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New beginnings and a new project in Islington

Photo of Rebecca smiling who leads the community micro-enterprise project in IslingtonMy name is Rebecca and I recently moved to Islington to start a new role as the Community Catalyst for the borough. Our project is all about helping people with a learning disability to have more access to the community, and to have more meaningful choice and control over how they spend their day to day lives.

Since mid-October I have been getting to grips with the new job and place, and learning as much as I can about the Islington community. I come from a social prescribing background which involves connecting people with local people, places and resources that can help improve their lives, so it’s been a fun challenge to get to know a new network of exciting communities in a new place.

A vibrant community

Photo of Islington clock tower and parkI am already blown away by all of the brilliant things happening in the borough, its lovely green spaces, and most importantly, the inspiring people working hard to create welcoming and empowering spaces for disabled people. Last week I visited Artbox, an art studio specifically for adults with learning disabilities, and got to meet some of the talented artists who go there regularly to develop their style, and produce work that they can go on to sell to the general public. The space has a great relaxed atmosphere and the art facilitator Jonathan was on hand to help and have a chat. The walls were stuffed with an amazing variety of pieces produced over the 10 years they’ve been running, and they are excited to be moving to a bigger space next year so even more people can benefit.

I also got to visit the Mahadevi Yoga Centre, an inclusive yoga studio that offers “gentle and accessible yoga”, in both group and one-to-one settings. The studio is also equipped with a recently renovated café and community space which will eventually provide volunteering opportunities.

These are just a few examples of the great organisations I have come across so far, and I look forward to finding many more in the coming months.

Photo of modified bikes at 'Pedal Power'Despite the wind and rain of this time of year, Finsbury Park athletics track was buzzing with activity when I visited a Pedal Power cycling session run by the amazing Jo, who started the project back in 2004. This group offers an incredible array of modified bikes that mean everyone can experience the joy and freedom of cycling.

Speaking of parks, Islington has over 100 green spaces available to its residents, and the parks team are currently looking at ways to run these places in a way that reflects what a fantastic resource they are for health and wellbeing. This includes lots of volunteering opportunities, nature walks and other events that help people of all abilities to connect with nature and give back to their communities.

Get in touch

With all these great activities going on, we are well on our way to having a fantastic Taster Programme starting in the new year, which will be accessible to all those who currently or have previously spent time at the Daylight Resource Centre, or the Spectrum Day Centre. If you would like to find out more about the project and how to get involved, please get in touch with me on Rebecca.hindmarsh@communitycatalysts.co.uk, or call 07443 191851.

Posted on 10th January 2022 in Community Catalysts, Community enterprise