What's been going on at Islington Giving?

Throughout the year, Islington Giving hosts a whole range of events during the year. These give you plenty of fun opportunities to learn more about Islington, see the projects we support firsthand and raise money for our campaign.

We would be thrilled for you to join us and here is what we have coming up:

A life not a service

By Emerald Robertson-Rose and Sam Stensland on 15th September 2017

Islington Giving has published the findings of a new consultation with Islington families – ‘A life not a service’. Islington Giving has invested over £500,000 to support opportunities for local families over the last 5 years. We have  funded 17 organisations that have reached over 3,500 local parents and children.

We want to develop and grow our Supporting Families programme over the next 5 years. By learning through doing, grounding our approach in understanding families’ experiences, and identifying where we can help families most, we will ensure that we direct our resources as effectively as possible. Building on all our knowledge gathered over the last 5 years, we  met  a range of parents in different settings and people who work with them  from November 2016 to May 2017.

We found that formal ‘services’ are not always what families want. This was eloquently communicated to us by a carer of a family member living with a learning disability who told us that she wanted ‘a life not a service’ – normal opportunities to go out, socialise and engage in activities just as other families do. This sentiment was echoed by others we spoke to.

Despite the support that is available, much more has to be done. Families are diverse; what works for one family may not work for another. Sometimes support for the whole family can help. Sometimes supporting one family member – child or parent – improves life for the whole family.  We need a varied menu of support and activities to enable families to flourish.

To find out more about how we will respond to these findings, read the report here.

New funding opportunity: building Social Networks for families

By Emerald Robertson-Rose and Sam Stensland on 15th September 2017

We have launched a new funding opportunity around Building Social Networks for families. This is one of the four action areas identified in  ‘A life not a service’  that people told us would make a difference.

We invite proposals from organisations that can help families build long-term supportive relationships. Our focus is on offering support to families who have limited access to wider networks . This could be through social or financial isolation, relationship conflict / domestic violence, or a family member living with a physical or learning disabilities and / or mental ill-health.

To find out more about priorities and eligibility criteria visit here.

Deadline for applications:  12 noon on Monday 13th November 2017.

Case Study: Family Action Islington

By Emerald Robertson-Rose and Sam Stensland on 15th September 2017

We spoke to Laura Preston, a Programme Coordinator at Family Action Islington. (You can read about Laura’s experience as Programme Coordinator here).

Family Action’s Children and Families Services work with children, young people, parents, carers, and the wider family network, to ensure families are able to realise their full potential and all members are able to thrive.

Family Action strives to support stable, positive family networks, tackling some of the most complex and difficult issues facing families today. This includes financial hardship, mental health problems, social isolation, learning disabilities, domestic abuse, and substance misuse and alcohol problems. These issues can  affect the stability of family life, and have a significant impact on the health, wellbeing and development of all family members. Their services include intensive family support, specialist therapeutic work, conflict management and relationship support, and advice and wellbeing services.

Family Saturdays

One of these services is Family Saturdays funded by Islington Giving.  It is for parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), aged 0-5 years. It reduces isolation by creating a safe space for parents to meet at the weekend and receive support. Parents can discuss their concerns, and a fortnightly information-based coffee morning is held to provide parents with advice and inform them of other services. Parents enjoy a weekly communal lunch, offering the chance to socialise with other families and staff, along with other family-centred activities that aim to improve parent-child relationships, including ‘Special yoga’, ‘Tip Toe dance’ sessions and theatre trips.

“Thanks to the Islington Giving funding, Family Saturdays has changed the lives of parents in many ways over the past 6 months”. Laura Preston – Family Action Islington


Helena* joined Family Saturdays, in October 2016, when struggling to cope with her children’s addional behavioural challenges. They are a lone-parent family with three children (two with SEND). She did not feel ready to return to employment due to her eldest child’s behavior and her youngest’s severe medical needs.

Helena now regularly attends coffee mornings, and has worked with Family Action staff to learn behavioural management techniques and receive help dealing with housing and benefit- issues. She is pleased to have Family Saturdays to come to with her children at the weekend and learn from other parents involved with the project. Helena has been connected with The Parent House, through a Family Saturdays coffee morning, where she joined a ‘Working with children’ training course and is now looking for a voluntary placement in local schools. This will give her first-hand experience, to help lead to paid employment. Her life has changed, in less than a year, and she tells Family Action she is now very excited about her future.

Family Action believes that families facing these difficulties should have the support they need to become stronger, happier and healthier. With the right kind of support, families can overcome their difficulties and find hope for a brighter future.

*Helena is not her real name.

Laura Preston: my experience as Project Coordinator at Family Action Islington

By Emerald Robertson-Rose and Sam Stensland on 15th September 2017

“My role as a Project Coordinator at Family Action Islington enabled me to work with a variety of families from different backgrounds, ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses. The majority of families that I work with at the moment are low income, lone-parent families, who face many challenges within their daily lives. Before I began this role I could only empathise with the struggles of bringing up children on your own. However, since working closely with these families and learning of their daily challenges, it has taught me that, not only do these parents cope with raising children single-handedly, many also cope with the extreme behavioural challenges that come with raising children with additional needs, on a daily basis. Family Saturdays is a project that allows these parents to talk about their struggles with others, who are in similar situations, and engage in fun activities to improve the wellbeing of the whole family”.

New space in Finsbury Park uses technology to make the world a fairer place

By Emerald Robertson-Rose and Sam Stensland on 15th September 2017

Space4, spearheaded by Outlandish, is a new co-working and events space in Finsbury Park, housing digital cooperatives and socially positive organisations. It is a non-profit project, which supports users in their shared aim to seize technology to make the world a fairer place.

Outlandish has been based in Finsbury Park since its inception in 2010. By opening Space4, downstairs from its offices on Fonthill Road, it hopes to introduce other progressive tech companies to the area and make a case for Finsbury Park being a home for the digital cooperative movement. Outlandish and the other people already using the space are reaching out to voluntary organisations and Council projects which could benefit from the space and the projects happening there.

So far projects happening from the space include promoting open data, designing AR and VR applications, building platforms for teams to democratically share tasks, teaching young people digital skills and helping charities tackle their digital needs.

Events planned for the space will cover encouraging more minority groups to work in the tech sector, supporting the cooperative movement, and providing digital training. The events space and desks are available to hire, and the team is seeking collaborators to deliver an exciting programme of public events.

The project is spearheaded by web development worker co-op Outlandish, a founding member of the Co-Tech network of progressive digital co-ops. Outlandish works largely with NGOs, unions, campaigning organisations and progressive companies. It recently built the schoolcuts.org.uk website in partnership with the NUT, a campaign which revealed the impact of the £3 billion annual cuts that are set to affect 99% of schools in England and Wales, which the BBC’s Chris Cook said was “an extraordinarily successful campaign… I cannot remember a campaign as effective in recent years by any union”.

If you are interested in desk, meeting room or events space hire, or if you’d like to know more about the project and the programme of events and how to get involved, email polly@outlandish.com.

‘A life not a service’ – Supporting Islington’s Families

By Emerald Robertson-Rose and Sam Stensland on 4th September 2017

New funding opportunity: Building Social Networks

Islington Giving is committed to supporting families as part of its work to tackle poverty and inequality in Islington.  Following a consultation with local families and those that work with them Islington Giving has recently launched our new strategy for supporting families – ‘A life not a service’.

Building Social Networks is one of the four action areas identified in the report in direct response to what people told us would make a difference. With the benefit of learning from ‘A life not a service’ we invite proposals from organisations that can help families build long-term supportive relationships.

Our focus is particularly on offering support to families who have limited access to wider networks because of social or financial isolation, relationship conflict / domestic violence or a family member living with a physical or learning disabilities and / or mental ill-health.

To find out more about priorities and eligibility criteria download our Guidance for Applicants.  The guidance notes are intended to help you decide whether this programme is right for you and to frame the content of your application if you would like to proceed.

If you are interested in applying we strongly encourage you to contact Nikki Wimborne on 020 7288 6942 or via email at nikki.wimborne@cripplegate.org.uk to discuss your proposal.


Deadline for applications:  12 noon on Monday 13th November 2017
Assessment meetings: from 20th November- 8th December 2017

Applicants will be informed of decisions by 31st January 2018.

How to apply:

Apply online here

Return to an application form or view your account

Front Cover

Inside Islington Tour: Good Neighbours – Good Nature (22nd September 2017)

By Emerald Robertson-Rose and Sam Stensland on 22nd August 2017

Join our latest Inside Islington Tour to get a first-hand look at two organisations funded by Islington Giving near Kings Cross. We’ll take you to meet Help on Your Doorstep, who run the Good Neighbours Scheme on the Bemerton Estate. We’ll then walk to Global Generation’s Skip Garden in Kings Cross for a tour around one of Islington’s best-hidden gems. You’ll have the opportunity to see the ‘Friday Night Out’ young people’s cooking project in action, and try some of the Skip Garden’s tasty homegrown food!

This is a chance to gain a real insight into ‘the other Islington’ and the amazing work of local voluntary organisations.
These tours are very popular ways to find out more about Islington Giving and meet the organisations and people we support. Numbers are limited so book your place soon.

You can book tickets, and find out more information, using our Eventbrite page.


Global Generation IMG_5540 (2)

June 2017 Inside Islington Tour – All Change, Arsenal in the Community and Saturday Socials at the Word2017 Festival

By Emerald Robertson-Rose and Sam Stensland on 6th July 2017

As part of the successful Islington Word2017 festival, Islington Giving was delighted to catch a glimpse of a day of intergenerational celebrations and creativity run by All Change in partnership with Arsenal in the Community. Over 100 local people of all ages came together to take part in  Home Ground – a behind the scenes history of Arsenal and Islington, featuring spoken word performances and short films from All Change’s Saturday Socials writers group – When Saturday Comes. Working with poet Francesca Beard and photography artist Leticia Valverdes, the writers group gives older people the opportunity to explore their memories of the famous football club and the local area.

Two participants, Tony and Maria, spoke and performed during the tour of the stadium, and guests of Islington Giving heard tales and poems in the changing room beneath the belly of the ground.

Islington Giving’s Saturday Socials programme is run by All Change, Cubitt Education and North London Cares, and supported by Arsenal in the Community, The Arsenal Foundation and City Bridge Trust. Providing free weekend activities such as creative writing sessions, film screenings, and social events, the programme creates a space for older and younger people to connect and spend time with one another.

“There’s a sense of family between the people who do these clubs. You belong.” – Saturday Socials participant and Islington resident.

Arsenal in the Community are a key partner in the Saturday Socials programme. They host the monthly All Change When Saturday Comes workshops at the Arsenal Hub – providing space and refreshments, with team members present to support the sessions. They have also provided access to the wonderful Emirates Stadium for larger celebrations including Yarn Dances and the Home Ground event as part of the programme. Older participants have also enjoyed special stadium tours, tickets to matches and the chance to meet Arsenal legends.

More Inside Islington Tours will be taking place throughout 2017, giving you the opportunity to learn more about some of the amazing work carried out by local community organisations. To hear about future Inside Islington Tours, contact the Islington Giving Team using mail@islingtongiving.org.uk or 0207 288 6941.


Copyright Leticia ValverdesCopyright Leticia Valverdes

Copyright Leticia Valverdes

Donation to Islington Giving from Macquarie London Staff

By Emerald Robertson-Rose and Sam Stensland on 26th June 2017

Staff from Macquarie Group’s London office have donated £1180 to Islington Giving, as part of Macquarie Group Foundation’s Staff in the Community Awards. The Macquarie Group Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Macquarie Group and provides support to community organisations globally.

This year’s donation continues its close involvement in and support of Islington Giving. Giving more than money, representatives of Macquarie sit on the board of Islington Giving, providing funding for Islington based organisations as well as volunteers and mentors. The Macquarie Group Foundation is also the principal supporting partner of the BIG Alliance (Businesses for Islington Giving) <link>, helping to bring additional resources into Islington by working to build connections between businesses and the community.

You can read more about the work supported by Macquarie and our other partners in our 2016 Annual Review.


The BIG Alliance

By Emerald Robertson-Rose and Sam Stensland on 7th June 2017

Islington Giving recognises the role of business in addressing the borough’s priorities. We established the BIG (Businesses for Islington Giving) Alliance with Macquarie Group Foundation as its principal funder in 2012. The BIG Alliance matches business volunteers with voluntary organisations and links young people to the world of work. In 2016, 1,184 volunteers from 13 businesses offered time and skills to Islington voluntary organisations.

The BIG Alliance’s Mentoring Works programme brings the expertise of business volunteers to Islington’s secondary schools and colleges. In 2016, 404 young people aged 15-18 were matched with 271 volunteers. The programme aims to be in 11 Islington secondary schools by 2019. To date, over 700 young people have received mentoring and support through the BIG Alliance.

To find out what the BIG Alliance can do for your organisation, visit www.thebigalliance.org.uk

Image: The BIG Alliance – Pupils from New North Academy at their visit to the Expedia Inc. offices

Image 2 (6)