Next up, Renee Crawford is a stalwart within the Lenadoon community and thrives when she is helping others.
As Strategic Development Co-ordinator for Lenadoon Community Forum, Renee helps to ensure locals are up-to-date with Housing Executive news.
She does this through regular community engagement and the quarterly magazine ‘Lenadoon Community News’ that is produced by the Forum.
Renee, a mum-of-four and busy grandmother, has been living in the area since 1971 and was a Housing Executive tenant before purchasing her home.
She describes Lenadoon as ‘a no go area’ for many during the Troubles and spoke about living through “unpredictable” times.
“A lot of services were restricted then and you looked after yourself. The houses were in need of work and when schemes later came together if a bomb went off in Belfast, the Housing Executive reprioritised their budgets and sometimes they never came about due to this.
“You took what you got at the time and everyone at one stage ended up with donkey brown paint. “It was strange times, frightening times but the community spirit and people helping was second to none,” she said.
A community conference took place in May 1992 and Lenadoon Community Forum evolved from this as an umbrella organisation.
Meeting on a bi-monthly basis, members talk about issues that affect the area and form ways to help those who need it.
Renee, who is also involved in a number of other community organisations, spoke about the Covid-19 crisis and how the Housing Executive helped with its Response Fund.
“From the forum’s point of view a lot of statutory agencies stepped back then, but the Housing Executive stepped forward.
“We could access the grant and we were able to purchase non-food items that were delivered as part of food parcels to homes and we also rang families who were isolated and made contact with them,” she added.
She says the Housing Executive has evolved over the years – due to its ongoing investment in community life.
“The legacy of its work has to be the community partnership which is central. The Housing Executive needs to continue to do this and listen to the voice of tenants and it needs to be fit for purpose to face any challenges ahead,” Renee added.
Watch our interview with Renee below.