Our charity’s director, Jacqueline Crooks, has won Westminster City Council’s Living City award for leadership in community services. Jacqueline beat 100 nominees for the award, which recognised her “unstinting commitment to raising money, training volunteers and using her leadership skills to arrange help for so many isolated families”.

Westminster City Council announced the six winners of the awards on January 20. The ceremony, held at Paddington Academy, was attended by community leaders, representatives from the council, the police and the NHS. Those honoured each received £500 to help them to continue to develop their work.

Jacqueline said: “I am delighted to receive the award in recognition of our dedicated volunteers who support some of the most vulnerable families in our community. It is a pleasure to work with such a talented group of volunteers.”

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, who helped to present the awards, said: “Westminster’s Living City awards are a great initiative that encompass what the Big Society is all about – giving power back to local people so that they can make a difference.”

Cllr Steve Summers, Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for community services, said: “Never has it been as important for the community to come together, to work with, and for one another, so that our city can prosper. This is what those nominated do every day. We rely on these community champions who are willing to go that extra mile to help those around them.

“In many cases they will work extra hours, or for free. These awards are aimed at honouring these local heroes and making sure their effort does not go unnoticed and act as inspiration for us all.”

Also among the attendees was The Apprentice’s Margaret Mountford, who is also chair of governors of a Westminster School. She said: “It is great that so many people come up with ideas and devote time to bringing the community together.

“Business can also have an important role. The opportunities it provides can give people a greater sense of responsibility to the areas they work in, and a feeling of ownership and belonging.”

The awards are sponsored by NHS Westminster, Vertex, New West End Company, the City of Westminster College, Grosvenor and the Metropolitan Police.