Catalyst community hero Deborah Young has received an ‘outstanding achievement’ award from the Mayor of Houghton Regis for her work in the Central Bedfordshire community.

Deborah Young lives in Houghton Regis and runs her sewing business and classes from Sandringham Drive Community Hub in the town. Owned and run by housing association Catalyst, a subsidiary of the Peabody group, the Hub is a fully equipped community centre and meeting room, with office spaces for local businesses to rent at affordable and flexible rates.

The Mayor of Houghton Regis, Councillor Clare Copleston, met Deborah when hosting meetings at the hub and saw how Deborah’s amazing sewing skills, creativity and kindness are helping to keep the community connected. Deborah has been an active member of the community for many years and runs four classes a week from the hub.

As a result, the Mayor invited Deborah to the annual civic service and presented her with an award for her ‘outstanding contribution to supporting the community’.

In the first lockdown, Deborah made personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS teams and Nightingale hospitals. Through the challenges of Covid, and with many in the community further impacted by the rise in the cost of living, Deborah has been running classes to teach and inspire local people in all things sewing.

With saving money and the environment top priorities, Deborah helps those she teaches how to mend and creatively repurpose clothing, make practical items such as period pants, create stylish new outfits and garments and craft wonderful toys, home furnishings and gifts. She has also organised sales to raise funds for the Ukraine crisis.

To help more residents local to the Sandringham Drive Hub access these classes, Catalyst Communities has funded twelve places on one of Deborah’s ten-week sewing courses.

Sahil Khan, Director of Community Strategy, Partnerships and Funding at Peabody said:

‘We’re thrilled that Deborah has been recognised for her amazing contribution to the Houghton Regis community where Catalyst has many residents. She uses her extensive artistic skills, passion and love of sewing to really bring the community together, which has not only been recognised by the Mayor, but has also helped members of the community find work, friendship and created a strong and diverse social group.

‘Deborah is a true community hero, not only in Houghton Regis, but across our wider communities as she’ll be visiting some of our other hubs in London and the South East to share her ideas and projects.’

Mayor of Houghton Regis, Councillor Clare Copleston, said:

‘Congratulations to Deborah Lees Young on receiving this well-deserved recognition for her selfless acts of kindness and devoted time to supporting the NHS and health and Social care sector during such challenging times. A true community hero!’

For more information on Deborah’s classes, visit her Facebook page ‘Sew What have I Found For You’ or contact sewdiscoveryou@gmail.com