Eight years of Giving, eight years of innovation

We know that by bringing people together, from different walks of life, with different experiences, we make a bigger positive change with not for our communities. To celebrate eight years of Islington Giving, here are eight ways in which we innovate:

1. Everyone can give, and everyone’s contribution matters

Our work is made possible by the money, time, ideas, space, and introductions given by people who live in, work in, and care about Islington. We work to inspire people (and organisations, see 4) to give, and to show people the difference their giving can make. Learn more about how you can give.

2. Collaboration and sharing are at the heart of what we do

Islington Giving is a collaboration of people who don’t normally work together but who share a vision for a better borough. Residents, businesses, voluntary organisations, local, regional, national and international funders have come together to help make Islington a better place for us all.

It is vital for our work that we take time to bring different voices together, gather ideas, and celebrate progress. Whether this is by sharing breakfast with over 100 inspiring women on International Women’s Day or by planning new approaches to changing lives for good, alongside people and organisations who care about Islington.

3. We change lives

We alone cannot eliminate poverty and inequality but we can change lives. These are just some of the ways this happens in our borough:

  • Volunteer mentors at the Parent House work in our communities to provide friendly advice and tangible practical support for parents and families across Islington.
  • Our Young Catalyst programme provides smaller amounts of money that can make a huge difference – by paying for a driving licence that helps a young person to get their first job, or covering the costs of a child’s first holiday.
  • Hundreds of older people take place in exciting activities in Saturday Socials each weekend.
  • Events and activities are now happening at times and places that are more accessible for local people.

4. We help businesses become a force for good

We established The BIG Alliance (Businesses for Islington Giving) with the Macquarie Group Foundation and the East London Business Alliance in 2012. It has helped thousands of people working in the borough to contribute their skills, experience, knowledge and networks to help Islington’s voluntary organisations and young people at our secondary schools and colleges. A mentor from a business (MUFG) and mentee from a school (City of London Academy Highgate Hill) taking part in the Mentoring Works Programme share their experiences below.

5. We shine a light on the reality of life in Islington

We have conversations with our communities to improve our knowledge of Islington, and combine this with a range of evidence to show how poverty and inequality can affect peoples’ lives – whether through mental ill health, feelings of isolation, or even reduced life expectancy.

Our discussions with young people (Making the Most of Free Time) and families (A Life Not A Service) are evidence-based calls to action, and inform our approach to creating effective solutions.

6. We’ve got some great neighbours

In each corner of the borough, there are people sharing cups of tea, attending yoga classes, doing a spot of gardening and volunteering locally. This is happening thanks to the Good Neighbours Scheme, launched in 2011 with our partner Help on Your Doorstep. They offer our residents the chance to talk about things that are tough, and share time with new friends.

“It cheers you up when you are feeling down to know you can come down to a group here. For me and others I know it has been a lifesaver.”

Islington resident, taking part in the Good Neighbours Scheme

7. We create new opportunities for young people

We are working with 15 young people to shape the future of local giving in Islington. They are helping us to take a different look at our borough, and have launched their own grants programme designed to bring young people together to feel a bigger sense of belonging, and help them access resources to support their mental health.

8. We are working out new ways to support mental health

Islington has some of the highest levels of mental ill health in the country. Some of this is due to the fact that living here (a dense, constantly changing inner-city borough, where things are expensive, green space at a premium, and housing overcrowded) can be tough for many of our residents. We support innovative ways of helping people to feel happier and in control.

Looking to the future

Both our on-the-ground knowledge and the statistics suggest that life in Islington is still difficult for many of our residents. After 8 years, we cannot stop our work. Reflecting on the last eight years, Jack Morris CBE, Chair of the Islington Giving Appeal, and Islington Giving Board Member, said:

“It is remarkable how far we have come since launching in September 2010. So many more people who care about making lives better in Islington have joined us, and they represent all walks of life. The connections we have been fortunate enough to make over the years have led to some truly inspiring stories of change. This is why we need to bring even more people together to change lives for good in our borough.”

Thank you for your support over the last eight years. None of this would be possible without you.