Latest news at CGA — articles for 2019


Tributes paid to tenant champion

Tributes have been paid to a “tenant champion” who has passed away after a long illness, aged just 57.

Gill Lawson was a founding board member of Community Gateway, the very first Gateway Model housing association in the country.  Her passion for the tenants’ voice was clear to see, and led to her being invited to many other housing associations, conferences, and even the Houses of Parliament to present her unique perspective on tenant involvement and promote the Gateway Model.

Nic Bliss, Head of Policy at the Confederation of Co-operative Housing, supported Community Gateway during the stock transfer of Preston City Council homes to the Preston-based landlord in 2005.  He has fond memories of Gill, who was a member of the shadow board,

“Take it from me – she was a special woman! She was very instrumental in setting Community Gateway up.  I remember the first meeting she came to - she sat at the back saying nothing, and then right at the end she asked me very sheepishly in a quiet voice ‘Do you think I could get involved?’ A far cry from the feisty and lively person she later became!”

Louise Mattinson, Executive Director of Customers and Communities at Community Gateway recalls,

“She was my customer conscience on my shoulder, for example if we were changing policies or structures, I always had ‘How is Gill going to react to this?’ at the back of my mind.  She was the voice of the customer and was prepared to challenge you.” 

“She would ask ‘Have customers been involved, is this right for the customer?’ She would hold people to account.”

Chief Executive of Gentoo, Nigel Wilson, was also a founding board member and served with Gill. He says,

“I worked alongside Gill for over 9 years; she was a heart-on-the-sleeve person who put the people of Preston and Gateway tenants first in everything.  She could be fiery and was never shy in sharing exactly what she thought on the subject in discussion.  She was a great board colleague, a woman of passion and pride in her Gateway and her Preston. She is missed.”

Gill stepped down from the Community Gateway board in 2014 but remained involved with the organisation as an associate member, continuing her active involvement in action groups where she reviewed service standards, policies and procedures and conducted mystery shopping.

Although her failing health began to slow her activism, it couldn’t stifle her passion.

Many of us at Community Gateway have lost a unique champion and friend.

Gill leaves behind her devoted husband Mick and two children.

Gill Lawson on the Gateway Tenants Committee

Brand new apartment ticks all the boxes for Great-Grandad Mick

Yesterday was a particularly memorable day for pensioner Mick Davis, as he collected the keys to his brand-new 2-bed ground floor apartment from Community Gateway Chief Executive Rob Wakefield. The apartment is on the Story Homes Waterside development in Cottam, where Community Gateway are purchasing 59 homes in total.  

Mick, a retired joiner and builder from Preston, is already a tenant of Community Gateway living in a one-bed first floor flat in Ingol. He decided to have a look at Waterside for a number of reasons:

“I lived round here many years ago and know it well”, said Mick. “I’ve lived all over Preston since then, so being back here is like coming full circle.”

“I’m blessed with a large family and have 19 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, all living locally. The youngest four like to visit quite often, so it will be great to have a second bedroom, where they can stay over. I’m really chuffed with the place – being in the trade myself, I know that it’s real quality workmanship.”

 Looking out of the large lounge windows in his new home, Mick points out the Lancaster Canal.

“I don’t do competitive fishing any more, but I love to fish, so the location is spot on. I remember this area when it was all orchards – it’s great to be right on the doorstep of beautiful countryside, yet on good bus routes and handy for the shops.”

The flats are spacious, light and airy, with plentiful storage space and a large kitchen. They also offer all mod cons in the bathrooms, which incorporate not only a modern bath, toilet and sink as standard, but low and high level shower systems. In addition, the apartments benefit from parking and secure bike stores.  

Mick was very pleased with how smoothly the process of choosing and signing up for his new home had gone and had nothing but praise for Allocations Officer Charlene. Charlene had arranged for him to have a five-day overlap period between his two tenancies to give him plenty of time to move his furniture and belongings.

Mick gave Chief Executive Rob a quick tour of his new home, while Charlene finished off the paperwork.

Rob said; “This is a prime example of what we’re trying to do here. We want to ensure that, as the biggest landlord in Preston, we provide a range of high quality housing to meet the varied needs of local people at different times in their lives. We’re about building homes not units here at Community Gateway and this latest apartment block will be a real asset to our housing stock. I hope Mick will be very happy here.”

Click the video below to hear from Rob and see more of the interior and exterior of one of our Larch Lane apartments.

Have a look inside ...

Hear from Mick himself...


Come and see us tomorrow at Preston Pulse

Once again, Community Gateway are proud to be sponsoring the fabulous Preston Pulse event, which gets bigger and better every year. Come and see us at Preston Pulse tomorrow on the Flag Market between 10.30am and 4pm and join in with the diversity celebrations!

Preston Pulse is all about empowering individuals and strengthening engagement across the Preston - we want you to be a part of it!

Look for our Community Gateway stand, where you can find out more about the services we offer to young people over 16 and adults; help with getting a job, going onto further education or gaining vocational training with our subsidiary charitable organisaiton Preston Vocational Centre (PVC). We have a range of programmes on offer that could be just what you are looking take that first step to a new career, make friends and meet new people, boost your confidence or get back into the world of work.

If you're interested in becoming a Gateway tenant, we can also advise on the process too and if you are currently one of our tenants, we can also help with any questions you might have about your tenancy. 

We'd also like to hear your views on our new Empowerment Strategy.

As a thank you for popping over to see us, there will be some fun "freebies" for you to take away.

We hope to see you there!

Community Food Hubs available over Summer

Community Gateway is holding food hubs at a variety of locations across Preston over the Summer to combat Holiday Hunger.

We will be providing quality fresh produce and you only need to pay whatever you can afford.

The events are open to Community Gateway tenants only. Please bring along proof of your address such as a household bill or driving licence. 

If you just want to come along and see what's on offer, please do.

The dates and venues are;

  • Friday 26th July – Willow Crescent (Acorn building), Ribbleton 1pm to 2pm
  • Friday 2nd August – William Young Centre, William Young Close, Harewood Road PR1 6XW – 3pm to 4pm
  • Thursday 8th August – Sion Park Hub – 1pm to 2pm
  • Friday 16th August – Bay Tree Farm – 4pm to 5pm
  • Thursday 22nd August – Grange Park Community Garden – 2 pm. to 3 pm.
  • Thursday 29 August - former Contour Housing Office, 16 Downing Street, Callon Preston PR1 4RH

We will be adding more later dates and times, so please check back in August to see when these are.or call our freephone number for more information 0800 953 0213

Happy new home for the Drzewieckis

Mr and Mrs Drzewiecki are full of smiles after moving into their new home yesterday (3rd July).

David and Margorzata, who have three young children, lived in a 2-bed home elsewhere in Preston, but wanted something more spacious with a drive and a garden to accommodate their growing family. They also had their heart set on the Brookfield area.

The couple were registered with the Select Move property finder and were helped on their journey by Laura Pavlikova, one of our Allocations Officers, who showed them a couple of houses, before suggesting they bid on one of our new semi-detached homes on the former Brookfield Church site.

They did and were thrilled when they were allocated a home which matched all their requirements – and even more so when they saw the light and airy rooms, which were a lot bigger than expected. The 13 two and three-bed properties on the site were built by Seddon Construction to a very high specification, with all properties boasting large gardens with patios, a driveway and pleasant landscaping.

David said: “The children are growing up now and we needed more bedroom space and a garden for them to play. We are really happy with this house and with the service we have received from Community Gateway, who we definitely feel are the best housing association in the area. We’d like to thank Laura, in particular, for all her help.”

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