Brent Councillor recognised in Queen's birthday honours

23 June 2021

Cllr Eleanor Southwood has joined local football hero Raheem Sterling in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in receiving an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire.

Queen’s Park Cllr Southwood was awarded the prestigious honour for her contribution to local government and charity services, recognising her leadership of and campaigning with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), as well as her seven years as an elected member on Brent Council.

During her three years as Chair of RNIB, Eleanor oversaw significant organisation transformation, steering the 150 year old charity through a regulatory inquiry and renewing its purpose as a campaigner for social change. RNIB’s strapline – See Differently – encourages the public to think differently about the experience of being blind or partially sighted.  

As Brent Council's Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, Cllr Southwood has overseen the council's drive to build 1,000 new council homes and take tangible action to reduce the impact of poverty on Brents’ residents.

Commenting on her MBE, Cllr Southwood said: "It’s really special to have my work recognised in this way: I’m delighted! I’ve had to keep the news to myself for a while, which has been a real challenge.

“I'm fortunate that my role as Cabinet Member for housing makes a real difference in improving residents quality of life, creating a fairer society for everyone in Brent.

"Being blind means I bring my own lived experience to my work. We are a long way from an inclusive society but it’s a privilege to be able to play my part in improving things. We all see the world differently in lots of ways – because of our experiences, our politics or the disabilities we happen to have. What drives me is doing my bit to create a society where everyone feels they belong.”