Charity is an important cornerstone for any society. Compassion and help for others is what makes us human. I have always put charity at the heart of my work, even from an early age, including helping out at a local soup kitchen in Ealing and volunteering with the Handicap Children’s Pilgrimage Trust. I was awarded the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Award for Inspirational Young People for my charity work. I continue to actively support a range of charities, both nationally and locally, including the Ealing Churches Winter Night Shelter and Ealing Foodbank, as well as volunteering with Crisis at Christmas at their West London centre and going out on night-time patrol with the Ealing Street Pastors, and selling poppies for the Royal British Legion.

I have recently spent time with Friends of Alalay, the UK support arm of the Alalay Foundation, a Bolivian Street Children charity. The charity was started in the early 1990’s to help look after street children. It rescues these children from the streets and offers them a loving environment living together in family cabins; feeds, clothes and educates them and encourages them in their future working lives. Around 400 children are currently living in the charity’s various centres, where they are provided with food, health care, clothing, education, social work, spiritual, psychological and legal help, as well as technical training. Most importantly, it provides something they’ve often never had – a home and a family. Whilst I was in Bolivia I had the opportunity to talk to the charity workers and volunteers about the UK political environment, as well as presenting to them specially commissioned portraits of HM Queen.

I pledge to continue to support and encourage charities at the local, national and international level as I feel that it is everyone’s duty to help those around us.