Kevin Plicio says managing Yourspace.sutton has been a "labour of love" after he was named Co-op's first ever Community Spaces Champion.

Mr Plicio was nominated 17 times for the award for his involvement in setting up the popular Cheam community space.

He’s grown the project from scratch, turning what was a neglected area behind a park into a community hub where members of the community can come and enjoy the gardens, have tea and cake in the cafe, and bring children for painting workshops.

"The UK is too massive a place to say that among so many of its widespread wonderful green and community spaces, if I truly deserve the award or not," he said.

"But I am honoured to have got the nominations and to nevertheless accept it on behalf of the many hands that have over the years got involved in helping me to make the spaces happen.

"It's a labour of love and one I am proud that the community is now really sharing."

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He has a team of volunteers that help with the upkeep and the running of YourSpace, and it’s fast becoming a meeting place for coffee amongst mothers and their children, retired people, disabled people, and the whole community.

The award. which is in its first year, is given to celebrate the importance of community spaces and honour someone who has shown commitment to either save, improve, or use a local space for the good of their neighbours or overall community.

Rebecca Birkbeck, director of community and shared value at Co-op, and one of the judges of the award said: “‘Everything we do links back to our purpose; to be ‘a better way of doing business’ for the members and communities we serve. These awards encapsulate just that.

“When judging the awards, we were very impressed with what so many people are doing daily – both big and small – to create a true sense of community in their area.

"All our research shows just how important a sense of community wellbeing is, and how spaces play a crucial role in achieving this.

"These awards show the massive impact of individuals, like our winners, have on helping people come together to create happy and healthy communities.”