Celebrating our residents for Making a Difference to their communities

A young female motorbike champion who fought a life-changing cancer diagnosis and a pensioner who devoted 20 years to improving a North Wales community, have both been honoured for their Outstanding Achievements at our Making a Difference awards ceremony.

National Motorcross champion rider Tanisha Thomas of Cardigan and John Williams of Barracksfield, Wrexham, both won the Outstanding Achievement Award at our Making a Difference Awards 2019.

Now in its 11th year, the awards are open to the 22,000 residents living in WWH properties across Wales and celebrate good neighbours, local heroes, environmental and community projects and those who have made inspirational and motivational changes to their lives.

Tanisha, 24, was presented with the award for the inspirational way she fought hard to learn to walk again and regain her title as National Motorcross Champion three years after doctors found a cancerous tumour on her spine. John won the award for devoting the last 21 years of his life to making a difference to the lives of families on the Barracksfield estate in Wrexham.

Other winners presented with awards at the ceremony at the Vale Resort, Hensol, nr Cardiff, were:

Ian Stoker, a wheelchair user from Cardigan, won the Community Heroes Award for leading a one-man crusade to clear litter and dog mess from the streets and beauty spots of his home town. He spends up to nine hours a day collecting, on average, an astounding eight kilos of dog mess a week and countless bags of rubbish.

Grandfather and retired miner Roger Nicholas of Maesteg, nr Bridgend, won the Fresh Start Award for his determination in beating an alcohol addiction that had affected his life and family for more than 40 years.

Neil Buffton, a young resident at Llys Glan Yr Afon extra care scheme in Newtown, Powys, was named Wellbeing Champion for overcoming personal barriers and make life better for his neighbours by setting up a new branch of the charity Men’s Shed and encouraging them to take part in activities.

Retired nurse Iris Evans of Wrexham was named fundraising champion. She volunteered and raised funds for Wrexham Maelor Hospital’s Voluntary Service for 21 years and after retiring started knitting to raise money for cancer charities, the SANDS support service for bereaved parents and residents at Pendine Park care home.

Kathryn Burnand won the Going Green Award for transforming an overgrown patch of land near her home in Prestatyn into a communal garden and Wendy Blewett won the Good Neighbour Award for making a difference to her neighbours at Oldwell Court, Cardiff.

“We have sponsored the event for many years and every year I am honoured to help to celebrate the achievements of so many incredible Wales & West Housing residents.
Rhys Gibson, of main sponsors Gibson Specialist Technical Services

“There were so many deserving winners and finalist at this year’s awards. It was humbling and inspiring to hear their stories of how they have made a difference to their own lives and their communities.”
Anne Hinchey, Group Chief Executive of Wales & West Housing

Money raised from the event goes into Wales & West Housing’s Making A Difference grant scheme, which helps to kickstart community and environmental projects and training and employment opportunities for residents.

MAD Awards 2019 finalists 

Community Heroes, sponsored by PMD 
Winner: Ian Stoker, Cardigan
Finalists: Unity group from Caerau, Cardiff; Tommy Guest, Flint; Christine Foulkes and Val Evans, St Clements Court, Cardiff

Fresh Start, sponsored by Lee Poole & Sons
Winner: Roger Nicholas, Bridgend
Finalists: Elaine Mayhew, Rhyl; Jackson Gray and Amey Parker, Aberystwyth

Wellbeing Champion, sponsored by Hale Construction
Winner: Neil Buffton, Llys Glan Yr Afon, Newtown
Finalists: Kate Hancock, Llys Owen, Cardigan; Refresh and Community Gardening Group from Ely, Cardiff; Joyce Brown, Nant Y Mor, Prestatyn

Going Green sponsored by Contour Showers
Winner: Kathryn Burnand, Prestatyn
Finalists: Ali Cocks, Aberystwyth; Kathleen Simpson & Graham Jones, Hanover Court, Llandudno; Iorwerth Jones of Llys Hafren

Good Neighbour, sponsored by Jamson Estates
Winner: Wendy Blewett of Oldwell Court, Cardiff
Finalists: Sarah Wilson from Queensferry; Reg Baulch of St Mellons, Cardiff and Pat Rogers of Limebourne Court, Cardiff

Fundraising Champion, sponsored by MACP 
Winner: Iris Evans, Wrexham
Finalists: Vera Piper, Western Court, Cardiff; Steve Derrett , Oakmeadow Court, Cardiff; Agnes Prosser, Gerddi Ffynon, Aberystwyth

Outstanding Achievement, sponsored by CJS Electrical  
Winners: Tanisha Thomas, Cardigan; John Williams, Barracksfield, Wrexham

Sponsors of the MAD Awards 2019 included: Gibson STS, Jamson Estates Ltd, Lee Poole and Sons, Contour Showers, PMD, Hale Construction Ltd, CJS Electrical, MACP, Ian Williams Ltd & Dulux, Thermal Earth, Jehu, J&P Windows Ltd, Anwyl, EWIS, Independence Solutions, Snowdonia, P+P Builders, Days Rental, Preseli Home Improvements Ltd, WCS environmental and building maintenance; Polyflor; 1st Communications; Xpedient Print; Envirovent; Symphony; Brenig; Seddon Construction Ltd; Stelrad; Vaillant; CR Creative; Inhouse Manager; Aico; Thorlux; M&K Pest Control; Physical Adaptation Solutions; Castlemead; Vale Resort; Village Hotel.

Alison Stokes 07484 911100 Alison is our PR & Marketing Officer for South & West Wales.