Heston West Big Local is a community group that encourages, inspires and helps local people to live healthier and happier lives. Heston West Big Local has been working on transforming the look and feel of the local community such as developing flowerbeds and community allotments. The group has been focusing on encouraging families, older residents and youth involvement with an outcome of creating an effective support network, a culture of volunteering whilst reducing isolation.

Location: Hounslow, London

To date, the group have engaged with around 1800 local residents and work with vulnerable families from all walks of life, including young people. The group also work in partnership with local schools to help encourage and increase youth participation and family involvement.

Through youth work, local young people have been involved in the development of community mental health projects, including an art social drop-in club, and have ran campaigns and community events to raise awareness of certain issue that matter to them, including a set of films aimed at preventing knife crime.

Through intergenerational projects, such as the family walking football club, the group have worked to reduce isolation and loneliness, bridge the gap between the youth and elderly and also improve people’s health and wellbeing.

Heston West Big Local also run weekly activities aimed at bringing communities together and improving cohesion such as family cooking and fitness sessions, volunteer opportunities provided at an allotment and an art social club. The group also organise regular community clean up days, trips and community social events to help build meaningful relationships, feel pride in the area and better connected to the local community.

The group brings together people from all walks of life, including the LGBTQ+ and BAME communities and those living with disabilities and encourages local residents to volunteer and provide educational and employment opportunities to young people.

The organisation is steered by local residents and stakeholders to identify the needs in the local community to help shape and improve the local area.

Alan Fraser, Heston West Big Local Chairperson, said:

Being a finalist in the Groundwork Community Awards has brought a feeling of pride to our community. We know that pride is very important to our community and was something that was lacking in our community before the Heston West Big Local started four years ago. The award recognises the efforts and energy of our hundreds of volunteers who have given thousands of hours to make our community a happier and more harmonious place to live.