Good Neighbourhood Awards Member Stories

Good Neighbour Awards 2019 – Going above and beyond for the benefit of Birmingham

Written by Patrick Grier

Earlier this year we launched our search to find the UK’s best neighbours who are going above and beyond to help those in need and their communities as part of our Good Neighbour Awards.

Out of hundreds of nominations, six well-deserved neighbours were crowned the winners of Nextdoor’s Good Neighbour Awards 2019.

The fourth winner and story to share in this year’s series is Faydene Gillings-Grant and her inspiring community work in Stechford, Birmingham. 

Originally from Jamaica, Faydene moved to the UK and made Birmingham her home in 1996. Growing up, Faydene learnt from her parents the value of helping those around her, learning how to build and landscape gardens. Although not her main profession, she found a way to put these skills to good use and to the benefit of the Stechford community.

Stechford is an area which has seen its fair share of problems over the years, and Faydene wanted to do everything in her power to help the residents of the area she loves. Seven years ago, Faydene embarked on her mission by setting up the Stechford food bank to help residents who needed it the most. In order to do this, she tirelessly looked for funding partners to find a location where they could store the stock. Once the partner was onboard and location secured, she then went about arranging partnerships with the local supermarkets to ensure there was a regular supply of groceries. 

It was the food bank which “woke up” Faydene to the issue of poverty in her area – she met people of all different backgrounds, speaking to them and learning their stories of why they were there and needed help. Faydene realised that anyone can fall on bad times, and in order to try and prevent this, she wanted to go further to help her community.

Faydene decided that her local church could be used as a base to help the wider community. Here she has organised fitness classes, children centres to help single mothers with childcare and provides music lessons to local kids, all for free. In the garden, she even built a badminton court which can be used by the whole community.

Faydene wanted to make the church and its facilities accessible to all and so used her landscaping skills to build a ramp so that those less able could easily visit.

Like our previous winner Elizabeth, gardening is a passion of Faydene’s. She spearheads area clean-ups so locals can have a sense of pride for where they live and over the last four years, Faydene has also organised Stechford’s entry for the ‘Britain In Bloom Project’ and has won awards for her efforts.

Faydene at Stechford’s ‘Britain in Bloom’ garden

What’s special about Faydene is she brings solidarity and involvement back to her community through her work, setting a good example for young and old alike. She has put serious hours of her free time into Stechford and the results speak for themselves. 

When it comes to using Nextdoor, Faydene has been able to reach out to her community and encourage anyone who may want to join her in helping to make Stechford a better place to live. Faydene likes to call them her “street champions. 

Faydene was nominated for her Good Neighbour Award by Nextdoor member Rachel Lee. Rachel told us: “She has cleaned up the local allotments even though she doesn’t have one, regularly volunteers to help elderly people in the area with their gardens and lawns and spearheads several other community based projects. She is now sharing her love of the neighbourhood with a group of youths that asked for her help (including two of my children). She loves her neighbourhood and the people in it. It is a better place because she is there. She helps, inspires, motivates, cares and generally just shows love. She is amazing!”

Tomorrow, we will be releasing the final of our Good Neighbour Winners – it’s a really special one, so make sure you are ready to sit back and watch the big screen – you’ll know what we mean tomorrow 😉

Rachel Lee presenting Faydene with her Good Neighbour Award

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