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Richard MacRae

Richard has been effective in engaging with the local community and getting volunteers to help with a variety of activities.  He actively promotes events that he has organised or on behalf of the Council and other organisations.  Richard is a valued and well-known member of the community and ensures events are supported by residents.

Richard is very successful at engaging the local community and has been able to get volunteers to help on a variety of projects, from helping residents who need assitance with their gardens to repainting railings at some local shops.

Richard has organised many events in his area, including sporting activities for all ages; healthy living, healthy eating sessions; job clubs; recruitment drives for local businesses; employability skills training; day trips; CPR training; clean-up days and is always coming up with new ideas to reach more members of the community.  He is currently working on developing a super kitchen; choking hazards training and fundraising for a defibrillator.

Not only does Richard have a visual presence in his area, he also engages with the local community through Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and the Stapleford Community Group website, which he taught himself how to build.  He keeps residents informed of events happening in their area, along with local information and news.

The Stapleford Community Advice Service, set up by Richard, holds monthly meetings for residents.  Richard ensures speakers are invited to the meetings to cover a range of themes of interest to residents, including Council services.  

Over the years Richard has achieved a lot for his community and made a difference to so many residents.

Richard organised improvement works at some local shops following comments from older residents they would prefer to go into town, rather than their shops due to fear from groups of young lads hanging around and alleged drug dealing.

After obtaining permission from the owner of the shops, Richard got together a group of volunteers to repaint the dilapidated railings around the shops and the shop keeper agreed to provide the paint.  Due to the length of time this was taking Richard also secured assistance from Community Payback teams to help finish this.

Richard liaised with the Borough Council and got agreement for bushes and trees around the shops to be pruned back, during a Community Clean-up Day, to open up the area.  Richard also got the County Council involved, who agreed to replace railings around the sub-way to the shops and resurface a stretch of road above it.

Richard approached the lads and spoke with them about their reasons for hanging around the shops.  They all said they were bored, had nothing to do and couldn’t find work.

The lads had indicated interest in construction and Richard organised CSCS training.  This was achieved through donations of over £1,500 from local businesses and getting a local college to deliver the courses.  The course was free to residents.  Through the Stapleford Community Group, Richard offered to check paperwork for those who had completed the course, to obtain CSCS cards and the group covered the costs of these.

To date 55 young residents have obtained their CSCS cards and are now able to look for employment on construction sites.  Residents have said that the improvement works to the shops and the reduction in young people hanging around have made them feel safer in their area.

Richard lives in an area with a high level of deprivation and is dedicated to helping residents develop their skills; building a sense of community and bringing improvements to his neighbourhood.

Richard has been active in his community for many years and is a highly motivated person who has fully embraced his community role.  He started with very little knowledge and information, but his determination has built relationships with many different organisations, agencies and service providers to gain the skills, information and links he needs.

Richard has formed strong relationships with residents of all ages and helps bring the community together through a variety of projects and events.  The level of thought and effort he puts into these to ensure they are successful is highly commendable.

Residents that Richard has helped have stopped in him the street and told him that without him they wouldn’t be working; wouldn’t be able to buy their children Christmas presents and wouldn’t be going on a family holiday.

Richard’s passion and enthusiasm for his community work is very apparent and he has stated that as long as he can make a difference, even to just one life, it’s all worth it.

Richard has been active in his community for a number of years and works proactively to help local residents, businesses and agencies.  The area he is active in has a high level of deprivation and due to his proactive nature and dedication £750,000 has been spent on projects for the benefit of the community.

Richard started his community role with a Facebook page on which he would ask for volunteers to help other residents in the area with odd jobs and share local information.  As interest grew he set up the Stapleford Community Group and held regular meetings for residents.  He approached the Council about developing the group and received assistant to get his group formally set up and recognised, with officers regularly attending meetings.  Richard has taught himself how to build a website and has set one up for the group, which over two years has had 497,178 views and he has written 3,355 articles for it covering community and local information.  He also has a large following across a number of social media platforms.

Following his recent success of being elected as an independent borough councillor, he gives a clear message to local residents and businesses that he didn’t win the election, the community won it and he wouldn’t be there if they didn’t want him.  Everything Richard does is done with the best interest of the community at the heart of it.  His group’s strapline is ‘Bringing Unity to the Community’

I truly believe that Richard deserves recognition for all the hard work he has put in over the years to develop his community; the help he has given to local residents to develop their skills; the links he has made with local businesses and agencies to help support the community and the numerous activities he organises. 

In total around £750,000 of projects and funding to improve and develop his area and community.

£80,000 spent to improve two local parks. 

Sports equipment secured through the Broxtowe Action Fund and negotiations with Decathlon.

Estate improvements completed around local shops to make residents feel safer.  This included road improvements, through negotiations with the County Council. 

Organised CSCS training with 55 young unemployed residents obtaining CSCS cards.

Healthy Living, Healthy Eating events, targeted at low income families to teach children how to eat healthily, incorporating sporting activities and the chance to cook their own meals.

Active role in organising and promoting Council Estate Roadshows and Community Clean-up Days and own clean-up days. 

Set up Stapleford Community Advisory Service, which holds monthly meetings offering advice for residents from different agencies, including the Police, Council departments and Sure Start.

Mentors local residents to help them with their dealings with the Council and getting their issues resolved.

Volunteers at local job club and actively helps with recruitment for local businesses, enabling local residents to gain employment. 

Delivers CPR training for local businesses, schools and adults, after securing 20 Resuscitation Annie dolls from the British Heart Foundation.

Starting out with very limited knowledge and information about community development, Richard wasn’t aware of the different services provided by the Council and openly admits he only associated the Council with bin collections.  Likewise with agencies in the area; the services they provide and how they could help communities.

To begin with many doors were closed on Richard when asking for help and support.  Through his own determination, persistence and not being afraid to ask he has managed to turn this around.  He has greatly enhanced his reputation and is known as someone who delivers.  Where residents, businesses and agencies support his work, he ensures they get something back in return.

Richard is a member of many committees within his community, which has helped to develop his knowledge and understanding.  He also joined the Housing Performance Group to develop his Housing knowledge, which has enabled Richard to provide greater support to tenants in his area.

Richard’s down to earth personality, openness and commitment have helped him overcome all challenges he faces.  Richard builds on his own personal experiences to help communities, including a health scare that led him to deliver CPR training for residents of all ages and local businesses.

Richard is an unsung hero who dedicates a substantial amount of time to his community work, helping residents, local businesses, the Council and agencies to bring about improvements both to individuals and the community as a whole.

Richard is very passionate about all aspects of his community work, but does not fully appreciate the impact he has on individuals and the community.  He is unassuming about his achievements, with all his focus being on the community benefit.

Richard considers every member of the community he represents and his attention to detail is exceptional, such as community sport days in areas with alleged drug dealing to act as a deterrent; building on personal health scares to now provide CPR training for all ages and targeting children from low income families and organising Healthy Living, Healthy Eating events for them.

Richard is not afraid to ask difficult questions and uses his initiative to ensure he gets to the root of issues and quickly identifies solutions to address these.  He is often very creative in his solutions and the benefits they can bring, not just to residents, but local businesses, the Council and other agencies.

Richard has worked tirelessly over a number of years for the benefit of his community.  The outcomes he has achieved over this time are inspirational and have truly benefited individuals and the community as a whole.  Richard deserves recognition for all the time and effort he has put into the community and for going that extra mile. Richard  has many achievements that he should be proud of, but is often too busy to reflect on these and this award would go some way to making him aware of this and just how grateful the community, businesses, the Council and agencies are for the exceptional things he has achieved.

Richard organises a wide variety of events, all of which he advertises on his website and through social media.  He also ensures he has a visual presence in his community and actively promotes events he is involved with and on behalf of others.

A health scare prompted Richard to research heart conditions and on discovering how big an issue this is he decided to learn CPR, to be able to provide training for the community.  He contacted the British Heart Foundation who agreed to provide him with 20 Resuscitation Annie dolls.  He started providing the training for local businesses and is now training children in schools.  He is working on plans to widen this training and has already provided training at a local Sure Start centre.  Richard is so passionate about this training he is developing links not only in his community, but across the whole borough and wants to ensure he can provide this valuable training to as many adults and young people as possible.

Richard has recently applied for a grant for training on choking hazards to obtain training aids, such as choking training vests and Baby Annie resuscitation dolls.  He is waiting to hear the outcome of this grant, but hopes to incorporate this into the CPR training he delivers.

Following a recent Community Clean-up Day in his area, Richard has worked with the Salvation Army to organise a smaller scale follow up event.  Children from the Salvation Army summer school came to the estate and did a litter pick, with other children providing refreshments for the residents who got involved.

Richard received funding from Broxtowe Action Fund and through negotiations with Decathlon obtained a variety of sporting equipment.  Richard often organises sporting events and has even got a local business to sponsor hi-vis vests for children attending these events.  Alongside the Healthy Living, Healthy Eating events Richard organises he also organises community sport days in areas where there is alleged drug dealing on open spaces.  He is conscious that where there is a lot of activity in an area this will act as a deterrent to deals taking place.

Richard volunteers at the monthly Stapleford Work Club and actively promotes this and job opportunities through his website.  He has close links with local businesses and has undertaken a number of job recruitments on their behalf. 

Through his assistance a local business ended up with that much interest in their vacancies they now have a waiting list.  In turn the business now donates some of their produce to a local food bank. 

When Iceland opened up a new store in the area Richard helped them with their recruitment drive.  Over 150 residents attended the Job Club to apply for vacancies and the store also received over 400 online applications from local residents.

Richard also helped a new Co-op store with their recruitment drive.  In turn Co-op has agreed to have a defibrillator placed on an external wall of their store, which Richard is currently fund-raising for.  They have also agreed to absorb the running costs for this.

Richard is an advocate of local jobs for local people and through his links with businesses and colleges he has been able to provide employability training and greatly assists with getting local residents into work.

In September 2014, Richard received a Points of Light Award in recognition of the work he has done with job fairs and for helping over 200 residents in his community to find work.  The award recognises outstanding individual volunteers, who are making a change in his community.  Richard is very proud of this achievement and his trip to Downing Street, where he was presented with the award by the Prime Minister.

Richard is in the process of developing a ‘Super Kitchen’ in a local community centre.  He is currently seeking funding to develop the kitchen at the centre and make some general improvements.  He is organising a community meal at the centre, through funding obtained from a local Councillor; donations of food and obtaining the services of a charitable organisation to cook the meals. Residents will be able to enjoy a free healthy three-course meal, which they wouldn’t be able to access through their own means.  He has invited the Police to meal so that residents are able to discuss issues with them away from their areas to help reduce fear of reprisals.

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