Award for £18m project which transformed area

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ECO housing and energy-efficient updates which have transformed a Sheffield estate are among two South Yorkshire schemes to win high praise at a regional awards ceremony.

The Sheffield branch of Great Places Housing Group, and South Yorkshire Housing Association’s Respect scheme, both scooped awards.

Great Places came top in the Improving Neighbourhoods category at the regional Housing Federation awards for its Rags to Richmond Park scheme.

The £18m project has seen the Richmond Park estate transformed from an outdated eyesore into a pretty paradise residents can be proud of.

Local people were at the forefront, and helped plan the building of new eco apartments and bungalows.

Households have also seen their energy bills drop by a third thanks to insulation and new energy-efficient boilers.

Meanwhile the Respect project, which uses sport to tackle youth nuisance, scooped a Safer Streets honour. It is now in the running for a national title.

Set up in 2009, the scheme sends professional basketball players from Sheffield Sharks into schools in areas prone to anti-social behaviour.

It offers young people coaching and competitions, and education on health, bullying, crime and safety, while police and firemen also attend the basketball sessions to educate children and families.

Federation regional spokesman Rob Warm said: “Both are worthy winners. The projects show how housing associations go far beyond providing people with homes – they create healthy and happy neighbourhoods. I wish South Yorkshire Housing Association luck in the national finals.”

The winner will be announced early next year.