Last Friday (22nd September), we took friends, supporters and interested local people on our latest Inside Islington Tour. Offering the chance to see some of the ‘hidden’ Islington, the tour started just off the ‘Cally’, on the Bemerton Estate, before winding through to Global Generation’s idyllic Skip Garden.
Help on Your Doorstep – Good Neighbours Scheme on the Bemerton Estate
“A reason why the Help on Your Doorstep model is exemplary is because it creates opportunities for people to be change-makers, rather than simply receive services” (Virginia Low – Founder of the Stuart Low Trust, local resident and Islington Giving supporter).
At Help on Your Doorstep’s (HOYD) Bemerton Office – home of the newest Good Neighbours Scheme (GNS) (launched February 2017) – we heard from Nigel, Community Development Team Leader, and Val, a GNS Coordinator.
The central element of GNS is building activities and support services with rather than for people. Local residents and organisations are consulted to find out what they need and want, and the schemes respond to these findings. Residents give back to their local area and get involved with their neighbours by taking part in activities, volunteering, and sharing knowledge and skills.
“Helping people take ownership of where they live is an amazing thing” (Val Henney and Nigel Baiden, Help on Your Doorstep)
Val and Nigel told us that activities have been built to provide chances for local residents to get active, socialise and improve mindfulness; coffee mornings, seaside trips, exercise classes, yoga and meditation workshops are just a few examples. As Nigel explained, residents face a range of complex issues, so these activities are there to provide an escape, even just briefly, where people can be present in the moment and learn something new.
Islington Giving currently funds three HOYD GNS in partnership with the Islington Clinical Commissioning Group, Peabody Housing Association and Islington Council’s Homes and Communities Department. A fourth GNS scheme is funded by the Clinical Commissioning Group and Islington Council’s Homes and Communities.
(Read more about Good Neighbours Schemes here).
Global Generation – Friday Night Out at the Skip Garden
After a walking tour from the Bemerton Estate, led by Nigel, we arrived at Global Generation‘s glorious Skip Garden. This innovative urban oasis is situated in the new Kings Cross development site. Healthy produce is grown in reconditioned skips and the whole site is adaptable enough to be moved to another location fairly quickly. The Global Generation team run a thriving cafe, selling tasty, nutritious food and providing jobs for people often marginalised from the employment market, such as young people with special needs, older people and refugees.
Events Manager Gwen gave us a tour of the beautiful site, culminating in seeing the Friday Night Out (FNO) young people’s cooking and healthy eating project in action. Veronica Lopes da Silva, who runs the FNO sessions, spoke about the recipes they make from around the globe – including the dumplings from that night. We met two young cooks – including a teenager who first came to FNO in 2013 and is now helping assist the classes – as well as Henrietta, who loves meeting the other children after school and learning new recipes to take home to cook for her mum.
Islington Giving launched FNO in the north and south of the borough in 2013, through our partnership with The Arsenal Foundation and the support of Argent LLP at King’s Cross. FNO forms a vital part of our programme to ensure that children and young people in Islington have amazing opportunities on weekends and in holiday times. With your support, we can provide more activities and reach more of Islington’s young people who otherwise don’t have these opportunities. Visit here to donate and call 0207 288 6941 to discuss making a difference in the borough.