The Chiswick Calendar – Sipsmith Community Activism awards

Thanks to all those who came to our party last week in the Boston Room at George IV, celebrating five years of The Chiswick Calendar.

The Chiswick Calendar is a Community Interest Company. We provide daily events listings of all that’s happening in the Chsiwick area, the Club Card scheme to enable local businesses to offer deals and discounts to local residents, the weekly newsletter and the events we put on – the monthly Jazz at George IV and our Media Club. We’ve recently relaunched this website and it’s now how we want it to be, fast, reliable and easy to find your way round, thanks to web developer Dawn Wilson, software engineer James Willcocks and our main content producer Alice Gilkes.

We would be able to do none of this without the support of our sponsors John D Wood & Co, who have backed us almost since the beginning, and Asahi, who took over the sponsorship when they took over the Griffin brewery from Fuller’s. Also our partners the Hogarth Club, ArtsEd and Chiswick Auctions.

Ruth Cadbury was not able to come to the party but sent us this lovely message:

“Congratulations Bridget on the amazing work you’ve done through Chiswick Calendar and its offshoots, to bring people in Chiswick together in a way that is both imaginative and productive.  Chiswick is a richer place because of Chiswick Calendar and I thank you.”

Thanks also to Sipsmith, who provided bottles of London Dry Gin for the winners of our Community Activism Awards, and to Fiona at the Bell & Crown at Strand on the Green, who provided a voucher for lunch for two for one of our winners who doesn’t drink alcohol.

Who were the ten winners and what had they done to deserve their award? Some have worked hard to provide lovely cultural activities we all enjoy; some have got stuck in to physical labour to improve our environment, or gone out of their way to help people. Others have literally risked life and limb to rescue people.

2020 Chiswick Calendar – Sipsmith Community Activism Award winners

Image above: Left Julian Worricker; centre Andrea Carnevali; right Bridget Osborne; photograph by Jon Perry

Andrea Carnevali – Chiswick Oasis

Three years ago St Mary’s RC School in Chiswick discovered it was on the list of the 50 most polluted schools in London, because of its position next to the A4. In those three years Andrea Carnevali has gone from knowing next to nothing about air pollution or fund raising to becoming the fount of all knowledge on both. As a result, having raised more than £100,000, last summer the Mayor of London opened the Chiswick Oasis, the ‘green wall’ along the side of the playground, with some 12,000 plants intended to mitigate the worst effects of air pollution inside the school grounds. Andrea is looking to share his new-found expertise with any other schools who would like to do something similar.

Images above: Paul Hyman; Joanna Brendon

Paul Hyman – In The Drink

Sir David Attenborough has been in the news again this past week saying we have reached the ‘moment of crisis’ with climate change. It was his series Blue Planet which made many of us aware of the extent of the problem of plastic waste in the oceans, with those images of a sperm whale trying to eat a plastic bucket. Paul Hyman, who runs the Active 360 paddleboarding outfit at Kew Bridge, has been an environmental activist for many years and has been instrumental in setting up the In the Drink campaign, to stop single use plastic being used, especially near rivers. He organises regular clear-ups of canals in London and our bit of the River Thames by paddleboard, and has recently been talking to the organisers of the Boat Race to see what can be done to stop the monumental amount of rubbish which ends up in the river every year.

Joanna Brendon – Artists At Home

Artists At Home has been running in Chiswick for nearly 50 years. Arguably it was the first Open Studios in the country. Every year artists open their homes and studios over one weekend in June and we are all invited to wander round and have a look at their work. They now have about 80 artists in 60 or so locations in Chiswick, Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush. Joanna Brendon has been involved in Artists At Home for many years. She used to run it. They she looked after its promotion – which is how I got to know her. She stepped down from the Artists At Home committee, but has been made an honorary member for all her years of service to promoting artists in west London.

Images above: Denny Anthony receiving his award; to see his face you will find him on the very far left of the crowd scene!

Denny Anthony – Hogarth Youth Centre

The Hogarth Youth Centre at the end of Duke’s Rd has been a life saver for the generations of kids and parents who have used it over the past 40 years or so. They provide after school and school holiday activities while hard pressed parents are working. Chiswick has pockets of poverty which go unnoticed in the general description of the leafy suburb being such a great place to live. It’s not so great if you have no money. I went to a fundraiser at the Hogarth Centre recently, because it is no longer council funded and now has to stand on its own two feet financially. A string of parents stood up and made statements about how grateful they were to the centre’s lead youth worker Denny Anthony for his support and guidance, that had made and continues to make a real, material difference to their lives.

Images above: Donna Schoenherr; Jan Preece

Donna Schoenherr – Move Into Wellbeing

Donna Schoenherr settled in Chiswick some 20 years ago, from New York, where she’d been a professional ballet dancer, touring the world with several different dance companies. She set up Ballet4Life which offers dance classes for adults, and Move Into Wellbeing which specifically offers dance and movement classes for people with restricted movement. She was nominated in last year’s One Dance UK for Inspirational Work in Education and as an Inspirational Community Dance Practitioner.

Jan Preece – Chiswick House Dog Show

The Dog Show at Chiswick House is a fantastic event. Hundreds, if not thousands of dogs descend on the Cricket pitch every September and it’s become the biggest dog show in London. Every year they have prizes for all sorts of daft canine achievements. There’s a  fancy dress theme for dogs and owners and celebrity judges. Jan Preece chairs the committee that runs it. So thank you to Jan for just providing a free fun day out.

City Harvest

City Harvest London is a charity which takes surplus food from restaurants and supermarkets and distributes it to organisations around London which feed the hungry. They’re actually based in Acton but they do work in Chiswick. Unfortunately they couldn’t be at the party to pick up their award. They’re about to start a series of supper clubs, about which there will be more details in The Chiswick Calendar newsletter.

Images above: Cllr Ron Mushiso; Geraldine King

Ron Mushiso – Litter picking

Being a local councilor can be a thankless task. Hours of tedious meetings. Reams of documents to read through. People moaning at you. Ron Mushiso does all that, has a full-time job as a teacher and still finds time to organise litter picking sessions.

Geraldine King – Chiswick House & Gardens Trust

Geraldine King is the head gardener at Chiswick House. She could say that thousands of people and dogs traipsing through her precious gardens was unthinkable. But instead she seems to embrace the challenge and manages to keep the gardens looking fantastic all year round, despite the fact that it’s a favourite place for people to walk and for children to play. For the past few years they’ve won a host of awards in London in Bloom, including Heritage Park of the year, best Walled Garden and the People’s Choice. She does it all with an army of volunteers, but she’s the brains of the operation.

RNLI

There’s been a lifeboat station at Chiswick Pier since 2002. It quite quickly became the second busiest station in the whole of the UK and Ireland, second only to Tower Bridge. In the time they’ve been running they’ve carried out more than 3,600 rescues and rescued over 1,750 people. Last year was the busiest since 2004, with 235 call-outs. The Chiswick station has nine staff and the rest of its crew members are all volunteers. The RNLI is funded entirely by its own fundraising.

Wayne Bellamy, who originally worked on lifeboats in Vancouver, is the station manager. Andy Mayo was originally a volunteer on the Dover lifeboat and joined the Chiswick crew in 2003. He’s now a full-time helmsman. David Clarke was in at the beginning and is now the station’s press officer, having retired from crewing. Guto Harri is better known as a writer and broadcaster, but is also a volunteer crew member at Chiswick. His late father was a volunteer for the RNLI in the Arran Islands.

They only do things together, as a crew, so they came up as a crew to receive their awards.

Photograph below: Bridget Osborne by Jon Perry