Forward Thinking For Here To

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Greetings Islington.

Following on from all the wonderful work Helene did whilst running the good-ship Here To, I am excited to have taken over the position of Here To manager. Hello Here to, hello Islington!

Joanna, I and the rest of the Isledon team have been locking ourselves away with tea and cake and brain food, to plan the forward thinking of Here To and get moving on an exciting development stage. After hitting and exceeding all sorts of targets and aims we are excited to be expanding and exploring additional services that Here To can offer Islington organisations and residents.

As we move forward we will be spending more time focusing on direct collaborations with organisations to increase the frequency and number of enticing opportunities on offer to all you ready and willing volunteers. Equally as important though is our continued efforts to connect with people in Islington and find out just what would qualify as their ‘volunteer dream come true’, what makes their interest levels sore and what gets their volunteer clocks ticking. We intend to be picking a brain or two near you throughout the coming months at one of our many playful Pop-Ups across the borough. Keep them eyes peeled for a Pop-Up Near you…..

Also Watch this space for Bitsize Plus opportunities for residents to pursue longer lasting skills matching opportunities across our Isledon Hubs….

Looking forward to meeting some of you soon.

Sinéad

Here To… round up the #HereToTakeover

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Following a summer of Islington community festivals, we set ourselves a challenge. We asked: ‘is it possible to visit five venues across Islington in a single day to tell more people about Here To?’

We now know the answer is ‘yes’, because we’ve just completed our first ever Here To Takeover!

Getting ready 

After putting a call out for venues and having found a new super Here To Wizard called Casey to give us a hand, we set about making a brand new Here To Photomatic Machine…

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…Casey made our first string of Here To bunting…

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…and a LOT of baking took place.

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We also set up at one of our locations the evening before (HUB Islington)…

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…which involved climbing up a lot of stairs with a lot of stuff. Nevertheless, there was a great notice awaiting us at the top which made it all worth it.

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#HereToTakeover first stop: Islington Central Library

With all our essential kit in tow…

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…our first stop was Islington’s Central Library 9.30-10.30am. We were positioned in the foyer and were poised with our Here To Photomatic Machine to find Secret Skills.

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One of the first people we met at the library was Kass, a lyricist who is Here To use poetry and the spoken word to communicate with people.

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He overheard us talking about helping out on local projects, and came over for a chat and to perform one of his pieces for us.

We then met Deanna, a teacher and saxophonist who had just cycled in to drop some books off…

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…and after speaking to Allan about his job managing the facilities team at Central Library, we discovered he was an expert organiser!

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We met a lot of mothers at the Central Library too, who were very interested in getting involved with a local project, but find it hard to find the time as they’re caring for their children.

This has been a reoccurring theme across all our events this summer and, because we’re Here To find bite-sized opportunities for residents, we’re keen to think about more ways we can use Here To to enable parents to meet their personal goals.

Second stop: London Metropolitan University

After the library, we hopped down Holloway Road to set up at London Metropolitan University’s Learning Centre. Reach Volunteering was kind enough to host us…

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…and here’s the lovely Stavroula from Reach Volunteering showing off her Secret Skill.

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We then met a lot of PGCE students who were enrolling onto their course for this academic year, including Freddie, who was Here To mime whilst eating some of our biscuits…

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…and the ever so cool Terry, who is Here To engage young people (amongst other things!).

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As busy students, the reaction to Here To was positive, and they liked the fact that they could get valuable work experience whilst also doing something good for their community. With a growing number of projects on the site, were could also play matchmaker between local people and projects, and recommend specific opportunities to people depending on what they were looking to achieve.

Third stop: HUB Islington

Tucked away behind Angel station, we took over HUB Islington‘s boardroom between 1pm and 3pm.

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A creative space for innovators and social entrepreneurs, we successfully completed a desk-drop of biscuits and flyers to those in the building, and we made some seed bombs too.

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HUB Islington hosts Debbie and Iraia then took to the Here To Photomatic Machine…

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…followed by Lizzie from Islington Giving

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…and then Greta, who’s Here To start-up a sustainability social enterprise.

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It was great to see how a different type of ‘organisation’ (the start-up and the social entrepreneur) reacted to Here To as a place to find help and support from local people.

We were similarly excited by the projects they were working on and their enthusiasm for new ideas/ways of thinking about volunteering in general.

Forth stop: Whittington Park Community Cafe

Moving from south to north Islington for the second half of the day, we set up shop at Whittington Park.

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Here we bonded with residents who were Here To craft…

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…and we also spoke to a couple of very intelligent young ladies (aged 6) who drew visual representations of the fact they’re Here To ‘party'(!) and Here To go swimming.

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Final stop: helping out at ArchWay With Words

At 5.30pm, we arrived at our final stop off to do some helping out at ArchWay With Words, a local festival celebrating the literary heritage of Archway.

After a great briefing from Becky, we took up our positions at front of house. Our key jobs were to welcome people, direct them to the correct locations in the building and to sell tickets.

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The perks? Aside from meeting some great authors, artists and local people, we got VIP access to the events we were helping to run, and we got to wear a lovely ArchWay With Words t-shirt whilst doing so!

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At Here To, we’re passionate about living our values and practising what we preach. So it was fitting to round off an action-packed day by using our free time better: it’s amazing what you can achieve in just a couple of hours.

We hope that this will be the first of many Here To Takeover events as it was such fun and we had such great conversations with a whole host of people. We hope you enjoyed it too!

A HUGE thanks to Casey, Islington Council (Cedric and John), HUB Islington (Debbie), ArchWay With Words (Becky), Whittington Park Community Association (Ann, Katia and Sandra) and Reach Volunteering (Stavroula) for making the inaugural #HereToTakeover such a success.

Here To… announce a takeover!

Now the Here To Beach Hut tour of Islington is over (sad face), we’ve got a bit more free time to spare on our hands. In true Here To style, we wanted to ‘use our free time better’, so we thought to ourselves: why not organise another event?

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Here To Takeover!

The Here To Takeover is an action-packed day of helping out and spreading the word that will take place on Wednesday 25th September.

A group of our Here To Wizards will visit 5 locations across the borough to raise awareness of the live opportunities we have available for residents, and how we can help organisations, community groups, start-ups and proactive people to find helpers with the right skills.

The locations

Owing to the sporadic nature of the day (and the fact that you’ll be giving us some tasks to complete!), we’ll be following this loose schedule:

* 9-10.30am Islington Central Library
* 10.30-12.30am London Metropolitan University, Learning Centre
* 1-3pm Hub Islington
* 3-5pm Whittington Park Community Cafe
* 6-8pm ArchWay With Words

At each location, members of the Here To team will be available to explain what Here To is about, show you how to sign up to an opportunity, explain what’s involved in creating an opportunity, to share home-baked edible goods and to teach you how to make a seed bomb.

Just look out for people in the grey and red Here To t-shirts!

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We’re Here To help

We’ll also be looking for Secret Skills at each location using the Here To Photomatic Machine, creating a noise on social media using the hashtag #HereToTakeover and offering our time to local people and projects who need it.

The Here To Photomatic Machine being built by Tom

If you would like us to help you out in any way on the day, from cleaning your desk to making you a cup of tea or brainstorming an event idea, simply tweet or Facebook your request to us and we’ll try and get to you.

We’ll have a backpack of goodies with us, and our Bucket of Community Spirit, so the more imaginative the requests the better!

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The Here To Takeover is all about getting more people excited and inspired about a new way of helping out locally and to get as many people as possible supporting the movement.

If you’re interested in using your free time better to meet personal goals, we’d love to see you there at a time and location that suits you!

The Here To Takeover has now taken place. Check out what happened by clicking here.