Young residents of Isleworth's Worton estate (see picture, acknowledgements to the Hounslow Chronicle) have won the Metropolitan Police Commissioner's Community Safety Peace Award for their work under the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
They were presented with the award on Thursday at a London hotel (see below) by the Commissioner Sir Ian Blair and the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith MP.
The work undertaken by youngsters from the estate includes a massive and ongoing clean-up campaign, clearing mountains of debris, overgrowth and graffiti from the estate's maze of alleyways.
The intitative has been actively supported by the Metropolitan Police and its Safer Neighbourhood Team, community payback, the residents' association (ROWE), ward councillors, LBH Street Management and (after a bit of a misunderstanding) Hounslow Homes.
The success of this project boils down to an excellent joint effort between so many people and the amount of goodwill which has been poured into it by so many local agencies. Special mention must go to Kim Dobson - the estate's terrifyingly dynamic youth organiser, PS Kirsty Hayes, PC Mike James, PC Phil Beal, Bridget Klempner from London Probation and Councillor Paul Fisher, whose performance as a ward councillor and leader of his community quite simply becomes more awesome by the day.
It is difficult to overstate the contrast between the commitment of Paul and other community councillors (if I might say so myself) to empowering good local communities like that on the Worton estate, and the attitude of our New Labour predecessors (one of whom described the same residents as "whingers" during her row with her own constituents over the development on the green, providing them with a useful reminder of what would be in store for them should she or any of her successors ever be re-elected by the voters of Isleworth ward).
I would have loved to have been at the event on Thursday to give my support to these wonderful people who work so hard for their community and for our local environment but unfortunately couldn't due to a few, hopefully temporary personal difficulties. Nonetheless I would like to say a big well done to them all. I am so proud of my community and what, when allowed the chance, it is capable of achieving.
From left to right: Councillor Paul Fisher (Isleworth ward), Sir Ian Blair (Commissioner, Metropolitan Police), PC Phil Beal, Kim Dobson, PC Mike James, Councillor Shirley Fisher (Syon ward, Deputy Mayor of Hounslow), Councillor Dr. Genevieve Hibbs (Isleworth ward, Mayor of Hounslow).