Anna Harvey: N1 Centre administrator

6 Nov

Everyone on Islington Faces Blog has a story.   Not so long ago Anna Harvey, 24, moved from Manchester to London. She has spent the past year at the N1 Centre (she’s the Centre Administrator). She’s the one who sorts out the big lawn in the summer and gets to invite Father Christmas over. But she’s also brought us meerkats, photo competitions, pop up shops and even a giant dinosaur… What will shoppers find there next? Interview by Nicola Baird

Anna Harvey: xx

Anna Harvey:  “People in Islington are into their fashion, food and arts. There’s a great offering for those things here – not just in the N1 centre (where I work), but along Essex Road and Upper Street too.”

Q: What is the NI Centre?
The N1 Centre is a shopping centre sandwiched between Liverpool Road and Upper Street, just opposite Angel underground station.  Have you seen the metal halo between Monsoon and Oasis? That’s our entrance!  You can find our angel wings on the Liverpool Road entrance opposite Sainsbury’s.  The N1 Centre is an outdoor shopping centre, so I think that has always made it quite different. We’ve got a great range of fashion retailers including Monsoon, GAP and H&M along with some amazing restaurants such as wagamama and GBK.  For night-time fun we also have the O2 Academy here as well as a VUE cinema.  It’s a good job that we don’t have any doors because I don’t think we’d get the chance to close them for too long! We always say to people that we’re a one-stop destination for shopping, dining and entertainment and I don’t think you can argue with that.  N1 is Islington’s post code, but the N1 Centre is at the heart of Angel, Islington.

Q: What’s happening over Christmas?
My favourite part of this job is organising the events at the centre.  Christmas kicks off early at the N1 Centre this year – on 23 November we’ve got the Christmas light switch-on.  From 2pm we’ll have Father Christmas visiting, a guy dressed as a reindeer and two elves handing out free goodies for the kids.  We ordered the Christmas giveaways in July so I’ve been feeling festive for four months now! For 7-8 December we’ve also booked a giant snow globe that you can climb into and have your photo taken, which should be great fun.  On 20 December we’ll have living, breathing reindeer on site.  We organised the reindeer last year and they were such a hit with everyone.

Being an outdoor shopping centre is definitely a bonus when it comes to having animal visits. In April we had Zoofari come along with a range of animals to teach the kids about meerkats, tortoises and raccoon dogs. Getting the chance to hold a meerkat was a pretty rare opportunity.

Q: Why does the N1 centre run events?
We like to offer our customers free events and competitions throughout the year to promote our retailers and give customers added value. In the summer we always put down a fake lawn and deck chairs for people to relax on. We’re quite well-known for this! We like to offer something extra now and again as it entices customers in, and gets people talking about the N1 Centre.

Fotor1104134116Q: How do you choose the events?
We have our regular events that prove popular with everyone, such as Zoofari, which was held in April this year. We’re always up for trying something new to entertain all types of customers.  In August we had a Stegosaurus pay us a visit, which was great fun. The sight of a dinosaur stomping around the centre stopped everyone in their tracks. Last Friday we had a 50ft inflatable sperm whale in the centre. Kids could crawl inside it and watch a mermaid and pirate put on a show.  I was helping set up the event that morning and a man walking past said quite calmly, ‘Oh, a whale this time?’ It makes me smile to know that the people of Islington are used to our antics.  Most of our customers are local and they know what to expect – they know that we’re different and like putting on new and fun events.

Q: What do you like doing in the N1 area? 
There’s an infinite combination of things to do during the day or on a night out. I love going to The Little Angel Theatre just off Essex Road; the children’s puppet theatre. I went to see Macbeth the other week and it was mesmerising.  If I fancy a drink without breaking the bank you might see me in The Glass Works.  There’s Chapel Market for fresh fruit at a bargain and then there’s the vintage fair round the back of Camden Passage each Sunday, which is brilliant for bric-a-brac and antiques. Slim Jims has to get a mention too – it’s great entertainment to take in a new friend and see their reaction when they notice the hundreds of bras pinned to the ceiling.  The cocktails are great too. wagamama is one of my favourite restaurants to grab a quick bite to eat, and luckily we have one here at the N1 Centre. I also love the newly opened Naamyaa, which is owned by the founder of wagamama. It offers great flavoursome food at affordable prices.

Q: Do you live in Islington?
I used to have an N1 postcode until last week. I moved a little bit further North a couple of weeks ago. Islington is very lovely and the price reflects that. However, I’m really glad I still get to work here – I think I’d miss it if I didn’t! I think I’ll move back one day, until then I’m only a bus ride away.

Q: What so you like about Islington?
There’s a sense of community here, which is quite special for an area so close to central London. It’s a place that has so much to offer – you can catch a gig or film within a few steps of each other and in terms of dining, you’re spoilt for choice. Working here is a lot of fun as well, I have a unique job at the N1 Centre and dealing with the public is often a highlight. We’ve always got something different going on, whether it is a performance from local drama academy, True Stars, or a pop-up shop opening like John Lewis’ Open House, which is currently located on the ground floor. No day is ever the same both at the N1 Centre and in Islington as a whole.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to change in Islington?
Rent prices can be a little steep and it would be great to see more cycle paths in the area.

N1 Centre info (including newsletter sign up plus info about all events) http://n1islington.com/

2013 calendar

23 November – Christmas lights switch on, plus afternoon visit from Father Christmas.

7-8 December – enjoy the giant snow globe

20 December – real reindeer visit.

Over to you

If you’d like to feature on this blog, or make a suggestion about anyone who grew up, lives or works in Islington please let me know, via nicolabaird.green@gmail.com. Thank you. 

If you liked this interview please SHARE on twitter or Facebook. Even better follow islingtonfacesblog.com (see menu top right).

This blog is inspired by Spitalfields Life written by the Gentle Author.

If you enjoyed this post you might enjoy the most popular of all islingtonfacesblog posts, Nina Marcangelo from Alfredo’s Cafe on Essex Road which had 800 viewers in a week, 187 views on its 2nd day up and 97 facebook shares.

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