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:

The Douglas Scarff Trust donates almost £100,000 to Islington Giving, leaving a legacy of support for young children and families

By Samuel Stensland on 3rd August 2018

The Trustees of the now dormant Douglas Scarff Trust have donated £98,374 to Islington Giving. This continues a legacy of support for young children and families.

The story of the Trust begins at North Islington Nursery School in the 1930s, Islington’s first nursery school. The events of the last eighty years provide an inspiring parallel of the efforts of the hundreds of local people who continue to give to Islington each year.

Community connections

Britain’s first sitting female MP, Lady Astor, inspired Daisy Lynn (a member of the Caledonian Road Wesleyan Chapel) to write to her in 1930. Lady Astor MP, who had proclaimed that nursery schools perform “the most constructive work in the world today”, replied with a cheque. This became the first donation, added to by the Church committee, that helped establish North Islington Nursery School. Lady Astor would become the school’s first president.

Local resident Mr Douglas Scarff volunteered as Honorary Treasurer of the nursery. He helped to bring in new donations such as £750 from the Margaret McMillan, the social pioneer. The same Margaret McMillan gives her name to the nursery school on Hornsey Rise. Following damage inflicted by heavy bombing in the Second World War, local residents and businesses restored the nursery. In 1948, Clement Attlee’s Minister of Education, George Tomlinson, laid the foundation stone for the rebuilding of the school. It was officially reopened in 1949, by H.R.H Princess Alice Duchess of Gloucester.

Historic examples of giving

The history of the nursery is marked by other examples of giving. The grand-daughter of one of its founders helped care for wartime evacuees. In the 1960s, thanks to the nursery’s cosmopolitanism and some high-profile supporters, the BBC and ITV made a short film about its Christmas play, helping to raise vital funds. In 1965, Joyce Grenfell (Lady Astor’s niece) took the role of President following Lady Astor’s death in 1964. You can hear Joyce’s famous “Nursery School” sketch below:

Now run by Islington Council, North Islington Nursery and Children’s Centre continues to provide inclusive care for local children aged 3 months to 5 years old.

The Douglas Scarff Trust made grants to improve the lives of young children in Islington. We will continue to honour this legacy.

How you can give to Islington

Islington Giving works with people, like the Douglas Scarff Trustees, who live in, work in, and care about their local area. Whether you are thinking of increasing the impact of your Trust, or would like to make a personal donation, you too can make a huge difference to the lives of Islington residents.

Get in touch with Anne Phipps to talk about your giving, via email: Anne.phipps@islingtongiving.org.uk, or phone: 020 7288 6941

Recipes to generate change: Skip Garden Mauritian Slaw

By Samuel Stensland on 19th July 2018

Global Generation, in its Skip Garden home, has been a partner of Islington Giving for a number of years. With support from us and Arsenal in the Community, the team run Friday Night Out activities to help local children and young people generate change, giving them a taste for fresh, seasonal veg, gardening, and healthy exercise. Here the skilled Skip Garden chefs share one of their favourite recipes for a vibrant Mauritian slaw.

If you try your hand at this recipe, why not share your creation with us (@IsGiv) and Global Generation (@Global_Gen) on Twitter and Instagram?

Skip Garden Mauritian Slaw

The Skip Garden adaptation of the classic Mauritian slaw, ‘Achard des Legumes’ makes use of classic seasonal, British Isles vegetables, but offers the warmth and vibrancy of the East African coast. We serve this colourful and substantial salad as an accompaniment for pies, quiches and toasted sandwiches. The beauty is its versatility. We sometimes substitute grated beetroot, or white cabbage for red cabbage. We have included shaved fennel, grated kohl rabbi and even apple. This salad offers a lot of opportunities to use up bits of leftover vegetables from the fridge and eat seasonally and locally. We gather herbs and greens from the garden so can use carrot tops, fennel tops of baby greens, instead of kale. The recipe offers proportional guidelines but really is as adaptable as you want it to be! This will last in the fridge for about 2 days in a sealed container.

Serves 4

Skip Garden Kitchen, Kings Cross, London


2 large carrots – washed and grated

¼ small red cabbage – finely sliced

6 leaves of black or curly kale washed and roughly chopped

Substantial pinch of salt and caster sugar

For the dressing:

½ tblsp toasted sesame oil

Juice and zest of ½ a lemon

½ tsp salt

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds or ground coriander

½ tsp dried turmeric


Roughly chop and macerate the kale by massaging a pinch of salt and sugar into it for about 30 seconds. Set it to one side.

Combine the shredded cabbage and carrots in a bowl.

Gather your dressing ingredients and get a good quality, heavy bottomed frying pan hot on the cooker. Once the pan is too hot to touch, add the mustard seeds, cumin, coriander and after about 10 seconds the turmeric. (If you are using ground coriander, add this at the same time of the turmeric, not before.) You will know the spices are toasted when they release their aromas and the seeds begin to shimmy about in the pan.

Add the spices straight to the bowl of carrots and cabbage, incorporate the spices and the kale then dress immediately with the oil and lemon juice. Mix well and serve.

Optional extras include, grated ginger which can be added to the spices during toasting. Dried or fresh chillies which would go straight in with the carrots. Toasted, dessicated coconut or pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds which dress the top of the salad admirably.

Summerversity & Launchpad 2018

By Samuel Stensland on 10th July 2018

There are loads of free activities for young people this summer in Islington.

Summerversity 2018 offers a range of fun, free, and creative opportunities for young people aged 13-16, right across the borough. Whether you want to build a videogame, improve your painting, try out a new sport, or tap into your inner poet, Summerversity has it covered over the summer holidays. Check out the programme here for full information.


Launchpad 2018 packs in plenty of other fun and free opportunities for young people aged 16+. You can try your hand at urban farming, brush up on your musical production skills, gain qualifications and get involved with the amazing local facilities at Central Saint Martins. Full information can be found in the programme.


Loads of our friends in the community are playing a huge part in making these opportunities possible. Taking place in different community hubs, centres and outdoors, these activities are coordinated by Islington Council. You can find out full information on the Izzy Info website.

These activities are very popular and so signing up with plenty of time is essential.

Young Grant-Makers Programme: Deadline now passed

By Samuel Stensland on 13th June 2018

“We are a group of 15 local young people aged 16-26 who became Islington Giving’s first Young Grant-Makers in May 2018. We have joined Islington Giving to make grant decisions that will benefit Islington’s young people.”

The deadline for expressions of interest for the Young Grant-Makers programme has now passed. You can read more about the thinking behind this programme in our report below.

Making the Most of Free Time

Through our Making the Most of Free Time consultation, during which we spoke to 340 local young people, we learnt that young people living here want to influence what gets funded in their area. 47% of those we spoke to said they wanted more funding for youth activities. The Young Grant-Makers Programme responds to the findings of this report, which you can read in full below. 




June and July in Islington

By Samuel Stensland on 13th June 2018

Summer has officially landed, and as well as the World Cup, there are plenty of amazing things you can get involved with this month in Islington, many arranged by our partners and friends.

Islington in Bloom

Judging for this year’s entries will take place from Monday 18 June until Friday 6 July. The roll call of previous winners contains some longstanding friends of Islington Giving, including Culpeper Community Garden. If you’ve never visited this stunning oasis of calm, pop down and have a chat with the local gardeners for a bit of inspiration.

Cally Fest

On Sunday 17 June, Join over 7,000 local people to celebrate the vibrant, exciting local area on and around the Caledonian Road. There will be dancing, singing, food, arts, crafts, theatre and sport. And if the sunshine hides for a while, there’s plenty going on indoors too. 

Word Festival Islington 

Islington is two weeks into the 2018 Word Festival, and the programme is in full swing. Our friends at All Change are the creative brains of the festival (ably supported by the Free Word Centre, Islington Council & Islington Libraries, and supported by Arts Council England), and you can find out more about what’s on here.

Angel Shed Summer Holiday Projects

Angel Shed’s vision is that every child, regardless of ability or background be given the opportunity to participate in the performing arts. It is hosting three more upcoming theatre projects in the Summer holidays and Angel Shed is keen for these places to be filled with local young people who would really benefit from this opportunity. All the information can be found here.

30,000 children in kinship care in London: Grandparents Plus talk to London Live

By Samuel Stensland on 17th May 2018

Over 30,000 children are living in kinship care in London, with many carers unsure of where to turn for support and advice.

Kate and Claudette from Grandparents Plus talked to London Live about how they help kinship carers adjust to the challenges of adjusting to the huge life changes that can accompany becoming a carer. Grandparents Plus work across the country for all families where grandparents play a vital role in the development of their grandchildren.

The team at Grandparents Plus is growing its reach in Islington, and we are proud to support their work through funding to build the social networks of families. This emerged as a key action area following our borough-wide conversation with Islington families, who told us they want “a life, not a service”.

The importance of collaboration in making change: Islington Giving and the Vibrant Capital

By Samuel Stensland on 15th May 2018

Islington Giving exists thanks to the borough-wide collaborative approach of residents, businesses, community organisations and funders. We also engaged with wider issues facing civil society across the city, and work to inspire and guide 23 other Giving’s now operating across the city.

A group of leaders, academics and policymakers came together at the second Vibrant Capital gathering, hosted and coordinated by Grant Thornton, to look at ways London can build on its success and become a world capital of purposeful business.

Our Director Kristina Glenn spoke to Grant Thornton about the importance of collaboration to effect change. A big example of this is our support (alongside founding funder the Macquarie Group Foundation) for The BIG Alliance, which makes the business case for companies based in Islington to give time to support local young people and voluntary organisations. You can read Kristina’s full commentary here.

Grant Thornton’s video account of the latest Vibrant Capital is below.

We’ve been nominated for a Charity Award

By Samuel Stensland on 11th May 2018

Islington Giving has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2018 Charity Awards.  The awards identify and reward organisations doing exceptional work in all areas of charitable activity.

Islington Giving is one of only three charities shortlisted in the “Grantmaking and Funding” category, recognising the exceptional way that residents drive the conversation about what is provided, rather than having services provided for them.

People are often unaware of Islington’s reality and Islington Giving works to raise awareness of the needs as well as to inspire a culture of giving. In 2017, 20 grants (amounting to over £1million) were awarded, working across four areas: investing in young people, supporting families, reaching isolated people and volunteering.

The work of Islington Giving is made possible thanks to the hundreds of local people who offer their support each year. If you are new to Islington Giving, and would like to discuss how you can be involved, please do get in touch or give directly.

Director, Kristina Glenn says “it’s really exciting because you see lives change, you see people get a job, you see young people gain confidence, you see old people make friends. You’re making a difference, and you can see that in the organisations we support, they grow, they strengthen, their reach increases.”

Islington Giving involves as many people as possible in debate and action to tackle poverty and inequality in the borough. It has now inspired a movement for change. 23 ‘Giving’ organisations have been set up across the capital, replicating Islington Giving’s model.

“As the pioneer of a new approach to collaboration, Islington Giving has inspired other people across London to bring residents, businesses, voluntary organisations and funders together in their borough. Islington Giving helps us to inspire and inform what is now the London’s Giving movement.” James Banks, Director, London Funders

The Charity Awards is Civil Society Media’s annual awards programme to identify, recognise and reward those organisations doing exceptional work in all areas of charitable activity.  Awards are given out in ten categories and an overall winner is chosen from the winners in each category. To find out more, visit https://charityawards.co.uk

Read more about all the shortlisted charities here.

City Philanthropy have reported on this here.

Alex Smith, Founder & CEO of The Cares Family one of first 20 Obama Foundation Fellows

By Samuel Stensland on 19th April 2018

Alex Smith, the Founder & CEO of The Cares Family (encompassing North London Cares, South London Cares and Manchester Cares) has been chosen as one of the 20 inaugural Obama Foundation Fellows. The Fellows are civic leaders, chosen from over 20,000 applicants worldwide.

The Cares Family began here, in North London, and Islington Giving is proud to have supported the organisation since its early days. A small grant awarded in 2012 enabled North London Cares to test its innovative social clubs for older residents. Since then, in partnership with All Change and Cubitt, North London Cares has delivered Islington Giving’s Saturday Socials programme which provides weekend activities and social events for Islington’s older residents.

The weekend can be a lonely time for older people. Each week, the Saturday Socials programme provides the chance for hundreds of older residents to come together to create, move and spend time with younger people living and working in the borough. Loads of friendships have blossomed as a result of these weekend sessions. Ellie, who works full time but visits her friend Joan every week says that “Those two hours where I step out of my day and catch up with Joan’s comings-and-goings are always a highlight of my week. We talk about everything under the sun.”

The story of the Cares Family’s growth (and Alex’s fantastic achievement) is an inspiring example of the positive change that is made possible in Islington every day for local people. To help us identify other innovative ways of changing lives for good in this borough, please read more about how you can support us, or get in touch via mail@islingtongiving.org.uk, or using 020 7288 6941.

We are recruiting for a new Board Member

By Samuel Stensland on 11th April 2018

Islington Giving is growing.

We are recruiting a new Board Member with communication skills to help us shine a light on one of the most unequal places in the country and galvanise support to change Islington for the better.

Islington is an amazing place to live and work, packed with opportunities. But it’s a borough of striking extremes. Islington’s richest and poorest residents exist side by side, living entirely different lives.

Islington Giving is a ground-breaking collaboration of residents, businesses, funders and voluntary organisations tackling this poverty and inequality. Since 2010, we have supported 20,000 residents, raised c£6m, funded 74 organisations, and mobilised 5,000 volunteers. Islington Giving is testing a giving model for the 21st Century that has inspired 23 ‘Givings’ across London.

Contact Kristina Glenn, Director of Islington Giving, for more information on 0207 288 6943 or kristina.glenn@cripplegate.org.uk

Application closing date is 5pm on 8th May 2018

Interviews  held between 10am – 1pm on 18th May 2018

Download the Board Member Recruitment Pack