Rachael at the community cinema

Rachael Crooks, 30, a “superstar” Beyond Housing employee from Brotton, East Cleveland has been shortlisted for a prestigious national ‘young leader’ award.

After a series of successes in her role as Community Connector for the housing company, Rachael was nominated by her colleagues to be 24housing Magazine’s Young Leader 2020.

Rachael joined the housing team at Beyond Housing in 2014, before moving to the role of Community Connector in 2019. In that time she has transformed a grass roots community cinema project, started by Community Interest Company (CIC) East Cleveland Arts, into a commercial initiative which has successfully brought blockbuster family films like Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2 to disadvantaged communities across Redcar and Cleveland, enabling local families to enjoy the cinema experience at affordable prices, right on their doorstep. The project, for which Rachael sourced over £1,000 in external funding, has been applauded by national organisations and the cinema industry.

Rachael has also worked tirelessly to engage local politicians in her projects, building networks with leaders and encouraging MPs and councillors to work proactively with their local communities. This has led to largescale community clean ups and DIY SOS-style projects, working alongside local authorities, community groups, businesses and her colleagues.


Lesley Conroy, Head of Communities at Beyond Housing, said: “Rachael is an absolute superstar!

“She is one of the most passionately proactive people at Beyond Housing. She genuinely wants to make her communities better places to live and enact positive change, coming up with the vision and action plan to make this a reality.

“Rachael is one of life’s go-getters, showing great confidence, resilience and bravery in order to achieve her goals to help her enact change.

“Well done Rachael! We’re so proud to work with you.”

Rachael Crooks, Community Connector at Beyond Housing, added: “I’m absolutely delighted and humbled to have been nominated for this award. I love my job, my colleagues and our area. I saw the Community Connector role as my opportunity to create real, long-term, proactive change in our communities that need it most, so I’m proud to be doing everything I can to achieve this.”