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:
John is a retired career civil servant with years of experience working in local government. John is currently a trustee of Richmond Health Voices and a member of the Healthwatch committee and he is treasurer of the Marble Hill Society.
Saima has over twenty years of experience in strategy, business growth, and financial leadership in global consumer goods, pharmaceutical, and logistics corporates. She is managing partner of a renewable energy and plant based solutions investment outfit while overseeing an urban organic farming project supporting mental health charities. Hugely passionate about "Circular Economy" which is driven by growing environmental awareness, she feels Environment Trust does invaluable work connecting people with nature and heritage.
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.
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
Gary has worked in the heritage sector for over 35 years and is one of the founding directors of Butler Hegarty Architects, an architectural practice that specializes in works to listed buildings. His recent work includes the award-winning repair and conversion of Sandycombe Lodge, Turner's House in Twickenham.
Dr Ann Hagell
Dr Hagell is Research Lead at the Association for Young People’s Health and a chartered psychologist focusing on young people and their future and has published widely on social policy and adolescent wellbeing.
She is a Twickenham resident who feels passionately about the importance of community and the local environment.
Rachel is a communications consultant specialising in engineering, technology and sustainability, and a business mentor to SMEs and start-ups. She studied for an MSc in Social Responsibility and Sustainability at Aston Business School and is now a Chartered PR Practitioner and an Associate at Sustainability West Midlands.
Koy trained as an ecologist and has provided high-level UN and government advice at the International Institute for Environment and Development. His years of expertise include managing a large humanitarian and human rights team at ActionAid International, working as Chief Executive of Children in Crisis, and campaigning for Friends of the Earth’s tropical rainforest. He also headed the London Cycling Campaign and became an Evening Standard top 1000 people.
Lainya is an urban development specialist with a strong track record of delivering change for service users in the public and voluntary sectors. Lainya joined the board of trustees in 2019.
Colin has a sixteen-year track record of managing environmental non-profit organisations, including the last nine years as CEO of South West London Environment Network. Colin holds an MA in Charity Management, was a founding trustee at Parks for London, is helping to set-up the Ealing Parks Foundation (to raise funding for parks) and sits on the grants panel of an environmental funder.
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.
Vicky is a legal advisor and project manager specialising in legal and environmental issues. After working in practice, she became a legal advisory for for a renewables company and co-founded a international development charity specialising in renewables.
Initially starting as a volunteer, Diana became our Communications Officer in February 2017. Diana oversees our communications and supports groups in our 'network' with their newsletters, websites, social media content and crowdfunding.
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.
Energy Service Coordinator
Susan has a wealth of knowledge, experience and connections to the voluntary sector and groups in Richmond Borough. Susan is coordinating our energy efficiency service and its volunteers, they seek to help clients save energy and reduce CO2 emission, working with homes, community buildings and schools.
Mark provides technical expertise to the charity and our trading arm, SWLEN Social Enterprise.
Stephen is Operations Manager at Environment Trus and now helps to look after our finances, processing payments, donations and income
Daija previously worked at the Royal Society of Biology, in their Natural Capital Initiative. Daija was an editor and oversaw the coordination of a revised Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for Richmond Borough.
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.
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 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 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
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: