By Taz Virdee
We would like to signify an indebted thank you to the Metropolitan Police for generously donating Christmas gifts to our community, especially to the families who have benefited from the Heston West area. On Sunday 22nd December 2019, our team of enthusiastic and dedicated young and adult volunteers delivered the gifts to the Redwood Estate, Brabazon Estate and Harlech Gardens Estates. All the families really appreciated the gesture and the gifts.
Our Big Local volunteers also enjoyed the experience and felt really proud delivering the gifts and seeing the reaction from the families.
“You could tell by the look on the parents’ faces that they genuinely appreciated the effort put in and the gifts conveyed the Christmas joy. The smiles on their faces was worth the time we all put in. Thank you so much for donating the gifts, it’s hard to understand how much they mean to some families.”
Baljinder, 19 yrs old
“Just like to say a big thank you to the Metropolitan police for donating the wonderful toys and gifts to our community in Heston West. We appreciate your generosity. Real generosity is doing something special for the community.”
Anjali P, 16 yrs old
“Thank you to the police for the kind gesture and donating so many gifts for the young community!! Being able to take part in such a great cause makes me so happy and proud to live in a community where everyone looks after one another especially during the holiday seasons where times can be rough for people.”
Amrita, 19 yrs old
“A massive thank you to the police officers that have gone above and beyond their duties to provide for our community and enhance the relationships in our tight-knit family. We appreciate your commitment to creating the best backdrop for our youth to prosper in safety and opportunities.”
Twinkle, 16 yrs old
“The best part about being given the opportunity to hand out Christmas presents to local residents was the heart-warming response of sincere gratitude. Seeing the smiles on the faces of children and parents really does remind you how powerful a simple gesture can be. Thank you so being able to provide us with the opportunity to do that.”
Anjali K, 19 yrs old
“Thank you for making our community a better place.”
Samhita, 15 yrs old
“I believe that the Christmas donating gift day was a really good way of making a change in the community as it put a smile on the faces of all the people in the community. This event made me feel that this Christmas was the best putting smiles on people's faces. Thank you so much.”
Sharanjit, 16 yrs old
“It’s very generous for the police to give back to the community and Heston West Big Local is extremely thankful as well as all the residents who received the amazing gifts it’s very heart-warming to know that Heston west big local has the support of the Metropolitan Police thank you!”
Layba, 16 yrs old
Thank you so much for the effort and community spirit the Metropolitan Police have shown in donating these gifts and also Hounslow Council for administrating them. The donation means much more than gifts, in times of great poverty, struggles and division in our communities the support from the Metropolitan Police and Hounslow Council has re-ignited civic pride, love and a sense of community back into our area.
Thank you all and on behalf of the Heston West Big Local, Happy New Year 2020!
By Sharanjit Kaur
Happy New Year 2020! HWBL Youth Volunteer & Board Member Sharanjit Kaur, 16, pops into our weekly Big Local Family Cooking Club for a quick chat with our chef Manju Malhi and our dedicated participants. This week we were making delicious spaghetti and brownies. Join us on Saturday 18th January 2020 from 11.30 to 2pm at Cranford Community College.
You can sign up online for free by clicking here.
By MADE in HESTON WEST
Let's rewind 2019! Our story in numbers from 2014 to 19. From Heston to Hastings and all the way to Vienna, we've learned a lot on our travels, meeting many interesting people and also sharing our learning too. It's been a truly humbling experience for our community group. What a great year it's been for us, moving onward and upwards. We thank all our wonderful volunteers, partners and supporters in 2019, bring on 2020!
By MADE in HESTON WEST
We were delighted that Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) attended our Big Local Community Volunteer Awards Ceremony on Friday 6th December 2019 to show his support for our community initiatives focusing on our incredible volunteers, youth engagement and intergenerational work.
By Taz Virdee
James Rose, 15 years old, serves as a real example of how anything is possible regardless of your situation or who you are. James has been actively involved with our Big Local Youth Action Team for over 2 years and has been leading the development (alongside young volunteers) our new youth peer-to-peer mental health support programme, due to launch in early 2020.
On Friday 6th December 2019, he spoke at our 4th Big Local Community Volunteer Awards Ceremony in front of over 200 people. He delivered a strong, passionate and compelling speech about his personal volunteering journey and the importance of getting involved with your local community. A future Mayor of London or Prime Minister in the making?
Read more about James Rose and his volunteering journey here.
To get involved with volunteering for Heston West Big Local please click here.
'We've Got Each Other' Check out our latest and greatest song, bringing Christmas joy to our local community!
By MADE in HESTON WEST
Let the Christmas countdown commence! Check out our new and original Big Local Community Christmas Song 'We've Got Each Other' involving our local families & volunteers. This song was written, produced and directed by our young people involved with our Big Local Music School and MADE in HESTON WEST Film Club during October and November 2019 in collaboration with Heston West Big Local, Make A Difference Entertainment, Berkeley Academy and Cranford Community College.
Big thank you to Luke Joyce and Rory O'Hare for producing the song with our young people and also thanks to Alan Fraser and producers Taz Virdee, Blaise Singh and Arfhan Razak. We also would like to give a massive thanks to all our fantastic community volunteers and the Heston West Big Local Board for leading and supporting this project.
We hope you enjoy! Please like and share to spread some joy to your friends, family and local community.
Big success at our Ugandan inspired community theatre performance of 'Together We Are Stars' with Bantu Arts!
By Taz Virdee
Friday 29th November 2019 – An incredible community intergenerational performance was delivered by our fantastic volunteers and participants in partnership with Bantu Arts. In our Ugandan inspired performance ‘Together We Are Stars’, we highlighted social concerns and issues surrounding online bullying, body image, Brexit and climate change. The play was written and directed by Big Local youth volunteer Sharanjit Kaur, 16, this was the first time she ventured into the dramatic arts and she did a wonderful job.
In our first story, Juhi Kumra (long-standing volunteer for the Big Local and now a university student studying Theatre and English Literature) was brilliant in her role as the shy but stubborn Tina Rajput. Tina struggling with social anxiety, online bullying and with her body image, suddenly finds herself involved in the dark world of knife crime. The story focused on how through low self-esteem, the pressures of looking good online and peer to peer bullying, can lead someone to take the wrong path with devastating consequences.
Our second story told a tale of the impact of Brexit and how the referendum result had divided our society rather than united. Our final story highlighted the real concerns of climate change and what we can do to help. We heard from giant Tortoises explaining how plastic waste is destroying their habitats, killings innocent animals in the process. The audience were given tips on how to reduce waste, save energy and tools to protect their local environment.
Despite the heavy social topics, the performance was inspiring, captivating, colourful and entertaining. Through the art of Ugandan music and dance, our performers were able to bring the topics to life, wowing the audience during the evening. Overall, all performers and crew did an exceptional job bringing joy and laughter to the audience. Big congratulations to all at Bantu Arts, our talented performers, volunteers and their families for their involvement and also our excellent audience for showing their community support. We look forward to starting our new intergenerational theatre project with Bantu Arts in the New Year, so what for this space.
'Together We Are Stars' Join us this Friday 29th November for our Big Local and Bantu Arts Community Theatre Production!
Come and support us this Friday 29th November at Cranford Community College from 6.30pm for our Big Local and Bantu Arts Community Theatre Production of 'Together We Are Stars' starring our amazing volunteers! It's FREE and open for all in our community including families.😊
By Taz Virdee
Thursday 21st November 2019 – Royal Horse Guards Hotel: Heston West Big Local were amongst 30 other nationwide community organisations nominated for the National Community Group Awards, shortlisted from 720 organisations. On the night, we didn’t win the main National Community Group Award for Community Cohesion, however it was a great testament for our Big Local to be even considered for this fantastic award and we're proud of our community achievements to date.
Congratulations to all the other nominated groups and the worthy winners across the UK.
In addition, massive thanks goes to Groundwork UK for organising a brilliant event.
Fingers cross we’ll be back next year!
By Taz Virdee
Heston West Big Local featured live on BBC Radio London's Robert Elms Show in November 2019. Listen to Taz Virdee and youth volunteer Serena Lola, 17, chat about the Big Local with legendary presenter Robert Elms about volunteering, our community projects and our legacy.