Neighbourhood Watch volunteers honoured


Wednesday July 6, 2011
L-R: David Millar (H&F Neighbourhood Watch Chairman), Sarah Chambers, Claire Harris and Borough Commander Lucy D'Orsi

Neighbourhood Watch members have been honoured by the Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Lucy D’Orsi, in a ceremony at Hammersmith Town Hall.

Two volunteers who went out of their way to help fellow residents picked up the honours at the Annual General Meeting of the borough’s Neighbourhood Watch Association last night (July 5).

Claire Harris, who is the Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for Iffley Road, Hammersmith, picked up the Douglas Hurd Cup, which is awarded anually every year to an outstanding NHW volunteer.

The annual award was named after borough resident and former Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary Lord Hurd, who founded Neighbourhood Watch in 1983. The peer is also patron of the Hammersmith & Fulham Neighbourhood Watch Association.

In the last year Claire has doubled membership of her local group and supported police throughout the year.

Claire, 53, has assisted police in managing road safety concerns outside a local school, arranged a disabled parking bay for a resident and helped start a parent and toddler coffee group. She even finds time to visit local schools to give talks about her work as a magistrate.

She said: “When I was asked to help with Neighbourhood Watch it seemed the obvious thing to say yes. Most of my work is really about welcoming new members and making sure people are informed.

“I’m involved in the Brackenbury Village Residents Association so Neighbourhood Watch seemed a natural thing to do. It all helps make Brackenbury such a strong community.”

Neighbourhood Watch Association chair David Millar said: “Neighbourhood Watch groups make places safer to live, but more than that they enhance the sense of community and bring people together.

“It is important to recognise people like Claire and Sarah, because not only have they dedicated their time and energy to their groups but they have gone out of their way to help their neighbours out.”

Sarah Chambers, co-ordinator for Gironde Road in Fulham was highly commended for working tirelessly on behalf of the local community.

Sarah successfully sought funding for a set of coded gates for an alleyway that had become a haven for anti-social behaviour and worked with the local Safer Neighbourhood Team to help get a problem street drinker into a rehabilitation clinic.

Sarah said: “I got involved because residents in my street had a number of concerns about crime, so I suggested that rather than talking about it we do something about it.

“One of the great things about it is I know everyone on my street now, and everyone keeps an eye out for each other.”

Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents Services said: “People like Claire and Sarah help make our neighbourhood safer, as well as bringing communities closer together. I congratulate them and all our Neighbourhood Watch volunteers for their sterling work.”

Chief Superintendant D’Orsi said: “I’m immensely supportive of Neighbourhood Watch – I’m a member of the group where I live. It’s great people are prepared to devote their time to work with us to reduce crime.

“Local communities are our eyes and ears. If the public see something they are concerned about I would encourage them to ring us.”