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Community Heroes 2020   arrow


  • BATCA Community awards presented to eleven outstanding individuals and teams for their service to the community during a virtual celebration on 26 November 2020
  • Community leaders commend the work and efforts of local heroes

The virtual award ceremony was opened by the Mayor of Wandsworth Cllr Jane Cooper, a friend of BATCA, who welcomed those receiving Awards and those highly commended. Over 100 attendees were part of the celebration of local volunteers from a wide variety of fields, including improving the environment, the visual and performing arts, supporting the elderly, and leadership and community building in many spheres.

The evening included question and answer sessions with three key community figures from different sectors. From healthcare the Chief Executive of St George’s Hospital, Jacqueline Totterdell, spoke of her pride in her organisation’s people. She emphasised the importance of the community adhering to government guidance to slow the spread and reduce pressure within our local healthcare organisations. Local businessman Adil Javid, owner of Royal Mahal restaurant, spoke of their impressive efforts providing meals for keyworkers and those in need during these challenging times. Ann Keane-Maher, Interim Headteacher at Ernest Bevin College, explained the challenges in providing education out of the classroom during lockdown and emphasised the need for more resources for pupils.

A special round of thanks was given to the seventeen individuals and teams who were highly commended.

The event was closed by MP Dr Rosena Allin Khan who spoke with pride about her roots in Balham and Tooting. She discussed the impressive response from local people during the initial Covid crisis and emphasised the importance of community action and support exemplified by BATCA’s heroes.

Awards were made to:


Jean Millar Balham environment champion
Tooting Community Garden Growing and learning space open to all


The arts

Jatinder Verma MBE Founder of Tara Arts Theatre
Jayson Singh and Weavie Stevie Community artists at the Scrapstore
Liberty Choir Volunteer choir at Wandsworth Prison


Health and wellbeing

Dr Irshad Hussain Tooting GP, volunteer imam and community leader
Basia Klimas-Sawyer Social and cultural leader of the Polish community for over 40


Furzedown Project Community centre supporting the elderly


General community support

Dave Mauger Editor, Tooting Newsie
Year 10 and 11 girls of Al Risalah

Muslim Secondary School


Reaching out to the wider community


A special Chair’s award was made to Brian Albuquerque for his service as Tooting Town Centre Manager.

Those Highly Commended were:

Be Enriched Charity focusing on food waste and social inequality
Sahar Beg Affordable counselling (Mindworks) and meals for homeless

(Tooting Community Kitchen)

Alan Burrows Volunteer leading youth, children and church groups, fundraiser
Riccardo Composto, Jenny

Jones, Jennifer Allen

Running community litterpicks
Jan Dodds Long term carer for seriously injured sister
Friends of Streatham Common Caring for and improving Streatham Cemetery in Tooting
Special constables Ghouri & Rusti Services to Neighbourhood Policing
Raheela Haidri Visiting old people and helping in bereavement
Musayab Jafri Driver for disabled


Angie Leach Tooting Common litter picker
Little Village Volunteers Provision of baby kit to families in need
Josh Pewter Tooting run leader (Run Talk Run)
Kelly Samuel Volunteer for Homestart, charity helping families facing difficulties
Darren Short Volunteer for Tooting Community Kitchen (meals for homeless)
Sprout Community Arts Art & creative opportunities for all ages
Liz Steer and Kanan Barot Founder members of Southside Players, Balham amateur drama group
Laura Ward Assistant Head Garratt Park special needs school
Fatima Zaidi Support for children with learning difficulties at special school

For more information, contact
secretary@batca.org or 07966 690308

Notes for editors: The Balham and Tooting Community Association (BATCA) is a network of local organisations that aims to encourage closer links between all sections of the local community. It draws together faith bodies, businesses, and voluntary and public.

BATCA remains committed to connecting the community in these difficult times. We will look for innovative ways to do so, building on the resilience and community spirit of Balham and Tooting.

www.batca.org                         @wearebatca