Queen's Honour bestowed on Linda Watson
Published: Thur, 18 Jun 2015
The Chairperson of our West Tenant Scrutiny Panel, Linda Watson, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for work in transforming her community of Caw/Nelson Drive.
Linda is Co-Ordinator of Caw/Nelson Drive Action Group in Derry-Londonderry and has been instrumental since 1998 in developing the estate into a vibrant and resourceful community, where people are now proud to live.
The driver behind the 15 year action plan to improve the area, Linda started working voluntarily for what was then a small community group, helping with routine issues arising in the area. Recognising that much more could be done, she started to successfully draw down funding. Linda identified a need for larger premises and she played a key part in securing four vacant flats in the area and renovating those into a modern multi-functional community house with office space, computer suite, and meeting rooms for all the community to use.
Through her “networking” skills she has secured a weekly clinic with a Welfare Rights Officer, Debt Management, Action Cancer (Therapy and Counselling). She sourced funding for a luncheon club for the elderly, older people’s programmes, a parenting programme for young parents, a womens group, IT courses and essential skills programmes through the North West College.
Linda has driven the Caw/Nelson Drive action plan for the improvement of the area and has also been involved in diversionary projects over the last two years, resulting in the removal of contentious murals, graffiti and painting on footpaths.
Linda is passionate and determined to build a stronger and more sustainable community and without her drive and enthusiasm these projects would not have been possible.
Linda told us:
“I am delighted to have been awarded the BEM for my contribution to the community. It has been a privilege to work with other partners, including the Housing Executive, on various projects which have had a positive impact on our estate turning it from a place where no-one wanted to live to a place where people are now proud to be from. I am passionate about my work and will continue to empower and promote my community at every opportunity.
“I would like to thank whoever nominated me for the award and everyone who has sent me messages of congratulations.”