Sara Bloch of The Peel explains the roles of the new community organisers while inside, each one explains what they hope to achieve
Over the next few months you’re likely to see our new team of Community Organisers out and about talking with locals. They’re out there because they want to hear your views on how to make Clerkenwell a more connected area, with less social isolation and stronger bonds between its people and places.
Community organising is the work of bringing people together to take action around their common concerns. We believe that if we listen to the issues that people face and their vision for a thriving community, we can use their collective power to shake things up for the good of the whole neighbourhood.
Over the last couple of years we’ve already started building relationships with local people. Through the act of listening we’ve met many locals who wanted to launch their own projects to get people talking and bring the community together. We have helped them to organise a range of activities including an online baking club, a street party, a gardening group, this local paper – the EC1 Echo – and many more.
Our Community Organisers are here to make it easier for you to contribute to community life in Clerkenwell and to this end we’re asking readers: do you want to help community life thrive in Clerkenwell? Do you have an idea that could bring people together and reduce isolation in our neighbourhood? If you would like to have a conversation about your idea, or would like to collaborate with others to get an initiative off the ground, please get in touch.
Meet Clerkenwell’s Community Organisers
I came to live in Clerkenwell in 2015 as a trial. We wanted to live in London for a couple of years and we chose Clerkenwell because it was near to where my husband lived at the time. We rented a place in St John Street but very quickly fell in love with the area so we stayed. I love the different personas that there are in the week. It’s very buzzy with lots of design shops and people wandering around. On weekends there’s a wonderful calm and peace and you’ll see all the families and locals. I love being part of that calmer quieter Clerkenwell as well as the buzzier one. As a Community Organiser I’m really interested in hearing what ideas people have to bring the community together and improve the community. I want to help people bring their ideas alive and get to know different people in the community.
I have lived in Clerkenwell for almost 10 years now and I love the area. Before I had my daughter I got to enjoy Clerkenwell’s pubs scene. Now we are a family, we’ve seen what the area has to offer for children which is amazing. With the library, the Barbican, the parks and children’s groups, there’s always something to do. I also think there’s a community spirit here, but when you talk to long-term residents, they say it was a very different neighborhood in the past. It has been gentrified and we need to have activities that help bring people from different parts of the community together. I organised the Exmouth Market Street Party last year, and it was a huge success. I now want to help others get community projects off the ground and take advantage of the support of The Peel.
I grew up in Clerkenwell and went to school here so it is a big part of my identity. I know a lot of the young people that live here. My earliest memories include playing in Spa Fields, 3 Corners and my primary school, Hugh Myddelton. All of them remain important to shaping the person I am today. I don’t think that there are enough community events in the area and as a Community Organiser I want to help there to be more activities and events so that people feel more at home and connected to each other in the area.
I have lived in Clerkenwell for seven years. It’s a great place to live – there’s so much here and so many possibilities. I have three kids and there’s a lot here for them to do: I don’t struggle for activities. But during my time living here I have noticed that there is a lack of community engagement. We are all busy in what we do and we enjoy the area so much that we are busy taking advantage of what it has to offer, but we don’t know each other. What I want to do is help people to come together so that we get to know each other. With The Peel I have explored starting a community garden – I’ve learned a lot through the journey and now want to help others get activities going and explore their ideas.
I am 21 years old. I grew up in Clerkenwell and attended secondary and college education. Post-education, I have worked for a youth theatre based in Islington that offers free theatre and experiences, and have also worked at the Barbican Centre. But I have wanted to engage more in community outreach for all ages. I think one of the best things about Clerkenwell is how much of a melting pot it is in terms of ethnicity and culture, all packed into a small place. I think we have a unique opportunity here to share and enhance the local area’s culture and sense of community. While in this role I hope to be able to have a positive impact on options for young people here.
Since I was very young, I have always had a passion for Clerkenwell. I have lived here all my life, firstly in the Old Street area and now near Exmouth Market. I am extremely proud and privileged to have been raised in Clerkenwell, and to live here is truly a blessing. What I love most about Clerkenwell is its people, its diversity and history. I love the fact that people say hello and good morning to you. As a Community Organiser I hope to engage with as many people as I can and to help them to the best of my ability.
For more information:
Call 07949 154 297