Veteran campaigner wins inaugural Mary Barbour Award

Anna Stuart receving the award from Lord Provost Sadie Docherty
Anna Stuart receiving the award from Lord Provost Sadie Docherty

A housing activist who founded the Castlemilk East Housing Co-operative in 1984 has been crowned Glasgow’s first recipient of the Mary Barbour Award.

Campaigner Anna Stuart, 75, was given the award which honours women like legendary 1915 rents campaigner Mary Barbour who fought for a better deal for people in their communities.

The Mary Barbour Award was launched earlier this year by Parkhead Housing Association, in partnership with the Wheatley Group, to recognise the unique campaigning role of women working in the voluntary sector across Glasgow.

Anna, a mother of six, moved to Castlemilk more than 30 years ago. Shocked by the poor housing she encountered, she began campaigning for improvements and formed one of the city’s first housing co-operatives. The organisation later changed its status to become a charity and was renamed Cassiltoun Housing Association.

Anna is currently the Association’s board chairperson and continues to lobby, locally and nationally, for a better deal for local people on a range of issues from bus services to welfare.

Glasgow’s Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, chair of the judging panel, presented Anna with an engraved crystal rose bowl at the award ceremony held last week at the Pearce Institute.

Anna was also awarded £1000 to donate to a community group of her choice and a certificate. Her name is also the first to grace the Mary Barbour Shield.

The Lord Provost said: “Huge congratulations to Anna, who is a deserving winner. I’ve known her for a long, long time and she’s a remarkable woman. She’s transformed the delivery of social housing locally and nationally. Her influence on how housing is managed has made a lasting and positive influence to countless people’s lives across the country.”

Jim Strang, chief executive of Parkhead Housing Association, said: “We all know and love the strong women in our communities. The women prepared to stand up for others and fight austerity and poverty. They are as necessary now as in Mary Barbour’s time.”

The judging panel also included Susan McKeown, chair of Parkhead Housing Association, former MP Maria Fyfe and Cllr John Kane, both from the Remember Mary Barbour Association; and Maureen Dowden from Wheatley Group.

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