Community and living

Local heroes recognised by Town Hall at first ever ‘Lambeth Champions’ event

Volunteers who have gone that extra mile for their local community have been honoured by Lambeth Council in a new scheme that was set up in the aftermath of last summer’s riots.

They included a woman who set up a scheme to help female entrepreneurs and businesswomen, a community group in Norwood which runs activities for young people including karate and football, a woman who the day after the London riots handed out free cup cakes in Brixton to ‘spread love and kindness’ among the community, and a group who give up their time to run a club for people with learning disabilities.

The ‘Lambeth Champions’ awards is a new scheme set up by the council to officially thank people or groups who regularly give their time selflessly for others through volunteering. It was set up to promote what’s best about Lambeth’s community.

Nearly 20 individuals and groups gathered at Lambeth Town Hall on Thursday 17th May for the first ever Lambeth Champions ceremony, which was hosted by Leader of Lambeth Council Cllr Steve Reed, Mayor of Lambeth Cllr Clive Bennett and Lambeth Chief Executive Derrick Anderson.

Two lucky recipients of champions awards, Makaela Gilchrist and Robert Doyle, also won tickets to the London Olympics when all the winners’ names were entered into a prize draw.

Cllr Steve Reed said:  “We wanted to say thank you to those people who have got out there and made a really positive contribution to life in the borough by giving up their time to help others. It was an absolute honour to be able to meet and personally thank so many inspiring people.

“Lambeth champions is about recognising those people and groups that go that extra mile to make a positive contribution to their local community or to be a good neighbour, and taking the time to thank them.”

Hayley Rea, who won an award for her work with young adults who want to pursue a career in dance, said:

“It was an amazing experience to be invited to Lambeth Town Hall to collect the award Lambeth Champion.

“It felt great to be appreciated for the work I do within the community but also a fantastic opportunity to meet other inspiring people who live and work within Lambeth. There are so many different ways that people work to piece Lambeth together and I would defiantly encourage others to volunteer, get involved with local community groups and help keep the great community vibe alive. During the summer their will be so many opportunities which people can become involved with and this is the perfect time for young people to make there presence heard in the community and do something positive in their summer.”

And Jamal Rahman, from Norwood Community Group Services, said: “We are honoured and extremely grateful to have been awarded Lambeth Champions.

“By receiving a “Lambeth champion” award we believe it allows recognition of the good work delivered by individuals and groups from within their respective communities. “

“We are pleased to be nominated and we strongly recommend that all volunteers full of enthusiasm, energy and want to make a difference to where they live.”

Last night’s awards ceremony will be the first of three to be held this year. All nominations received over the course of the year will be put forward to the annual civic awards where a panel of judges will decide two brand new Civic Award Winners within a ‘Lambeth Champions of the Year’ category.

Lambeth is becoming a Cooperative Council, giving people more involvement and control of the services they use and the places where they live by putting council resources in their hands.. To learn more, including how to get involved, visit


The full list of Lambeth Champions is as follows:

Chrysostomos Loizou, Carroll Falconer and Jean Uzoma (executive committee of VGERTA)

Nominated by, Shane Murray

These three individuals dedicate countless amounts of hours to revive our community and regenerate the Vauxhall Gardens Estate area. They work voluntarily to revive community areas like the Glasshouse Walk Playground and have also revamped an old housing office and converted it into a community centre which is now the epicentre of our community. It is because of their hard work that living conditions in our estate have improved and crime and other anti-social behaviour have reduced. 

Dee Herbert Spencer

Nominated by, Trudy Lister

Dee has worked as a childminder for over 20 years in Lambeth and has worked with love, care and dedication looking after and nurturing many under 2’s for Lambeth Council Children Centres. She is also a volunteer childminder for her local church crèche every Sunday. Her length of service cannot go unnoticed or without the highest praise possible.   

Duncan Law

Nominated by, Dil Green

Duncan has been the driver and motivator of Transition Town Brixton. He would be the first to say that any award he gets should be in the name of all the many people who have also given enormous amounts of time and energy, but equally, I think all of them would recognise his unique and selfless contribution over many years.

Hayley Rea

Nominated by, Marion McGarvey

Hayley Rea became a qualified dance teacher at the age of 18 and at 21 she established a dance school called Aim High Dance Academy, which offers free/low fee dance classes in the community and a mentoring scheme for young adults, who wish to pursue a career in dance. The school builds social skills, team work, confidence and life building skills – giving the youths a chance to escape from the stresses of life, create ambition and aspire.

Jamal Rahman and the Norwood Community Group

Nominated by, Rasaki Yesufu-Muhammad and Louise Ajdukiewicz

Jamal and the group provide timely services for young people, such as football and karate amongst others. These services give young people something to look forward to weekly and keeps many of them from bad influences which may attract them if they were left idle. In Jamal there is a positive role model for the young men in particular and a caring and compassionate individual in general.

Jean Bergin

Nominated by, Therese Stowell and Giles Gibson

Jean has given immense amounts of time and expertise to working in the local community on numerous projects from traffic calming campaigns, environmental improvements through to campaigning for improved primary and secondary schools in the area. She does all these things without looking for glory; she does them because she is genuinely interested in building a better community.

Jeannette Pritchard

Nominated by, Jeremy Keates

Jeannette developed the Brand Amplifier programme, an initiative aimed at encouraging and assisting emerging female-run companies in Lambeth. The programme has been running for three years and growing year on year. The programme is delivered free of charge and on a voluntary basis. Over the course of three years the programme has mentored 37 entrepreneurs and delivered 370 hours of mentoring support.

Justin and Audrey Hayes

Nominated by, Denise Davies

Justin and Audrey initiated and led the Claverdale Road team in setting up an annual street party, which brings together hundreds of people from the local area. The street party is very much a focal point for a community much of which is troubled. There is food from every continent, music, dance, bike repairs and entertainment from local children. The street is covered in bunting and everyone has fun and celebrates what joins us together as a rich and diverse community.

Karen Martin, Kim Winter and Kristina Glushkova (the Makerhood team)

Nominated by, Maya Kar

Kristina and Karen have been the driving force behind Makerhood (an online marketplace and community for Brixton, Camberwell, Clapham, Herne Hill and Stockwell). With Kim, they have worked hard to make this project a fantastic source of support for local makers, and those who want to buy from or network with us. They have organised social events and workshops and have provided a lot of local people with the information, support, and enthusiasm to get a long-nurtured project off the ground.

Makaela Gilchrist

Nominated by, Rachael Bee, Julie Begon and Simon Goldsmith

Makaela has worked tirelessly for no remuneration on the Edible Bus Stop and has transformed the local community. She has been the driving force of the creation of an inspirational community garden in a once neglected part of London. In less than a year this initiative has blossomed, bringing together the diverse community in an illustration of true engagement and pride. The initiative is now spreading throughout the borough, ready to brighten up the lives of all the people it touches. From this has also stemmed the organisation of an annual street party (also driven by Mak). Old and young all got together and had lots of fun.

Mel Larson and the Little Big Peace Event volunteers

Nominated by, Christopher Nolan.

Having been a Streatham resident for 15 years I was bowled over by the generosity and ethos of this group of people who organised a week long free festival in Streatham in celebration of the idea of peace. This was a non religious, non political all inclusive event. I and so many in my community were inspired by this small group of local people who volunteered their time and energy for the sake of improving our community.

Mellissa Morgan (Ms Cupcake)

Nominated by, Andrew Down

Following the disturbances last year, on the Monday following the riots, Mellissa and her team were out on the corner of Coldharbour Lane by KFC giving away all the cupcakes they had prepared for sale that day, to share a little love and kindness. It’s great to see a local independent trader putting people before profit, and “peace, love and cupcakes” is a great motto to go by.

Mike Morfey

Nominated by, Lizzie Morfey

Mike has been a member of the Streatham Vale Property Occupiers Association for some 10 years.  He is chair of the Environmental Committee, Secretary of the local Neighbourhood Watch. For 10 years he has been the deputy chair of the Friends of Streatham Vale Park, on the committee of the default People’s Excursion for six years and been with the Lambeth Forum for Older People for three years. He has co-ordinated a Freshview community day and recently signed up to be a snow warden. He was also a member of Streatham against Litter for 10 years.

Paul Koloi

Nominated by, Susie Hall

Following last year’s disturbances, Paul pulled our community together in a very short pace of time to put on a street party a couple of weeks after the riots. His enthusiasm and positivity about our area and his hard work is infectious. The event reinforced everything that is wonderful, diverse and joyful about Lambeth. It was a brilliant day and has reinvigorated community spirit. Everyone had fun – from our oldest resident (94) to the newest arrivals.

Richard Santhiri (Vice Chair of the Friends of Windmill Gardens)

Nominated by, Adrian Garden

Richard has been championing Brixton Windmill for over 10 years. He has written, directed and performed in a play about its history, participated in writing a booklet about the windmill and contributed to a successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid. His contribution has been crucial in ensuring that the Windmill has now been restored, is open to visitors during summer weekends, and it is the centre of an educational project for local schools. Without Richard’s tireless enthusiasm, none of this would have happened.

Robert Doyle

Nominated by, Malika Bactawar

Robert Doyle, chair of Streatham Action and treasurer for Streatham Festival, has been a local activist for a number of years who gives his time and energy tirelessly and is doing a particularly fine job as chair of Streatham Action.

Stuart Harwood, John Gordon and Lisa Watson (Brixton Market Traders’ Federation)

Nominated by, Maya Kar

Stuart, John and Lisa have worked so hard to bring the market back into Station Road to create a vibrant, exciting resource for local residents and sellers. The new markets are bringing extra life and colour to the area and creating a happening feeling in central Brixton. Stuart, John and Lisa have been really well-organised, welcoming and helpful and are always kind even at the end of what is a really long day for them.

Mrs. Trim and the Windmill Gateway Club volunteers

Nominated by, Caroline Clark and Deborah Humphrey

Mrs. Trim and her volunteers do a great job of running this club for people with learning disabilities. Providing the opportunity for people with learning disabilities (and their families and carers) to obtain advice, guidance and support and offering the opportunity to participate in various recreational activities in a safe environment. In addition, they use various methods to advocate the rights, needs and wants of people with a learning disability to enable greater integration in the local community and less segregation.

Will Ollard (Chair of Friends of Longfield Hall)

Nominated by, Lindsay Avebury

Will has been Chair of Friends of Longfield Hall for at least fifteen if not twenty years.  Will has been running Longfield Hall since that time as manager on a purely voluntary basis, as a not for profit charity, with fees for hiring the Hall going towards maintaining it. If it were not for Will, this fantastic community facility would not be available for local people. In addition, Will was one of the founder members of the Myatt’s Fields Park Project Group, which was responsible for the magnificent renovation of this park.

To nominate someone for the Lambeth Champions scheme, email lambethchampions@lambeth.gov.uk and tell us who they are and what it is that makes them a Lambeth champion.





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