Manchester-based BMENational member Arawak Walton last week celebrated 25 years of serving its community.
The largest black and minority ethnic (BME) housing association in the north-west, Arawak Walton was formed in 1994 following a merger of two BME housing associations. Currently, it owns and manages over 900 homes in Manchester, Trafford and Stockport.
“Arawak Walton has a history of meeting the needs of BME communities and champions the provision of quality, affordable homes,” said guest speaker Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Harry Lyons. “The association continues to grow and is continually improving its offer to its tenants and the communities in which it operates.
“There are challenges to face in the housing sector at the moment, particularly for small associations. But Arawak Walton, with its strong board leadership and management, is well placed to meet these challenges. I wish it well for the next 25 years.”
The event, held at the Zion Arts Centre in Hulme, saw two Arawak Walton tenants recognised for outstanding contributions to their local neighbourhoods.
Shirley Lawrence, elected chair of Arawak Walton’s Tenants’ Quality Panel, holds a regular tenants’ surgery assisting residents with queries, while Alan Dunaway turned an area of overgrown land in Ardwick into a communal garden, securing funding and undertaking much of the landscaping work himself.
With its roots in the African-Caribbean community, Arawak Walton contributes to local regeneration activities and is committed to tackling social deprivation. The association also works with partner agencies to improve community cohesion by creating sustainable, multicultural neighbourhoods.
“It’s a really proud day for us,” said Cym D’Souza, Arawak Walton’s chief executive. “The turnout has been fabulous. All our customers, partners and friends are together celebrating. It shows how much support there is for the organisation.
“We’ve schemes that are models of community cohesion. That’s been our legacy. We can prove that different people from different cultures and religions can live, work and enjoy life together.”