The essential journalist news source
Surprise for Local Hero Neil


                     Press Release

Ref:PRSH297                                                                                               Date: September 16, 2021

Surprise for Local Hero Neil

A group of people posing for a photoDescription automatically generated with medium confidence

 Hi-res image

Stafford and Rural Homes customer Neil McKay was taken by surprise when members of his local community told the housing association about their good neighbour.

Residents of a close-knit neighbourhood in Trinity Fields, Stafford, said that Neil's help began in lockdown and now continues with errands, support and help for vulnerable people.

As part of Housing Plus Group  SARH asks tenants to celebrate great neighbours using its online Local Hero form. Choosing from these nominations, the landlord sends surprise ‘thank you' chocolate gifts.

"It is our mission to make a positive difference and with 18,000 customers, our residents are doing that every day, in communities throughout Staffordshire and Shropshire," said Housing Plus Group Chief executive Sarah Boden. "We love to hear about Local Heroes like Neil and are delighted to thank them, on behalf of their neighbours."

Neil, who moved into the community in 2019, reached out to neighbours at the start of lockdown in 2020. Realising that elderly residents were unable to leave their homes, he circulated menus from a local bakery and arranged deliveries. Soon, he was providing reassurance by telephone and doing small jobs in his people's gardens.

"He always wants to help," said his partner, Lynne. "He's such a kind person and everyone around here knows that they can get in touch with him if they need anything.

"Every neighbourhood should have a Neil!"

SARH got together with his neighbours to deliver chocolates to Neil. Anyone who would like to let the landlord know about a Local Hero among its tenants can nominate using this form:



HPG21147 -Local hero Neil McKay (centre) is pictured with some of the neighbours who arranged for their housing association to surprise him with a chocolate ‘thank you' gift.


Background for editors 

Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) is a social landlord with around 6,000 homes across Stafford, Stone and the rural villages across the Borough.The association works closely with resident and partners and tosupport customers and communities. 

SARH is registered as a Charitable Community Benefit Society and is part of Housing Plus Group, a leading provider of quality, affordable homes and care services that customers can trust across Shropshire and Staffordshire.  Housing PlusGroup members also include South Staffordshire Housing Association, Severnside Housing, Care Plus and Severn Homes.  

Housing Plus Group is addressing the housing crisis by starting to build 2,000 new homes for rent, shared ownership and outright sale by 2023. The Group has pledged to deliver one-third more hours of care and support for older people in their own homes and to create apprenticeship opportunities for 100 people in the Group and its supply chain within five years. 

Its members are inspired by the CLARITY values which are the foundations of its work: Communication, Learning, Accountable, Respectful, Inclusive, Trust and YOU.

Further information

Mara Hargreaves
Head of marketing and communications 
m:07800 619 863 

Clare Chick
Marketing and communications officer
m: 07950 254 279

Martin Farrow
CHANGEWORKS Communications
t: + 44 (0) 1785 247588
m: +44 (0)7771 970025