It is with pride and a beaming smile I am happy to confirm that Matthew Streuli has been shortlisted for a Chairman's Award from South Bucks District Council:
Matt Streuli, 24, has been a member of the Iver Heath Drama Club for around 14 years. Working his way up from a pantomime panda through to the Dame in residence, Matt's contribution has not just been on the stage - he's also a volunteer behind and in front of it which is why he has been shortlisted for the Chairman's Community and Volunteering Awards that are due to take place at the South Buckinghamshire Golf Course on Wednesday 26th March.
Matt has been the Publicity Officer, in charge of posters, programmes, YouTube videos and Facebook for almost ten years. "His work and contribution has been outstanding" said local childminder Carol Campling. "He thinks we don't notice all the things he does. But we do. I don't quite know where he finds all the time!" This year's panto had 5 out of 6 shows sell out.
Last year, the club's members voted unanimously to promote Matthew to the position of Vice-Chairman, supporting local great-grandmother Sandra Corcoran who has also won community awards for her work with the Drama club but also local Day Care Centers and the Ivers Mobility Club.
However Matthew's nomination is also recognising the personal achievements he as has made. Matthew's mother, Janet Streuli, died due to her severe alcoholism in 2003 when he was only 13. Matt's childhood was dedicated to caring for his mother. "I have always been very open about how hard it was looking after a drunk 46 year old on my own, and also about the mental health issues it has stirred in my life. IHDC has been an important cornerstone in my life; offering me the big brothers and sisters, freinds and adult role models that I lacked at home but at IHDC they help teach me important skills and talents. That's why I put 110% back into the drama club."
Matt goes onto say "I will always fight for community groups like IHDC. They keeps bored kids off the streets and give them the support and the goal of something to work towards whether its a Scouting badge or a pantomime. It helped me and we need it to keep going to help today's youngsters especially during the harsh recession"
Dispute his difficult childhood Matthew has gone on to get 12 GCSEs, 3 A Levels, a car and motorbike driving license, a personal license for selling Alcohol as well as acting highlights such as Fat Sam in Bugsy Malone and Widow Twanky in Aladdin. He is looking forward to the summer plays and the next Pantomime with is Robin Hood. Matt currently lives in his own flat in Wexham and works for Robert Bosch Ltd in Denham.
Panto director and best friend Claire Freeman said: "Iver Heath is an interesting community: in Wood Lane there are mansions
worth over £1 million and yet there are people living in poverty on
benefits just 10 minutes walk away. At IHDC, everyone is equal and it is
fantastic to see children and adults from across the spectrum of
wealth, culture, skillset and ability work together. Matt puts so much of his time and his money into the club to make sure the support it gave him is always there for the adults, teenagers and children of our area".
She went on to day "It's fantastic to see him be shortlisted and I really hope he wins an award. He deserves to win!"
The Iver Heath Drama Club was established in 1948 by John Hargreaves and members of the local Women's Institute. At the moment, it receives no government or council funding, just surviving on donations and profits from performances.The club played a vital role in the building of the current Iver Heath Village Hall which it continues to call home and to this day maintains the stage lights and stage for the club, hall and other hirers to use. The club charges a £2 a week membership fee and has the lowest pantomime ticket prices in our region.
Email - Matt@ihdc.co.uk
Telephone - Carol Campling on 07941 818 621
Photos below and on www.facebook.com/IverHeathDramaClub
Council contact: Claire Speirs, Community Team, 01895 837 306
Examples of Matt's posters, programmes, videos and e-Newsletters are on www.ihdc.co.uk