Winners of The Chiswick Calendar’s 2023 community awards

Image above: Broadcaster and journalist Jeremy Vine with editor of The Chiswick Calendar Bridget Osborne

Jeremy Vine gave out the awards at The Chiswick Calendar’s eighth birthday party

The Boston Room was full of people at The Chiswick Calendar’s party who spend their time working for societies and organisations which enrich life in Chiswick by making it more interesting. Some of it is paid, some of it is unpaid. Each year we pick out a few who are making a difference.

TV presenter and Chiswick resident Jeremy Vine presented our community awards to eight groups The Chiswick Calendar thought deserved special mention for the good work they have done in Chiswick over the past year.

“What a fantastic place Chiswick is to live” said Jeremy, “the best part of west London” as he shook hands, congratulated and handed over a bottle of Sipsmith gin to representatives of each of the organisations.

Thanks to Anna Kunst for the photographs.

Image above: The crowd in the Boston Room George IV

Chiswick Mutual Aid Facebook group

Set up during Covid, Philippa Johnstone was one of the organisers. They were unfortunately not able to be there on the night, but it was a fantastic initiative which I am sure helped a lot of people during Covid.

READ ALSO: Where to get help – Chiswick Covid-19 Mutual Aid

Riana Development Network

The Riana Development Network until won a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service last year. Founded in 2005, they work with vulnerable members of the community, with volunteers offering supplementary education classes as well as advice and guidance on health and wellbeing.

READ ALSO: Riana Development Network win The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Image above: Riana Development Network CEO Rogers Orero and colleague received their award from Jeremy Vine

West London Welcome

I personally am quite appalled by the way we treat asylum seekers in this country and I am glad I live in an area where there is an organisation which makes it their business to help and support them as much as possible, with hot meals, with English lessons, with practical advice and help and just somewhere to go where they will be welcomed.

READ ALSO: End of ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme leaving refugees in “desperate” conditions

Image above: West London Welcome Director Joanna McInnes and colleague receive their award from Jeremy Vine

The Upper Room

The Upper Room does the same sort of thing for anyone who is faced with homelessness – providing help with finding jobs and getting a driving licence for example. There were several organisations at the party which have raised funds to support the work they do, including Chiswick Book Festival and Chiswick Cheese Market.

READ ALSO: The Upper Room ‘braced’ for more people needing help

Image above: Mike Halson, Administrator for the Upper Room, with Fundraising manager Fiona Cook and CEO Ian Cooper receive their award from Jeremy Vine

Wild Chiswick

Joanne Gilbert has set up Wild Chiswick over the past year, to campaign for the wildlife in this area. Hedgehogs in particular have her to thank, but she organises talks about everything from foxes to dragon flies.

READ ALSO: Keeping an eye out for Chiswick’s hedgehogs

Image above: Joanna Gilbert receives her award from Jeremy Vine

West London Queer Project

Aubrey Crawley has also set up the West London Queer Project in the past year. He realised during the pandemic that a social life entirely based on sitting at home looking at Grindr isn’t good for your mental health, and so he has set out to creates spaces where the LGBT community can socialise normally.

READ ALSO: Reviving west London’s queer spaces

Image above: Aubrey Crawley receives his award from Jeremy Vine

Chiswick School

Since Laura Ellener has been head it has become abundantly clear that Chiswick School is ambitious for all their students. They are not going to be known for their students fighting on the buses. They will be known for their students getting into Cambridge to read maths or getting a part in a West End show. Or just enjoying school and reaching their potential.

They played a blinder during the pandemic, when they had to redesign the assembly hall as a vaccination centre and deliver food parcels. And since then they have got out into the community taking part in whatever is going on.

Tommy Robinson, Head of Drama and Creative & Performing Arts has put on a phenomenal number of very high-quality productions at Chiswick School over the past year. The steel band performed at the opening of the footpath under Barnes Railway Bridge on Friday morning, with dancers from Chsiwick School. Their students have sung carols at the Chsiwick Flower Market and taken part in community arts projects.

READ ALSO: Chiswick School rated ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ for students’ personal development

Image above: Tommy Robinson and Laura Ellener receive their award from Jeremy Vine

Chiswick Flower Market

The Chiswick Flower Market has been a phenomenal success since it started in September 2020. I have to declare an interest here as I was one of the founder directors and worked on it for 18 months helping to get it up and running, but I have now left them to it. You have to get up a six o’clock on Sunday mornings and stand around in the cold.

The Flower Market has made a huge difference to Chiswick, attracting thousands of people on the first Sunday of the month and making the atmosphere on the high road really buzzy. It is run entirely by volunteers.

It was Ollie Saunders’ idea. He was not able to come to the party but fellow directors Karen Liebreich, Kathleen Mitra and Steve Nutt were there, with Ekaterina Harwood, Chrys Watson and Jeremy Day.

READ ALSO: Chiswick Flower Market

Image above: L to R – Jeremy Vine, Ekaterina Harwood, Chrys Watson, Jeremy Day, Steve Nutt, Kathleen Mitra, Bridget Osborne, Karen Liebreich

Chiswick Cheese Market

The Cheese Market, also run by volunteers, provides a unique offering – quality cheeses from artisan producers from France, Ireland, Scotland as well as England, who give Chiswick something quite distinctive and special on the third Sunday of the month.

READ ALSO: Chiswick Cheese Market recognised as one of the best food markets in Britain

Image above: L to R – Jeremy Vine, Sarah Cruz, Jo Pratt, Abi Pitcher, Jules Kane, Lucy Cufflin – “Say Cheese”

READ ALSO: Chiswick Cheese Market recognised as one of the best food markets in Britain

Watch the video to see the award winners receiving their awards from Jeremy Vine.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: The Chiswick Calendar CIC celebrates eight years

See also: New walkway underneath Barnes Railway Bridge opened

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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