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, Hounslow, Ealing and Wandsworth. 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, 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 (SWLEN – SE) 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 our most recent annual accounts here:

  • SWLEN Accounts 2017-2018


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. Stuart is the Programme Director for BSc Geography. Stuart 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


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.

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
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 BOOKKEEPER
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.



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 received from the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames for our energy efficiency work from 2015-18, including work at the Cambridge Road Estate, Malden Manor, Alpha Road Estate, Surbiton and School Lane, Tolworth.

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.