Lizzie Hunt: Islington Giving Week

7 May

Everyone on Islington Faces Blog has a story.  Yorkshire born Lizzie Hunt, fundraiser extraordinaire, explains how Islington gives her that feeling of being home. She also picks some of the best events during Islington Giving Week 9-15 June – hopefully you can join in too?  Interview by Nicola Baird

Last year was my first marathon actually and I did it for Islington Giving. I am now in my spare time challenging myself to this new adventure: http://huntforolympicglory.wordpress.com/

Lizzie Hunt: “I ran my first marathon in 2013 for Islington Giving. I am now in my spare time challenging myself to compete in the Winter Olympics. You can follow my hunt for Olympic glory on my blog.”

“Looking out for your neighbour is really important,” says Lizzie Hunt, Head of Development at Islington Giving. She can talk about Islington’s problems, backing her words up with statistics, reports and the stories of real people in the borough having a difficult time. At the same time she’s a woman who loves the fun things Islington offers too.

Lizzie, 29, is still a relative newcomer to London – she grew up in the north Yorkshire market town of Malton and then went to Salford University, close to Manchester – but over the past five years she has already rented three places close to Angel and Essex Road.

20140423_115859Lizzie Hunt’s favourite Islington spots

  • Euphorium, 79 Upper Street for coffee and some meetings.
  • Elk in the Woods (a restaurant in Camden Passage) means a lot to me. We went there to celebrate getting engaged. (Lizzie was married in December 2013)
  • I love the Kindness Offensive Bookshop, 273 Camden Road, N7. They have tonnes of books to give away and you can’t give them a penny.

“My husband got a job in London so I had to find work here too,” she explains.

Lizzie is a talented musician, who can play the euphonium (a classic Yorkshire brass band instrument), but her first job in London was as a fundraiser for the Almeida Theatre, where she stayed for five years. “I saw amazing productions and fell in love with fundraising. Moving to Islington Giving was professionally an exciting move, but because I’d lived and worked here I felt passionately about Islington and a part of the community. Even when you walked down the street you’d see somebody you knew… Because I’m from a small town it’s a bit of a reassurance. It’s lovely to know you can stop and have a conversation. I know it can frustrate some people, but I love Islington’s sense of being a small town. Also it’s large enough so you don’t get claustrophobia.”

Islington has become increasingly divided. A report commissioned by Islington charity Cripplegate Foundation published last year revealed that many families live below the poverty line, literally next door to extremely wealthy families. Around 11 per cent of families have an income of more than £75,000 whilst 28.7 per cent of Islington families have annual incomes of less than £20,000. More than 13,000 children live below the poverty line. Poverty leads to debt, health problems and loneliness.

Euphorium is a lovely place to meet, but like many Upper Street cafes, bars and restaurants out of reach for many local residents.

Euphorium is a lovely place to meet, but like most Upper Street cafes, bars and restaurants out of reach for many local residents.

“Islington is such an interesting and exciting place.  But often Islington gets overlooked,” explains Lizzie. “In Hackney and Tower Hamlets poverty is very visible, in Islington it’s not. There’s a perception that Islington is Upper Street with its bars and restaurants. But for some Islington residents this makes them isolated and they feel invisible.”

Way to go
“Islington Giving has only been going for three years but it’s already raised £2.6 million and involved more than 1,000 volunteers to help improve lives for people in the borough. I’m really proud of what it’s achieved. We want people to talk about Islington Giving – to tell their neighbours and friends what we do. That’s just as valuable as somebody supporting us financially,” says Lizzie. And that’s how Islington Giving Week was born.

Fredericks in Camden Passage will be holding a breakfast event for local businesses on 10 June, and several football receptions on 12 June when the World Cup starts, during Islington Giving Week 2014.

Frederick’s in Camden Passage will be holding a breakfast event for local businesses on 10 June, and several football receptions on 12 June when the World Cup starts – all part of Islington Giving Week 2014 which runs from 9-15 June.

Islington Giving Week 9-15 June 2014 highlights
Anyone can join in. Some events are incredibly simple – you just buy a cup cake at Barclays Bank. But you can also attend events: choose from breakfast fundraisers, canal boat tours, an Arsenal sponsored seven-a-side football tournament and a night of comedy at the Hope and Anchor – Islington’s newest venue. Lizzie hopes to attend most of the events but here’s the pick of the rest:

  • Photographic exhibition by Eleonore de Bonneval at Christ Church Highbury. No booking required. All week, 5.30-7.30pm daily. “There are 18 beautiful photographs. You must see them.”
  • Sponsored walk of Islington’s boundaries (£15 for a pack with sponsorship forms, T-shirt and competitions or free map download from www.islingtongiving.org.uk). “From the City to Archway and back is exactly 13.1 miles, which is half a marathon. You really get to see the diversity of Islington and it’s beautiful. I’m quite competitive – the first time I did it with my husband in three hours 56 minutes.”
  • Pub quiz hosted by Mopp on Monday 9 June, 7pm, The Castle, 54 Pentonville Road (near Angel tube) “In my spare time I write quizzes for a lot of friends. They call me ‘Quiz Master’!” admits Lizzie. “There’ll be a good music round and an Islington round, but you don’t need to be from Islington to take part.”
  • Film club with a Mary Poppins Sing-A-Long at Platform, Hornsey Road Baths, 260 Hornsey Road, N7 (free open to all ages, 1-4pm) Fancy dress welcome or just come and sing along. For more info call Laura from North London Cares on 07884 581671.
  • The Wrap Party on Sunday 14 June, 4.30-6.30pm at Global Generation, the Skip Garden off Handyside Street, King’s Cross, N1C (free, no booking required). “It’s very quirky – with a yurt, decking and skips filled with vegetables and herbs (you go up steps to reach them). You are in the middle of a massive building site but it feels very peaceful despite being so industrial. And of course it is temporary – they’ll move when the site is developed,” explains Lizzie.

Islington is changing very fast, and some of those changes are uncomfortable to witness but disastrous to experience. Having an organisation like Islington Giving looking out for our neighbours just in case we’ve forgotten to, or have no time to do so is an incredible piece of good fortune. Lizzie’s work fundraising for Islington Giving offers so much for so many of us – whether as giver or receiver. Islington is lucky to have such a fan.

Islington Giving Week runs 9-15 June 2014.
Go to
www.islingtongiving.org.uk to download info or call 020 7288 6941.

Twitter @isgiv #islingtongivingweek
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Islington.Giving  

Download the Distant Neighbours report to find out more about everyone in Islington, http://www.neweconomics.org/publications/entry/distant-neighbours

Over to you

If you enjoyed this post you might like to look at the A-Z index of posts, or the A-Z of jobs to find friends, neighbours and inspiration. 

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), @nicolabairduk

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

Thanks for stopping by. Nicola

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One Response to “Lizzie Hunt: Islington Giving Week”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mum and kids go camping at Freightliners Farm | Islington Faces Blog - June 4, 2014

    […] Islington Giving is a campaign to tackle poverty and isolation. Lots of info here. There are many fundraising events you can take part in during Islington Giving Week 2014 – 9-15 June, see events diary here and also the interview on IslingtonFacesBlog with Islington Giving’s co-ordinator Lizzie Hunt, here. […]

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