When is a corner shop not a corner shop? When it’s an award-winning pillar of the community.
|Good neighbours: Not Kylie and Jason but Mo and Roxy, with their award. (Pic STV)|
Last month, Scotland got to know Mo and Roxy Razzaq when they won the Community Champion category at the RBS: Finding Scotland’s Real Heroes awards.
Of course, friends and customers of the Blantyre convenience store have long known all about the passion and power of the Razzaqs, who are always ready to go the extra mile.
After Mo and Roxy had been nominated for the award, Carol Smillie paid them a visit.
She discovered that Mo won’t think twice about delivering essential supplies to customers for free.
He modestly shrugged and said he’s just “giving back” to the community that helped him.
Neighbours are quick to talk about the numerous things Mo and Roxy do to help them, from setting up a football team to fundraising and teaching people to cook.
But it wasn’t always like this. When the couple took over the shop it was heavily fortified, and the area was marred by violence.
Mo explained: “We had an incident. A 14-year-old boy was stabbed at school. We gave him first aid – CPR – and kept him alive until the ambulance came, but he died on the way to hospital.
“That was the moment. My wife and I sat down and said we need to do something.”
The couple threw themselves heart and soul into improving their community, and the first thing they did was set up Coatshill Boys Football Club.
Then they started raising money for good causes, helping people in need and cleaning up the area. The transformation is remarkable.
They’re even ahead of the rest of the country on plastic bag charges, using the few pence they make to raise funds for local causes.
Carol said: “This couple have turned the whole community around by their tireless energy and shining example. They really are good neighbours.”
Both Mo and Roxy are delighted and flattered by the award, and they hope it’ll form the foundation of further community work.
Mo said: “Winning this award will give me much more confidence. I’ve got confidence with a business plan, but I feel much less sure with my charity work.
“If I organise a fundraiser, I wonder if anyone will come. So much of it relies on everyone’s good will.
“We couldn’t do 95 percent of what we do without everyone else. We help with fundraising. I think some people just don’t know how they can help. We show them.”
It seems to me that Mo has hit the nail on the head when he says that people don’t know how to help… and he didn’t either at first. All he and Roxy did was to start taking action that they thought might make a difference. And it did.
So they started doing a bit more and a bit more until they had transformed their community and become leaders. Perhaps we should all take a leaf out of their book and have a go at something that just might make a change.
Congratulations to Mo and Roxy and best wishes for all their projects now and in the future – well-deserved winners.