Local Charity Highly Commended at Prestigous Awards
Friends of Dukes Meadows 'one of the best of its kind'
Friends of Dukes Meadows were Highly Commended at the Charity Awards 2005 on June 16th 2005
The annual Charity Awards ceremony is the most high profile event on the charity world calendar. The awards recognise excellence in the management of charities, acknowledging the outstanding work and achievements of all charities, big or small, from across the UK and the tireless commitment of the people behind them. This is the sixth year that the awards have taken place and Friends of Dukes Meadows sits in illustrious company on the shortlist alongside BTCV, RNID, Age Concern and the Samaritans
Chiswick is often associated with affluence but a few years ago the local authority housing estates bordering Dukes Meadow were considered so problematic they were featured on a BBC Panorama documentary about racism. ‘That was the real low point,’ says Friends of Dukes Meadow (FoDM) development manager Kathleen Healy. Since then the redevelopment and regeneration of Dukes Meadows has helped bring together a local community and provide them with an inspiring, accessible open space.
In the words of the judges, the FoDM is ‘one of the best of its kind’ and comprises a residents group looking after neglected parts of a 150-acre space. What was once six feet high brambles is a now a community garden, designed by local residents who attended a garden design class in the adjoining community centre. The centre itself, once a magnet for arson-minded teenagers, is now well used by locals for a range of activities, including a youth club which meets twice a week and is due to appoint a third youth worker. ‘Having a youth group has definitely been a key to reversing anti-social behaviour and vandalism,’ says Healy. ‘The hardest thing was the area had gone down so much. People had given up hope, but we started a voluntary group so people could see things happening.’
Today, through a number of revenue generating enterprises, including a weekly farmers market and the conversion of old farm buildings into a flat and artists studios, the charity generates £50,000 a year.
The Charity Awards 2005 is organised by Charity Finance magazine, the leading business publication for the voluntary sector. The distinguished panel of judges includes David Harker OBE, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, Ian Allsop, Editor of Charity Finance magazine, Cedric Frederick, Chief Executive of PentaHact, Sir Nicholas Young, Chief Executive of the Red Cross and Maeve Sherlock OBE, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council
Daniel Phelan, organiser of The Charity Awards 2005 comments:“As the role of the voluntary sector grows in importance, particularly its increasing role in the provision of public services, it is vital that charities work together to maximise this effect. We have worked hard this year to recognise and reward charities that have forged creative and collaborative working partnerships that have an exponential effect on the success of their campaigns. By being short-listed, Friends of Dukes Meadows has already demonstrated that they are among the best-managed charities in the UK and I wish them luck on the night’.
June 30, 2005