Westminster heroes honoured for community work

Winners beat off competition from 100 nominees to claim council’s Living City Awards

Church Street and Maida Hill heroes are among those who have been honoured for bringing joy to the lives of people in their communities.

Dolly Cuthbert and Jacqui Haynes were two of the six winners at Westminster Council’s Living City Awards last week after beating off competition from 100 other nominees.

Each winner received �500 to help them continue and develop their work at the ceremony held at Paddington Academy.

Ms Cuthbert was victorious in the “bringing us together” category for her five years of work running an over-50s club at Greenside Community Centre where social events, days out and lunches are organised for older people.

The club meets every Tuesday and has more than 70 members who take part in bingo, line dancing and exercise classes, as well as enjoying monthly birthday parties for all members and monthly trips to the seaside in the summer.

She says the money will go towards funding a trip for all the club’s members to Brighton or Clacton-on-Sea in February.

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“There is a real family spirit here and people from all sorts of backgrounds join in with us,” she said.

“For a lot of them, it is the highlight of the week. Some of them go to a few clubs but they tell me that our’s is the best. I am delighted to have been honoured in this way, especially as I came second a couple of years ago.”

Maida Hill resident Jacqui Haynes was recognised in the “doing things differently” category for running the St Peter’s Saturday lunch club at St Peter’s Church in Elgin Avenue.

At the club, Ms Haynes helps Westminster residents with tasks including filling in forms, writing letters and making telephone calls.

She said: “We support a range of people through our service and we are performing really well after three years of hard work.

“Our focus is to help members of our community, but it is also nice to be honoured in this way and know that what you are doing is valued.

“We are always looking for more volunteers so that we can help more people and I would encourage anybody interested to get in touch.”

Abdul Quyium won the “making us healthier” category for devising training programmes for young people in the London Tigers sports teams.

The Tigers, based in Maida Hill, are a registered charity which works with different communities in six London boroughs in sports, youth work, health and education.

“The award is really unexpected,” he said.

“Being in the company of so many people who help in the community makes me realise what an impact we can all have.

“I am still learning about the barriers people have to overcome and how I can help them – it makes me want to set my targets even higher.”

The other winners were Jacqueline Crooks, who runs the Westminster-wide Befriend a Family charity, Edna Powell, who runs a drop-in centre for older people in Pimlico, and Metropolitan Police volunteer Rolana Moleviciute, for building partnerships between the deaf community and the police.

Community services boss Cllr Steve Summers said: “The winners work tirelessly to help others and innovate to benefit the areas where they live.

“In many cases, they will work extra hours, or for free.

“These awards are aimed at honouring these local heroes and making sure their effort does not go unnoticed and act as inspiration for us all.”