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Caretaker and Concierge Awards celebrate housing heroes who go above and beyond

Islington’s caretakers and concierge officers play a vital role in keeping communal areas clean and tidy, managing safety and security, and providing a friendly, familiar face. They often go the extra mile to help residents feel safe and happy, from helping with shopping and parcels, to checking on residents with health issues. The awards, held on Wednesday 17 April, give residents a chance to say “thank you” for their hard work, with more than 100 people nominating a caretaker or concierge who made a difference for them this year. 

Caretaker of the Year 

Derek Byrne, who works at The Woodlands, Seaforth Crescent and 6-10 Aberdeen Park, won Caretaker of the Year after receiving many nominations from residents who praised him for his for his friendly and approachable manner, enthusiasm and responsiveness.  

One person said, “When Derek started working on The Woodlands it was like someone had switched on the sunshine in the block” while another added “He is honestly the best caretaker we’ve had”.  

Derek was commended for keeping the estate looking clean and tidy, dealing with a flood, helping people with heavy bags and even collecting a resident’s prescription when they couldn’t get to the pharmacy. 

Concierge of the Year 

Janet Oparebea, who works at Weston Rise Estate, won Concierge of the Year for the second year in a row. Janet is one of the borough's longest-serving concierges, having worked in Islington for more than 15 years. She is known by residents to be “always smiling”, “passionate about her job” and “brightens up everyone’s day” – and previously won after helping a resident give birth! This year Janet’s nominators gave many more examples of her going the extra mile, from making sure people feel safe, to tracking down lost parcels and helping a resident who dropped their keys in a lift shaft get them back. 

Jed Young, Acting Corporate Director of Homes and Neighbourhoods, said: “Huge congratulations and thank you to Derek and Janet for all their hard work and dedication. We’re proud of them and of all our brilliant neighbourhood colleagues who play such a huge role in making sure our blocks and estates look their best, and residents feel safe and secure in their homes.” 

Lat Singh, who works at Kestrel House, won Highly Commended for Concierge Services and Javier Brun Blanco won Highly Commended for Caretaker Services for his work on Wakelin House Estate. Lat was commended for “providing an outstanding service” while residents praised Javier’s “kindness and consideration for all residents”.  

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