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Unsung hero: Community organiser in the shadow of Madingley
‘Getting to know people gives me chance to help’ Jon Sharman A community organiser has been nominated as an unsung hero.
Jill Preston is the chairwoman of Crest, a community group in Kingston’s Cambridge Road estate, and secretary of One Norbiton, a pilot neighbourhood scheme.
She works for both groups in a Graveley office she calls “sort of a glorified cupboard” and said people on the estate often come to her for help.
She said: “I am normally there until 5pm or 6pm.
“It is about getting to know people, so people who maybe would not want to go to the police about the gangs over at Brinkley will come to us.
“And when people know that drugs are being dealt they tell us – or me, often, because I am often out and about on the estate.
“I think particularly since the Madingley fire I have got to know those people so they will call me often.
"We try to fill the gap a bit if we know there is a problem, or people want to get involved.
"We are desperate to get this community spirit thing going, and we know it is there because we saw it in the fire."
And she was quick to praise her colleagues.
She said: "They are all friends now.
"It is very rare to have a committee where everyone has each others’ backs."
Nikki Watson, who runs classes for multiple sclerosis sufferers through her company Coda Dance, said: "If it was not for her we would not be able to keep doing those classes for residents.
"All the little simple things that mean we can keep our MS classes running."
Mrs Preston said she was happy to help Nikki.
She said: “They had a bit of money but they did not have enough to hire a hall and put an event on.
"We book the hall for them and publicise it and get the leaflets. We facilitate it, if you like."
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