Barnes Bridge Walkway contractors donate £3,252 to Hogarth Trust

Image above: South East Divisional Director Sean Hebden hands a giant cheque to Fred Lucas – Chair of the Hogarth Charitable Trust

The company in charge of constructing the new Barnes Bridge Walkway in Dukes Meadows has donated over £3,000 to the Hogarth Youth & Community Centre, after raising the funds by holding a boat race.

A crew from the civil engineering / construction company, Knights Brown, took on a crew from the Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club. Both teams were made up of novice rowers, though the Thames Tradesmen’s crew completed the club’s six week Learn To Row course prior to the race and the Knights Brown team were also coached over a similar period. Knights Brown won the race in intense weather conditions, including strong wind against the tide, heavy rain and hailstones.

During a short ceremony near the partly demolished Chiswick Boathouse on Wednesday (9 March), Knights Brown’s South East Director Sean Hebden handed over a giant cheque to the Chair of the Hogarth Charitable Trust, Fred Lucas. Fred said the Trust was “honoured” to be the chosen charity.

Chiswick Riverside councillor John Todd introduced the two teams to each other. He has overseen the Thames pathway project on behalf of LB Hounslow and he has also been involved with the Hogarth youth centre throughout its history.

Hogarth Charitable Trust operates the Hogarth Youth and Community Centre, which helps to provide opportunities and support for local young people. Knights Brown often like to involve themselves in the local community when they are working on a project to find ways to “give back”.

Image above: Knights Brown team and community leaders gather around the cheque

Donation helps plug hole in Hogarth Trust deficit

Hogarth Trust is largely funded by licensing space in the community centre to groups who want to use it for a variety of activities, but revenue from licensing was slashed due to Covid in 2020 and the Trust’s income has yet to recover. The loss of income combined with increased energy bills means the Trust is still looking at an income deficit of up to £65,000. To plug this funding gap the charity relies on grants from the council, donations and fundraising initiatives such as the boat race.

The Hogarth Centre was fully funded by Hounslow Council until a few years ago, when the Council decided it could no longer continue to fund it.

Fred Lucas said:

“Knights Brown really is a great team and we’re honoured to have been named as the charity for this project, it’s fantastic to be connected to a community project like this. The icing on the cake is something like this when we get a bit of funding…

“I’m someone who believes that acts of generosity and kindness should make you feel good. We feel really good receiving this money so I think everyone who’s been involved in raising the money feels good too and a more positive wellbeing as a result.”

Image above: Nigel Brophy (left) speaks with Jim Devine (right) at the hand-over ceremony 

“If you fancy a new skill, join up” – Thames Tradesmen Rowing Club

Jim Devine, Community Engagement and Admin Lead for Knights Brown, thanked Thames Tradesmen Rowing Club for the club’s help in training their crew. He said:

“Without Thames Tradesmen Rowing Club we wouldn’t have been able to do it. Not only did they put a team up against us, they trained our team to beat them!”

Nigel Brophy, Chair of Thames Tradesmen Rowing Club, worked closely with Jim to organise the boat race. The race was only possible because the club introduced their ‘Learn To Row’ course in the aftermath of Covid. Since Covid there has been a huge demand from adults to learn how to row, something which Nigel attributed to the amount of people who are working from home.

“They wanted an escape from working from home or from the family, so the ideal thing is to get into a boat and row on the tideway. We decided to put a programme in place, we trained up the successful quad of Knights Brown… We taught these guys a new skill, I think they enjoyed themselves immensely and we enjoyed working with them” Nigel said.

There are spaces on upcoming rowing courses and recommended anyone interested to get in contact with the club. There are four courses planned from Spring until September-October.

Thames Tradesmen Rowing Club are based at 81 Hartington Road, W4 3TU and they can be contacted at: info@ttrc.org.uk.

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