By Ellis German, Home Insurance Executive
Our members have told us great neighbours share a number of qualities: a willingness to look out for others, being sociable and friendly, offering practical help and being kind, caring and respectful.
For the third year running, in partnership with our friends at Neighbourhood Watch we searched nationwide to find and celebrate some of the UK’s best neighbours. With double the amount of entries to sift through, all telling wonderful stories, the judging panel crowned Shaun Blagdon as our official Neighbour Of The Year 2020.
Shaun was a clear winner thanks to his selfless acts of neighbourliness and for illustrating the possibilities and positive impact he has on those living around him.
When the nation went into the first lockdown back in March, Shaun took it upon himself to rally his neighbours together, quickly forming Ella Street and Avenues. This is a network of 400 community volunteers who became vital in helping to support their vulnerable and shielding neighbours, carrying out over 200 jobs in the community from shopping for others to collecting post. An additional unexpected bonus from his community work is that many of the volunteers in the group have now become firm friends as well as good neighbours.
The scheme proved to be so successful, it became part of the City of Hull’s official response and remains on standby in case it’s needed again.
Shaun has strong links with Ella Street, where he was born and is always keen to go the extra mile. He looks after the Facebook page ‘Only on Ella Street’, delivering a friendly forum where residents can swap stories, tips, idea and information. He also regularly posted videos of the street taking part in the Clap For Carers campaign.
Listing his proactive response as one of the many reasons, Shaun’s neighbour Elizabeth Heywood successfully nominated him, telling us:
Before the city council’s response was up and running, Shaun got in touch with friends and distributed hundreds of leaflets across this area of Hull, seeking people to help as well as those who needed assistance. Shaun’s very much part of the reason Ella Street is seen as one of Hull’s most desirable places to live and has long been a community champion.”
Shaun’s really is at the heart of his community and his volunteering has gone beyond lockdown, it’s now the new normal for Ella Street and Avenues.