Tag Archives: London

A new dawn for cyclists in London

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Pic: Ve Perryman. Mary, a hairdresser from Hackney is enthusiastic about proposed development of cycle superhighway, but is upset that Hackney is again missed out.

That the planned cycle superhighway recently announced by Mayor Boris Johnson will not pass through Hackney was received by local residents with mixed responses according to a recent survey.

Public consultation for the project which involves the construction of a 21 mile route for the exclusive use of cyclist to run north-south from Elephant & Castle to Kings Cross and east-west from Barking to Acton starts today.  Continue reading

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A very rare event – A blog by John Watts

John WattsFirst rule of journalism – Don’t write about yourself! But in this case it will be impossible not to…

Last Friday I was invited to the St Mungo’s/Broadway Achievement Awards. As I am training with the Big Issue online journalists, I thought it would be a good idea to cover it, as they helped me get on the course.

I arrived at the event with notepad, pen, phone/camera and voice recorder, diligent trainee that I am. To my surprise and shock I discovered was the recipient of two awards and was left in a rather peculiar situation of trying to cover a story/article I was in!

I sat and listened to speeches by staff and other recipients about their work and achievements in a state of total bewilderment and failed to take any notes or take any photographs!

When my moment came and I was invited to speak I didn’t know what to say, which as anyone who knows me is in itself a very rare event but I finally managed to blabber something about being there as a Big Issue online journalist. Then amongst the handshakes and photos, I failed to even thank them.

Afterwards I had a little chat with some of the other recipients, most I know personally, and who were greatly amused at my predicament. Between the smiles and the feeling of empathy it dawned on me just how much we all owed to the staff for their hard work, dedication and above all patience.

The St Mungo’s/Broadway Press Office have been in touch and are providing me with the award statements and photos, so that I can write up my piece with some degree of objectivity. As always, they are helping me again! So this time I will remember to thank them properly for this very rare event.


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Week 2: FARM:shop photo essay









Photo’s by Seb and Jaz

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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.”



Filed under Samuel, Trainees blog

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”.


Filed under Billy, Trainees blog

Week 2: Samuel’s Photos











February 21, 2014 · 4:23 pm

Sparking Social Innovation Around Europe


A new EU-funded project is giving small social enterprises access to cutting-edge big business services.

Transition – the Transnational Network for Social Innovation Incubation – will provide a new forum for social innovators to collaborate and exchange ideas. Hubs, known as ‘Scaling Centres’, have also been established in London and five other major European cities to provide entrepreneurs with professional finance, design and legal services which would otherwise be beyond their reach.

The first Transition Spark Session was held in London by the Young Foundation on 30th January.

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St Giles Trust, breaking the cycle of re-offending



Pic: Danielle Aumond


By Danielle Aumond

Making my way through winding turns of tower blocks, I navigate towards a small office tucked away underneath the A40 flyover. I have an appointment with one of St.Giles Trust’s clients.

Sheriff is 16 years old. He came out of prison three months ago. This time around it was for ABH (actual bodily harm). He’s been ‘away’ twice before this sentence or ‘bird’ as he calls it.

“I was involved in a gang in West London, which I joined when I was 13-years old.  I didn’t see it as a gang. It was more like a group of friends that I got along with,” Sheriff explains. Continue reading

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St Giles Trust: Supporting ex-offenders back into employment

By Kimberly

Skills and Employment manager Carole Brown helps ex offenders prepare for employment

Skills and Employment manager Carole Brown helps ex offenders prepare for employment

St Giles Trust helps former prisoners break the cycle of committing crime, going to prison, committing crime and back to prison again for many years now, but recently set-up a special Skills and Employment department to help ex-offenders back into work, Kimberly Lopez went to find out more.

St Giles Trust have set-up a new scheme to support former prisoners into employment whilst learning new skills. Caseworkers, or peer advisers, are allocated to help the ex-offenders rebuild their confidence and self esteem to help them get, and stay, in employment after assessing their needs, background and current situation. Continue reading

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