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Balham & Tooting Community Association Community Awards 2020

Balham & Tooting Community Association Community Awards 2020

| by Tooting Newsie | Posted in News

The Balham and Tooting Community Association (BATCA) Community awards were presented to eleven individuals and teams for their service to the community during a virtual celebration on 26 November 2020, after having to cancel their usual ceremony earlier in the year due to the Covid pandemic.

The virtual award ceremony was opened by the Mayor of Wandsworth, Cllr Jane Cooper, 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;

  • 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 the Royal Mahal restaurant in Tooting, 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 assessed as Highly Commended.

The event was closed by MP Dr Rosena Allin Khan, who spoke 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.

Winners (clockwise from top left):  Basia Klimas-Sawyer; Jayson Singh; Y10 & 11 girls of Al Risalah Muslim Secondary School

Awards were made in the following categories:


  • 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 Work and Play 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 years
  • Furzedown Project, community centre supporting the elderly

General community support

  • Year 10 and 11 girls of Al Risalah Muslim Secondary School, for reaching out to the wider community
  • And our own Dave Mauger, Publisher, Tooting Newsie

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

BATCA remains committed to connecting the community in these difficult times. To find out more, visit their website at

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