Community Matters: Why Janet Ellis has high hopes for Hammersmith

Longtime Hammersmith resident Janet Ellis talks about reading, relaxing, eating out and what makes this part of London so special.

The former Blue Peter star – and Hammersmith resident – Janet Ellis may be busy with TV work, but she is still manages to fit in time for charity work in the borough she calls home.  The presenter, mother and grandmother is a dedicated volunteer of the Doorstep Library Network and a keen advocate of Arts in the area. Busy and passionate, Janet talks about why she loves Hammersmith and her involvement in its exciting future.

The energetic presenter moved to Hammersmith 25 years ago, when daughter Sophie (Ellis-Bexter), now 35, started attending Godolphin & Latymer school. The whole family is so entrenched in the area that Sophie’s children now go to John Betts primary school.

“We just love it,” revealed Janet, who will celebrate her 60th birthday this year. “The river is wonderful, and we are very close to Ravenscourt Park.

I feel we are very spoilt for choice with restaurants as well, as we have virtually every type of cuisine within walking distance. My favourite is L’Amorosa in King Street, as they do a wonderful osso bucco.”

Investment in the Arts

She is excited about the future of the arts in the borough, with the Bush Theatre having settled into its new home in Uxbridge Road, and the Lyric about to unveil its multi-million pound extension in April.

Not only is Janet on the board 
of the Lyric, but the theatre is a top destination for the family, who always makes sure to get tickets for the panto, and are excited about the upcoming Bugsy Malone show, which will be
the performance that launches the makeover next month.

The project to redevelop the Riverside Studios is also on Janet’s radar, as she believed the old site was an ‘underused resource’. “Unless you rented a space, from nowhere in that building could you
see the river, so I hope the new design will showcase the water much more,” Janet said. “And anything that wakes up an area in terms of the arts is a great addition.”

Charity begins at home

This love of the arts is a major part of Janet’s involvement with the Doorstep Library Network, as it combines her connection with children and her passion for books.

With Doorstep Libraries running 
in five disadvantaged areas across Hammersmith & Fulham, volunteers are kept busy heading out to read to more than 350 children from newborn babies to those about to head off to secondary school.

The charity’s founder, Katie Bareham, said: “Reading is a fundamental life
skill which children require to reach their full potential. And we want to ensure that all children have the opportunity in their homes to experience the joy of reading.”

To find out more about the charity, email: enquiries@doorsteplibrary.org.uk or call 020 8870 1476.