A surveyor in the Hotels Valuation team at Colliers International has been presented with a national award for the dedicated way in which he helped the local community at a retirement village during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Rob Adams, who is based in the Bristol office of the global real estate advisor, was named individual winner in the new ‘Superhero’ category at the annual EG Awards for the UK property industry. The category was created to identify those who have gone above and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic.
The host of the virtual awards ceremony, EG editor Samantha McClary, said that Rob was an “outstanding individual” who had been a “real life superhero” to those he had supported.
She said: “During the COVID-19 lockdown, Robert made personal sacrifices to help others feel safe and cared for. Not only did he volunteer at his local retirement village during his furlough, but he used his skills to help build successes.”
Rob was nominated for the award by Colliers International because of the way in which he had stepped forward to help at the newly-opened Your Village Shop in Stoke Gifford Retirement Village, Bristol, when he was on furlough because lockdown restrictions had meant he was unable to work as usual.
Tony Horrell, CEO of Colliers International for the UK and Ireland, said: “We are very proud of Rob for the way he did so much to help elderly people in the local community at a very difficult time. This award provides well-deserved recognition of his commitment to helping others.”
Rob had originally intended to volunteer for just one day a week, but instead he found himself volunteering four days a week to help husband and wife team Lucy and Richard Smith, who had opened the shop shortly before lockdown in response to a plea from ExtraCare, the operators of the 261-home retirement village.
On a typical day he would be on his feet from 9.30am to 4.30pm, making trips to suppliers and walking 5km through the village to drop off order sheets to residents. He would then make the same 5km trip again to collect the order sheets, and then pack orders and return to deliver them to customers.
Rob was often the only person who some residents saw all day during lockdown, and he made sure to take time to stand outside and have chats with them to provide them with social interaction. He also used his professional expertise to establish the profile of the shop with wholesalers, and to create remote customer order and distribution systems.
Although Rob is no longer on furlough, he still volunteers at the shop on Saturdays. He said of his award: “I’m so happy to have won. I’d like to thank Lucy and Richard Smith, the owners of Your Village Shop, who have helped create a strong community around the retirement village in such an uncertain period.
“For me it was about helping and continuing to assist the local community as best I can in a difficult and uncertain time, and I’d encourage anyone who can any spare even an hour of their time to volunteer, as it really can help make a difference.
“I’d also like to say well done to the three other nominees, and I think they’ve done such an incredible job over this difficult period.”
Lucy Smith said she and her husband Richard were delighted that Rob had been recognised for the support he had provided in a variety of ways.
“We are so chuffed. Rob came to volunteer at an incredibly challenging time, and made a huge difference to the lives of many people,” she said.
“I really don’t think Richard and I would have been able to cope with the demands of starting up the shop and running it during lockdown if it hadn’t been for Rob.
“He did much more than bring solutions to numerous complex operational matters though. Our intention was always for the shop to be more than just a place to buy things. We also wanted it to be a way to build community and social inclusion, and this was more important than ever during lockdown.
“Rob totally understood this was about far more than delivering shopping to people. He realised that many of them were not seeing anyone for days and days, and would spend time talking to people and building relationships.
“He has made so many friends among the residents. Even now that lockdown is over he still volunteers once a week and still takes time to engage with people when he does deliveries, and also when they come into the shop now that they’re able to go out more easily.”
Photo: Rob Adams (centre) with Lucy Smith and Richard Smith at Your Village Shop in Stoke Gifford Retirement Village, Bristol.