Ashford Place’s Danny Maher praised by local businesses and residents for contribution to improving the local area
A Prominent member of Cricklewood’s Irish community has been praised for his role in improving the area for local residents. Danny Maher, CEO of charity Ashford Place, was among the honoured guests at a House of Commons event celebrating Cricklewood’s transformation last week.
The gala, which was headed by Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq, recognised the tireless efforts of ordinary people who take great pride in where they live.
“We wanted to support residents; to take responsibility and ownership of our area,” Danny said. “Councils were under pressure due to the financial crisis so there was very little money around.
“We had to take the lead and come up with our own ideas about how to make things a bit better.
“It was a case of recognising what the reality was and then thinking about what we could do about it.”
He added how there is now a strong community feeling in Cricklewood and people feel as if they are in charge of their own destiny in the area. This includes the Irish community, which still represents a large proportion of the region’s ethnic makeup.
“The area is very diverse but there’s still a lot of Irish involvement and the history of the area is Irish,” Danny explained. “We want to look at creating initiatives which give back to the Irish community – a community which has contributed so much to Cricklewood over the years.”
The group, the Cricklewood Town Team, has been instrumental in reducing antisocial behaviour, improving relationships with the police and generally making the area more attractive. It is seeking to slow the growing number of fast food and gambling shops and was responsible for the new trees which now line Cricklewood Lane.
One particular highlight for the team was the rehabilitation of Cricklewood Station, an achievement which has been appreciated by local transport authorities.
“It used to be covered in graffiti and dotted with drugs paraphernalia but it’s really been turned around,” Danny said. “It looks lovely now – it’s bright, it’s colourful, there are plants and the entrance is clear.
“Thameslink have even got in touch to say how the changes have led to a reduction in antisocial behaviour on the platforms.”
While it is important to celebrate the good work done, the Cricklewood Town Team realises that it needs to look ahead to the future. It sees the recent developments as just the beginning and, with the Brent Cross/Cricklewood plans set to kick on, its members are already thinking about what to do next.
Londoners will have a new £3m ‘state of the art’, Irish Cultural Centre and performance venue from next month as the ICC reopens.