Grove Neighbourhood Centre Stalwart Given MBE

Vivienne Wood's community work recognised in New Year's honours list

Vivienne Wood

January 15, 2024

A woman who has service as the chair of the management committee of a Hammersmith community centre has been awarded in MBE.

67-year-old Vivienne Wood was recognised for her work at the Grove Neighbourhood Centre in the King’s New Year’s honours list.

For the past decade she has worked tirelessly for the centre including through the challenge times of the pandemic when a fundraising drive she organised secured the centre’s future.

Vivienne, lives in Stowe Road, Shepherd’s Bush, a 10-minute stroll from the centre in Brackenbury Village.

On hearing of the award she said, “It means a great deal. I feel honoured, and a little bit embarrassed.”

Staff at the centre only found out about the award when they returned to work after the holiday and they described her her as “the glue that keeps the place together”.

She moved to the area in 1990 and began her association with the centre as a volunteer cook. Then she joined the management committee in 2010 and was swiftly voted chairman. “I do feel passionately about the centre,” she said. “We serve a diverse community, and a lot of our users are isolated.”

During the Covid pandemic Vivienne – who is married with two grown-up daughters – help raise funds to keep the centre afloat via gifts, grants and donations.

The centre was set up in 1973 in the former Grove ward (hence the name), starting life in an old prefab building. After that was knocked down in 1982, today’s purpose-built community centre was created

H&F Leader Stephen Cowan praised Vivienne for her work and dedication by saying: “I’m delighted Vivienne Wood has been recognised with an MBE. Vivienne is one of those people that make our world a much better place.

“From starting as a volunteer cook, to chairing the Grove Neighbourhood Centre since 2011, Vivienne and the team have consistently acted to tackle isolation, bring people together, and add a little happiness into people’s everyday lives. Vivienne Wood is a quiet hero who has strengthened our community and enriched the life of lots of local people. This award is so well deserved. I am extremely grateful to Vivienne for her inspiring work and commitment to others.”

Hammersmith & Fulham Council provides support to the centre, which includes a drop-in advice service, giving it a grant in 1994 to allow it to build a second storey and broaden the range of activities. The following year that extension won a design award from the Hammersmith Society.

Its two halls and three smaller meeting rooms are hired out at affordable rates to community groups and organisations, with activities including yoga, keep fit, art classes, dancing, toddlers, and as a surgery centre for the area’s councillors.

The most popular event is the Friday lunch club – it not only gives attendees a hot meal, but also provides important social contact for the area’s residents. The youngest lunch club regular is 75.

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