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Celebrating the people that shape our towns and cities

For the first time ever, the 2020 North West Property Awards recognised a game changer in the property world. Erika Rushton was crowned the winner of the inaugural Game Changer Award, which we launched this year in partnership with North West Business Insider.

Erika has played an integral role in the success of Baltic Creative CIC, which is considered one of Liverpool’s biggest regeneration success stories. Ten years ago, the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool was considered a red-light district – it is now a bustling, creative district populated by some of the city’s fastest-growing and most exciting businesses. Under Erika’s guidance, Baltic Creative has been instrumental in making this happen. And everything Erika has done in her role as Baltic Creative’s chair over the last 10 years has been voluntary, demonstrating her passion and dedication to the sector.

Why Launch a Game Changer Award?

In our 30th anniversary year, we wanted to bring the game changer category to the North West Property Awards to help celebrate the unsung heroes of our sector.

Over the last three decades, we’ve learnt that great buildings and places don’t just happen. They begin with a strong vision and rely on a dedicated team of people with the skills, commitment and passion to deliver it. For every project – no matter what size or sector – there are individuals in these teams who go above and beyond the call of duty but who often fly under the radar. We wanted to change that and help shine a light on those who have quietly made an impact on the property industry, helping to turn ideas into great buildings, schemes or places.

Unsung Property Heroes

Erika beat tough competition to win the award. The other finalists were people who have all shown their dedication to the North West’s property industry and had a positive impact on local communities, including:

• Eddie Smith, Manchester City Council – Eddie spent 20 years at the council and led the regeneration of East Manchester.
• Nick Johnson, Market Operations – formerly deputy chief executive of Urban Splash, Nick owns Altrincham Market with his wife Jenny and is renowned for regenerating town centres.
• Caroline Simpson, Stockport Council – as corporate director for place, Caroline is overseeing the borough’s regeneration and playing a key role in the Mayoral Development Corporation.
• Dave Roscoe, Manchester City Council – in his role as planning development manager, Dave is considered to have significant influence on the city centre’s developments.

Thinking Differently

Erika, Eddie and Caroline were also guests at Insider’s Game Changer Roundtable which explored how to apply fresh thinking to the built environment as well as businesses and organisations. A total of nine participants took part in the debate. All have a strong reputation for delivery and held a vision and seen it through. Covering property and the built environment right through to leadership in all its forms, speakers discussed how they are doing things differently and for the better.

With further change and challenges ahead, the need for game changers has never been so important. New ideas, innovations and ways of thinking will ensure the property sector can adapt, evolve and flourish. Alliance is committed to working with likeminded partners to achieve just that and celebrating the people that ensure bold – and much needed – visions become a reality.

Victoria Russell is Alliance’s Director of Brand, Strategy & Partnerships