• Brenda Naisby with Gentoo CEO Nigel Wilson and Tpas Chief Executive Jenny Osbourne

Sunderland resident wins national award for role in the community

An inspirational resident from Sunderland who became a domestic abuse champion in her local community after she was helped to escape an abusive marriage herself at the age of 74, has won a national award for her efforts as an involved tenant with her social landlord.

Brenda Naisby, from Washington, was crowned ‘Tenant of the Year’ at the national Tpas Awards, for the influential role she has played in helping other residents in Sunderland.

Working alongside Gentoo, Brenda has played an active role in her local community for more than five years, giving something back to the organisation that supported her and provided her with a home safe from abuse.

Starting with a lunch club in her hometown Brenda, alongside Gentoo employees, prepared homecooked meals in the local community centre for residents to alleviate social isolation. From here she then volunteered as part of our befriending service, offering a vital lifeline to some of the loneliest people in the city.

Brenda has continued to learn and develop new skills, most recently as the Chair of our Local Community Engagement Forum. The forum, which comprises of local tenants and residents, meet to consider local issues and to work with us to suggest areas where attention could be focused, and services improved for the local communities.

Also an avid supporter of continued learning, Benda has assisted a number of university undergraduates with their studies around domestic abuse.

On speaking of her award win Brenda said: “I’m truly honoured to have received Tpas’ Tenant of the Year Award.

“I will be always be thankful to Gentoo for their support and volunteering is my way of giving something back to them and my community. This award is for us all.”

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at Gentoo said: “I’d like to congratulate Brenda, on what is an extremely well deserved award.

“The contribution and knowledge she has shared with Gentoo over the last five years has been invaluable in influencing the services we provide to our tenants.”

Jenny Osbourne, Chief Executive at Tpas said: “This is such a special award and it’s right that it has been awarded to such a special person. Brenda wowed the judges with her incredible energy, resilience and commitment to her neighbours and her community.”

Tpas are leading tenant engagement experts who promote, support and champion tenant involvement and empowerment in social housing across England. Their annual awards aim to recognise and celebrate the role residents play in their communities across the UK.