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Your local magazine from Islington Council

IslingtonLife Issue 62, Spring 2016

Meet the new youth council

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Extra funding to keep young people safe Get active this spring New homes for the over 55s

Contents Inside your spring issue

3 4 6

Welcome Budget news Extra funding to help keep young people safe Coding club Islington’s schoolchildren get techy!


Meet the new youth council Young people take the reins!


Your community Finsbury Library reopens


People’s Plaque Find out how to nominate your local heroes Young at heart The latest from our Older People’s Champion


News round-up Get set for In Bloom



At home Over 55s get new dream homes


What’s on Get out and about this spring


Working better Job help for people with disabilities


Healthy living Visit your local pharmacy


Get active Try something new and get healthy this spring


Arsenal in the Community The latest news from Arsenal


Safer Islington Late night levy pays off


Noticeboard New smart water meters

The summer edition of IslingtonLife will be out in July. To advertise contact or call 020 7527 3416.

Meet the new youth council, p17

New homes for Lyon Street, p8

Kids get techy at the Coding Club, p6

Islington’s Mayor meets former resident Audrey Bailey, p23


Welcome At this time of year, the council is busily implementing the budget for the year ahead that was agreed at the end of February. As with all budgets since 2010, this year’s budget has been another difficult balancing act between protecting the essential services the council provides and making savings due to government cuts to the council’s funding.

Cllr Richard Watts Leader of the Council

You can download this issue and previous issues online, visit Be the first to hear about the latest news. Follow us on Twitter @IslingtonLife and @IslingtonBC for council news

Despite these huge cuts, the council is committed to making a difference on the issues that matter to us all. The increase in serious youth violence in the past year has been extremely troubling. That is why this year’s budget is one that protects Islington and prioritises the future of young people in our borough. This budget will: • spend an extra £500,000 to support young people in the borough most at risk of turning to gangs and crime, and to offer them an alternative • protect existing budgets for youth work and maintain the Islington Bursary to help disadvantaged young people go to college • protect libraries, care for older people, and other vital services. We will also be maintaining our focus on finding local people jobs and building more council and genuinely affordable homes.

By 2020, national government will have cut its funding to Islington by 70 percent, which is over £200 million. Along with other inner city areas, we are one of the hardest-hit boroughs in the country. This means we have had to take some difficult decisions, such as increasing council tax by 1.99 percent. This equates to a rise of 40p per week for an average (Band D) property in Islington. Islington’s council tax will still be one of the lowest in London. Protecting the services the council provides will allow us to carry on with the important work that the council does, such as helping young people achieve at school — you can read more in the news round-up on page 7. I’m really proud that our fantastic primary schools are among the best in the country for helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve good results. In January I was delighted to join residents to officially open 20 new council homes on Lyon Street, N1. These homes have been prioritised for local residents aged 55 or over, which will help people to downsize and free-up larger council homes for others. We are committed to building 2,000 new affordable homes between 2015 and 2019, including 500 new council homes. Find out more on page 8.

You can also find us on Facebook. Search for IslingtonLife Recycle me! Please recycle this magazine once you’ve finished with it.

Other formats If you would like IslingtonLife in large print, audiotape or another format, please call 020 7527 3416

Cllr Richard Watts and executive member for housing Cllr James Murray were joined by happy residents to cut the ribbon on the new development on Lyon Street. 3

Budget news Extra funding to keep young people safe In February, the council set its budget for 2016/17, which focuses on Islington’s most important priority areas. By 2020, the council will have had over 70 percent of its funding from national government cut since 2010. This leaves the council with an estimated budget gap of £73m over the next four years. In 2016/7 alone savings of £24m will need to be found. Our budget is focused on Islington’s most pressing priorities, especially the recent increase in serious youth violence. Tragically, three teenagers were fatally stabbed in Islington in 2015. The council is investing an extra £500,000 to support young people in the borough most at risk of turning to gangs and

crime, and to offer them an alternative. The money will be used to commission work from independent providers with a strong track record of helping turn around the lives of some of London’s most hard-to-reach young people, through mentoring and other proven techniques. You can read about some real-life examples of the positive difference this sort of work can make on the opposite page. The council has also protected its existing budgets for youth work and will continue to offer the Islington

Bursary. This provides up to £300 to disadvantaged young people to help them start or stay in further education. For more information, visit

Generating income

We are continuing to find ways of generating income for the council. For example, by moving staff into other buildings so office space in Old Street can be rented out, and setting up initiatives such as iCo, which allows the council to sell services such as commercial waste to the private sector.

What else was announced in the budget? We have had to make some difficult decisions about where we can save and raise money to help tackle Islington’s funding crisis. Listed below are a few of the key budget decisions. Reducing the council’s reserves The council is taking £2million out of its general reserves to help ease the impact of government cuts. This is money that is kept set aside to cover unexpected costs. Increasing council tax Council tax will rise this year by 1.99 percent to help pay for local services on which residents rely. This equates to an increase of 40p per week on an average Band D property. Islington’s council tax will still be one of the lowest in London. Introducing the social care precept The government has recognised the growing cost to councils of social care and allowed a 2 percent supplement to 4

council tax – this money must be used to help pay for social care needs. Changes to bulky waste collections A charge of £30 for bulky waste collections from street properties will be

introduced. This is something that most other London boroughs already do. You can find out more detail on these budget items and view the rest of the council’s budget at

Government core funding to Islington Council £160m £140m


£120m £100m £80m


£60m £40m


£20m £0m




* denotes like-for-like figures after adjusting for technical changes to the finance system since 2010-2011

Supporting young people The council is investing money to support young people in the borough most at risk of turning to gangs and crime, and to offer them an alternative. Safer London is just one of the organisations that the council works with to provide intensive mentoring to help young people develop selfconfidence, self-esteem and improve their behaviours and skills. Twelve-year-old David was referred to Safer London’s Aspire project through his social worker after displaying disruptive behaviour at school and home with angry outbursts, as well as being involved in vandalism on his local estate.

He was matched with a mentor who shares his love of writing stories, poems and reading. As well as helping him with homework and supporting him to join a debating club at school, David and his mentor have also been on a number of trips, including visits to several of London’s museums. David feels it has been beneficial to meet with someone outside of his family who he can share his thoughts and concerns with.

Not only does David feel more able to control his anger now, but both he and his mentor have noticed a difference in his confidence levels. “My mentor has helped me and listens and responds nicely. He gives me advice and tips on what to do next. He’s helped a lot with how I think. I think about his advice when I’m thinking of being bad or cheeky.” To find out more about Safer London’s work, please visit

Mentor matching After witnessing domestic violence in the family home, 13 year-old Mikael began to appear increasingly depressed and isolated. This led to concerns about him being easily led and manipulated by his peers. Safer London was able to successfully match Mikael with a male mentor who spoke his family’s native language. Mikael’s sessions with his mentor have varied from going to museums, ice skating and playing football, to discussing internet safety, opening a library account, helping with homework and chatting about school and home life. Mikael is now better able to express his emotions, while his attendance, time keeping and punctuality at school have all improved. His mentor feels he is motivated to progress at school and attain the goals he has set for himself. * Names have been changed. Pictures posed by models. 5


Ruby and Victoria, both 5, from Clerkenwell Parochial School, with an Oh Bot

Kids show off techy skills Local schools showed off their tech skills at a very special event at Emirates Stadium. Around 300 pupils were joined by former Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin as they demonstrated the projects they’ve worked on at their after-school Code Clubs. The students have been using cutting-edge programmable micro-computers and software to control robots, run a radio station, create an interactive dance mat game and much more. Maggie told the children: “Tech skills can take you anywhere. You might decide to develop new instruments, you might decide to look at how robots operate in many ways around the world … I think there are a number of young people in this room who can change the world.” Most of Islington’s primary schools now run coding clubs, with secondary schools now getting on board too. There are coding clubs running on Saturdays in several locations around the borough. Visit to find out more. 6

Schools in top 10 for educating disadvantaged pupils Islington primary schools are among the best in the country for helping disadvantaged pupils achieve their potential and get good exam results. The Department for Education reveals that, overall, 83 percent of pupils achieved the benchmark Level 4 or better in reading, writing and maths – the ninth-best performance in England. Cllr Joe Caluori, executive member for children and families, said: “These new figures show that our schools are among the best in the country – but they have been particularly successful in helping disadvantaged pupils achieve their potential and get good results. “This is testament to the excellent work done by our fantastic primary schools, and I want to send out my heartfelt thanks to all the wonderful teachers who made this happen – but also of course to the pupils who worked so hard, and the parents who encouraged them.”

Get ready for Islington in Bloom…

Spring is coming, and it’s the perfect time to start planting in order to take part in the annual Islington in Bloom competition. The competition invites residents and businesses to enter their blooming masterpieces. If you don’t have a window box, container garden or

front garden at home you could plant up a tree pit on your street, estate or a forgotten corner in your local area. You can also nominate an area of planting that you feel deserves a prize. So if you marvel at a great pub garden or a well planted street on your journey to work every day you can nominate them too.

Every entrant will receive free compost, a half price plant and a £5 gift voucher from Camden Garden Centre. Prizes for each category are:

1st £100

2nd £75 3rd £50

For more information on this year’s Islington in Bloom competition or to enter visit:, call 020 7527 2838 or email

Plans unveiled for new look Highbury Corner Islington Council and Transport for London have unveiled plans to improve safety for road users and create a major new public space at Highbury Corner. We are jointly consulting on the plans, which would transform this busy area with new segregated cycle lanes and

pedestrian crossings to improve safety, and the removal of the roundabout in favour of two-way traffic. The western side of the gyratory would be removed, allowing for the creation of an open, attractive and pleasant area that reclaims the enclosed trees from the traffic island for people to

enjoy, linked to a public square outside Highbury & Islington station. There are two proposed options for the integration of the trees. Have your say by 20 March at

Other consultations Kings Cross Consultation Have your say on changes to Kings Cross Gyratory Cycle Superhighway Consultation Have your say on proposals for the NorthSouth Cycle Superhighway Both consultations end on 20 March. 7

At home

Building new homes Islington Council wants everyone in the borough to live in a home which is affordable, decent and secure. We are committed to building much-needed new affordable homes, and are using innovative design to do so… Lyon Street – 20 new homes This development is for people aged 55 and over, who live on and around the Bemerton Estate and who were looking to move to smaller homes. This frees up larger homes in the area for overcrowded families.

Local lettings policy

People from the local area were given priority for the new homes under our Local Lettings Policy, and many of them left larger homes they no longer need. That means we can re-let the older homes to families in severe housing need. As a result, these 20 new flats will ultimately help up to 50 families getting a new home.

Parkhurst Road – 18 new homes We built 18 new flats – including two which are wheelchair accessible – on the site of an underused and grotty garage. We improved entrances and refuse collection, and made the walkways more safe and secure. We also provided new greenspace and spruced up the Williamson Street Community Centre.

Ivy Hall, Holly Park Estate – completing 2017 We are transforming a former car park podium and community centre into 23 new homes, and we are building a larger, three storey community centre. The new homes have between one and three bedrooms, and two of the flats have been adapted for wheelchair users.

The new look homes for over 55s on Lyon Street

Want to know more about the council’s new build programme? Go to 8

Don’t get ripped off by high-cost lending If your washing machine breaks or your vacuum cleaner stops working, where do you turn if you don’t have money to spare or someone in your family who can help out? If you’ve been refused credit from your bank or building society, it can be tempting to turn to a payday lender or high street ‘rent-to-own’ shops which offer products on a ‘weekly payment’ basis. While weekly payments may seem affordable, over the term of the agreement it could cost hundreds of pounds more in interest payments than buying the product outright. If you do need to borrow money, London Capital Credit Union can make cheaper finance available for many people. Credit Union members are also offered competitive prices on electrical goods through the Co-op Electrical service.

A happy customer Janette was delighted with her new dishwasher, which she needed last Christmas as she was recovering from surgery. She highly recommends Fair For You: “One of the things that makes me really happy is that I can actually repay my loan early without any additional charges. There’s no catch! The customer service at Fair For You is second to none! It was all very quick and very simple. I would happily recommend Fair For You to anyone.”

The council also recommends Fair For You, a new, not-forprofit organisation that offers loans for household goods at better rates than rent-to-own shops on the high street, with flexible repayment terms.

Borrowing money should always be your last resort Points to consider before using credit: Do you need that item right now? Can you save up for it? Could you be eligible for a grant to cover the cost? Contact the Islington Advice Line to find out. Could you get a second-hand item from Bright Sparks re-use and recycling shop on Seven Sisters Road? Check out

For free, independent and confidential advice, call the Islington Advice Line on 03444 889 626 or email Find out more about the Credit Union at and Fair For You at For advice on managing money, go to 9

Working better Want to work

If you have a health condition or disability, you might think it could limit your job prospects or that you won’t be able to find and keep a job you enjoy. In Islington, there’s lots of guidance, support and training available to help ensure that everyone who wants to work has a fair chance.

Getting the right support

Islington resident Samantha is registered partially sighted and knows that getting the right support makes all the difference. “I’ve always enjoyed working. I was in the same job for 17 years, but had to leave to care for a relative. When I came to look for work again, I found the pressure of job search targets really stressful. I lost confidence and suffered anxiety and depression.” Samantha was referred to Hillside Clubhouse, an Islington charity providing support for people with mental health issues. “It was a friendly, relaxed environment and a place where everyone can reach their potential. They gave me an opportunity to work on the front desk. I relished being back in a work environment. They also helped me with job searches and to prepare for interviews. I made new friends and my confidence just shot up.”

Help to stay in work

Samantha now works part-time (25 hours a week) in a busy office environment as an office administrator for a global company. “I found my new job through a scheme run by the Royal National Institute of Blind People. My employer has given me all the practical support and equipment that I need to do my job. “I love being back at work and it has actually helped me manage my stress and anxiety. Without the support from Hillside Clubhouse, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to apply for the job in the first place.” To find out more about organisations in Islington specialising in supporting people with health conditions or disabilities back into work, book an appointment with one of our iWork employment coaches. Email or call 020 7527 2706

Rewarding excellence for adult learners Over 50 local adult learners have received achievement awards for their hard work and dedication when completing adult learning classes with Islington Council. With subjects ranging from childcare and catering to IT skills and retail, the free courses are a great opportunity for local people to boost their confidence and develop skills.


Last year Islington Council delivered over 486 courses to residents – over a third of these were accredited from external bodies such as City and Guilds.

Interested in undertaking an ACL course? Find out more at or by emailing the council at

A caring vocation Kathleen Carroll is a local resident who attended a work placement at Alsen Day Centre as part of a BTEC Healthcare course. This was several years ago, and she’s never looked back. “When I started my two week work placement at Alsen in 2009 I knew this job was for me,” she told IslingtonLife. “It was and still is a very welcoming and lively centre. The staff were lovely, very helpful, caring and made me feel like part of the team. They provide top quality care and support to service users. I loved my experience at Alsen so much I decided to come back as a volunteer!” Kathleen really recommends that others look at work placements as a great way to gain invaluable experience. “Going on work placements is very important to young people as it gives them hands on experience in what it is like when working full time. It also gives them a chance to explore their area of interest and discover what sector they would like to work in. I would recommend that young people check out the national careers service website and take a skills test to help them know their strengths and their ideal career field.” Check out to find out more


Get active With spring underway, now is a great time to get out and about and enjoy all the great outdoor spaces and activities Islington has to offer.

Hit the streets! Do you wish your children and their friends had more freedom to play outside? If so, why not think about setting up a Play Street? You can make an application for free, and close your street to traffic for up to three hours per week, month or quarter. This is exactly what Celine Rosen, Francesca Agyeman and Teresa Franke of Fairbride Road did and they aren’t looking back! Celine told IslingtonLife: “We loved the idea of allowing children the freedom to play in the street, to be able to learn to ride a bike outside their own house, to meet the children who live in their road. We have a range of craft activities like making pompoms, painting masks or building a spaceship from recycled boxes, as well as equipment like stilts, pogo sticks and space hoppers.”

And best of all, the children on the street love it. “We’ve met so many of our neighbours since we started doing the Play Street, and now Fairbridge Road feels like a really friendly place. I have got to know other children and adults too,” said Dulcie, aged 11.

Children on Fairbride Road have had loads of fun with Play Streets

Benefits of Play Streets

• Allow children to play near home • Give children the space to play energetically • Increase the sense of community by bringing neighbours together

Would you like to set up a Play Street on your road? “The Play Street is lots of fun and lots of children come to enjoy themselves. I love our craft activities,” added Neo, aged 6. 12

Celine’s advice: “Go for it! Islington Council and the charity London Play provide all the support and encouragement necessary to get your Play Street set up.” Find out more at, call 020 7527 2547 or email

Have an adventure …

...right here in Islington Did you know that Islington has 12 adventure playgrounds? All the playgrounds have a range of play structures and equipment for children to play on. The playgrounds are open access so once they’re registered, children can come and go as they please and all for free! Guy Lawrence, Islington’s play officer, says that our adventure playgrounds are great venues for children to visit. “Islington’s adventure playgrounds are a fantastic place for children to get active and make new friends. They’re the perfect environment for young minds to discover and explore, to climb, build, play games, run around and have loads of fun.” There is also an exciting new play structure at Highbury Fields, which is the largest single play structure in the borough. It’s great fun for children to explore, with a climbing wall, monkey bars, rope ladders, wooden walkways and a curved slide.

Why not check out some of these great playgrounds during the Easter holidays? Find out more at adventureplaygrounds

Park set to re-open Biddestone Road Open Space, just off Holloway Road, is set to re-open after an extensive refurbishment. The park now has new play equipment, seating areas and a brand new entrance opening up the park to Holloway Road. Everyone is welcome to come along on 19 March to help celebrate the newly finished park. There will be tree-planting, arts and crafts, music, play activities as well as Panna football demonstrations. 13

Get active

Show your support It’s not too late to get involved with Sport Relief! Head to any one of Islington’s leisure centres on 18-20 March to take part in fundraising activities. Find out more at or call in to your local centre.

Get moving with parkrun!

New look leisure centre

Would you like to take up running, but don’t want to go it alone? There are loads of running clubs in Islington – and beginners are very welcome… Islington has over 100 parks and open spaces that you can run in or around, but if you need extra motivation, why not join a group to help keep you going? Every Saturday at 9am, runners old and new gather for parkrun, a free 5km run on Highbury Fields. Deborah Roback, pictured here in purple, is one of the runners, and says it’s been great for both fitness and social reasons! “Highbury Fields parkrun has opened up a whole new world of health, fitness, confidence and an unexpected extended social circle. It has given me the confidence to take part in 10ks and half marathons.” There’s also a 2km junior parkrun for 4-14 year olds every Sunday at 9.30am.

Giving something back

There are also other fantastic opportunities in the area, including GoodGym, a group that combines exercise with helping local community groups. Patrick Luong is a big fan of the scheme: “GoodGym is brilliant! It combines doing good in the community with getting fit, meeting people and discovering new parts of the city. Sure beats running on a treadmill.” To find out more and other local running groups including London Heathside Athletics Club and a group for wheelchair users, go to running.

Be a Gunner, Be a Runner Arsenal FC’s annual charity run, Be a Gunner, Be a Runner, takes place on 11 April. Find out more at 14

Archway Leisure Centre has had a £2 million revamp. The whole centre has a new look, with a better reception area, new changing rooms and self-service kiosks. There are also additional fitness stations as well as new weights, treadmills, rowing machines and cross-trainers. Find out more about Islington’s leisure centres at leisurecentres

Squash for all Inclusive squash for disabled people every Wednesday, 4.40-6pm at Sobell. £2 per session. For more info, email clubs@ or go to www.disabilitysportscoach.

Are you a landlord or home owner looking to rent out your property in Islington? Islington Lettings is Islington Council’s letting agency for landlords. Our Guaranteed Rent Offer gives you: A better return on your investment than a high street agent – there are no set up costs, renewal costs or ongoing costs like management or inventory fees, so you will get 100% of your rental income Guaranteed rent, paid to you in advance – we cover any rent arrears or void periods Lump sum up to six months in advance No set up fees or renewal fees A proven, reliable management service

And it’s open to all landlords including Islington leaseholders. Call us now to see how we can help you on 020 7527 4200 E W Islington leaseholder looking to rent out your property? Our Market Rent Offer gives you a £750 letting fee, with a management fee of just 5% monthly rent. Remove the hassle of finding good tenants, checking them, sorting out their tenancy agreements and managing your property – call Kay on 020 7527 7752 to find out more.


Safer Islington

Making the streets safer with Nightsafe Islington’s streets have been made safer following the introduction of Operation Nightsafe just over a year ago. With one of the highest concentrations of bars, pubs and other licensed premises in Britain, the council set up Operation Nightsafe alongside Islington Police to help target excessive late-night drinking. Licensed businesses that are open after midnight pay a levy to help fund the operation, which includes street patrols. Since being launched, the patrols have made sure people get home safely, helped defuse dangerous situations and the Patrol Medic has played a crucial role in helping save the lives of seriously injured people. On an average weekend, Operation Nightsafe staff make 40-50 informal visits to licensed venues to help make sure there are no problems.

Sgt Kevin Blenkinsopp of Islington Police said: “One of the most important things we have achieved is an improved relationship with venues to take an early intervention approach to prevent crime and disorder, in partnership with the police and other partners.

“Overall, Operation Nightsafe is playing a big part in helping to keep Islington safe.” Find out more at

Islington’s Fire Commander Patrick Goulbourne says... Did you know that people are four times more likely to die in a housefire where there is no smoke alarm? Since October last year, new legislation was introduced to require all private landlords to fit smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Failure to comply can result in a £5,000 fine. While overall smoke alarm ownership in the UK stands at around 90 percent, it is known that those living in private rented homes are far less likely to have a working smoke alarm. If you are living in private rented housing without a smoke alarm, go to to see if you are eligible for free alarms. 16

Youth Council

Meet Islington’s new youth council

Islington’s new youth council, with Young Mayor Darey in red and deputy young mayor Diana in maroon

Islington’s brand new youth council will represent the views of all young people in the borough. Over 5,100 young people voted in the elections at the end of last year, with a record 37 candidates standing for election. An impressive 57 percent of secondary school pupils voted. Since being elected, the youth council have also chosen their Young Mayor, Darey Cletus, and Deputy Young Mayor Diana Gomez, who will represent the youth council at regional Young Mayor meetings and will have the casting vote among the council. Young Mayor Darey was delighted to be elected. He said: “I am excited about what the role will entail. I feel joyful that my fellow youth councillors have voted for me and have confidence in my ability to do the role of young mayor.”

New Deputy Young Mayor Diana was also proud to be elected. She said: “I feel very happy and proud of myself and supported by the other youth councillors. I will work hard at being organised and making time for all of my commitments such as college and youth council duties.” Over their two year term, the youth council will focus on health, education and employment, crime and safety, and youth provision. Find out more about the new youth council, and meet all the new councillors at, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @IslingtonYC 17

Your community Start a new chapter…

Local poet Paul Lyalls performs for local schoolchildren at the launch event for Finsbury Library

Islington has 10 fantastic libraries, providing not just books, but also CDs, DVDs, free WiFi, computer access, activities and much, much more. And one of our libraries now has a fantastic new look… The new look Finsbury Library has officially re-opened – with better shelving for books, CDs, and DVDs, improved seating and more study space and power points to make it even easier for local people who want to come in and work. The building at 245 St John Street is now home to the library, Islington Museum, Local History Centre, the Ben Kinsella Exhibition, the Islington Computer Skills Centre, and the St John Street Housing Office, making it a hub of south Islington’s community. It is an ideal place for people to access different worlds, learn about the local area, get online or just pick up a good book.

Books in cells

Islington Police have signed up to an 18

Islington Reads project to provide reading material for those detained at the Tolpuddle Street Police Station. The scheme, supported by Islington Libraries, provides a range of reading material from popular fiction to graphic novels. The books help to occupy detainees, who can also take the books home with them. Inspector Michael Atkinson said: “We now have a fantastic range of books for all ages and abilities. It is good to see some people not only request books to read but to also take them away with them.” The project has seen almost 200 books taken away over the last three months

which is a clear sign of the success of the initiative.

Need a boost?

Islington Reads is a boroughwide programme that encourages residents to read for pleasure. The benefits of reading are numerous including reducing stress and blood pressure. All Islington’s libraries stock moodboosting books that are selected by the Reading Agency. These are a collection of uplifting novels, poems and short stories recommended by readers and reading groups. Find out more at

Find out more about Islington’s libraries at

Making your special day even better….

Islington has always been a popular choice for couples tying the knot, thanks to its range of stunning venues to suit every style and budget, and now planning a wedding or civil partnership is even easier with the new ‘Your Ceremony’ service. Your Ceremony is an exclusive online portal which gives you everything you need to plan your special day in one place; anywhere, at any time. You can personalise your service by choosing your favourite music and readings, or browse our library of popular songs and readings for inspiration. Your Ceremony also helps you to select your

vows (or write your own), order your service, pay your balance and much more. You will receive reminders when submissions and payments are due, making it easy to keep your planning on track. Registrars will be available online from 9am-5pm Mondays to Fridays to provide help and answer any questions couples might have. Superintendent Registrar Besserat Atsebaha said: “Your Ceremony is the first of its kind in London, and will make planning your special day in Islington even more exciting. We look forward to welcoming more couples to

say ‘I do’ with us in 2016.” To find out more, visit

Tying the knot in Islington If you’re looking to get married in 2016, Islington Assembly Hall has good availability for both ceremonies and receptions in the summer months. Plus, the Chosen Wedding Fair returns on Sunday 20 March. For more information, contact the team on 020 7527 8900 or 19

People’s Plaque

Previous recipient of the coveted People’s Plaque - children’s author Nina Bawden.

Vote for your Islington heroes The Islington People’s Plaque scheme has been set up to encourage people to celebrate the cultural diversity and heritage of our borough, which includes the historic Metropolitan Boroughs of Finsbury and Islington. Nominations are now open, and anyone can nominate a person or place in the borough.

A nominated person must have:

Any nominated place or event must have:

significant historical or geographical importance to the borough.

a connection to the borough of Islington either by birth, work or residency.

an appropriate and physically suitable building or structure on which the plaque can be erected.

genuinely contributed to human welfare and happiness and deserve recognition for it and are reasonably well known.

a strong association with the proposed building or structure nominated for the erection of the plaque.

an appropriate address or building that the plaque can be erected on. a strong association with the proposed building or structure nominated for the erection of the plaque. died more than a year ago.


Once nominations are closed the selection panel will meet to discuss the nominated candidates and to agree the shortlist. The shortlist of nominations will be published later in the year for public voting online. The three nominations with the most votes will receive an Islington People’s Plaque. For more information on how to nominate a person, place or event and to see previous plaque winners please visit our website

Boost your skills and career prospects with FREE learning for adults Find out more or enrol on a course at one of our Enrolment Days on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 April 2016 between 9.30am-4pm at: Arsenal Learning Centre Arsenal Hub 56 Benwell Road N7 7BA T: 020 7704 4500

First Steps Learning Centre Central Library, 2 Fieldway Crescent (Holloway Road entrance) N5 1PF T: 020 7527 7002

3Corners Learning Centre Northampton Road EC1R 0HU T: 020 7527 5083

In addition to courses such as ESOL, ICT, English and maths we offer a range of vocational courses to help you move from our learning centres into employment or further education courses at City and Islington College. These include: childcare retail customer service health and social care Come and talk to us to find out more.

hospitality catering and food hygiene courses.

Courses and services are for Islington residents or those with children at an Islington school. You must be 19+ and on a low wage or receiving benefits to be eligible for our free courses. Please bring proof of identity and proof of receipts of benefit with you on the day. For information about what to bring please visit or call 020 7527 5782.


Young at Heart What’s on for older people in Islington? Maisie Heather, Islington’s very own Older People’s Champion, wants to encourage older people to get out and about, and enjoy all the borough has to offer… I feel so lucky to be living in London as a retired person – and particularly in Islington. Many of us have things we wish we’d done when we were younger, but never had the time. Now that the weather’s getting better and the days get longer and lighter, why not do it now, or try something new? There are a wide range of groups, classes, activities and services in Islington – from exercise to education, creative pursuits or emotional support. Links for Living is a great place to start to find out what’s going on.

Something to try out…

Getting out and about is great for your mental and physical health, and offers an opportunity to meet up with other people, learn a new skill, share a problem, or find information and advice. My particular favourites are: Age UK – for anything and everything: 020 7281 6018 Ironmonger Row Baths – for exercise, pampering and social activities: 020 3642 5520

Hips, knees, backs and balance Body maintenance that works! No gimmicks, just effective strength and balance training for over-50s who have no intention of slowing down any time soon. Not sure? Come and watch… or call for a chat. All welcome Where: Claremont Centre, 24 White Lion St, N1 9PD When: every Monday 2.30-3.30pm How much: £4 For more information or to book call Jane on 07980 241475 or go to 22

The Building Exploratory – for secrets of the local area: 020 7608 0775 Adult Community Learning – for a wide range of courses and events: 020 7527 5782 Islington Pensioners Forum – having a voice on the issues that affect us: 020 7226 7687 But don’t just take my word for it. Find out what’s happening, go along and see for yourself. So many people have told me it’s that first step that makes all the difference. You find one thing you like, make new friends, they tell you about other things, then it just sort of snowballs. Before you know it, you’ll be spoilt for choice for what to try next. In fact, there’s not enough time in the day!

A trip down memory lane…

Audrey (right) with her brother Teddy and a friend outside their house in Islington

Islington had a very special visitor late last year, when 90-year-old Audrey Bailey paid a visit to the borough to look at the area where she grew up. Audrey was born here in November 1925 and brought up by a foster family on Basire Street. She attended Highbury Hill School for Girls (now Highbury Fields) after passing her 11 plus. In 1939 she was evacuated to Huntingdon, and during her time away her house at Basire Street was bombed so she and her family were unable to return to Islington and moved to Enfield. She now lives in Harlow but has fond memories of her time here. “I bore my family to tears talking about Islington,” she said. “I had a good childhood here and the people were caring; my

foster family and the neighbours, I think they all took me into their care. “You could walk out the front door straight into a skipping rope; there were no cars around. I just liked the people – they were kind. “A lot of it has changed now, but I still get a kick out of coming to Islington.” During her trip down memory lane, Audrey visited the site of her foster home and Highbury Fields school, as well as the Town Hall for a special reception with the Mayor Richard Greening.

Planning for your future

Renew your pass now!

Future Matters is a free service provided by AgeUK Islington and Gentle Dusk to help you plan for the future. You’ll get information and support to plan for your future care, as well as all other forms of end of life care planning. May, a 71 year old from Islington, worried about what would happen if she or her family died. With support from Maisy, a Future Matters volunteer, she wrote her advance care plan, her will and made her funeral plans known. “I feel I’m being heard now,” she said. By writing down your wishes and preferences in an Advance Care Plan you are more likely to get your needs and choices met, more likely to reduce any family conflict, and more likely to make things easier for those you leave behind. To book an appointment, or to find out about becoming a volunteer, call or email Age UK Islington on 020 7281 6018 or email

If you have a Freedom Pass that expires at the end of March, please make sure you renew it now! Everyone whose pass expires should have received a letter in January advising them what to do. You can renew your pass online at If you have any questions, call the Freedom Pass helpline on 0300 330 1433, open Monday to Sunday, 8am to 8pm or email 23

What’s on Concerts and events at Islington Assembly Hall Make sure you’re the first to find out about upcoming shows at Islington Assembly Hall. Keep up to date on Twitter @Islington_AH, and for up-to-date listings visit Some of the highlights this season are: Roachford in concert The ‘Cuddly Toy’ singer returns to the N1 venue for the third time, and this time it’s his album launch party. When: 25 March, 7pm

Don’t sleep there are snakes Based on a true story, this new play at Park Theatre follows Daniel Everett, a linguist and missionary who is sent into the jungle to convert a remote Amazonian tribe to Christianity.

Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet The legendary London 70s and 80s soul, funk and disco night brings the party to N1. When: 16 April, 7.30pm Damien Jurado in concert The American indie singer/songwriter brings his raw yet graceful sound to Islington. When: 18 April, 7pm London Swing Festival Hosted by Swing Patrol and featuring dancers from all over Europe, expect crazy jitterbug contests, live music and an insatiable amount of swing dancing. When: 27 May and 29 May, check website for times.

Damien Jurado

London Swing Festival

Tickets are available from ticket agencies, which may add on booking and other fees. The venue does not currently have a box office and does not set ticket prices or fees. For more information about the venue, call 020 7527 8900 or email

Hop into Easter… Easter bunnies, chicks and eggs….there will be a wide range of cracking good craft events going on in all Islington’s libraries for children of all ages. Find out more at libraries or pop into your local branch.


But as he struggles to communicate, he uncovers a culture like nothing he’s ever imagined. They have no words for numbers or colours, no urge to nurse their young or store food, no future tense, no ability to tell made-up stories, only things they have directly experienced, no religion, no leaders, no crime. And, by chance or by consequence, they’re the happiest, most care-free people he’s ever met. Where: Park Theatre, Finsbury Park, N4 When: Tuesday 22 March until Saturday 23 April How much: £20/£25 – local residents can take advantage of discounted tickets on Tuesdays, and Pay What You Can Wednesdays. Find out more at or by calling 020 7870 6876

Students’ artwork goes on display ART NOW 2016 is a free exhibition that celebrates the artworks of young students from five amazing schools in Islington. The works included in the exhibition are incredibly diverse, from screen-prints to sculpture to photography and fashion.

To tweet or instagram your view on ART NOW 2016, use #artnow Where: Islington Museum, St John Street When: Friday 18 March until Saturday 23 April (closed Wednesdays and Sundays).

Join the Tuesday lunch club Come and meet new people at the drop in service for blind and partially sighted people. Including a hot lunch and free taster courses in IT, dance, art therapy and more. Where: Finsbury Park Methodist Church, Wilberforce Road, N4 2SN When: Every second Tuesday, 12.30-3pm Book via

Keep in touch! Don’t miss out on the latest news and events happening in your borough.

Sign up to the monthly IslingtonLife ebulletin at You can also follow us on:

Twitter @IslingtonLife

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Facebook /IslingtonLife 25

Healthy living Get advice from your pharmacist All pharmacies can offer advice on health conditions, dispense medicines and signpost to health services. But there are now three pharmacies in Islington which are accredited ‘Healthy Living Pharmacies’ which means they provide additional services from a highly skilled and informed team. These are Egerton Chemist on Holloway Road, Apteka Chemist on Seven Sisters Road and Dermacia Pharmacy on Upper Street. Healthy Living Pharmacy services include: Non-judgemental, confidential advice and information on health and wellbeing Advice on managing long-term conditions and how to live a healthier lifestyle Services that can help you stop smoking, take more exercise, cut down or stop drinking alcohol, and healthy eating Minor ailments service – where the pharmacist can assess specific conditions such as coughs, colds and skin problems and provide prescription medicines. Healthy Living Pharmacies display a logo in their window which is a quality mark of excellence that means you will enjoy high standards of service and care. Pharmacies have longer opening hours than many other health services, and are available without an appointment, so are a convenient alternative to visiting your GP. Find more information at

Cooking up a fabulous family feast! The Family Kitchen project was launched in 2008 with the aim to encourage families, who are invited to take part, to cook healthier meals together at home. During the sessions, which run at primary schools and children’s centres, parents and their children cook a three course meal using recipes that have a different culinary theme every week. There is also an educational aspect as families learn more about balanced diets. Parents who have attended the courses say they know much more now about the food they eat, such as hidden sugars, and are cooking more with their children at home. Islington resident Fardowso Abdullahi (pictured here) is the mother of three children and has been attending the Family Kitchen programme for three weeks. She says: “I love cooking so it’s really good to learn new recipes and I’m trying them at home too. My family is eating more healthily now, and I’m cooking more food from scratch which has less sugar and salt.” 26

Warm welcome for breastfeeding mums

Love your liver

We are breastfeeding welcome but mothers have the right to breastfeed anywhere

Islington Council recently achieved UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Award, which recognises the council’s commitment to making sure mums and babies have good information and support. “Islington decided to work towards the award to improve care for all mothers, particularly about feeding and nurturing their babies, and increase breastfeeding rates,” Rosemary Brown, Islington’s Infant Feeding Coordinator explained.

Mothers have the legal right to breastfeed anywhere, but some still feel unsure when out of their home. Islington’s Breastfeeding Welcome scheme means that many venues have committed themselves to giving mothers and their babies a special welcome. You can find out which venues such as cafes, libraries and theatres, are part of this scheme by going to, or just look for the sign. Mums can also get the support of Breastfeeding Peer Supporters – local mums who can give friendly, skilled support to other mums. They visit postnatal wards, phone breastfeeding mums when they come home and run drop-in groups at children’s centres. To find out more, like Breastfeeding Islington’s Facebook page or call 020 3316 8439.

Islington has the highest rate of mortality from Chronic Liver Disease in London. People who are at risk include those who drink excessively, have unhealthy diets and those with hepatitis. Liver disease is treatable if caught early, but there may be no obvious signs or symptoms that you have it. If you think you may be at risk, speak to your GP and find out more at www.nhs. uk/liverdisease

Don’t ignore it!

Over 50 and seen blood in your urine? Blood in your pee can be a sign of bladder or kidney cancer. Don’t ignore it, make an appointment to see your GP.

Opportunity to work with young people

Would you like to work with young people? Would you like to get paid to share your skills and inspire? The NCS (National Citizen Service) Challenge is looking to hire people 18 years and over to work on their youth and community programme which combines outdoor activities, skills development and community volunteering. Find out more at 27

Dedicated matchday raises nearly £250,000 Arsenal dedicated its Premier League match against Manchester City on 21 December 2015 to The Arsenal Foundation, raising nearly £250,000. Thanks to the generosity of the manager, players, supporters and employees, The Arsenal Foundation will fund more projects which change the lives of young people. The Foundation has helped to support the refurbishment of football pitches at schools and estates across Islington, Hackney and Camden. The club also support a number of local community groups with grants, and works with the north London arm of human rights charity Freedom from Torture to deliver football and therapy sessions for refugees who have been victims of torture.

Further afield, Arsenal helped global charity partner Save the Children to build football pitches in refugee camps in Iraq in 2015. This year the club will send football equipment and coaches to the camps to help provide children a safe and fun place to play. Ahead of the charity matchday, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger said: “We all love Arsenal and we are very proud to have that power of influencing people’s lives in a positive way. For me and for all the players, all the staff and everybody involved at Arsenal, it’s always a very special day. We feel good on the day because we feel we do something which is helpful and football is very important for that.”

Community group enjoys special day at Emirates Stadium Arsenal players Petr Cech and Hector Bellerin paid a recent surprise visit to children from Arsenal in the Community’s Down’s Syndrome football group. The Arsenal duo met the youngsters in the home dressing room at Emirates Stadium. They offered the group a pitchside visit and an Arsenal home shirt each before surprising them with tickets to watch Arsenal’s Champions League match against Dinamo Zagreb that evening. The Down’s Syndrome football group is one of a number of Arsenal in the Community programmes for people with disabilities, which ensure there are no barriers to playing and enjoying football. Arsenal in the Community hosts weekly football sessions for young people and adults with physical and mental health disabilities and provides regular coaching for amputee footballers. For more information contact Arsenal in the Community Disability Officer Luke Howard ( 28

Arsenal groundsmen host school group

Mikel Arteta and David Ospina spread festive cheer last Christmas, visiting poorly children at the Whittington Hospital and Royal London Hospital. The players gave presents to young supporters who were in hospital over the festive period.

Arsenal’s ground staff hosted local school children for an educational day at Emirates Stadium in December 2015. Head groundsman Reece Watson gave a special presentation to the St Aloysuis College students on the importance of stadium design, pitch construction and matchday preparations. The group took a walk on the pitch and visited the underground heating system control room, before playing football at the Arsenal Hub – Home of Arsenal in the Community. The day was organised by Arsenal in the Community in collaboration with the Institute of Groundsmanship.

Walking football at the Arsenal Hub Arsenal in the Community has started a Walking Football programme at the Arsenal Hub sports centre on Benwell Road. Walking Football takes the basic elements of a football match and makes it more accessible to older players by slowing down the pace of the game. The Gunners’ programme will see players aged 50 and over come together for games of football with the focus on having fun and meeting people. To find out more, email afccommunitybookings@arsenal.

MATCHES AT EMIRATES STADIUM Arsenal v Watford Saturday 2 April, 3pm

Arsenal v Crystal Palace Saturday 16 April, 3pm

Arsenal v Norwich City Saturday 30 April, 3pm

Arsenal v Aston Villa Sunday 15 May, 3pm

Fixtures are subject to change. For the latest news visit or sign up to the fixtures newsletter here: 29

Noticeboard Advertising disclaimer Islington Council does not endorse or warrant any goods, services or organisation advertised on the page, and accepts no liability in respect of same. The council reserves the right to decline any advertisement in its sole and absolute discretion.

Your child could be eligible for free part-time early learning. Find out if you qualify! See the website or visit your local children’s centre for further information Or contact the Family Information Service on 020 7527 5959.


Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation

The new additional licensing requirement for smaller HMOs on Caledonian and Holloway road is now being enforced. Mandatory HMO licenses in other parts of the borough may also be due for renewal. You can check whether your property requires a licence and apply/renew your licence by visiting To discuss the scheme, call 020 7527 3205 or email

At the heart of the for Community focussed Community focussed for community for over 150 years more than 150 years more thanprovides 150 years The Islington Gazette readers with the latest sports and entertainment Visitin usnews, at: Visit us at:

@islingtongztte @islingtongztte



Love your local park

Throughout the spring there will be a range of events taking place in Islington’s parks. Look out for the Love Islington Parks posters, get the latest at: and follow us on Twitter using the hashtag #LIPS2016 31

Can you offer a caring home? Asylum seeking children come into fostering scared and with an uncertain future. They need a caring home, support and stability. Can you help? • Generous allowances, up to £450 p/w • 24 hour support • Ongoing training Call now for more information /islington.fostering @isfostering

0800 073 0428

IslingtonLife spring 2016  

Islington Council's magazine, packed full of news and community information.

IslingtonLife spring 2016  

Islington Council's magazine, packed full of news and community information.