A COMMUNITY champion who has served the South Side for 30 years is leaving the area saying life has become “hell”.

Raza Sadiq, founder of the Active Life Club, claims conditions in his Govanhill tenement have become intolerable.

And the crunch came when his wife and children gave him the ultimatum - we’re leaving with or without you.

Mr Sadiq said: “I have been living in Govanhill for 30 years and I have always contributed.

“Now we feel like I have been forced to leave. My life has become unbearable to live where I am.”

Mr Sadiq and his family marked the 20th anniversary of being Govanhill Housing Association tenants on October 28.

After living happily in their flat, some years ago a new resident moved in who began, they claim, to make their lives misery.

Their neighbour has visitors at all times of the day and night and who bang on the close door, shout and throw bottles at an upstairs window to gain attention.

Our pictures show marks on the sandstone tenement building where bottles have smashed.

Mr Sadiq, who is on the shortlist for the Scottish Asian Business Awards 2018 for his services to the third sector, described trying to hold the close door shut against someone attempting to force their way in.

He said his wife and daughter will sometimes have to wait in the car when they come home because the entrance to the close isn’t clear.

Mr Sadiq said: “One person said to me, ‘I’ll break your neck and I’ll break your head.’ He was trying to push his way into the close.

“I phoned the police but it was 16 hours later that I received a call back from an officer.

“I feel like it’s a waste of time and public resources to call 101 or 999.”

He added: “The other residents want a peaceful life but it is not possible for them to have that; they are frightened to open their front doors.

“One day we came out and he had sat a copy of the Quran in a black bag on our doorstep. It was such weird behaviour.

“There are new faces coming in every day, at all times.

“All types of people - Romanian, Slovakian, Indian, Pakistani, Scottish. Sometimes a woman in a wheelchair.

“I tell you, the hellish neighbour has managed more for integration and diversity where local charities in the area have failed.”

Mr Sadiq is concerned that drugs are being used in the building but Govanhill HA said this had been investigated and no evidence was found.

He says the building smells strongly of drugs and not long ago there was some type of chemical spilled in the close.

He said: “My nephews come to visit and they say, ‘Uncle, this bedroom smells, the close smells.’ We can’t have friends to visit because it is too embarrassing.

“I live in hell.”

The building also has a problem with infestations of bed bugs, mice and cockroaches, the Sadiq family claims.

Mr Sadiq said: “My wife is dreaming that things are crawling across the walls and she can’t sleep.

“My wife, I don’t ever see a smile on her face anymore. She has a calendar on the wall counting down the days until we leave and on the last day she has written ‘FREEDOM’.”

Mr Sadiq, an Evening Times Community Champion winner, set up Active Live Club to encourage young people in the area off the streets and into sport.

His work also scooped a gong from the National Black Police Association.

He has served on the board of Govanhill HA and was a member of the Crosshill and Govanhill Community Council.

Annie Macfarlane, chairwoman of Govanhill Housing Association, also lives on Allison Street and said she was sad to hear of the Sadiq family leaving.

She added: “As an Allison Street resident, I am sad to hear that Raza Sadiq no longer wishes to live in the area.

“The Association is aware he has had some issues within his tenancy, to which the housing association responded, although data protection prevents me from going into specifics.

“Mr Sadiq has been offered a meeting with our director, which took place on Tuesday.

“Mr Sadiq correctly identifies the fact that the Association is under pressure to take on work which goes above and beyond merely acting as a housing provider.

“Indeed, some of the concerns he mentions are outwith the remit of the Association, for example - enforcement of the law around illegal substances and drug dealing is the responsibility of Police Scotland.

“Issues with noise are dealt with by Community Safety Glasgow. “

Mr Sadiq has always been a passionate advocate for the area and is leaving with a very heavy heart.

He is concerned that Govanhill HA is under too much pressure to correct many of the issues in the local area.

From its remit as a housing association, the body also runs the Govanhill Community Development Trust along with development and regeneration projects.

These include environment projects, English classes, support work for marginalised communities and economic development.

Govanhill HA is also taking dozens of closes in the area into its control as part of a Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council scheme to improve housing stock.

Mr Sadiq said: “They have been part of the efforts in the area to tackle rogue landlords and yet they allow this situation to go on in one of their own closes.

“The housing association is developing a monopoly on the area and I worry for small third sector and grassroots organisations that can’t compete.”

Ms Macfarlane added: “The primary focus of Govanhill Housing Association is, and will always be, the provision of safe, secure affordable housing.

“It is regrettable that Mr Sadiq views this regeneration work as the Association having a monopoly over smaller third sector organisations.”

The Active Life Club will not be affected by Mr Sadiq moving away and he still believes that positive change can come to the area.

He added: “There is still hope in Govanhill. People still get involved in the community but hope can only make a change if it is supported.

“It is a sad state of affairs that people are in this situation.”

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland has been contacted on two occasions by a resident regarding issues at the address earlier this year.

“Officers gave the address extra attention with support from Govanhill Housing Association.

“We have not been contacted in connection with further issues since.”