Going wild at the Mildmay Festival of Nature

Who’s been making the news round your way this week?

Friday, 12th May 2017

Mildmay Festival of Nature_tractor

Newington Green hosted fun activities for all the family

AS the London borough with the smallest amount of green space per head, you wouldn’t expect Islington to hold a nature festival. But Newington Green was transformed into a countryside fete last weekend as part of the Mildmay Festival of Nature.


Hundreds of children and parents enjoyed activities which varied from riding on a tractor to hand making herbal tea-bags. The London Pride Morris Men provided music and dance, while bales of hay added to the countryside feel.

Organisers The Garden Classroom, an educational charity based at Newington Green, wanted to connect Islington residents with the nature available on their doorstep. And judging by the number of children wearing flower crowns on their heads, they succeeded. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn even paid a visit and spoke to volunteers about his passion for gardening and his allotment.

“What we wanted to do was to make sure people are aware of all the green spaces in Mildmay,” said Amy Williamson, senior programme manager at The Garden Classroom. “There are parks and gardens but they are small in comparison to the number of residents there are, but they are really lovely and really special.”

The Garden Classroom works to connect Islington children and young people with natural spaces within the borough and beyond. They use green spaces as outdoor classrooms where children can study topics ranging from bees to maths.  To find out more about the organisation visit: www.thegardenclassroom.org.uk

Foodbank ready for your donations

Waitrose in Holloway is running a food drive on Saturday May 13

Islington Foodbank has installed a donation point in Holloway Road’s Waitrose following a huge increase in the foodbank’s usage. There was a 60 per cent increase in people using the foodbank in the past year and 4.5 tonnes of food was given away in March 2017. Foodbank volunteer Reannan Rottier said the demand for food was unpreceded. “We would love to have other local supermarkets on board with our collection points,” she said.

There will be a food drive at Waitrose, 366 Holloway Road, tomorrow (Saturday). A list of the goods the foodbank particularly needs and more information about the foodbank in Ronalds Road can be found at islington.foodbank.org.uk

Let’s talk over tea about mental health

A great chance to talk: Prem Baboolal, far right, enjoyed meeting the neighbours, including Hackney Labour councillor Susan Fajana-Thomas, second from right, at Andover Community Centre

Finsbury Park residents took part in Mental Health Awareness Week by meeting for a cup of tea and a chat at Andover Community Centre on Wednesday. Organisers Manor Gardens Welfare Trust, a mental health and wellbeing charity based in Islington, believe that residents speaking to each other help make mental health issues a less taboo subject. Residents were offered free biscuits and cake and were also encouraged to write how they were feeling on pieces of paper.

Time to meet people and talk… and freedom to write down thoughts on mental health

“Because [the notes] are anonymous, you don’t know who said what. It’s giving the people an opportunity and freedom to write what they are thinking about in their personal mental health or general mental health. It’s therapeutic,” said Susan Fajana-Thomas, Wellbeing service manager at Manor Gardens. One participant, Prem Baboolal, 70, said she enjoyed meeting her neighbours.

“I’ve been talking to people and it makes me feel great,” she said.

Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from May 8-14, aims to shed the stigma around mental health and get people talking about their own struggles.

To find out more visit: www.mentalhealth.org.uk

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