Saturday, 29 April 2017

Founder of housing co-operative dies

A Ugandan refugee who went on to set up and chair one of the United Kingdom’s largest housing co-operatives has died.

Shantilal Makwana was instrumental in setting up Belgrave Neighbourhood Co-operative Housing Association, in Leicester, and helped run it for more than 30 years.

Mr Makwana, who died from a short illness last Wednesday, fled Uganda in the 1970s during dictator Idi Amin’s persecution of the country’s Asian population.

He campaigned to save housing in the Belgrave area of Leicester from demolition, which led to the formation of the co-operative. The co-operative now owns 374 homes.

Tributes were paid to Mr Makwana from 12,000-home housing association LHA-ASRA group, which supplies services and manages administration on behalf of the co-operative.

Matt Cooney, chief executive of LHA-ASRA, said: ‘The cooperative under Mr Makwana’s leadership has flourished and it is today one of the most successful housing cooperatives in this country because of his hard work and dedication.

‘Mr Makwana was also a very important member of LHA-ASRA Group’s residents’ forums and it is a huge setback for us to lose someone of such importance from our inner sanctum.

‘I would like to send my deepest sympathies to Mr Makwana’s family at this difficult time and to thank him publicly for all of his hard work, which has helped support so many people in Leicester. He will be sorely missed by us all.’

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