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Your local magazine from Islington Council • Spring 2021

Our £8m boost for parks

Get active this spring

Getting Islington vaccinated

Rebuilding a fairer Islington







Welcome Message from the Leader of the Council

We Are Cally Local business owner Paul tells us what he loves about the Cally

Health and wellbeing Tips to help you look after your mental health




News Find out about the priorities for council spending


Fairer Islington Creating a greener and healthier borough


Local life Islington In Bloom is back!


Jobs and money The new scheme helping local people into work

Stay safe We take a look at the truth behind Covid-19 vaccinations

What’s on Check out these top online activities for all the family!



Thanks to our cover stars Gillian Wickham and her daughter Mia who were photographed in Highbury Fields.

Housing Work begins on new homes on the Harvist Estate

Get active Try Islington personal trainer Tyrone’s simple workouts to help you get fit

Highlights 06

Thayanithy tells her Covid-19 vaccination story


London’s happiest bus driver on people-friendly streets


Mother Jennie shares her pain at losing her son to knife crime

Spring 2021



Welcome to the spring edition of IslingtonLife, in which you’ll find updates about what’s going on in the borough and what the council is doing to support local people.

Cllr Richard Watts Leader of the Council

View this and previous issues online at issuu.com/islingtonlifemag Be the first to hear about the latest news. Visit islingtonlife.london Follow us on Twitter @IslingtonLife and @IslingtonBC for council news You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram. Search for IslingtonLife

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

As we move towards the gradual removal of Covid-19 restrictions, I know many of you will be wary about this. It is vital that as lockdown is lifted, we all act with caution. We have sadly lost far too many people to this awful virus over the last year and many more became ill. We all want to see the back of this pandemic and I urge everyone to keep doing your bit, and when it is your turn, make sure you have your vaccine. I have recently had my vaccine and want to pay tribute to our fantastic NHS workers – it was quick, completely safe and wasn’t painful at all. We know that, throughout the pandemic, local people have valued their parks and green spaces even more than before. For people without gardens at home, having easy access to a range of green space has been vital. As you’ll see on page 12, in this year’s budget, we are significantly investing in improving and redeveloping our parks to make them even better for local people and make our borough cleaner, greener and healthier.

Our green spaces have been particularly useful for those looking to keep fit and we know that keeping active is an important part of looking after our physical and mental health. On page 14 and 15, you can have a go at simple to follow exercises developed for us by a local professional trainer that you can do in your local park or at home. This May, we will have the delayed election for the Mayor of London and Greater London Authority, as well as council by-elections in our borough. Everyone has the right to vote and I urge everyone to take up that right. I know many people will be worried about leaving the house to vote at the moment, so you can see information on page 5 about how to apply for a postal vote so you can vote from the safety of your own home. Finally, you may have heard that in May, I will step down as leader of the council after almost eight years, to spend more time with my family. I want to thank everyone in our borough for their support to make Islington a fairer place. It has been the greatest honour of my life to represent the wonderful residents of Islington and work with you to tackle the issues that matter most.

Recycle me! Please recycle this magazine once you’ve finished with it.

To receive news and updates directly to your inbox visit www.islington.gov.uk/stayupdated





Rebuilding a fairer Islington

Rebuilding a fairer Islington in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic – and supporting those hardest hit by its effects – are the cornerstones of the council’s budget for the new financial year. The council has led a massive and unprecedented community effort and will keep running the vital We Are Islington helpline, which assisted almost 14,000 people last year, for as long as it is needed. Despite the immense disruption caused by the virus, the council will press ahead with major investment in housing, jobs, community safety and tackling the climate crisis to create a cleaner, healthier borough. Services that local people value and rely on will also be protected,

including free school meals for every primary school pupil, keeping libraries open, maintaining weekly recycling and rubbish collections

and regular street sweeping. For more information, see www.islington.gov.uk/budget

Budget highlights Homes

£80million to continue building new council homes – another 207 will be completed this year, towards our commitment to build 550 new council homes by 2022.


The council’s Islington Working partnership will help at least 1,000 local people into work this year, alongside other action to create jobs and support local businesses to recover.


More than £17million in projects to create a cleaner, greener borough, helping Islington achieve net-carbon zero by 2030. This includes more than £6million to make our streets more peoplefriendly for all.

Community safety

Protecting the £2.8 million investment in targeted support to tackle serious youth violence, part of a package of support for struggling families and children vulnerable to exploitation.

Don’t miss out on securing settled status

secure your right to live and work in the UK after 30 June 2021.

If you haven’t done so already, apply today at www.gov.uk/transition

If you are an EU resident, we want you to be able to keep living and working in Islington. Time is running out to apply for settled status to

The application process can take a few months, and with the deadline just over three months away, any delays mean you could lose access to healthcare, public services and benefits.

If you or anyone you know needs any support to apply, you can find details of a range of local support on the council’s website at www.islington.gov.uk/transition

Spring 2021



Changes to bank holiday bin collections

Ready to vote?

On Thursday 6 May, residents in Islington will go to the polls to vote in the Mayor of London and the Greater London Assembly (GLA) elections. The council is working hard to ensure all polling stations are safe to visit. There are a number of ways to have your say – you can vote in a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, known as a proxy vote. You must be registered to vote before you can apply for a postal vote. Go to www.gov. uk/register-to-vote to register. Visit www.islington.gov.uk/ postalvote to apply.

Starting at Easter, there will be changes to bank holiday recycling and rubbish collections. Whether you are a resident or a business with a waste contract with the council, recycling and refuse collections that currently take place during a bank holiday week will now happen the following day. So, collections on a Monday will take place on a Tuesday, Tuesday collections on a Wednesday, and so on. If your collection is normally on a Friday during a bank holiday week, it will

take place on the Saturday instead. This will apply to all bank holidays and Christmas from Good Friday, 2 April onwards. Residents and businesses on main roads with daily sack collections will not be affected. Find out what you can recycle at www.islington.gov.uk/recycling

It's about us This year the Census takes place on 21 March, but you can fill it in sooner. It really does make a difference if you complete the questionnaire. The information is used to fund and plan services that we all use, including GP surgeries, hospitals, schools and local transport, as well as the police and charities. Find out more at www.census.gov.uk




Jobs and money

Free laptops help adult learners study The council’s Adult Community Learning (ACL) service and Islington College are making it easier for everyone to learn, no matter what their circumstances are. Thousands of learners have been given extra support during the pandemic – either with the use of a laptop, the money to buy one, or extra data.

meant a great deal. I have three kids and we were all sharing one laptop. The Chromebook allowed me to continue studying at home.”

Learner Ann Marie said: “Receiving a Chromebook from Islington ACL

One student who benefitted from having a laptop is Manny, who said:

Many students at City and Islington College are on lower incomes and have to share a computer with other members of their family.

“Before I was using my phone to join video classes, look at presentations and do assignments as well. I was having to write them down, take a picture and send it, which took longer to do. I found it harder to get my work done so I am very grateful to have a laptop because I can now do my work.” For more information visit www. adultlearning.islington.gov.uk or www.candi.ac.uk

Spring 2021


Jobs and money

Local jobs for local people We have launched a new employment website islingtonworking.co.uk where local job seekers can search and apply for local jobs, and employers can advertise their vacancies. Employing local people has far ranging benefits for businesses, our economy and the environment. That’s why we are committed to making sure businesses can easily find local talent and residents can easily access local employment opportunities.

In Islington, we are making sure that all local residents have access to good local jobs, and

that everyone – whatever their background – has the chance to prosper.

The website is managed by the council’s iWork team, who offer employment support to local residents and a brokerage service to businesses if they need it.

Building careers Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are an exciting option for both apprentice and employer and have options to cater to school leavers, university graduates, or people who want to further their careers or change career direction completely. Find out more about apprenticeships at www.islington. gov.uk/apprenticeships or call 020 7527 2706, email iwork@islington.gov.uk

Work placements

The Kickstart Scheme provides work placements to 16-24 year olds who are claiming Universal Credit, and at risk of long-term unemployment. Visit www. islington.gov.uk/jobs-andcareers for Kickstart roles within the council and speak to your job centre work coach about the scheme and the vacancies available. For information email youthemploymentteam@ islington.gov.uk

Small businesses are still up and running and doing an amazing job to provide goods and services for the local community during the lockdown. Shop Local Islington is a great place to find and support local independent businesses, many of which also offer delivery, takeaway or collection options. Visit www. myvirtualneighbourhood.com




A Fairer Islington


Need for new homes greater than ever

Building much needed council homes across the borough is a top priority for Islington. It’s part of our ambition to make Islington a fairer place for everyone, whatever their background. Having a decent, genuinely affordable home is a central part of that.


Did you know? 207 new homes will be built this year, supporting the council’s commitment to build 550 new council homes for local people between 2018 and 2022

A digger at work on the Harvist Estate

Work recently started on the Harvist, Park View and Elthorne estates, where more than 100 new homes are being built – the majority of which will be council homes. Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing & Development, said: “Many families in Islington are living in unsuitable accommodation and the coronavirus has led to more people claiming benefits as a result of losing their jobs and income. Coronavirus has made building new homes more challenging. Building sites have had to change the way they work and put in additional safety measures to keep their workforce and residents safe. However, teams are committed to facing up to the housing crisis and building much needed new council and genuinely affordable homes for local people.

Housing Strategy - tell us what you think

We would like to hear from you about Islington Council’s new housing strategy ‘A home for all’. There are five priorities - building new council homes; providing safe, comfortable homes and estates; supporting residents to live well in their homes and communities; preventing homelessness and supporting people sleeping rough; and standing up for private renters. Give us your views here www.islington.gov.uk/ consultations

Spring 2021


A Fairer Islington

What do you love about the Cally?


We are Cally is the exciting project to shape a brighter future for Caledonian Road. It’s part of the council’s work to rebuild a fairer Islington because investing in an area helps to provide new opportunities, better facilities and a thriving local economy that works for everyone. Over the past few months, 140 people who live or work in Cally have spoken about their hopes for the area. We’ve heard views on improving opportunities for young people, making the local economy work for everyone, and how we can build on the Cally’s strong sense of community.

Paul from Sunflour Bakery

can help make change happen. To find out more email barry. winchester@islington.gov.uk or ring him on 07817 088256.

We’ve been working with the community on plans to improve Jean Stokes Community Centre and create a youth employability hub at West Library. Now, we are creating opportunities for Cally residents to take action on things that matter to them.

In May, we will launch the We Are Cally Community Fund. The fund will provide small grants to Cally residents who want to work with their neighbours to put ideas into action. This might be making a place greener, putting on a community event, or sharing stories about Cally with other residents.

Local people are invited to take part in workshops with organisation Nurture Development. You will get the chance to talk about what’s good about the area and how you

More information is available at www.islington.gov.uk/ wearecally

“I’m a big believer in the potential of Cally Road. After being here seven years, I still think it is one of London’s best-kept secrets. I love the diversity of the street and all our customers. It is really a big melting pot of different cultures and it represents what makes London great. “I believe the We Are Cally project is an opportunity for small local businesses to come together and encourage more people to shop local. I’ve also been helping to promote it by handing out information to our customers and explaining a bit about what is happening.”




A Fairer Islington

A cleaner, greener, healthier place to live The pandemic has shown how important our parks and green spaces are for wellbeing. They’re places where we can meet a friend, relax and get away from it all for a few minutes, especially for the many families living in Islington, who don't have access to a private garden.

Bingfield Park, N1

That’s why we’re investing almost £8 million in our parks over the next two years, to create a greener, healthier borough that’s fairer for everyone. Here, we shine a light on some of our upcoming parks improvement projects, but we’ve got more in the pipeline which local communities will be hearing more about in the coming months.

Barnard Park, N1

The redeveloped park will see better paths, a wider variety of plants including native species, fitness equipment and more seating. There will be a new 3G sports pitch for football and rugby and a level grass area for informal sports and leisure activities. The new community building will have space for the existing one o’clock club, accessible changing rooms, toilets and a park keeper’s office. Works are due to start next year.

Proposals include improved entrances, better sport facilities and play space with equipment for under 7s. The park will get a wider variety of plants and more natural features. We also aim to merge cycle and walking routes into the overall plan for the park. Consultation with local residents on the proposals is underway and works are due to start next year.

Spring 2021


A Fairer Islington

Woodfall Park, N4

Improved entrances to make the park more welcoming, new landscape features, better play and sports facilities and a wider variety of plants will all feature in our proposals for the park. Consultation with local residents on the proposals is underway and works are due to start next year.

Love your park? Get involved! Volunteering in one of our lovely parks or joining a Friends of Park group are great ways to get involved. As well as making a real difference to our parks, you can gain new skills, meet new people and improve your physical and mental wellbeing. To find out more about our spring volunteering programme and Friends of Parks groups, visit www.islington.gov.uk/ loveyourpark

What London’s Happiest Bus Driver says about people-friendly streets

There are now seven low traffic neighbourhoods in Islington as part of the people-friendly streets programme. The changes have made it easier to walk and cycle. We spoke to London’s ‘Happiest Bus Driver’ Patrick Lawson to find out what it’s like for people who need to drive through the borough for a living…

“Recently I’ve noticed the roadworks and changes associated with the people-friendly streets schemes,” says Patrick. “Roads that were once busy are now more peaceful. I understand drivers are experiencing more traffic at the moment as everyone adjusts to the changes. I drive too and traffic is a headache sometimes. “However, I feel the trials are in place to save lives and keep streets quieter. They will also mean more children can play outside in a safer environment.” When Patrick, who won a Hello London Award for Outstanding Customer Service, isn’t driving for work, he prefers to cycle.

“I cycle to work, for exercise and to get out for my mental health,” he says “When I first noticed the bollards on Liverpool Road and rode through, I felt absolutely safe. I actually noticed the cars taking notice of me.

He adds: “I really feel that the council are trying their best to keep vulnerable road users safe, and I think the schemes can and do benefit the borough.” People-friendly streets are being introduced as 18-month trials and surveys for each scheme are available to fill in now. Have your say at www.islington.gov.uk/ peoplefriendlystreets




Stay safe

Vaccinating Islington

The Covid-19 vaccine is being rolled out across our community, starting with the most vulnerable people, who need it the most. The vaccine is the best way to protect our community, and the aim is to vaccinate everyone aged 50 and over by the end of April. We are working hard to support our local NHS partners to deliver vaccines to local people. While the vaccine gives us the best protection against coronavirus, you're only fully vaccinated three weeks after the second dose has been administered. There is a chance you might still get, or spread coronavirus even if you have the vaccine. That's why it's important we all continue to protect the NHS by following the guidance, staying at home as much as possible, keeping

2 metres apart from anyone we do not live with, and wearing a face covering over our mouth and nose when in shops or enclosed spaces When you’re eligible to get a vaccination, the NHS will be in touch, so make sure you’re registered with a GP and that they have your most up-to-date contact details.

My vaccine story: Thayanithy .

Thayanithy Rajakulasingham is a Senior Phlebotomist and has worked at the Whittington Hospital for 28 years. “I‘m privileged to have been amongst the first people to receive the vaccine and I’m very hopeful for the future once our population is vaccinated” she says. “We’re lucky to have the vaccine produced within such a short period of time and, to have achieved such progress in administering it so far too. The ideal goal is to prevent transmission among the communities and ease pressure off the NHS. “Since the vaccine is a modern

phenomenon, religious scripture does not determine whether a person of a specific faith should be able to receive it. I believe that medical science is an extension of God that has performed more miracles over the past 100 years than ever before. “Although my religion, Hinduism, doesn’t specify what its followers should or shouldn’t do in a pandemic, it does state that in the face of adversity, it’s a time to be selfless and adopt our values as human beings. This means extending our help to others, whether that’s through vaccinations, staying at home, or simply checking in on someone.”

Spring 2021


Stay safe How does the Covid-19 vaccine work?

Vaccines are the most effective way of preventing people from getting serious infectious diseases. All Covid-19 vaccines have been tested and are safe, so please take up your appointment to help stop the spread and save lives. Find out more at nhs.uk/covidvaccine

Where will I get my vaccine?

At the time we went to press there were three sites in Islington – the GP run sites at Hanley (N4) and Bingfield (N1) and the Arc Pharmacy (N1). If you are able to get there, it is also possible to go to the large site at the Crick in Camden.

is considered an essential journey. If you have been invited for your jab and need a hand sorting out your appointment please get in touch with We are Islington on 020 7527 8222 or email weareislington@islington.gov.uk

Travel to a vaccination appointment

Getting tested

Support if you need to self-isolate It is important that if you test positive, or if you are told to, that you self-isolate for 10 days, so that you don’t spread Covid-19 to your family and community. You may be entitled to Test and Trace Support Payments if you do. You can find out more at islington. gov.uk/coronavirus Self-isolating means staying home, and not leaving your house at any time unless it is a medical emergency. You should order any essentials, such as food or medicine, online or ask friends or family to help out by leaving items at your front door.

There are two types of test – one, if you have symptoms and the other if you don’t. If you have symptoms such as a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, then you must stay at home and book a test. Getting a test is free and simple – book online at nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119. You can choose either a self-test kit, which will be sent to

your home, or to go to a local test site – there are two in Islington. If you don’t have symptoms, free, rapid tests are available for key workers to help identify if they have the Covid-19 virus. The tests take around 15 minutes and you get your results usually within two hours of leaving the testing site via text or email. Visit islington.gov.uk/ rapidtest to book your test.

We are Islington can help you get essential supplies, like food and medicine, support to stay connected and active, and advice with finances and benefits. The team is also available for a friendly chat if you need it. Call 020 7527 8222 or email weareislington@islington.gov. uk We are Islington is open every day, from 9am to 5pm.




Get active

Try our workouts

As spring arrives, now is a good time to get active. To help you get moving, we asked Islington personal trainer Tyrone Brissett from Islington Tennis Centre and Total Training Lifestyle Behaviours (TTLB) to create some simple workouts that you can do at home or in your local park. There are three levels, depending on your current fitness. If you have underlying health issues please consult your doctor first. Equipment



Before you start


Two tennis balls

Chair back extension

Seated tennis ball squeeze

Sit up tall on a chair with a pillow behind your back. Cross your arms over your chest. Lean back into the cushion, hold for five seconds..

Sit on a chair, chest lifted and feet shoulder width apart. Hold your arms straight out in front of you with a tennis ball in each hand. Take a deep breath, then squeeze both balls together as tight as possible. Hold for 10 seconds.

Side leg raise

If you are generally fit

It’s important to warm up your body. Either march, jog or run on the spot for 15, 30 or 60 seconds (depending on your fitness level) or put on your favourite song and dance around.

The workout Repeat each exercise three times, increasing to 10.

If you haven’t exercised for a long time Chair to stand

Sitting on a chair with your feet shoulder width apart and arms lifted in front of you. Stand up and then lower yourself down to sit.

Cushion or pillow

Push ups

Stand behind a chair, holding onto the backrest for support. Take a deep breath then slowly lift your left leg out to the side. Exhale and return it to the starting position. Repeat and then do the other leg.

Get into a press up position on your hands with your legs extended straight back. If this is too much you can lower your knees. Inhale and lower your body to the floor. Exhale and push back up into the start position.

Spring 2021


Get active Squats

If you exercise regularly

Mountain climbers

Push up to the touch

Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart. Inhale and lower yourself down as if sitting on an invisible chair. Exhale and push up through your heels to standing.

Back extensions

Get into a press up position. If this is too much you can lower your knees. Inhale and lower your body down, pause for a second, exhale and lift. Take one hand and tap the opposite shoulder. Place hand back in position. Inhale and repeat, touching the other shoulder.


Get into a press up position. Draw your right knee into your chest, then return leg to straight position and repeat on the other leg.

Cool down Walk or jog around the room for three, five or seven minutes (depending on your level).

Other ways to stay active If exercise isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other things you can do to keep fit and healthy, both in mind and body. Lie on your stomach with your arms raised to shoulder height and elbows bent. Inhale and lift your upper back off the mat. Exhale and lower.


Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart. Step forward on one foot until your leg reaches a 90° angle. Pause then push back to standing. Repeat on your opposite leg.

Good mornings

Get into a plank position, resting on your forearms with your legs straight behind you. Try to keep your shoulder blades back and down. Create a strong line of energy from head to toe. Hold this position for 30 seconds, increasing to 60 seconds.

Active Spaces are free online health and wellbeing activities to get you moving, all from the comfort of your home. Try tea dancing with Vera the Diva, or family fit. There are balance and movement classes and mindful meditation. Find out more at islingtonlife.london/things-to-do Have a go at gardening. Check out page 21 for information about this year’s Islington In Bloom competition. You don’t need a big garden, just some pots, seeds and a sunny space will do.

Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Hold a scarf, rope or even a belt bag like in the picture, above your head with arms straight. Inhale and lower your torso forward at the hip until it is nearly parallel with the floor. Exhale and return to standing.

And connect with Islington’s amazing arts and cultural organisations. Many are offering activities and free and paid-for performances that you can watch online at home.




Health and wellbeing

Thanks to our Covid-19 Champs The Covid-19 Health Champions programme is going from strength-tostrength, with more than 200 champions based in Islington and Camden and the number growing daily! The scheme launched in September to help residents make sense of the latest facts about the virus, changing

restrictions, testing, vaccines and more. Free accredited training is offered to all Health Champions and there are weekly drop-in sessions and updated to help them stay up-todate. Jacquie Cox is a Covid-19 Health Champion, who wanted to support her community during this difficult time. She says: “Being a Covid-19 Health Champion I get the chance to help keep local groups and people

feeling informed about what’s happening and also letting those in positions of power know what is needed.”

Find out more about becoming a Covid-19 Health Champ at www.islington.gov.uk/ covidvolunteer


ASK THE HEARING EXPERT Jane Noble, Audiologist and Clinic Manager from Amplifon Islington, a global leader in hearing care, has the answers to your questions. do some people still think Q: Why that there is a stigma attached to using hearing aids?


Some people do not realise the advances in hearing aids made in recent decades. Hearing aids are used by people of all ages and are so discreet that you often cannot tell they are being worn.

should people have their Q: Why hearing checked as often as their eyesight and teeth?


Postponing hearing tests or ignoring a diagnosis can risk accelerated cognitive decline. It could also directly affect our enjoyment of activities that help us to keep active and healthy.



Will a hearing aid make my hearing as good as it was before? Hearing aids can never make someone’s hearing as good as it was before but they go a long way in helping to make improvements and ensuring it’s easier to hear.

Q: Can hearing aids be invisible? are designed to fit more discreetly, A: They therefore hearing aids can usually only be seen if looking directly into the ear canal.

hearing aids are virtually Q:When invisible, are they difficult to use? they are tailored individually to the size A: As and shape of the ear canal, most people find

smaller hearing aids easier to insert and remove. Smaller technology has the ability to adjust automatically or can even be controlled through your mobile phone.

Q A:

Are there any side effects to wearing a hearing aid? You’ll be able to hear a lot more! Most people have no side effects to wearing a hearing aid. At first it can feel funny in the ear, but after a while, you don’t even notice it. Most people report only positive side effects of being able to participate in conversations and hear all the amazing sounds in the world.

Rated ‘Excellent’ by our customers, Jan 2021

Book your FREE hearing test & FREE 7 day hearing aid trial today!

TELEPHONE 020 7706 3051 quote IL0321 53 Packington Street, Islington, London N1 7FZ

Spring 2021


Health and wellbeing

Walking and talking about mental health After months of restrictions, you might be struggling with boredom or loneliness, or you might be worried about your job and finances. That's why it's so important to do more to look after your mental health and wellbeing – and to reach out if you need support.

Naseem out on a walk

Islington resident Naseem says: “Not being able to go out much during the pandemic has been hard. Whenever I feel anxious I try to go for a walk. I find that getting some fresh air is really good for both my mental and physical health. Listening to music

also helps. Talking therapies has also been very helpful for my mental health.” It is proven that talking about your problems or worries can help you feel better. Islington residents can get free, confidential help for problems such as stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia from iCope. Visit www.icope.nhs.uk or call 0203 317 7252 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm). Or write to, iCope, Finsbury Health centre, 17 Pine Street, London EC1R 0LP. Check out www.good-thinking.uk for tips

Quitting smoking doesn’t have to be stressful It's up to you how you choose to stop smoking, but getting support is always a good idea. Breathe is here to help you take the stress out of quitting and kick the habit for good. Breathe is a stop smoking service

offering free confidential advice to people who live, work or study in Islington. The service provides a range of tailored methods to help you quit, including free nicotine patches to get you started. Advisors are only a phone call away, speak to them on 020 3633 2609 or text QUIT to 66777 to take the first step.

Visit www.breathestopsmoking.org for more information.

• Using quitting aids and services can take the stress out of quitting • Stopping smoking can improve your mental health • Stopping benefits you mentally, physically and financially




Local life

Are you missing out on Healthy Start vouchers

If you are receiving certain income support, and have children under the age of 4, or you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant, you could receive weekly Healthy Start food vouchers.

Easter Lunch Bunch is back!

Want your child to try some new fun activities, make friends and enjoy a healthy nutritious lunch this Easter? Lunch Bunch, now in its third year, is open to Islington children of all ages.

The vouchers can be spent on milk, fruit and vegetables, pulses and infant formula milk. Islington mum Seble said: “The vouchers have been helpful to get fruits and milk for my boys, they help me, so I have money left for other essentials." If you are aged under 18 and pregnant, you can apply and don’t need to be on income support.

In addition, all pregnant, new mums and children up to the age of 4 years can also receive free Healthy Start Vitamins from Children’s Centres, regardless of what benefits you get. For more information, visit www.islington.gov.uk/healthystart or call the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823. Check your eligibility and apply at www.healthystart.nhs.uk

A parent said: “Lunch Bunch has been very helpful. I am a single parent and the cost of feeding my children during the Covid-19 crisis has been very stressful for me, but this has helped me a lot.” And the children like the lunches too, one said: “The packed lunches provided were amazing. I got to try so many interesting foods and eat healthy at the same time.” Lunch Bunch will be available from a number of venues across Islington, subject to restrictions. Please check www.islington.gov.uk/lunchbunch for full details.

Spring 2021


Local life

The pain never leaves if you lose a child to knife crime Jennie Appleton’s pain at losing her son to knife crime is still as raw today as it was on the day of his death six years ago. to go out all the time, now I don’t want to be around lots of people,” Paige says.

“ It’s also been hard on my relationships. I find it difficult to get close to someone in case they get taken away from me again.” Stefan Jennie and Paige

It’s so hard. The pain never goes away. Losing a child is the hardest thing a parent can do,” says Jennie. Her kind and popular son Stefan was with his friends in Nightingale Park one sunny afternoon in June 2015 when he was stabbed and killed. He was just 18. “He was a good boy and smart, and he was so kind,” Jennie says. “He used to help me out with the kids when I was a childminder. He took after his dad.” Stefan’s death devastated his family. Jennie says the stress led to her husband’s death last year and his sister Paige says it has changed her forever. “I’m not as happy or outgoing. I used

In Stefan’s memory, Jennie set up the Love and Loss Group for Islington parents who have lost a child to knife crime. The group has just made a new film to highlight the costs of knife crime and to encourage young people not to carry knives. It will be shown in schools and colleges across the borough later this year.

Jennie says: “There are so many families that I speak to who know the murderer is still out there and you might never get justice. You don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives until you hear their story. Some families weren’t getting any support, they were just left to it. “People move on with their lives, but you’re stuck with the pain and loss forever.”

We have also published guidance to help you talk to your child or any young person about the risks of carrying knives. Written with the help of parents affected by knife harm, you can find the guide at www.islington.gov.uk/ knifeharmadvice

Report a knife crime anonymously Every little bit of information is useful in the fight against knife crime. We know it can be difficult to pick up the phone, but if you think you may know something about knife crime, call Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.




Local life

Have you thought about fostering? Fostering is increasingly seen as a great career option and Islington offers competitive allowances and fantastic professional support with our Children’s Social Care rated Outstanding by Ofsted. Fostering with a local authority means you get a dedicated social worker and 24/7 support. There are

other professionals on hand to help, including medical and educational professionals as well as mental health teams. It also means you have a range of support groups available and a great foster carers association too. Islington’s extensive in-house training courses not only help you support the young person you are looking after, but also add to your own skills and CV. It is incredibly rewarding knowing your support will

Change a child s life

Visit islington.gov.uk/fostering or email fostering@islington.gov.uk

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Find out more at www.islington.gov.uk/fostering

Fostering is a life changing experience and makes a great career option.

 financial allowances and rewards of up to £815 a week  extensive training  support every step of the way

Call us on 020 7527 7933

You don’t need educational qualifications, but you do need space in your heart and a room in your home. Think this may be for you? Then call today to start your journey on 020 7527 7933 or email fostering@islington.gov.uk

If you have room in your heart and a room in your home for a child we want to hear from you.

Islington foster carers receive:

Find out how rewarding fostering can be:

directly be making a difference to a young life.

Best of all is the satisfaction of to a child’s life just when they need it the most.

Spring 2021


Local life

In Bloom’s back! Pamela Berham’s front garden

Robin Don and his amazing container garden

The ever-popular gardening competition Islington In Bloom is back for 2021.

Garden, Container Garden and the newly-created Back Garden categories being the most popular.

This year’s competition will see the return of the Community Garden category, which had to be postponed last year due to Covid.

Many people found gardening a fantastic way to cope with the restrictions, allowing them to enjoy the health benefits of growing and nurturing their plants.

Covid-19 restrictions didn’t dampen interest last year as over 130 entries were submitted from green fingered enthusiasts, with the Front

Many gardening groups have developed safe ways of working in their spaces and have been able to carry on their amazing work.

Apply for an allotment The waiting list for an allotment is opening at midnight on 1 April.

If you fancy growing your own onions or tending your dahlias, please email greenspace@ islington.gov.uk and include your name, address, phone number and date of birth.

The competition will be online again, with entrants asked to submit two good photos of their achievements. The entry period will run from the end of March to the beginning of June, with judging taking place in July. Keep an eye out for the launch on the @islingtoninbloom Instagram page or email us at inbloom@islington. gov.uk Get growing and good luck!

Islington has very few allotments, so they will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and the list will be closed when it reaches 200 applicants.




What’s on

Free Family Kitchen courses Family Kitchen is a six-week programme where families cook and eat together, enjoying learning to make easy, healthy recipes. Currently programmes are online.

One parent said: “I attended with my two sons, one of whom has medical issues so I wasn’t sure if this programme would work for him. He absolutely loved it! The tutor built up a great relationship with my sons and other children ject1_Islington ad 05/09/2018 13:02 Page 1 on the programme, even though it Project1_Islington ad 05/09/2018 13:02 Page 1

was virtual.

Two budding young chefs at work

“Normally, my son’s attention span is limited and not good at following instructions; this was no issue during Family Kitchen. He really enjoyed the process of creating something to eat. I would highly recommend this course to other families.” Do you have children aged 2-11? Find out how you can join a programme by visiting www. islington.gov.uk/familiesforlife

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WASTING FOOD FEEDS CLIMATE CHANGE. If we all stopped wasting the 710,000 tonnes of potatoes we throw away at home every year, it would do the same for greenhouse gas emissions as planting 5.4 million trees.

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Spring 2021


What’s on

A brighter start for families Being a parent brings many joys and many challenges – never more so than now. That’s why some Bright Start Islington services have moved online to help families connect and play together. Bright Start’s online activities aim to help parents make the most of time at home and discover fun new ways to support their child’s learning and development. Sessions like ‘Discover Play at Home’ shows parents how they can make simple items, like turning a sock into a bunny! Children see other children playing too and parents are able to connect with each other.

Annabelle enjoys making a sock bunny

“I liked how I was guided throughout the process,” one parent said at a recent session, “encouraging children to touch the materials, showing how scissors work, and singing a song with a bunny at the end!”

Online parenting courses

Are you a mum, dad, carer, or expecting a new addition to your family? Sign up for one of these free online courses to get advice and information to support you to be the best parent you can be, from prebirth to 18 years. • Understanding your pregnancy, birth, labour, and your baby • Understanding your baby

• Understanding your child with additional needs NEW • Understanding your child 0-19 years • Understanding your teenager's brain for parents (short course) • Understanding your brain for teenagers (short course) NEW Sign up at islington.gov.uk/ parentingprogrammes

Bright Start Islington provides services for families with under 5s, including childcare and free early learning, family support, health services, services for children with special educational needs and disabilities. Activities for families are currently offered online and some are ‘in person’ following government guidance.

Find out what’s happening at www.islington.gov. uk/brightstart or contact Islington’s Family Information Service, 020 7527 5959, fis@islington.gov.uk

Creative family fun The council’s enrichment teams – Music Education Islington, 100 Hours World of Work and 11 by 11 – have combed the internet to find exciting activities for you and your children to enjoy at home. Whether it’s learning to beat box or designing a city, all activities are free and will help to improve communication and problem solving skills. Activities are added regularly, so keep checking for updates: www.islington. gov.uk/familyactivities islingtonlife.london

FREE business start up and entrepreneur course Thinking of starting your own business? This online course will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to build a great business.

For more information call, text or Whatsapp 07734 777 466 or visit www.adultlearning.islington.gov.uk Courses are free for Islington residents or parents with children in Islington schools. You must be 19 or over, unemployed or low-waged and receiving benefits to be eligible for our free courses.

Profile for IslingtonLife

IslingtonLife spring 2021  

Islington Council's residents' magazine, featuring the £8m investment in parks, changes to bank holiday bin collections, and how you can get...

IslingtonLife spring 2021  

Islington Council's residents' magazine, featuring the £8m investment in parks, changes to bank holiday bin collections, and how you can get...