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!
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…
…Casey made our first string of Here To bunting…
…and a LOT of baking took place.
We also set up at one of our locations the evening before (HUB Islington)…
…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.
#HereToTakeover first stop: Islington Central Library
With all our essential kit in tow…
…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.
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.
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…
…and after speaking to Allan about his job managing the facilities team at Central Library, we discovered he was an expert organiser!
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…
…and here’s the lovely Stavroula from Reach Volunteering showing off her Secret Skill.
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…
…and the ever so cool Terry, who is Here To engage young people (amongst other things!).
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.
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.
HUB Islington hosts Debbie and Iraia then took to the Here To Photomatic Machine…
…followed by Lizzie from Islington Giving…
…and then Greta, who’s Here To start-up a sustainability social enterprise.
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.
Here we bonded with residents who were Here To craft…
…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.
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.
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!
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.