The Let's Do It Community Awards have entered the final stages. Local charities and not-for-profit organisations have the opportunity to win the first prize of £1,000 or two runners up prizes of £500 each to help the groups fulfil their dreams. Before the winners are announced in next week's Observer, ELAINE OKYERE takes a look at the shortlisted four charities still in the running.
Radio Northwick Park
RADIO Northwick Park is one of the shortlisted charities and prides itself on helping sick patients stay positive and entertained every day.
The station, which has been running since 1971, brings light relief to patients at Northwick Park Hospital, in Watford Road. More than 100 members volunteer their time to help with DJing, running the website and visiting patients to take requests.
Programme controller Vic Moont said: "I'm pleased to see recognition for the work the radio station does.
"We are a very youthful station, as around half of our members are young people and students. Our youngest presenter is just 17.
"We are giving a voice to young people."
In March the station won three Hospital Broadcasting
Association Awards, including best female presenter, and was named fifth best station in the country - which means it's the best on London. Listeners can also hear programmes via the station's website.
If the station wins, the prize money will go to refurbishing the station to create a state-ofthe-art media centre and make it more accessible.
Mr Moont said: "We get feedback from residents on a daily basis as we visit patients to take song requests.
"It is bad enough being in hospital and people want to hear music and have some humour and entertainment."
For more information on Radio Northwick Park visit www.radionorthwickpark.org
Friends of Woodland School
DISABLED children need attention and care at school - but learning should also be fun.
Let's Do It nominee The Friends of Woodlands School is hoping to provide new play facilities for Woodlands First and Middle School, in Bransgrove Road, Edgware, to give young people the chance to enjoy themselves and learn something new.
Olivia King-Boateng nominated the charity because she has seen its work first hand, as her five-year-old son Joseph is a pupil at the school.
The 35-year-old said: "My son Joseph has Down's syndrome and severe medical problems.
"The facilities are good except for the playground. It is like the school playground in any other school - it has nothing in it.
"The money would go towards a trike and play facilities, as children with special needs need activities to develop their sensory learning skills."
The group helps raise money for library books and other activities and members volunteer their time to help at the school.
The new play area would be a welcome addition to the school, which helps young people up to 11 years with severe disabilities.
Seventy children attend the specialist school, which has a ratio of one teacher to every two children in order to provide the attention and care needed.
Mrs King-Boateng said: "We want to help these kids be the best they can be."
Harrow Bereavement Care
PEOPLE who have lost a lost a loved one often have no idea of where to turn for support.
Harrow Bereavement Care, based in Pinner Road, is the only place in the borough that offers help specifically to the bereaved.
More than 130 people volunteer their time to give free oneon-one support to people in their homes.
Office manager Caroline Edwards said: "I am the only member of staff and we don't have the money for anyone else.
"People give up their time for free and they support people for as long as they need it."
For the past 30 years the centre has also hosted an annual conference, with workshops and the opportunity for volunteers to share information and training.
If the group wins the competition, the prize will be spent on equipment to help with next year's conference in October and put towrads the general costs of keeping the centre running.
Meera Mahida, who nominated the charity, said: "There is even a Gujarati-speaking volunteer, which is great as Harrow has such a large Indian population.
"There is nothing else of this nature in Harrow - it is so important. You can never get over losing someone, but the centre can help you cope with it."
For more information on Harrow Bereavement Care call 020 8427 5720.
Home Start Harrow
WHEN they have a toddler running round in circles and haven't had a proper night's sleep in weeks, most parents think they have to cope alone.
But one charity in the borough is working with families to give them the support and advice to get through those difficult early years.
Home Start Harrow, based in Station Road, provides help to young mums and dads by offering home visits and support groups.
Trustee Barbara Turner said: "The charity was set up to help mums who are having a hard time, especially when the children are small for whatever reason.
"We even have two volunteers who supported a family with triplets."
Volunteers spend half a day a week with families in their homes to give new mums a well-earned break. There are also three support groups for members, so they can meet other like-minded parents. However the charity wants to expand its support by taking families on days out.
Mrs Turner said: "Nationally, the charity has been running for 30 years, but we don't get any financial support from the main centre.
"If we had a little bit more cash, we could take some families to the seaside and just offer them something different that they wouldn't do otherwise."