Great Places Housing Group customer Stuart Hutton-Brown has been nominated for a Housing Heroes award for his services to the Blackpool community.
Hutton-Brown, who founded Counselling in the Community, has been shortlisted in the Tenant Innovator of the Year category at the 2020 Housing Hero Awards, which are due to be held virtually.
Counselling in the Community – which has a base in Derby Road and is preparing to open a second facility in Waterloo Road – began life in 2018 to address the need for counselling services in the region.
Great Places Housing Group has so far donated £3,000 to the service and has been supporting the development of the business and linking Hutton-Brown into supporting tenants.
After spending 30 years in retail and following a period of sickness, Hutton-Brown retrained as a counsellor and despite some difficult times, the service is now going from strength to strength.
The service was helping around 80 people a week prior to lockdown but is dealing with an estimated 120 people per week and they have 34 voluntary counsellors.
Hutton-Brown said: “To even be nominated for an award validates the work we are doing and is very flattering.
“Just a year ago, we were struggling to keep the service going, but now we are planning to open a second base. It’s a testament to the hard work of so many people.
“We have had so many nice comments from the people who access the service, and I can’t thank Great Places for everything they have done for me personally and for the help and funding they have provided.
“I’m very excited about being nominated, even though the awards ceremony is going to be held virtually, I’m looking forward to the event.”
Keira Burns, Great Places’ community investment manager, said: “Stuart thoroughly deserves to be recognised by the Housing Hero Awards because the service he is providing has become ever more crucial in the wake of the on-going pandemic and lockdown.
“His devotion to providing this service to some of the most vulnerable people in the town has been phenomenal, and a lot of people owe a debt of gratitude to him and the volunteers at Counselling in the Community.”
The Housing Heroes Awards ceremony will be held on September 10.
Main image: Stuart Hutton-Brown at Counselling in the Community in Derby Road, Blackpool
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