Great Communities Day 2013

Church Street estate was transformed from a bustling market to a haven of fun on 8 September. Over 1,500 residents joined in Great Communities Day, an annual celebration of the Westminster community organised by CityWest Homes.

There was plenty of entertainment, with fairground classics and trampolines. Crowds of children were also enthralled by the small animal show from Safari Charles which brought a piece of wildlife magic to the city.

Local resident Jill West was enjoying the day with her family. She said: “This is a really good day out and fantastic for the kids. I’ve been living here for years and this is the biggest community event I’ve seen. It really brings people together.”

A young member of the community, Mirna Alzahawy, (aged 9) was making the most of the tea cup rides. When asked if she was enjoying the day she said: “Yes, it’s fun. I’ve been on two rides so far and I’m just getting started.”

Residents danced the afternoon away to the Silver Manatees (a Beatles tribute band), the Black Eagles (an African acrobatic group), Christie Prentice singing modern classics, a jazz band and an Arabic band. For those who wanted to relax and take in the day, there was plenty of authentic cuisine on offer, such as Moroccan fish.

Bringing a sporty theme to the day was local charity the London Tigers. Young people took part in a range of sporting activities, whilst older residents enjoyed an afternoon picnic. The event was attended by people from a wide range of ages and cultures, doing justice to an area which is known for celebrating diversity. Amongst residents, Councillor Jonathan Glanz, Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Property, was also in attendance and joined in the fun. For those who wanted to discuss their queries, there were plenty of information stalls on the day, including CityWest Homes, Westminster City Council and other partners.

The day also included the Great Neighbour Awards, which recognises residents who go the extra mile to help their neighbours. Residents can nominate their neighbours for an award and this year’s winner was Brian Whittaker, an active member of the Church Street community. There were two runners-up: Ms Leyla Harvey and Ms Sue Whaley, both from Fisherton estate, St John's Wood. Prizes were presented by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Jan Prendergast. Photograph right: From left to right – Adam Humphryes, chairman of CityWest Homes, Brian Whittaker, winner of the Great Neighbour Award, Councillor Jonathan Glanz, Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Property and the Deputy Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Jan Prendergast.

On winning his award, Brian Whittaker said: “This has been such a surprise and a real pleasure. My inspiration for doing my bit in the community is that my neighbours aren’t just people who live nearby, they are friends. I think it’s important to help others and Great Communities Day helps neighbours to get to know each other.”

Nick Barton, chief executive, CityWest Homes, enjoyed his first Great Communities Day. He said: “Every year we work to provide a variety of events for our residents to enjoy and this year has been our biggest yet. Great Communities Day is a fantastic day out and is an opportunity for residents to meet their neighbours and celebrate the vibrant Westminster community.

“Thank you to all the residents, volunteers and contributors who played such an integral part in making this day such a huge success.”

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