One of Fleetwood’s most respected community figures has been honoured with an MBE, after tirelessly working to improve his neighbourhood.
David Blower, 73, received his award at Buckingham Palace, where he enjoyed a fantastic day out with his family around him.
For more than 15 years David – a father of five, granddad of ten, and great-granddad of five – has worked in partnership with Regenda, on a wide variety of community projects on the West View estate in Fleetwood
West View has been transformed by the work that David and other volunteers have carried out. In 1998, he helped form the West View Community Association and was voted as Chairman.
The Community Association first started operating from a two-bedroom ground floor flat. After outgrowing that, it moved to the former Regenda Housing office on the estate. It is now run by a team of volunteers who work with a range of partners to offer rooms for hire, training for residents, and to provide a focal point for neighbourhood projects and aspirations.
Working with young people in the area, he also planned and found funding for the West View People’s Park – a community facility with a playground, football pitch and picnic space on formerly disused Regenda land. David raised £420,000 to make the park a reality, working together with Regenda and Wyre Council.
The retired civil servant also founded the Dream Scheme, a youth project aimed at 8-14 year olds. The scheme – which has been running for 12 years – teaches young people new skills, instils pride in their local community, and helps break down barriers between the ages. The scheme has been so successful that incidents of juvenile nuisance in the area have been reduced by 75%.
David set up a scheme called Community Change for the 12+ age group, and has also worked extensively to support residents – organising fun days, estate clean-ups, parties for the elderly, skills training, and setting up services such as a Job Club and a Credit Union.
In addition, David – who has always been supported in his community work by his wife Wendy – has been involved in the former Wyre Housing Association Residents’ Forum, Fleetwood Regeneration Partnership, Wyre CAB, and the Community Workers’ Forum.
Regenda nominated David, who recently moved to Thornton-Cleveleys, for an MBE in recognition of all his hard work. He was honoured for Services to Tenant Engagement.
David said: “It was wonderful to be honoured, and we had a fantastic day in London. I’d like to stress that everything that has been achieved has been done in partnership, and not by me on my own – Regenda have been so supportive in pushing the West View Community Association forward, and Angela Welch in particular has always been so heplful from day one. I have also worked with lots of people in the area who volunteered their time, enthusiasm and skills. We always had a dedicated, resourceful and happy team, who I was delighted to work with and front. Hopefully it has all made a real difference to West View and its future.”
Steve Newsham, Regenda Regional Director, said: “David has been a dedicated volunteer and inspirational leader of our West View community for over 15 years and at 73 has recently ‘retired’ It all started as a result of local kids kicking a football against his wall and they told him they had nothing to do around here.
“He has left a legacy of a strong and stable Community Association where volunteers are fully trained in all aspects of running a thriving community centre, with a reputation for delivering a high quality service to the local community.
“His dedication and fortitude has enabled residents to work together to make their neighbourhood a great place to live and has provided their children with a safe and secure place to play. It has been a privilege to work with him over many years and he is somebody I really respect and admire.”
The picture above shows David and his wife Wendy.