Tag Archives: hackney

Generation Hackney, investing in our future

Picture: Ian Aitken - Richard Hearn, Founder of Generation Hackney

Picture: Ian Aitken – Richard Hearn, Founder of Generation Hackney

By Yousif Farah

Youth re-offending is one of many problems we are faced with as a society. Not many realize the gravity of the problem or its ramifications on our generation – or future generations for that matter. Recent re-offending rates are quite alarming; 75% of young people re-offend within two years of being released.

However, the youth are the foundation of the future, and we need to ensure that foundation is solid and durable. Generation Hackney is one of the charities battling to tackle the problem. Continue reading

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Hackney park to mark 125th anniversary

Pic: Jan Weuterisse: Dog walkers enjoy Clissold Park ahead of the anniversary celebrations

Pic: Jan Weuterisse: Dog walkers enjoy Clissold Park ahead of the anniversary celebrations

By Yousif Farah

A famous Victorian Park is set to celebrate its 125th Anniversary in June. Clissold Park, in Stoke Newington, which has held green flag award since 2006 in recognition of its clean and green spaces, is one of Hackney’s oldest and most cherished parks.

However, despite the Anniversary being less than six months away there is no clear indication as to how the occasion will be marked despite organisers of the event calling on friends and users of the park to suggest ideas.

So the Big Issue Online Journalists team visited the park this week to find out local ideas and opinions on how to commemorate the occasion.

Andy Brown, an 82-year-old who has been coming to the park for a walk for the last 15 years, said: “I knew the anniversary was this year, but have no idea what they’re planning to do. I wish they’d finish building the tennis courts. I’ll probably just celebrate it by having an afternoon walk.”

However, Adam Grice, a technician and radio presenter from Dalston, had plenty. He said: “They should have theatre and sports games from 125 years ago with a modern twist. Actually, find out who was top of the hit parade back then and get a local grime artist to play all the old hits and do cover versions.”

Pic: Jan Weutersisse: How should Clissold Park celebrate its 125th anniversary?

Pic: Jan Weutersisse: How should Clissold Park celebrate its 125th anniversary?

The former country estate was opened to the public on the 24th of July, 1889, and includes the Grade II listed Clissold House, a cafe, paddling pool, tennis courts, a butterfly dome, bird and animal enclosures, and two ponds named: Beckmere and Runtzmere after the co-founders of the park.

The Park is blessed with spectacular views, and thanks to the extensive restoration which took place in 2011 and 2012 Clissold House has been taken off the “ Heritage at Risk” register where it has featured since 1991.

Clissold Park User Group, an independent group that works with Hackney Council to give a voice to park users, is asking for ideas on how to mark the occasion between June 21 and 26.

To submit your ideas, please email clissoldpug@googlemail.com

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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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Clissold Park Celebrating 125 Years

A park in Hackney’s Stoke Newington will celebrate  it’s 125 year anniversary in July. The Clissold Park Users Group is eager to hear from people with ideas to mark the event, or want to get involved in the organization.

Some interesting suggestions came up, when talking to some local residents and users of Clissold Park.

Adam Grice, a technician and radio presenter from Dalston, said: “They should have theatre and sports games from 125 years ago with a modern twist. Actually, find out who was top of the hit parade back then and get a local grime artist to play all the old hits and do cover versions.”

A slightly different take from Dan Hart, a drama teacher and event manager living in Stoke Newington, who said: “Bring back Stokefest, but just with local schools and artists and performers so it doesn’t get too packed. You could have an all day theatre performance covering theatre of the last 125 years and base it around local themes and history. So from the Quakers and slums to the yummy mummies and err slums.”

In a discussing with a group of dog walkers it was alleged that the festival was stopped because it became “too big,” as it had been “too widely advertised.” There were too many people, causing all sorts of problems, and “they were searching people as they went in.” But it would be good to have it back in a different form.

When talking to people, a festival type of event seems to be the re-occurring theme, as with Ed Giles, a designer from Stoke Newington, who suggested: “They should have something like the old festivals, they were great: carnival vibes, music and stages. What better than a massive party. For the kids you could have deer and goat races, like the old donkey derbies.”

However, Andy Brown, who’s 82-years-old and has been coming to the park for 15 years for a walk: “I knew the anniversary was this year, but have no idea what they’re planning to do. I wish they’d finish building the tennis courts. I’ll probably just celebrate it by having an afternoon walk.”

For more information visit: http://www.clissoldpark.com/

Or if you have an idea to celebrate the parks anniversary email: Dionne.Maxwell@hackney.gov.uk

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Historic Building At Risk in Clapton

DSCF1734A cluster of 17th century buildings facing Clapton Pond have been made available for sale by the charity that owns them, prompting concerns that they could be demolished, despite having listed status.

The buildings were originally built to provide housing for elderly local women and did so up until 2012.  As well as flats and a courtyard, the building complex contains a chapel said to be the smallest in the country.

Despite the buildings having grade II listed status, developers could demolish them if given permission by Hackney Council.  It is not yet known if this would be something future owners may attempt. 

Local Councillor Ian Rathbone, who is chair of the Clapton Pond Neighbourhood Action Group, said they “don’t anticipate demolition, just because of the building’s listed status” but added “we are keen to meet with any potential buyer, and expect that this would happen through the formal planning process” as they seek reassurances over the buildings’ future.

The Council does not usually approve the demolition of listed buildings, according to its website.  Any decision would only be made after consultation with English Heritage.

The charity, Dr Spurstowe and Bishops Wood Almshouses, say that they intend to use the money raised by the sale to pay for the construction of new homes with which they could provide more social housing for the elderly.  They had initially hoped to refurbish and continue to use the almshouses but the cost was prohibitive. 

 Father Rob Wickham, member of the board of trustees of the charity and rector at St. John at Hackney Church said: “As a charity for housing elderly people, rather than a charity to protect heritage buildings, the charity cannot justify spending that kind of money” and pointed out that “Anyone who bought it would of course have to follow the strict guidance of English Heritage when refurbishing it”.

 Previous residents of the buildings, called the Bishops Wood Almshouses, were moved by the charity that owns them into alternative accommodation in 2012 and they have lain empty ever since.

 Marcus Soak, who works in a shop nearby, said: “it’s better [they] be used for something than lying empty. Anything is better than empty buildings”.

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Social enterprise, Red Route Café, opens in Hackney

Social Enterprise

A Social Enterprise

A new Café opened this week, in response to the 2011 riots, to offer young people training, work experience and volunteering, opportunities in the local community.

The Red Route Café on Lower Clapton Road, was developed through the fund raising efforts of CSV Springboard Hackney learning center. Lord Levy, Richard Lockwood, and well known music mogul Pete Waterman, were all present at the opening event.

Lord Levy also spoke of the potential of the venture, “I’ve no doubt the social enterprise will be a wonderful opportunity for our young learners, to gain crucial skills and training”.

Please visit their website, for more information.

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The Hair Project, providing young people with a helping hand

Pic: Anil Parmar: Andrew Curtis set up The Hair Project in 2010

Pic: Anil Parmar: Andrew Curtis set up The Hair Project in 2010

“I was that kid that grew up on a council estate without opportunities. Most of my friends that I grew up with either became drug dealers, have been murdered or ended up in prison” – these are the words of successful hairstylist Andrew Curtis and now one of the directors of The Hair Project, in Hoxton, East London.

Curtis, who trained at the Vidal Sassoon Academy from the age of 17. He progressed onto working in a Vidal Sassoon salon as an assistant to stylist. This was followed by many years of experience in other high-end salons. Continue reading

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December 6, 2013 · 1:06 pm

SleepingBags

Pic: Dave Barrett: Sleepingbags' first ever product - a bag.

Pic: Dave Barrett

The top 300 hotel companies in the world throw away enough hotel linen to circle the globe every six months, according to research carried out by SleepingBags – a social enterprise in East London.

SleepingBags was created to directly address the issue of retired hotel linen, after entrepreneur Andy Marks discovered that tonnes of luxurious fabric was being thrown into landfill. The research was recently conducted to find the true extent of the problem. Continue reading

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Dalston cinema’s art-house programming under threat

Pic: Chris Evans: The art-deco cinema's art-house programming could disappear after art funding was cut

Pic: Chris Evans: The art-deco cinema’s art-house programming could disappear as revenues decline

By Martin Kitara

The Rio cinema on Kingsland High Street is facing threat to its diverse programming and needs to improve its financial position over the coming months. It is urging film fans to visit and see films there more often.

The management at Rio Cinema on Kingsland High Street recently denied reports that it was in danger of closure by stating “we can inform you that we’re not going to close anytime soon” but appreciated the concern and interest.

Known for catering to art house film fans, the local cinema still survives today despite the widespread decline in art funding.

The cinema would also like to start renovations to the wonderful Grade-II listed iconic building.

The cinema, built in 1909, is known for its distinctive art deco interior and has a licensed Cafe. The Rio which is a charity provides affordable cinema access for older people, those hard of hearing, children and community groups and supports the diverse cultural needs of the local population through film screenings and special events.

Although the surrounding area has seen extensive regeneration in recent years, the Rio cinema building still fits in well amongst the mishmash of buildings and forms one of the main features of the High Street. It is impossible to walk through Kingsland High Street without noticing it near Dalston Kingsland Station.

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Enterprise helps SMEs & unemployed pull themselves up by the Bootstrap

DSCF1475

While Dalston in east London has seen a huge investment and regeneration programme in recent years it has made it difficult for social enterprises and creatives to find affordable space to rent.

Fortunately long-running social enterprise Bootstrap is set-up to do just that. Founded in 1977 as a training and enterprise organisation the company has gone on to support and nurture charities, social enterprises small creative businesses based in and serving the community.

Poorly funded organisations such as Action for Children, the Latin American Women’s Refuge and the Refugee Women’s Association have all benefited from affordable space in an otherwise unaffordable area where not everyone has benefited from the influx of money and promises of social mobility.

Fiona Evans, who works with Action for Children, said: “Bootstrap enables us to reach local children who need our help, whether they are young carers, have Mental Health issues, as well as those who have trouble integrating at school or into the community.”

While funding by local government has been severely cut in recent years charitable organisations have had to learn to market themselves in recent years and so visits from Body Shop founder Anita Roddick and actor Eva Longoria have helped get the publicity they need as well as a moral boost.

However Bootstrap has not forgotten its roots of helping train and support young people into employment.

Damion Thomas

Damion Thomas

Damion Thomas, who works at Bootstrap, was long term unemployed before he became their receptionist and he believes he would have found work a lot quicker had he learnt about Bootstraps intern programme, he said.

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