Being mum to four-year-old twins Georgina and Lucy means Maria Angel has plenty to keep her occupied. But somehow the 45-year-old from Normandy in Surrey finds the time to channel energy into fostering community relations and bringing together local people in her area.
In January last year, Maria toiled away to obtain grants through local councils, Surrey police and the Youth Voluntary Service to set up a youth club for local children aged between eight and 18 years. The N-Factor for Normandy meets once a week and now has more than 70 members.
The club aims to get bored children off the streets and reduce youth-related crime by giving youngsters a creative outlet and the opportunity to have fun. Kids in the area can now make films and music, join drama and dance classes, do arts and crafts, and enjoy a monthly disco together.
Maria has also set up a day centre for the local elderly, providing a social point and services for those who are otherwise isolated from the community and may never leave their homes. She has already started finding properties in the area to relocate people who are in need of better housing. And as if that wasn’t enough, Maria has also helped set up a social club for adults at the local British Legion, which was launched last year.
Maria says, "I feel really passionate about my local area and the people in the community. I always try to give 100 per cent and once I set my mind to something I just keep going. And as a mum it’s a fantastic to be able to provide something for my own kids for future."