Hackney’s Community Champions honoured by Boris Johnson and Tanni Grey-Thompson

A group of people from Hackney who give their time to make their community a better place were honoured last week by Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and London Mayor Boris Johnson.

The group of Community Champions were selected by the Hackney Gazette and its sister papers in the Olympic host boroughs, alongside the Mayor’s Office and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), the body which will be in charge of the Olympic Park after the Games.

The Community Champions met the Mayor of London and Baroness Grey-Thompson at a reception at the Olympic Park, and also got to go to the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

Sebastien Chapleau was nominated for his work with London Citizens, where he helped hundreds of students build peaceful relationships with their community through their CitySafe programme. He also helped secure over 500 jobs during the 2012 Games for Hackney residents.

Meanwhile Skinners’ Academy business community links manager Selda Kurtuludu was picked for her work promoting community initiatives and for her role as Ambassador for the Freedom charity, where she speaks out for women who have been forced into arranged marriages.

Guide leader and Sunday school leader Connie Tidman was nominated for running the Angel Voices singing group at St Michael and All Angels church hall in London Fields and Caroline Nelson was put forward for her work at Choice, a small organisation which supports disabled people in the borough.

Baroness Grey-Thompson spoke about the importance of volunteers in her own career.

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“Thank you so much to the Community Champions. My whole career I was coached by volunteers and those are the people who make the difference in sport, and you will make the difference in what we are trying to do in the future,” she said.