Heanor mum gets accolade for ‘top tenant’

Claire Smith celebrates winning the award
Claire Smith celebrates winning the award

Model tenant Claire Smith has been crowned one of the region’s best at helping improve services for social housing residents.

Claire, of Heanor, won the Colin Smith Memorial Award for tenant participation at the East Midlands Tenant Participation Forum – a dedicated group of housing association tenants who help improve the lives of friends and neighbours.

The mum of four has been a tenant for 16 years with Ripley-based housing group Futures Homescape.

Since 2010, she has volunteered her time as a tenant quality inspector, where she scrutinises how services work and recommends improvements which benefit customers.

She was presented with a certificate and a glass trophy at the ceremony in Nottingham after being nominated by staff and other members of the forum.

Claire said: “It was lovely to win it as it’s nice to have that kind of recognition. It was daunting to be up on stage and face everyone and I’m sure there were more qualified people than me in the room who should have won. I don’t know how I’ve done it!

“I tried really hard not to cry when they read out my name – but it didn’t work.”

She came out as the top choice among her peers to receive the award, which recognises extraordinary commitment at a local or regional level and made an outstanding contribution within the community.

Futures Homescape community development manager Sarah Whattam, said: “We are so proud of Claire’s achievement. She has come a long way – her confidence, communication and analytical skills have developed and she is very knowledgeable about housing and its issues.

“She has flourished into a great member of the resident involvement team - a volunteer, champion and ambassador. We’re thrilled for her.”