South West London Environment Network (SWLEN) builds active and engaged communities who protect and enhance our local environment. We work in the London Boroughs of Richmond upon Thames, Ealing, Hounslow and Kingston upon Thames. Our work focuses on preserving and protecting green spaces and biodiversity through community and voluntary groups involvement, promoting sustainability and community development.

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:

  • 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) established in 2011. SWLEN’s history dates to the founding of Richmond’s LA21 Group in 1994 in response to the UN Rio Earth Summit of 1992, agenda item 21 was the adoption of sustainable development principles of each signatory country, with each local authority (hence LA21) in these countries working towards adopting and delivering these goals.

Richmond’s LA21 group collaborated with SWLEN’s predecessor Richmond Environment Network (REN) from its founding in August 2004 sharing a member of staff.  REN was formed by three local environmental organisations: the Environment Trust, Thames Landscape Strategy and Richmond office of The Conservations Volunteers to be the umbrella body and ‘network’ for the local environmental voluntary sector. After working in collaboration for three years Richmond’s LA 21 Group and REN merged in 2007. In 2008 the charity Richmond Environmental Information Centre (charity no. 1053104) closed down and transferred its assets to REN. In 2015 SWLEN established a wholly owned social enterprise (SWLEN – SE)

SWLEN is governed by a board of trustees, with operational management delegated to the executive, led by Chief Executive Colin Cooper. There are a number of committees and subgroups reporting to the board.

Our financial information can be found on the Charity Commission’s website with our most recent annual accounts:


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.
Julie Hitchcock

Julie, was a former Deputy Director, Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs. She now works in academia working for Kingston University.

Stuart Oliver

Stuart joined St Mary's in 1992 having worked previously as a journalist, visiting lecturer and Open University tutor. He is the Programme Director for BSc Geography and has also published several books about the River Thames.

St Mary's University
Henry Unwin

Henry is Head of Sustainability for Nando's and before this worked for Bioregional. One of his projects was to create a CSR strategy for Nando's. Henry also helps with the charity's fundraising and grant applications.

Benjamin Wood

Ben is a senior contracts manager with with Centrica. He has commercial and legal experience drawn from the sustainable energy and construction sectors. He holds an MSc in Environmental Strategy and Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).

LinkedIn page
Lisa Hornung

Lisa is a highly experienced researcher with a successful background in undertaking quantitative and qualitative social research. She currently works at charity umbrella body NCVO as their Senior Data and Research Analyst

LinkedIn page
Lainya Offside-Keivani

Lainya is an Urban Development & Voluntary Sector Specialist. She joined SWLEN in 2019

Susie Aliband

Susie is a Marketing Specialist with experience in media management, budget planning, team development. She joined SWLEN in 2019


Colin Cooper
Chief Executive

Colin has a fourteen year track record of managing non-profit organisations and an MA in Charity Management. Colin also has a background in business.

Edward Stannard
Community Development Officer

Ed joined SWLEN from the Institute of Fundraising, the professional membership organisation for fundraisers and fundraising organisations where he spent the last four years building the sustainability and resilience of third-sector organisations through delivering capacity building training and development programmes.  Ed will be focused on community development across Richmond, Ealing and Hounslow.

Vicky Phillips
Business Manager
Vicky is a legal advisor and project manager specialising in legal and environmental issues.
Diana Cano
Communications Officer

Initially starting as a volunteer, Diana became our Communications Office in February 2017. Diana oversees our communications and supports groups in our 'network' with their newsletters, websites, social media content and crowdfunding.

Clive Messenger
Energy Service Manager

Clive leads our energy-related work including our energy team. The team conducts visits to homes, community buildings and schools, to identify potential energy saving measures, which also reduce bills and CO2 emissions. 

Susan Chappell
Energy Service Coordinator
Susan has a wealth of knowledge and experience for the voluntary sector and group in Richmond Borough. Susan is overseeing our energy efficiency service working with home, community buildings and schools. 
Joe  Brennan
Joe is working with our Energy Team to identify people living in Kingston Borough who might be eligible to apply for grants to replace boilers, as well as training and mentoring our volunteer Energy Advisers working in Richmond Borough.
Mark  Dressel
Mark provides technical expertise to the charity and our trading arm, SWLEN Social Enterprise. 
Paula Cole
Paula is a marketing strategist and has helped us develop our crowdfunding offer and more recently has become a consultant managing crowdfunding campaigns and other marketing projects with the charity and our trading arm, SWLEN Social Enterprise. 
Shirleen Clarke
Shirleen has recently joined the team and looks after our finances, processing payments, donations and income.


Daija Angeli
Biodiversity Volunteer, Richmond Biodiversity Partnership

Daija previously worked at the Royal Society of Biology, in their Natural Capital Initiative. Daija is overseeing the coordination and launch of a revised Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for Richmond Borough.

Paula Cole

Coming from a background in marketing, Paula is helping the charity develop marketing materials for our new crowdfunding platform and encouraging donations and new projects.

Richard Curtis
Business Development Volunteer

Coming from a background in business development, Richard is helping the charity develop relationships with businesses in the area in relation to our new crowdfunding platform and encourage charitable giving.

Mark Sargeant
Fundraising Adviser

Mark helps with the charity's fundraising, helping with grant applications drawing on his knowledge as Director of Business Development, Partnerships and Marketing at Prevista.

Ginny Sturdy
Biodiversity Volunteer

Ginny is a local nature lover. She participated in our Nature in Richmond Photography Competition in 2018 and became a finalist with her photograph of the Old Oak Tree in Richmond Park. She is now part of our Biodiversity volunteer team


Our Vacancies

If you are interested in volunteering or working for us, our current vacancies can be found here.


We wish to acknowledge the kind support of our funders: