Community Champion and Former Deputy Lieutenant for the London Borough of Hounslow, Maria Pedro sadly passes away
By Taz Virdee
Maria Pedro, DL (right) with Sharnjeet Bhalla and Yasmin Lukka at our Big Local Commonwealth Event in May 2018.
It is with great sadness to announce our dear friend and community champion Maria Pedro passed away on Sunday 4th November 2018 after a short battle with cancer. Maria Pedro, was appointed as the Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London in 2011 and in 2012 the representative Deputy Lieutenant for the London Borough of Hounslow (The Queen’s Representative),
Prior to her work as Deputy Lieutenant, Maria had previously worked as a PR and media specialist working within the voluntary and private sectors, most notably with the NSPCC and the FULL STOP campaigns.
Maria was also involved with supporting many other charities and organisations such as: The RSPCA, The Scout’s Association, The Ramblers, Combat Stress, Army Cadets and many others. Maria also supported homeless young people, often sharing her own personal experience of growing up in care to inspire and help young people achieve their dreams whatever the circumstances.
Maria Pedro, DL with the Big Local Youth Film Club (left) and being interviewed by Serena Lola and Anjali Parmar (right)
In April 2017, Maria got involved with the Big Local and soon after delivered an inspiring and educational presentation on the Queen’s 90th Birthday at the Brabazon Community Centre to local residents, which was well received.
Maria said after the event: “I was honoured to attend the Birthday Tea and appreciated the warm reception of my short talk about The Queen and the Greater London Lieutenancy. But none of this would have been possible without the drive and energy of incomparable Taz Virdee. Happy Birthday Your Majesty.”
In addition, Maria was interviewed by our Big Local Youth Action and Film Club members Serena Lola and Anjali Parmar (above) about her role and future ambitions. In May 2018, Maria supported and helped organise our Big Local Commonwealth Community Event held at Cranford Community College. Around 350 local residents attended the function to celebrate.
Maria said after the event: “I was honoured to be part of such a memorable occasion in which everyone felt valued and welcomed. The volunteers and residents I met provide impressive examples of how they can make a difference to their community. Their energy and commitment clearly brings a new focus to the lives of the residents of Heston West.”
Maria Pedro, DL (centre) at the Queen's 90th Birthday Tea Party in April 2017 at Brabazon Community Centre
Alan Fraser, Chair of HWBL said: "Maria will be a great loss not only to Heston West Big Local but to the whole of the Hounslow community. She carried out her role with great dignity and passion.
She loved our events and we loved her."
Committee and Youth Action Team Member, Layba Nisar added: "When someone you love becomes a memory it becomes treasure, Maria's support was such a blessing to have, we thank her so much for all the help she gave and her enthusiasm."
On behalf of everyone at Heston West Big Local, we send our sincere condolences.
Maria Pedro was a true inspiration, a champion and will be greatly missed by all. Her passion, energy and drive to make a real difference to our community will never be forgotten. Her legacy shall live on in all the people she helped and supported over the years.
Our love, thoughts and prayers go out to Maria’s family and friends during this most difficult time. Thank you Maria for your fantastic support you’ve given us over the past few years. Maria's kindness and friendship shall be remembered. We will miss you.
Maria’s funeral will take place in the chapel at Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth on Tuesday 20th November at 11am. The address is 60 Grove End Road, London NW8 9NH. Anyone who knew her is warmly welcome to attend, there will be food and drinks throughout the day at the Warrington Hotel, at the junction of Randolph Ave and Sutherland Ave (on the street where she lived). Those who wish to go to the crematorium after the funeral are most welcome.
Those who go straight to the pub afterwards are kindly asked to wait for us.
No hats and no flowers please. Maria’s charity is STOLL www.stoll.org.uk.
By MADE in HESTON WEST
Check out the Behind the Scenes of our Big Local song 'Together We Are Stars' written and performance by our young volunteers for Heston West Big Local to help inspire and uplift our community. To watch our music video, please click here
By MADE in HESTON WEST
MADE in HESTON WEST Episode 2: NCS Does Volunteering
Welcome to our new series focusing on local talent and residents getting involved with the Heston West Big Local.
Our second episode focuses on NCS The Challenge volunteering for the Big Local during Summer 2018.
This film was created by young people involved with the Big Local Youth Action Team and MADE in HESTON WEST participants.
By Lerin Bajaj
Lerin Bajaj (above) receiving the Big Local Youth Award with Deputy Mayor of Hounslow Mukesh Malhotra in 2017.
A few months ago, I organised and developed a series of Crime and Punishment educational workshops aimed at my peers. Crime and punishment is an ongoing issue affecting the world, therefore I wanted to create awareness of the issues people face globally, as well as, to contribute in making a positive impact in other young people’s lives.
In week one, I was lucky enough to have a few people attend my workshop, as well as, some individuals from the Hounslow Youth Council. Everyone was split into groups. I started with brainstorming activities involving people to think about certain issues, such as: sharing their opinions on crime, their understanding about the topic and their knowledge in relation to crimes happening in society. Thereafter, I explained the classifications of crime followed by a group discussion on the ways to tackle crime, in addition to, a role-play activity. Overall, this session made me feel more confident and positive about the following weeks ahead and assured me that I could do this!
"...everyone was extremely mature and expressed their opinions in a very respectful manor."
After intensive discussion with the participants during the first week about different crime related topics, I chose the topic Sexual Harassment because it is an ongoing issue affecting many people worldwide. I started by verbally explaining what Sexual Harassment is and I played an educational video for additional information. Not many people knew the statistics of Sexual Harassment around the world, so I developed a guessing game where the class guessed statistics on sexual harassment. The statistics left everyone shocked. Are you aware that 120 million girls have experienced forced sex or other sexual acts? I shared stories about different cases of harassment and asked for their opinions on the scenarios. In addition, I asked what they would have done in that case. Since many people do not feel very comfortable talking about a sensitive topic like this, I was not sure what feedback I was going to get. However, everyone was extremely mature and expressed their opinions in a very respectful manor.
"...it was an amazing experience meeting Mukesh because we learnt a lot from his life and experiences."
Week four was aimed at the history of crime from the middle ages to the 20th century. The group were informed about different crimes committed in different era’s, as well as the cruel punishments people endured and how the punishment system has evolved over the years. The session ended with a debate on a considerate issue: Capital Punishment. This debate challenged the participants to think whether capital punishment should be re- introduced in the UK.
The final week was dedicated to fun activities surrounding the issues of crime. My first activity was The Justice Court game whereby the whole room was transformed into a Court. The young people were challenged to play different roles, such as, the judge, witness and the jury. I gave the class different scenarios which challenged them and made them think. Another game played was murder mystery: every person was given a new identity and different alphabet rhymes were hidden around the room to solve the mystery. In the end, the letters equalled to the name of the murderer. I pre-planned this with one of the participants and asked them to hide so that when everyone had found out who the murderer was they would try to find them. This session was an absolute fun!
Lerin with members from the Big Local Youth Action Team at the Consultation Event in September 2018
Overall, I believe these sessions have made me more confident and responsible. I learnt leadership skills and how to work effectively with other young people. These workshop sessions have accounted for my overall personal development. I would like to thank everyone for attending the sessions. My special gratitude goes to Taz for believing in my abilities and for giving me a responsible role and the opportunity to learn!
By Lerin Bajaj, 14 yrs.
By Taz Virdee
It's time to celebrate our fantastic, invaluable and inspiring volunteers, together making our area the place to be!
Nominate your community hero today by clicking here. We have TWO awards up for grabs! The Brian Clark Young Leader & Community Leader of the Year. Closing date for nominations is 9th September 2018. Cast your nominations today!
Last year, Rachel Smith won the Brian Clark Community Leader Award and Haroon Lukka and Juhi Kumra were joint winners for the Brian Clark Young Community Leader Award.
You can read more about 2017 Awards Evening by clicking here.
MADE in HESTON WEST
During August 2018, we held our Big Local Summer School in partnership with Bounce Theatre and supported by Cranford Community College. Around 60 local children attended the Summer School and in addition, 5 local young people were employed to support the programme. The focus for our Summer School was to give children the opportunity to explore health and well-being, engage with the arts and also to encourage parents to get involved by volunteering their time to support the programme.
Through our Big Local Summer School project:
Big thanks to Cranford Community College, MADE, Manju Malhi, Bounce Theatre, young workers, young volunteers, parents and all our community members and residents including our fabulous children for making a big difference to our community during the summer holidays.
We look forward to continuing the Summer School legacy at our upcoming Youth Creative Club and Art Awards programme with Bounce Theatre.
By Taz Virdee
It’s Autumn! Time to get out and about, meet new people, learn something interesting, get involved and have lots of fun.
We have a wide range of activities for everyone to enjoy from: Family Walking Football, Youth Filmmaking, Youth Debates, Healthy Cooking, Yoga and Art Social Club to name a few.
If that’s not enough, we also have exciting community events that bring everyone together, including The Big Draw on Saturday 3rd November 2018.
Click here to download our Autumn & Winter Activities Guide today and get involved.
By Taz Virdee
In partnership with Sunshine of Hounslow, we held our Big Local Community Consultation on Saturday 8th September 2018 at Cranford Community College.
We would like to thank our partners Bounce Theatre, Bantu Arts, Certitude, Mayor of London, Groundwork London, Heston Action Group (HAGS), Berkeley Academy and London Borough of Hounslow.
Massive thanks to all our wonderful Heston West Big Local volunteers on the day for their amazing support bringing it all together and all our community member who attended, thank you.
The consultation purpose was to find out what the community thought of our legacy ideas and what additional ideas they had to help us finalise our Legacy report by the end of this year.
By MADE in HESTON WEST
Around 40 volunteers from the Heston West community joined us for our Summer Clean Up Day in partnership with our Bounce Theatre Summer School project and Hounslow Highways. We cleaned up the Redwood and Brabazon Estate. It was great to see so many people - of all ages - get involved and make an inspiring difference to our community.
The Community Summer Clean Up Day was filmed by our MADE in HESTON WEST youth group on Wednesday 22nd August 2018. Big thanks to all our amazing volunteers, Bounce Theatre, MADE and Hounslow Highways for providing the equipment.