”
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