South West London Environment Network (SWLEN) is a charity dedicated to helping people and organisations protect and enhance the environment. We work in the London Boroughs of Richmond upon Thames, Kingston upon Thames and Hounslow. Our work focuses on preserving and protecting green spaces and biodiversity, promoting sustainability and community development and supporting environmental groups achieve their goals.

SWLEN also chairs and acts as the secretariat of the Richmond Biodiversity Partnership.

Vision & Values

SWLEN exists to build active and engaged communities who protect and enhance our local environment. Our core values are:richmond-hill-in-about-next-to-vision

  • Local empowerment – we passionately believe the best way to protect and enhance the environment is through empowering local people to take an interest, become involved and to take action themselves.
  • Collaboration and partnership – we know that by working together we achieve more, and in sharing best practices we are strong together. This approach brings wider benefits to the community, charitable organisations and local authorities.
  • Environmental protection and enhancement– we exist to ensure South West London maintains a thriving and sustainable environment.

History & Governance

SWLEN is a registered charity (no. 1140872) and registered in England and Wales as a company limited by guarantee (no. 7469024). SWLEN began as the Richmond Environment Network (REN) in August 2004, set up by three local environmental organisations: Environment Trust for Richmond, Thames Landscape Strategy and Richmond office of The Conservations Volunteers.

We were established as the charity SWLEN in April 2011, and continue to work closely with our founding partners. In 2015 we established a wholly owned social enterprise Community Current Ltd to work on issues outside SWLEN’s charitable objects.

SWLEN is governed by a board of trustees, and is managed by Chief Executive Colin Cooper.

Our financial information can be found on the Charity Commission’s website, with annual accounts available on the following links:


Simon Martin
Chair of Trustees
Simon is Resident Involvement Manager at Paragon Community Housing Group, with over 30 years’ dedicated to resident and community involvement. Simon has been a trustee for 4 years.
Emma Ciechan
Emma is a Director of Planning & Performance Management at DS Smith Plc and was previously Group Financial Controller at Guardian Media Group plc.
Suzy Greenwood
Suzy is a communications specialist, focussed on renewable energy at global integrated communications agency Hill+Knowlton Strategies.
Julie Hitchcock
Former Deputy Director, Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs.
Stuart Oliver
Stuart joined St Mary's in 1992 having worked previously as a journalist, visiting lecturer and Open University tutor. Stuart is the Programme Director for BSc Geography. Stuart has also published several books about the River Thames.
St Mary's University
Eva Papadopoulou
Eva is Transformation Change Project Manager at Certitude and was formerly Community Programmes Manager for Wandsworth & Westminster Mind.
Henry Unwin
Henry is CSR Manager for Nando's and before this worked for Bioregional. One of his projects was to create a CSR strategy for Nando's.


Colin Cooper
Chief Executive
Colin has a thirteen year track record of managing non-profit organisations and an MA in Charity Management. Colin also has a background in business.
Vicky Phillips
Business Manager
Vicky is a legal advisor and project manager specialising in legal and environmental issues.
Diana Cano
Communications Officer
Diana started volunteering with SWLEN in June 2016 and became our Communications Office in February 2017. Diana produces our newsletters, websites and social media content.
Sue Palmer
Project Manager (Consultant)
Sue is an artist making live performance, sound, video and digital artworks, through collaborative work with people in relation to context, place and contemporary culture. Sue is freelance working part time as a consultant project manager with SWLEN.
Clive Messenger
Energy Team Manager
Chas Warlow
Energy Champion
Chas has over seen our energy champions works for the last 7 years. Chas has an Msc in Sustainability


The charity secures funding to deliver its aims. The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames’ Parks and Open Spaces Department funds most of our support work to friends of parks groups in this Borough and the London Borough of Hounslow’s Parks Department funds us to organise the Hounslow Friends of Parks Group Forum.

We also wish to acknowledge the grant funding provided by Awards for All (a National Lottery grant giver), London Borough of Richmond upon Thames’ Civic Pride Fund and Achieving for Children’s Community Learning Funding, who have funded our Springtime Safari Event and programme of walks and talks in the spring of 2016.
We also wish to acknowledge the grant funding received from the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames for our energy efficiency work in the Cambridge Road Estate and Maldon Manor in Kingston Borough in 2015 and 2016 and our Alpha Road Estate, Surbiton and School Lane, Tolworth in 2016 and 2017.

We also, when opportunities arise, bid for contract work within our areas of expertise. Any surpluses from this work is put back into the charity to deliver more charitable work. We have also established a trading arm of the charity, Community Current, which allows us to bid for, or undertake, work that doesn’t fall within our charitable objectives, but within the competencies of the charity’s staff and volunteer team.