Energetic 84-year-old in the running for national award

A pensioner who has devoted his own time to create a better life for tenants to live has been shortlisted for a national accolade.

Roy Birch, a tenant member of the board of Aire Valley Homes, has been shortlisted for the Board Member of the Year by the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA).

A founding member of his local tenants and residents' group, the 84-year-old was shortlisted because his energy and enthusiasm to put tenants' interests first means he plays an active role not just at board level, but on repairs focus groups, the repairs and grounds maintenance procurement projects, estate walkabouts, his residents' groups meetings and numerous other activities.

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During the summer Mr Birch, of Leeds, joined fellow area panel colleagues to set up stalls trumpeting the work of his area panel.

Karen Fletcher, customer involvement officer at Aire Valley Homes, said: "He is the most loyal and committed individual I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He's kind, thoughtful and devotes all of his time to helping to bring improvements to his local community - a real one-off."

Aire Valley Homes is one of three arms-length management organisations (ALMOs) which manage and maintain the city's council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council.

Tina Fielden, vice-chair of the Aire Valley Homes board, said: "Roy shows an amazing level of commitment, he has never wavered in his hard work and does much to inform non-resident board members about the issues facing tenants and how these can be addressed.

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"He has supported colleagues through some difficult times and never lets us forget what we are here for. He is a role model for active citizenship and much appreciated within his community."

The NFA Awards were designed to recognise and celebrate the hard work and achievements of ALMO tenants and resident groups.

Alison Inman, chair of the National Federation of ALMOs and judge of the awards, said: "These awards recognise individuals, groups and projects which go above and beyond the call of duty to make a difference in their communities. Year-on-year, the quality of award entries has been so high, and this year was no exception."

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