Better Days Award
Better Days is a key strand of our social purpose initiative, supporting thousands of our customers every year to help stabilise their situations and provide them the tools to move forward. Better Days supports our customers to find work, improve their digital skills, their finances and their overall well-being. We received a number of incredibly inspiring entries this year, as one would expect, as this category recognises a community group or individual, who has shown outstanding passion and enthusiasm, through development of local services that have supported Orbit customers to thrive. We are delighted to share these inspirational stories that support our vision of building thriving communities. Now, they need your vote!
Have your say on who will be this year’s winner - read their stories and choose your favourite. The winners will receive prizes up to a value of £1,000.
Voting closes on Sunday 2 August so make sure to submit your entry before then. The winner will be announced on this page, live, on Friday 14 August.
Malcolm Corble, Ipswich
Malcolm has made such a fantastic impact within the Ipswich community in which he lives. He cares greatly about the environment and goes above and beyond to ensure it is clean and safe for his family and for others.
There have been ongoing issues with regards to fly tipping and dumping of rubbish in the communal bin stores, so Malcolm has taken it upon himself to pick up rubbish (on a weekly basis) and decontaminates the recycle bins so the council will empty them.
Malcolm is brilliant at contacting Orbit for any issues which arise in the communal areas and positively communicates with all customers on site in a cheery and friendly manner. He also kindly requested that we provide him with bin bags and a litter picker to help keep the estate tidy, which he does, and a year on, the estate looks so much better.
Malcolm regularly helps the grounds maintenance contractors when they are on site. He has joined us when we have met the local council on site and has worked with our contractors to try and find a way to stop the rubbish and fly tipping issues. We value his opinion and ideas, which are always forthcoming and helpful.
Rhonda Kyte, Kent
Rhonda has been outstanding during this unprecedented time.
She is a volunteer and has completed shopping for the vulnerable customers that are in need at Sheen Court. She has even stood in queues for over an hour to get another resident’s medication, as they are unable to do this themselves.
Rhonda also helps vulnerable tenants with their washing and drying; she has gone above and beyond with all she does and it has been incredibly well received. She has even cooked meals for tenants who have not been able to cook for themselves. She has made sure to follow the government guidelines when completing any tasks for another person making sure both she and they stay safe and well.
The customers she has helped have all commented, “She is so good. If we need anything, we just phone her up and she goes and gets it”. One customer said, “She is an angel”.
Rhonda has always been helpful with organising charity events and get togethers for customers, but she has gone above and beyond at this present time because she understands how important it is to look after each other and work together.
Wendy Waters, Wellesbourne
Wendy works with Hastings House Medical Centre, working alongside the Practice Nurse out in the community.
Wendy has spent her time visiting customers in general needs homes, extra care schemes and Independent Living properties, working closely with Orbit employees and medical staff to ensure that customers are being supported. She has been instrumental in working with the customers at Ettington Lodge. Customers have leaned on Wendy for social isolation support, and she has set up group meetings and navigated issues with them to reach the best result.
Before lockdown, Wendy organised coffee mornings and meetings to provide health education about the importance of effective hand washing and how to protect against infection and prevent its spread. Since the coronavirus pandemic started, this service has moved to an online and telephone platform where she has continued to engage with customers and take on new referrals. She has set up a community group, organising befriending telephone calls, shopping and prescription delivery with 180 volunteers as well as a facility to organise food for those coming out of hospital.
Geoff, Pathways Care Farm, Lowestoft
Pathways Care Farm enables Orbit customers and members of Suffolk or the wider community to find their 'safe place'. Every person who attends the Pathways project is treated as an individual and we have been stunned by their dedication to community cohesion and equality.
Using innovative methods, they have found a way to continue to support people to attend the farm throughout the coronavirus crisis - proving to be a lifeline to those who were facing relapse into social isolation and exclusion.
Pathways have also been posting regular videos on social media with updates from the farm and animals for those who are unable to attend whilst shielding, making sure everyone has the chance to be involved.
Pathways also run a carpentry workshop for ex-offenders which has had great outcomes and continued success, and they also support people from across the community with mental health issues, learning disabilities and dementia, allowing them to access this wonderful open space and experience a sense of achievement.
A young person who suffered with severe depression before engaging with Pathways provided this quote: “Geoff and the team at Pathways have saved my life.”
Becky, Rubbish Friends, Stratford Upon Avon
Rubbish Friends was created in 2017 with a vision to bring likeminded and passionate individuals together to keep communities clear of litter for the benefit of residents and wildlife. Three years on, led by Becky, there are a small army of Rubbish Friends that meet all year around to pick up discarded litter on the streets, parks and waterways of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is now a registered charity and has inspired many other local groups to join in in doing their bit for the environment; groups meet regularly in Southam, Redditch and further afield.
These people are all volunteers. Together their commitment to improving local outdoor spaces brings a good dose of community spirit to Stratford. Rubbish Friends is more than just picking up litter - being outdoors, meeting and forming connections with others from the community shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to enhancing ones wellbeing. As the name suggests, valuable friendships are often formed.
The work of Rubbish Friends has brought awareness to more serious issues such as fly tipping and discarded drug sharps in play areas. They have been able to contact the relevant organisations to resolve these potentially dangerous incidents.
Becky’s drive and enthusiasm are key components of the continued success of this group, but she has done a lot of hard work behind the scenes too, engaging with local organisations to ensure that litter collected is sorted and disposed of responsibly, equipment has been purchased through financial donations and all administration, organisation and accounting runs smoothly.