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17 November 2009

London Child Poverty Awards winners announced

The outstanding achievements of some of London’s most inspirational individuals and organisations were recognised at the inaugural London Child Poverty Awards last night (Monday 16 November 2009).

Held at the Barbican Centre, the awards were set up to celebrate the efforts of those helping to improve the lives of the Capital’s struggling families.

Parents, family workers, local authorities and even one of Britain’s largest employers were amongst the winners of the six awards – which recognised both individuals and whole organisations. A full list of winners is provided at the end of this press notice.

One of the many inspirational winners on the night was Marie Hanson, who picked up the Outstanding Practitioner Award. A single mother of six, Marie escaped domestic abuse to set up her own organisation to support families to reach their full potential. STORM now works with 500 families in Battersea to help improve parents’ self-esteem and to give them the skills and confidence they need to move into work and improve the lives of their families.

Falis Farah was awarded Inspirational Parent at the ceremony, and her story would have touched many members of the audience. Originally from Somalia, Falis arrived in London as a single mother. Within just two months she had arranged accommodation for her young family, as well as enrolling her children into school and herself onto an A-level course. Now both a teaching assistant in Bounds Green and a school governor, she runs a free homework club for 30 families and also helps people in her community for whom English is a second language by translating bills, letters and other communications.

Awards were also handed to whole organisations, with Tower Hamlets Council receiving the Corporate Commitment Award for the way in which it has imbedded efforts to tackle child poverty across all areas of the organisation.

And a branch of one of Britain’s biggest supermarket chains, Asda, picked up the Exemplary Employer Award. The company has a range of family friendly policies that enable parents to thrive. The judges recognised that staff at the Old Kent Road branch demonstrated a real commitment to supporting their community, by working closely with their local Jobcentre to help local people – particularly parents, secure and sustain work.

Stephen Timms MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury attended the event and said:

"I am very pleased to be taking part in such a special event. The Government is focused on ending child poverty and that is why we are enshrining in law our commitment to build on the successes of the past ten years and end child poverty by 2020.

The examples set by the winners of the London child poverty awards are inspirational. We can all take encouragement from their great work to support struggling families to get on in life and break free from poverty"

London Councils’ executive member for children and young people, Councillor Nick Stanton said:

“I’d like to congratulate everyone who was nominated for one of the Child Poverty Awards.

“These organisations and individuals have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of children who are living on or below the poverty line.

“Their commitment is an inspiration to others who have signed up to the London Child Poverty Pledge to support parents and give children the best start in life.”

The full list of winners is given below:

Child Poverty Champion

Winner

Annie Doubledee, Director Islington Childcare Trust

Second place

Siobhan Oktay, Information and Development Worker
Sure Start Acton

Also shortlisted

Claudette Dixon, Safeguarding Practitioner and Children’s Champion - Camden Homeless Households Support Service
Jaswant Lall, Childcare Partnership Manager - Jobcentre Plus West London District

Outstanding practitioner

Winner

Marie Hanson, Founder - STORM

Second place

Tara Khanom, Employment Advisor, Lincoln and Burdett Children’s Centre

Also shortlisted

Annie Jordan, Working Families Officer, Haringey
Marjorie McFee, Manager, Brixton Children’s Centre

Inspirational parent

Winner

Falis Farah

Second place

Marie Hanson

Also shortlisted

Paulette Harris
Fina D’Emmanuele

Superb service

Winner

Shelter, Keys to the Future - Newham

Second place

South Acton Children’s Centre

Also shortlisted

Children’s Centre Team, Jobcentre Plus West London District
Wilberforce Primary School

Corporate commitment

Winner

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Second place

Islington Council and Islington Strategic Partnership

Also shortlisted

Bayswater Family Centre
Waltham Forest Local Strategic Partnership

Exemplary employer

Winner

ASDA, Old Kent Road

Notes for editors

1. The London Child Poverty Awards have been organised by the Government’s Child Poverty Unit (CPU), with the help of the six awards sponsors. The CPU is a cross-Government unit, bringing together the Department for Children, Schools and Families, Department for Work and Pensions and HM Treasury.

2. The award sponsors are as follows;

3. 400,000 children in London currently live in poverty. As well as the work of those recognised at the awards, there are a number of initiatives being run in London to tackle the problem. This includes programmes to increase awareness and take up of financial support, encouraging employers to offer more family friendly part-time vacancies and offering employment advice to parents within children’s centres and schools.

4. Images from the event will be available on Tuesday 18 November. To request images, please contact Sally Knock, Child Poverty Unit on sally.knock@childpovertyunit.gsi.gov.uk.

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