Celebrating community spirit in Westminster

Hundreds of Westminster residents attended the CityWest Homes annual Great Communities Day held this year (on Saturday 7 July) on the canal alongside the Warwick estate in Little Venice, Westminster.

While the rain and wind did its best to dampen the occasion, the sun eventually shone allowing local residents to take part in a range of fun activities including fairground rides and trampolines, egg and spoon races, live entertainment and a high tea and dance for pensioners.

A Bubble Bus, an indoor playground for children, proved extremely popular, as did Jungle Jane from Essex, who brought along a menagerie of creatures such as snakes, tarantulas, giant slugs and Australian climbing frogs.

The diversity of Westminster was well represented with young and older people from different cultures, and lots of families and young teens.

Live performances from seven piece ska reggae band, The Estimators, and brother and sister duo The Luck got the crowd bopping, with Team Phoenix, a dance group made up of young people from neighbouring Queen’s Park estate, performed two routines pulling in the biggest crowds of the day.

Alongside the many information stalls, Michael De Souza, the co-author of popular children’s books “Rastamouse”, was signing half-priced books to eager fans.

Little Venice resident Zahara Elamin, who was there with her two children aged 7 and 4 years, said: “This is an excellent family event. The boys really enjoyed the egg and spoon races and seeing their friends."

Katie Samms (11), who with younger brother Rhys (7), made full use of the free smoothie bike, said: “The smoothie was really nice, I liked the strawberry and orange flavour and going on the bike. I’m looking forward to having a go on the trampolines next.”

The day culminated in the presentation of the Great Neighbour Award for a resident who had provided outstanding service within the Westminster community. Residents up for awards were nominated by their neighbours.

This year’s winner’s prize went to Ian Carsforde, who lives on the Mozart estate in Queen’s Park, for his work with children in the local community. Described as inspirational and kind, Ian teaches children football, basketball and refereeing, mostly on a volunteer basis. Presented by deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Jan Prendergast and CityWest Homes chairman Adam Humphreys, Ian was given a certificate, flowers and £300 in recognition of his work.

There were two runners-up: Terry Lake from Maida Vale and Mike Smith from Pimlico. Both received £100 in recognition of their work in the community.

Darren Levy, CityWest Homes’ director of customer services, said: “Great Communities Day is a fantastic day out, whatever the weather, and it’s an opportunity for local residents to come together, meet their neighbours, relax and enjoy themselves.

“CityWest Homes was recently judged by residents to be one of the best housing providers in London, and I believe that a day like this contributes to how residents feel about where they live.

“It was also a brilliant way to celebrate our tenth year as a company and I would particularly like to thank the residents and volunteers who all played such an integral part in making this day a huge success.”

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