Kew Neighbours history starts in summer 1976
In the summer of 1976 a group of Kew residents having a drink in a local pub first discussed the idea of setting up a neighbourhood group for local people. They felt there was a particular need to provide assistance to elderly people living alone and to new families moving into the area. Soon the idea had taken shape, first becoming the Kew and North Sheen Neighbourhood Association, and then later, simply Kew Neighbourhood Association, or KNA for short. The first meeting of KNA was held in the Barn Church on 3rd October 1976, chaired by the then vicar, the Reverend Roger Lamont.
With the proceeds from fundraising efforts and donations, leaflets were designed, printed and delivered to around 5,500 homes in Kew to help spread the word. KNA volunteers, some juggling the demands of small children at home, took it in turns to field requests for driving, shopping and befriending from local residents.
Eventually in 1982, KNA secured use of a room at the former St Luke’s school house in Sandycombe Road, following its conversion to a community centre. Volunteers took it in turns to man the phone there every weekday morning, just as they do now. Our first paid co-ordinator, Julia Jones, was appointed in 1986 and we received our first grant of £2,000 from Richmond Parish Lands Charity. By 1994, 200 volunteers were helping 160 clients and the same year we were granted official charitable status.
In 2017, KNA celebrated its 40th birthday with a tea party for clients in Kew Gardens. We now have around 180 clients and more than 100 volunteers. KNA’s funding is now provided by annual grants from Richmond Parish Lands Charity and Richmond Council. In addition to our own fundraising, we receive ad hoc donations from many local organisations and individuals. Following a successful application to Richmond Village Plan Fund in 2017, we were delighted to win funding for the development of this website, including a fresh new look. We would like to thank all those who supported this venture, which will help us to attract new volunteers to keep up our work providing assistance to the elderly, lonely and housebound, for many years to come.
Potted history taken from Kew Neighbourhood Association: A history of KNA 1976 to 2017 published by Mary Bonham Carter and Sue Kirkpatrick