Tired of all the bad news in the world?

Sophie Allen Stonebridge SchoolThen meet two people who will help restore your faith in humankind.

Between them, they have helped hundreds of young people get the best start in life and are among many local people and council workers recently recognised for their phenomenal efforts.

A vote of thanks for Peter Cassidy and Sophie Allen.

Peter Cassidy fostered over 120 children

Peter Cassidy - staff awardsCouncil worker Peter Cassidy has made a real difference to the lives of many local people - together with his wife, he has fostered over 120 local children over the years. The couple plan to continue fostering next year, even when Peter retires from his job with Brent and moves to a new home in Ireland.

Peter, who has worked at Brent Council for forty years, keeps the borough free of flyposting and ensures public toilets and street furniture are clean and fit for use.

When he has a spare moment, he sets about repairing signs and putting up transportation notices, and always with great enthusiasm and willingly.

The former council employee of the year could have retired in 2010 but chose to extend his working life to ensure he saw Brent through the 2012 Olympics. Peter has just been recognised with a long service award at the council's staff achievement awards.

Sophie Allen created much-needed extra places for pupils

sophie allen - staff awardsSophie Allen has overseen the provision of an extra 180 desperately-needed school places meaning that many young, local pupils who were out of school are able to get the best start in life.

Sophie is headteacher at Stonebridge Primary. Earlier this year the school opened five new classes in a modern, high-quality building near the main site.

The area has high economic and social deprivation and the children who have been offered places are often new to the country.

Brent is short of primary school places but opening extra classes is not easy as it often creates disruption, so Sophie's decision to work with the council to expand provision for vulnerable children is to be applauded.

Sophie ensured that disruption was kept to a minimum and that high standards were maintained, working with her staff, governors and the wider school community.

She has gone above and beyond the normal expectations of a headteacher in making difference to the lives of local children and their families. Sophie has been awarded a Chief Executive's Merit Award at Brent Council's Staff Achievement Awards.