Keyham Neighbourhood Watch is crowned Community of the Year for its unified response in the wake of tragedy

16 December 2021

• Plymouth community group hailed for its efforts by Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch in annual Neighbour of the Year Awards.

• Research reveals more than a quarter of adults (27%) are most concerned about crime and anti-social behaviour in their own community.

Keyham Neighbourhood Watch has been crowned as the UK’s Community of the Year by Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch in the annual Neighbour of the Year 2021 awards.

The Plymouth-based Neighbourhood Watch group, led by chairman Kevin Sproston, was nominated by people living in the area for the way in which it supported locals emotionally, physically and mentally during the Covid pandemic and also for the unique ways it coordinated help for people in the aftermath of the devastating shootings which took place in August.

Nominations praised Keyham Neighbourhood Watch for: • Being the first community to start a Covid telephone helpline in Plymouth and forming a strategic response including shopping for the vulnerable and those shielding.

• Setting up a food bank and food parcel delivery scheme helping over 40 families a week in the area over the lockdown period.

• Delivering over 120 Easter eggs every year for three years so no child in the area goes without a chocolate egg.

• In the immediate aftermath of the tragic shootings this August, the Neighbourhood Watch team were immediately visible on the ground informing the community of what was happening and that they should stay safe indoors.

• They organised vigils so they community could come together in their grief and respectfully led tributes to those that had died.

• The team at Keyham Neighbourhood Watch helped people to feel safe in their homes by raising £10,000 for home improvements including fixing door and window locks and also handed out over 100 personal safety alarms.

• In the last six months volunteers have been working with the police force and MPs to ensure more patrol are visible in the area to help people recover from the trauma. They are opening community hubs where people in need of help can call in and talk to someone face to face.

• Keyham Neighbourhood Watch has also arranged for helpers to walk around the community offering a visible friendly face to those who want to practical or emotional help.

The award comes as research* by Co-op Insurance reveals that crime and anti-social behaviour is the issue that most troubles UK adults with over a quarter (27%) stating it is of most concern in their community.

Londoners are most concerned about crime with a third (33%) stating it is the issue that worries them most followed by people living in the West Midlands (28%).

Speeding and road traffic along with saving the planet come joint second on issues that trouble adults across the country, with 13% stating they are of major concern to their local community.

Kevin Sproston, chairman of Keyham Neighbourhood Watch, said: “It is a huge honour to be Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch’s Community of the Year and we will continue to live up to that name and reputation. To receive this award and for the team to be recognised in this way is a really touching moment for us all.

“I can’t express how much amazing work and dedication goes on behind the scenes by the team: Sarah Jude the vice chair, Simon Powell the treasurer plus Lena Morgan, Laura Meryvn, John Ward, Kicki Lamerton and Hazel Lynch including our local community leaders, local councillors and associates. As well as Zoe Stevens our local Co-op member pioneer who has been a huge asset to our area. As always, we look forward to helping our area move forward positively and will continue to make Keyham as good as the people in it.”

Charles Offord, Co-op Insurance’s managing director, said: “Keyham Neighbourhood Watch is a perfect example of how powerful people can be when they join together to make daily life a little bit friendlier and easier. The stories of everyday heroism detailed in the nominations about Keyham are incredibly moving and it is clear that Kevin and his team were simply ‘there’ when they were needed most. We couldn’t be prouder to present this award to Kevin and his team who are true community heroes in every single sense.”

John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch, said: “No town, community or person should ever have to go through what the people of Keyham have been through but the way that Kevin and his team of volunteers coordinated emotional, physical and mental health support is humbling. Keyham Neighbourhood Watch epitomises the power of community and cooperation and we are honoured to name them as our Community of the Year 2021.”

Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch’s Neighbour of the Year awards, now in their fourth year, were established in 2018 to celebrate people who go above and beyond to support their neighbours and wider communities.
ENDS

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2036 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 25th - 26th August 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).