I spent a whole day last week researching amazing organizations and people in Islington. It was definitely one of the best days I’ve spent here, because as it turns out, Islington has an abundance of caring and hardworking changemakers. Reading about all of them made me so cheerful and hopeful that I thought I’d write a blog post showcasing some of them and thereby pass the good feelings on! Without further ado therefore, here they are:
Number 1 of our Islington stars is both inspiring and intimidating if you’ve ever dreamt of being a CEO and haven’t quite made it yet. Robin Johnson is just 15 years old but is CEO of the charity he founded when he was 11, the World Conservation and Wildlife Trust. He and his friends have raised over £15k for various charitable causes by organising events for their friends and others to attend. Passionate about saving endangered species and rainforest, as well as making us all greener, he feels “this cause really needs action. It’s much more serious than my petty needs for a PlayStation” (Islington Gazette) ‘Nuff said, really!
Retroset / Tom Rosenthal
Number 2 is Retroset, a local Islington rap group who do secret gigs (shall we ask for a Hub one?…) and who created this whilst the riots were happening outside. I don’t usually enjoy rap, but I do like this one. Another great Islington musician is Tom Rosenthal, who’s done a lovely video to one of his songs, featuring Islington locals.
Number 3 is Henry Hemming, a local who’s just published a book about why Britain is not broken, in contrast to what David Cameron has been saying lately… The book’s been described by Lord Wei, former Big Society Tsar (you know, the one who was volunteering his time to launch the Big Society but then had to resign because he couldn’t afford to work unpaid…) as a “a non-political manifesto for Big Society”. It sounds like it’ll be an interesting, and possibly even inspiring, read. Its title is Together: How small groups achieve big things.
Islington star Number 4 is not an individual but a local organisation for local people: Islington Giving. Their mission is to raise £3 million to support innovative projects to confront isolation, tackle poverty and invest in young people. Islington is one of the most deprived boroughs in the country, where some very rich people live alongside some of the very poorest. Ways you can get involved range from going on an Islington walking tour, to hosting a fundraising dinner, to volunteering with one of the many excellent other organisations connected to them. For other volunteering opportunities you can also check out the newly launched Islington Voluntary Action on Pentonville Road. Islington Giving have also recently partnered with UnLtd to find innovative locals with solutions to the borough’s problems and award them funding, so anyone in the Hub with some great socially innovative ideas in need of money, definitely check that out!