Tag Archives: Big Issue Online Journalists

Poole Enterprise Library, the future of our libraries

Nell O'hara

Nell O’hara, Information Services Librarian, at Poole Library

By Tom Collier.

Poole Enterprise Library, established first in 1887 has gone on to become one of the main hubs for information in the Poole and Bournemouth area. It now includes a public meeting and information facility within the main library; including an IT suite with laptops and seminar room. The meeting and information area offers access to business books, magazines and journals – alongside free access to Wi-Fi and public computers. Meetings for businesses, training programmes and seminars are held regularly. The Enterprise Library will also be of huge benefit to people considering setting up their own businesses and new firms looking for some help and advice. Continue reading


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Michael House, stepping into the light

contemplating what is success

Pic: Jamie Derrick. Contemplating what success is.

By Melody

‘Rebuilding Lives’ is the maxim of Michael House, a hostel situated in Boscombe, Bournemouth. It provides needs for vulnerable people who require support and those who have a history of rough sleeping.  The house opened in 2000 and recently recorded its 500th resident.  The charity has been established for over 22 years and Michael House is due to celebrate its 15th anniversary on July 10th. Continue reading


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Stunt star Swift rolls into Wheels

Paul Swift

Pic: William Butt. Paul Swift by his racing car

Pic: William Butt.

By Tom Collier.

Paul Swift travelled a good distance from his home town of Durham, to visit Bournemouth with his friends and family to showcase and perform stunt driving. Continue reading

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The People’s Kitchen @ Passing Clouds

Pic: Seb Taylor.

Pic: Seb Taylor.

Wash, peel, chop, simmer, whisk, stir, mix, fry, bake, talk, teach,  learn, invent, relax, share, taste, and connect…

Sound like a good way to spend your Sunday afternoons?

A project called the People’s Kitchen has come up with a recipe for successful social interaction in Dalston. Every Sunday a banquet created from surplus food donated by local suppliers is put on at Passing Clouds and other local venues. Continue reading


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Generation Hackney, opening up the world of work to young people

Picture: Ian Aitken - The studio where Generation Hackney is based

Picture: Ian Aitken – The studio where Generation Hackney is based

By Samuel Hooper

The thirty-year-old founder of Generation Hackney rises eagerly to greet us as we arrive, picking his way forward through the studio he shares with an eclectic mix of social entrepreneurs earnestly tapping away on laptops, sipping coffee or mending bicycles in the corner.

From his hotdesk in Hackney, armed only with a MacBook, a mobile phone and his unshakeable optimism, Richard Hearn is trying to improve the lives of disaffected school-leavers struggling with the transition from education into work. “I left my job [working as a volunteer mentor coordinator for a large charity] in November and just went for it. And this is where I am now,” he explains. Continue reading


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Week 4 – Practicing Interview Skills and Writing Case Studies


By Samuel Hooper

Week four of the Big Issue Online Journalism training saw the trainees learn interview techniques and recap key photography skills before going on location to interview three social enterprise directors about their work. Our efforts led to a series of case study articles profiling the work of these organizations.

We were first split into pairs and assigned a role either as interviewer or photographer. Your blogger today was selected to serve as photographer as we interviewed Eddie Bridgeman, the director of a community interest company (CIC) called Meanwhile Spaces.

The Big Issue Online Journalists also interviewed leaders from Hackney Pirates, an unconventional learning centre helping young people with literacy and academic support, and Chats Palace, a thriving community arts centre in Homerton.

The main objective of the exercise was to produce work that would meet the expectations of our audience – in this case, readers of the Answers From Big Issue publication. It was important to maintain focus and use our limited time to gather information, quotes and images that would work together to tell a positive story about social enterprises benefiting the community.

Preparation was key, and we spent Thursday morning researching the organizations, working out the right questions to ask and thinking of the best photo opportunities to look for once we were on location. The afternoon was then spent conducting the interviews and photographing the interviewees and the surroundings.

The interviewers had to contend with various challenges, including late-running subjects, temperamental voice recorders (the bane of every journalist) and distracting background noise. However, the application of our newfound interview skills yielded good results, with all of the interviewees displaying palpable enthusiasm for their projects and eagerness to increase public awareness of them.

Jan, one of the trainees on photographic duty, also had to be creative and rely on his training in order to overcome challenges while on location at Hackney Pirates. He said: “The lighting was very warm, and was not continuous throughout the room which presented a real challenge.”

Friday was devoted to transcribing the interviews, downloading the images and writing the articles for publication on this blog and consideration for Answers From Big Issue. The assignment was challenging but rewarding, and showed a big increase in our collective knowledge and skill compared to our humble beginnings in February.

Next week, the Big Issue Online Journalists will take on full length feature articles – stay tuned for the results of our work.

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Historic Clapton Building Faces Demolition

Picture: Ian Aitken: Bishops Wood Almhouses on Lower Clapton Road

Picture: Ian Aitken: Bishops Wood Almhouses on Lower Clapton Road


By Samuel Hooper

A seventeenth century Clapton building is facing demolition after a charity put it up for sale, claiming that renovations would be too expensive.

The Grade II listed Bishops Wood almhouses, which have housed poor elderly people for more than three centuries, are being put up for sale by owners the Dr Spurstowe and Bishop Wood Almshouse Charity which plans to use the proceeds to build a larger facility on a new site in Hackney.

However, the sale has raised fears that a private developer will purchase the building and demolish it to make room for the creation of more profitable luxury flats. Demolition would also mean the loss of the chapel, which forms part of the structure and is notable for being the smallest of its type in the country.

The charity says that while the sale is regrettable, refurbishment would cost as much as £750,000 for only four flats while selling the building would enable them to build significantly more homes for the elderly.

Fr Rob Wickham, rector of nearby St. John at Hackney church and member of the charity’s board of trustees, defended the decision. He said: “As a charity for housing elderly people … they cannot justify spending that kind of money to provide only four modern flats. The trustees have tried to get help from heritage organisations but without success. They are therefore considering their options, one of which is to sell the precious old building.”

The news of the sale and potential risk to the historic building came as little surprise to some locals. Construction worker John Doyle, who fears what may happen at the hands of developers, said: “That’s Hackney for you. They’re all after making money and they just don’t care about the history or the heritage.”

Others were more pragmatic, such as local shopkeeper Marcus Solak, who said: “Better it be used for something than lying empty. Anything is better than empty buildings.”

Despite the concerns, any buyer wishing to demolish the almhouses will require permission from the council, because of its listed status. In considering the request, the council would take expert guidance from English Heritage before making a decision.

Councillor Ian Rathbone, chair of the Clapton Pond Neighbourhood Action Group, hopes to take advantage of this fact by including the threatened building on an upcoming tour of the borough by English Heritage. Cllr Rathbone said: “We’re trying to involve them to keep pressure on the trustees to sell to a responsible buyer.”



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Crisis welcomes guests for Christmas

Salim playing cards with Crisis Volunteers

Pic: Courtesy of Crisis

The number of rough sleepers in London has nearly doubled since 2009, with almost 6500 estimated to be in the capital this Christmas. To help tackle this issue Crisis, a national charity dedicated to ending homelessness, opens day centres and night shelters across London every Christmas.

This years ‘Crisis at Christmas’ was the busiest yet, with almost 4000 people visiting the centres over the festive season. This could not have happened without its 9000 amazing volunteers, who helped give people the chance to access services and facilities across the capital.

Volunteers – who range from hairdressers, to washer-uppers and doctors – are the charity’s front line of support over Christmas and help to deliver the charity’s objective of breaking the cycle of homelessness; by using their wide ranging skills to offer food, companionship, entertainment, hairdressing, massage and  general health and advice services.

Art Wall

Artwork on display at the South East London Day Centre.

On Sunday 29 Dec, The Big Issue Online Journalists were at the South East London Day Centre. Alison, an arts and crafts tutor, who has been volunteering at Crisis for Christmas for 16 years told us: “It makes you feel great when people appreciate what you do. I really think you get as much out of it as they receive.” Adding, “I am always amazed at the talent and skills of the people who come into the centre. I think it is wonderful that they get the space and materials to create some amazing work, as this really helps them gain in confidence and realise their potential.”

As well as bringing a wealth of human experience and talent many guests also carry a wide range of needs and issues. George, a pensioner, loved the food and was most appreciative of being able to see a free dentist, as being homeless can make registering with medical practitioners very difficult.

For many it is the health provision at Crisis for Christmas that helps them the most. Over tea and a mince pie in the communal eating hall Carmel, who is disabled, said: “I could have my eyes, ears and teeth checked all at one time, struggling back and forth between services can be a big challenge for me”.

Bernadette, who had just enjoyed a massage and is delighted with her new haircut, first attended a Crisis centre 3 years ago. Since that time Bernadette said she has made a number of new friends, adding: “the social contact [that the centre provides] has really helped me overcome my isolation.”

Bernadette makes a strong point. With live music, people chatting, playing chess and generally socialising, there is a real sense of togetherness and belonging at the centre this Christmas.

To find out about the great work Crisis does all year round visit their website

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Week 6 Blog Post

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

Award ceremony Friday 13th December 2013.

So here I am.  My last day of training with Poached Creative and the Big Issue at the Elise Centre in Dalston. It’s been educational and insightful, two of the many things which has made the whole course enjoyable.

I have gained knowledge in using my Canon Bridge camera to the best of my ability.  And I have every intention of improving this ability with more practice.  There are many aspects of photography such as Photo Essays, lighting, aperture, shuttle speed and much more which has encouraged me to do more research and practice.  I hope that with practice I will be able to produce more great photos.

The journalist side of the training has showed me how news editorials, features, NIB’s and different styles of writing are complied and what the essence of a good story is. Although I am not a good writer, the training has given me much needed confidence which I’m proud of and I’ve started noticing the differing writing styles in newspapers.

Attending the course gave me a routine. Although only 2 days a week it soon became the high-light of my week. I live in NW London and the commute is an hour each-way but that did not deter me. I was determined to be there on time and to be there for all the sessions, although that was not always possible. Being in that “learning” environment was nice as wasn’t all class room.  We went out many times which really added to the fun. And the interactions with others was pleasant. I’ve met and interviewed some interesting people.  This would never have happened in my ‘normal’ life.  I now know that there is so much going on in the community sector. There are many ‘good’ people all around us and much to report.

Overall, the course, its contents, the tutors, the interviews, the venues, the sandwiches from Charles, the coffee, my classmates, the Blogs…. I could go on but am limited to the ‘word count’.  Simply put, it is a very will compiled course which anyone would benefit from. If you are thinking of enrolling then just do it.  It doesn’t cost a penny and the skills learnt are invaluable.

Thank you to ALL the TEAM.  Jessica, Zoe, Charles, Glenn, Grant, Tobias, Kezia and Adele.

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Dalston Overwhelmed by Royal Baby Fever

Photography by Andre

Crowds throng the streets of Hackney in celebration

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