Community groups from Harrow and Brent are celebrating after receiving vital funding.

Friends of Barham Library and Harrow Special Olympics discovered this week that they are both part of Skipton Building Society’s Grassroots Giving Campaign which identified 19 winners across London.

The charities were shortlisted on, who left it up for the public to vote on who they felt were the worthy winners of £500 each.

Both the stories of Friends of Barham Library and Harrow Special Olympics being shared inspired 20,000 votes for them collectively.

Friends of Barham Library formed two years ago following the closure by Labour-run Brent Council of six local libraries, including the branch in Barham Park, Sudbury. This prompted the Friends group to open a volunteer library in an empty shop in Wembley High Road, which holds 5,000 donated books.

Sudbury Ward Councillor Paul Lorber (Lib Dem), director and trustee of Friends of Barham Library, said: “We are keen to do our best for the young people who lost out as a result of the closure of our local library and this amazing contribution from Skipton Building Society will be of great assistance to our mothers and toddlers group.”

Harrow Special Olympics is run by a handful of volunteers who work to enhance the physical and group skills of disabled members of the community through encouraging them to take part in Olympic sports, and the £500 will go towards ensuring more and more people can get involved.

With transport costs recently prohibiting Harrow Special Olympics from attending events, the funding for the group brings a welcome boost.

Ken Towns, chairman of Harrow Special Olympics, told the Observer: “We do not get funded by anybody, so we rely on sponsored walks and coffee mornings. That gets us £30 here and £30 there.

“The £500, as a small group, is greatly appreciated.”

David Cutter, Skipton’s chief executive, said: “Everyone at Skipton Building Society has thoroughly enjoyed running this programme which has brought out of the woodwork so many hard working local community groups, which we would never otherwise have known of.

“It is these kind of groups that make communities and neighbourhoods stronger, especially in difficult economic times, and we’re delighted to have been able to showcase some of the unsung heroes across the UK who are really going the extra mile to make life better for everyone.”