Heritage – Sarah Rackham: celebrating 50 years of community work

As our centenary approaches (2024) we’ve started reminiscing about what we’ve been up to over the last 98 years and counting. We’ve been looking back through our archives and found the following:

Sarah Rackham is a KLS legend. She was our Community Development Manager for 28 years, until she retired in 2019. You won’t be surprised to hear that she’s as busy as ever. We’ve just been alerted to some old footage from the 1970s, where they were using mobile film cameras for the first time with local communities in Balham. Sarah appears at 43 mins 40 seconds.

Sarah has been on camera a few times since. Fast forward to 2017 and here’s Sarah talking about her work helping to set up and develop local group WoW Mums over 10 years (2007-2017). Sarah appears at the beginning of this film (at 35 seconds):

Here’s Sarah in 2016 highlighting another project (and now independent organisation) that she helped to set up Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees. She’s talking about the importance of welcoming refugees into our community.

And there’s more… you can listen in to Sarah talking at the Dad Dancing Project in 2014 here: 4 Sarah Rackham and round up by daddancingproject (soundcloud.com).

Or read about Sarah and her work with the NHS here: Sarah Rackham – South West London Health and Care Partnership (swlondon.nhs.uk)

Understandably over 50 years working in Battersea and across Wandsworth Sarah has been involved in numerous projects and organisations – too many to document here. But we hope this blog post gives you a small taste of what one (amazing) community worker has done in our community.

And finally… Sarah comes from a long line of community activists and campaigners. Her great aunt, Clara Rackham, was a pioneering suffragette, who “effectively ran” the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) while Millicent Fawcett was its president. Read more here about the Blue Plaque, unveiled in 2018, honoring her great aunt here: Clara Rackham: Blue plaque for Millicent Fawcett’s ‘right-hand woman’ – BBC News. Sarah’s mum was a community worker for many years too. Sarah tells the story as a teenager having to attend Wandsworth Citizen Advice meetings at KLS in 1960s. Maybe that’s where she got the community bug?

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