Unsung heroes whose tireless community work has helped improve the lives of countless people in Lambeth have been honoured by Lambeth Council at a special ceremony at the Town Hall.
Seven ‘community champions’ who have all made an exceptional and selfless contribution to the lives of others were recognised at the annual Civic Awards ceremony on Wednesday night, hosted by the Mayor of Lambeth.
The annual Civic Awards gives the council and residents a chance to say an official ‘thank you’ to ordinary residents who have made an extraordinary contribution. They are nominated by members of the public and came from all parts of Lambeth.
Speaking before the ceremony, the outgoing Mayor of Lambeth, Cllr Christiana Valcarcel, said: “It’s a tremendous privilege to be able to honour these truly exceptional members of the community, and say ‘thank you’ to them on behalf of the borough’s residents.
“Their tireless commitment day in day out to improving their communities and help others is a humbling, and hugely inspiring, and they should be rightly be proud of their awards.”
This year’s Civic Award winners are:
Jill Gregson, who is well known through her day job as team leader at Fegans Child and Family Centre based at St Stephen’s Church in Stockwell, working with vulnerable children and families.
She was Chair of the Governor’s at St Stephen’s Primary School and is now an active Governor at Charles Edward Brooke Girls’ Secondary School.
Jill plays a very active role in the Voluntary and Community Sector Forum fighting for the interest of many other local organisations working with young people besides her own.
She was a Trustee on Oval Partnership from its formation in 2002 during which time the partnership produced a multi language neighbourhood directory and successfully fund raised for a full time worker. She sits on the committees of numerous local organisations including Fentiman Road Residents Association and Friends of Vauxhall Park.
Julie Tatnell was a tireless campaigner and fighter for her estate. She sadly passed away last year after a long battle with cancer. As chair of the Landsdowne Green Tenants & Residents Association; she helped oversee the transfer of the estate in the 1990’s to South Lambeth Family Housing Association (SLFHA) and tenaciously fought to ensure the promises made to the residents were kept in full.
She helped to save the estate’s community hall and managed to oversee a huge number of initiatives from kids on the estate learning music and DJ skills to pensioner trips and bingo. She was given the award posthumously.
Jacqui Thomson who has developed and been central to the growth of communities from a social housing co-operative to educational inclusion projects such as youth clubs for young people and adults with special educational needs. This work is in addition to her full time position as a lecturer and advanced teacher practitioner at Lambeth College teaching young people and adults with learning difficulties and disabilities.
Jacqui has enabled people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and others to recognise and develop their talents; thus helping them to achieve their own individual potential.
Jacqui has provided training to other community groups on autism and has organised fundraising activities for the Adult Autistic Social Club which she began and now has over 30 members.
Pastor Mimi Asher who has led a community initiative on the Myatts Field Estate that has helped over 60 young people in her neighbourhood get out of gangs and get their lives back on track. This has not only cut the level of crime in the area, it has given a large number of young people a much brighter future.
Pastor Asher worked with a local church group and a number of local parents and ex-offenders living on the estate to set up a range of activities to help young people develop positive and healthy interests as an alternative to drifting into a life of gang related crime. Pastor Asher opened up her own home to young people as a safe space to socialise and be taught a range of activities and she helped to create an informal peer-mentoring programme that encouraged young adults on the estate to mentor their younger peers and discourage them from getting involved in gangs.
Pastor Asher has devoted a considerable amount of her own personal resources to support her community activities.
Hippolyte Grigg has devoted himself to helping those less fortunate than himself in Lambeth by engaging with his local community in West Norwood on not for profit social enterprises.
He first brought his professional skills to bear when he launched, with colleagues, the pan-Lambeth Sanctuary Club, a social club for younger people who may have had a drink or drug addiction problem. There are over 70 members and the club is open once a week in their premises in Kennington.
Hippo had retired from the Sanctuary Club to focus on his work as Chairman of the Friends of Norwood Park. Fundraising plays a major part in this work with Hippo handling many of the complex applications for donations and grants using his expertise as a former civil servant. Successes during his tenure include £44,000 grant from Community Spaces for an outdoor gym, £240,000 for a new water play area and the re-opening of the park cafe.
In 200 Hippo joined the charity Emmaus South Lambeth in West Norwood as a Trustee in spring 2008. The charity offers homeless people a home, work and the chance to rebuild their lives in a supportive environment. Hippo chairs the Business Development and Communications Sub-Group, and sits on the Community Welfare and Fundraising sub-groups.
John Price was a member of the first board of the first Norwood Forum in the late 1990’s and has always been interested in efforts to improve West Norwood. In the last 2 years John has converted Knight’s Hall into an art gallery – The Portico, and he has helped to promote the increasing number of artists living and working in the area. He has held exhibitions featuring both international and local artists, worked on projects with schools and hosted the Lambeth Open, an open door weekend in which local artists by holding exhibitions featuring both international and local artists opened their home studios for people to visit; while The Portico mounted a major exhibition.
John has run art activities including ‘Animapping Lambeth’ where people are invited to help build a three dimensional picture of their favourite place in Lambeth using giant map.
Ming Tung established the Streatham Common Environmental Co-operative (SCECO) to improve and protect the neighbourhood to the South of Streatham Common. In particular SCECO has opposed a number of controversial planning applications. This opposition has been based on detailed research and carefully reasoned arguments.
Ming’s work has helped lead to the Streatham Lodge Conservation Area being designated. Ming is always willing to get his hands dirty by helping with Community Freshview clear up operations.