Resident of the Year Pia Villgrén brings joy to Herttoniemenranta

For Pia Villgrén, who was chosen as Resident of the Year, communal spirit and neighbours helping each other out are a natural part of life.

Written by Pi Mäkilä Photos by Miika Kainu

An active, positive and helpful individual.” These were some of the reasons why Pia Villgrén, who lives in Herttoniemenranta, was chosen as Heka’s Resident of the Year 2020 at the beginning of May. In the reasons for the choice, Villgrén was also described as the residents’ mouthpiece who looks after the residents’ interests and the most active resident in the whole area.

For Villgrén herself, being selected came as a complete, happy surprise.

“I wasn’t expecting something like this at all. I was overjoyed at this honour and it sent shivers down my spine,” Villgrén describes.

Villgrén has been a tenant of Heka for 35 years. The last 25 of them she has spent in the same Heka location in Herttoniemenranta.

“This is a wonderful small location, and we have been extremely comfortable here. We switched apartments when our life situation changed, but the area is so splendid that I wouldn’t want to leave this place,” Villgrén describes.

Helping neighbours is a way of life.

Villgrén is involved in the building committee, but increasing the comfort of her residential area has been important to her in any case. A few years ago, she founded a neighbourhood association called Hertsikanrannassa tapahtuu ry, which organises various events and activities for the area’s residents.

“Through the association, we have organised Christmas markets, Halloween events for children and beach clean-ups, for example,” Villgrén says.

For Villgrén, being active and helping out neighbours is a way of life in any case. For example, she has organised Christmas aid collections for low-income families on several Christmases and challenged local entrepreneurs to contribute.

“Helping others puts me in a good mood, and I think that it’s important for a neighbourhood to have communal spirit and an open atmosphere. This is probably because I myself am the type of person who likes to get to know new neighbours, and I don’t hesitate to knock on someone’s door if I need to borrow sugar, for example,” Villgrén laughs.