Fantastic celebrations at our 3rd Big Local Community Awards. Callum Wills receives the Brian Clark Young Leader of the Year 2018 Award!
By Taz Virdee
Following in the footsteps of Haroon Lukka and Juhi Kumra, Callum Wills, 14, received the top award after winning the Brian Clark Young Leader of the Year 2018. The award was presented by Brian's daughter Deborah Siminson and son Darrell Clark at the Big Local Community Volunteer Awards Evening on Friday 30th November 2018, held at Cranford Community College. In an audience of 200 people, the award’s celebration was held in memory of our dear friend and supporter Maria Pedro (Former Deputy Lieutenant of London Borough of Hounslow) who passed away earlier in the month.
The evening was led by youth presenters: Serena Lola, Rhys Jones, Anjali Parmar and Samhita Damerashetti. We welcomed Dr Ranvir Singh from SACRE, to present; Anjali Kumar, Juhi Kumra, Abbie McFerran, Harpreet Kaur, Serena Lola, Shariq Ahmed, Simran Bangar and Megha Dahdrai with the Big Local Work Experience Star Award 2018 for supporting our Bounce Theatre Summer School and Big Local Research Project.
For a list of all our award winners, please click here to download our programme guide.
Sharnjeet Bhalla of Sunshine of Hounslow took home the Mayor of Heston West Award 2018/19, meanwhile Heston Action Group received the Community Group of the Year Award.
Mar Peláez-Muñoz collected the award on behalf of the group. Heston Action Group, or known as HAGS; have been instrumental this year since its formation in February 2018. The group have been responsible for a number of community clean ups and also veered towards beautifying the area by planting trees and bulbs.
"...young person after young person came onto stage and spoke with confidence and passion about the skills they had developed and what being part of the Big Local meant to them."
Heston Residents Association were given the Honorary Community Group Award in recognition and tribute to all the HRA volunteers over the last 90 years (1928-2018) and awarded for outstanding contribution to all residents living in Heston. Rachel Doherty was given the Big Local Partnership Award for her fantastic work for Bounce Theatre and support for our community group.
Volunteer Huzayma Khamis performed a beautiful song which was well received by the audience, we also had performances from Rajveer Singh and Kapil Lund on the drums.
We also showcased our Heston West Big Local documentary called ‘Bringing It All Together’ created by our young people involved with the MADE in HESTON WEST Film Club led by Blaise Singh at MADE.
Dr Ranvir Singh, said: “I was overwhelmed by the hard work of the adult volunteers in setting up and running a diverse range of local projects to develop the local community. The fruit of their labour was apparent as young person after young person came onto stage and spoke with confidence and passion about the skills they had developed and what being part of the Big Local meant to them. Many of them described it as a family and this feeling was evident and apparent throughout the evening. Kudos to Taz for inspiring and bringing people together into this inclusive family.”
"It was clear to see the passion of the volunteers to make a difference, and the sense of community was amazing.”
Young people from our Big Local Youth Action Team spoke of their journey into volunteering and how working for the community has helped them develop their confidence and key life skills.
We had a series of fantastic, uplifting and inspiring speeches from 24 young people and 4 adults; including Debbie Noad’s wonderful poem about our community. The evening started with 2 presentations – Summer School and Research Project. The young people recapped the work they had done during the summer period and what they had accomplished being involved with the community projects.
Vijay Lund, 10 and Sanjay Suresh, 12, brought joy and smiles to the audience as they spoke of how participating in activities inspired them to volunteer. Layba Nisar, 14 and Iman Jaura, 14, highlighted the success of the Youth Debates Club and how young people have been able to improve their English language speaking and debating skills by removing ‘filler’ words. Callum Wills, 14, spoke about how he got involved with the Big Local and how he has seen himself develop in the last 3 years and the pride he has in our local community.
James Rose, 14, delivered a powerful and personal account of how through volunteering for the Big Local and getting involved with the Youth Debates Club has enabled him to improve his self-confidence and restore his faith after the trauma of bullying. Sharanjit Kaur, 14, hailed the MADE in HESTON WEST Film Club and how her involvement helped her develop new media skills and also inspired her to start her own YouTube channel.
Becoming Juliet in our ‘Big Local’s Romeo and Juliet Summer Production’ was one of Emaan Saleem’s, 14, proudest moment. She mentioned her utter shock and surprise after being casted as the lead actress and how the support, care and guidance from Juhi Kumra and Huzayma Khamis (the directors) enabled her to grow in confidence; self-belief and improve her public speaking and communication skills. In addition, through volunteering; she felt a sense of improved well-being and more connected to the local community.
Alexandra Montoya’s Kids Fun Club, a project she developed 18 months ago; has since grown in strength and in numbers. Alexandra mentioned how she felt a lack of after school clubs inspired her to kick start this amazing project, now reaching 16 local children each week. Committee Member and Dhol enthusiast Kapil Lund, 21, caused a stir of emotions with his heart-warming story about how volunteering helped him make new friends, of all ages; and how he feels much more happier now because he’s volunteering.
Neha Soni, 23, volunteering for HWBL for nearly 2 years, mentioned how through the Big Local she landed an opportunity to work as an intern for our local MP Seema Malhotra and has since secured a job with Seema’s office. In addition, how proud she was seeing the young people develop in the past few years and the importance of taking opportunities on your doorstep.
Brothers Daniyal, 9, and Haris Sethi, 13, spoke about how their mum’s consistent encouragement to get involved with the Big Local inspired them both to make time to help others. Meanwhile, Lerin Bajaj, 14, spoke of leading her own community project and how she developed not just confidence; but also how to create interactive session plans to engage her peer group. She also praised her parents who’ve supported her throughout her journey so far.
Youth Knife Crime was on the agenda, Adewole Agboola, 15, spoke of his personal story about how others his age are becoming lured into the dark world of knife crime. Adewole produced statistics and stories to demonstrate his point. His message was simple, young people should reroute their energies into something positive; like volunteering. Through the support from the Big Local, Adewole has been assisting with our Multi-Sports sessions and also has helped with a number of community clean up days.
Mario Zapata, 13, spoke of his rise from being a participant at the Creative Club to becoming the lead volunteer for the Kids Fun Club. In addition, Mario shared a personal story about how he made a local resident happy after giving her a Valentines rose during one of our community clean up’s earlier in the year. Mario also mentioned his pride playing the Apothecary in last summer’s Romeo and Juliet production.
Attending Multi-Sports to leading a Community Choir project, Amadeus, 13, spoke of the importance of getting involved with the Film Club and how he has developed his leadership skills whilst volunteering for the Big Local. From Croydon to Cranford, ‘Together We Are Stars’ singer and Youth Action Team volunteer Lovell Nanditta, 15, concluded the evening of speeches when she spoke of her challenging journey and how she suddenly found the Big Local when she needed it the most.
David Blackett, from Heston Residents Association added: “Not forgetting the older generation, the event was a tribute to the younger age groups and the adoption of the opportunities and skills that the "scheme" has made available. Put quite simply it has enabled character building and development opportunities which would not normally have been available to them.”
Fiona Felton, from Hounslow Adult and Community Education said: “It was really heartwarming to see the good work of so many volunteers, and the positive impact that the Big Local is having on the community. It was clear to see the passion of the volunteers to make a difference, and the sense of community was amazing.”
"The evening also gave us the chance to remember the remarkable life of Maria Pedro, Deputy Lieutenant of London Borough of Hounslow who has always been so supportive of the Heston West Big Local."
Alan Fraser, the Chairperson for HWBL concluded: “It was truly inspirational to hear the stories of all the volunteers. The skills they have gained and their personal development are an example to all of the power of volunteering in transforming the person. I was particularly pleased with the two recipients of the Brian Clark Community Leader Award and it was great to have Brian’s son and daughter there again to present the award. The evening also gave us the chance to remember the remarkable life of Maria Pedro, Deputy Lieutenant of London Borough of Hounslow who has always been so supportive of the Heston West Big Local. It is great that we are going to produce a living legacy of Maria through a documentary of her life with the kind support of her husband Philip. Together with an educational resource we hope Maria’s life story will inspire generations to come.”
For a list of all our award winners, please click here to download our programme guide.
We would like to express our gratitude and thanks to our HWBL Committee and Youth Action Team, Brian Clark’s family, Deborah Siminson and Darrell Clark. David Blackett from Heston Residents Association, Rachel Doherty from Bounce Theatre, Blaise Singh from Make A Difference Entertainment, Former Deputy Mayor of Hounslow Mukesh Malhotra, Councillor Bishnu Gurung and our special guest Dr Ranvir Singh.
We would also like to thank Sharnjeet Bhalla from Sunshine of Hounslow, Mar Peláez-Muñoz and Navdeep Deol from HAGS, Andy Kee from Certitude, Steven and Isa Kasamba from Bantu Arts, Jean Forster from The Welcome Club, Fiona Felton from Hounslow Council, Chris McGuckin, Sharon Khroad from Brentford FC CST, Tobias Guyett and Fola Adesanmi from Cranford Community College and Paul Upward Photography.
Also big thanks to Local Trust, Berkeley Academy, Cranford Community College, Masala Creations and all our wonderful and dedicated volunteers, parents, partners, participants and supporters, everyone together has enabled us to bring success to our Big Local and local community.