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£85,000 to be shared by winners of Hackney Council’s Shoreditch and Hoxton Art Fund

3rd June 2020
A new festival exploring working-class identity, a photo exhibition on the concept of home, a cross-cultural orchestra, sensory dance film, community mural and a guerilla poetry project will all share £85,000 from the second round of Hackney Council’s Shoreditch and Hoxton Art Fund.  The fund is one of the first initiatives identified in the borough’s Arts and Cultural Strategy and is designed to ensure everyone benefits from growth in Shoreditch and Hoxton. Launched in 2019 and now in its second round, it has amounted to a total of £300,000 taken from levies placed on new developments in and around Shoreditch and Hoxton called Section 106.  These contributions were specifically raised to support arts and culture and community-led initiatives. Projects are commissioned on the basis of providing access to the arts for people in Shoreditch and Hoxton which have seen rapid growth in development and economic investment over the last 15 years. Shoreditch and Hoxton is now home to some of the world’s leading creative tech and digital media companies and attracts smaller businesses from around the world. To ensure this economic growth helps bridge the gap between those living and those working in the area, Hackney Council has committed to fund participatory creative and community-led incentives that enable local communities to connect with the economic change.  The funding opportunity attracted numerous submissions in response to the round 2 call for ideas from arts and culture institutions based in Shoreditch and Hoxton. It can now be revealed that the £85,000 will be shared among five successful applicants: Autograph ABP in partnership with Mouth That Roars, Grand Union Orchestra, Hoxton Hall, Ministry of Stories, Snooze Fabric and Studio Wayne McGregor in partnership with Shoreditch Trust and Museum of the Home (formerly known as The Geffrye Museum). Rob Smith, Director of Ministry of Stories said: "Ministry of Stories is thrilled to be working with the Shoreditch and Hoxton Art Fund on the 'Unexpected Poetry' project in the Spring. We can't wait to see where over 100 young writers' imaginations will take us - creating original poetry for our neighbourhood, to be uncovered and discovered from bus stops to cafes to pavements, to be enjoyed by our community. We know that young people, given the right support, can create professional standard creative writing, and we're excited to see what happens when we take this out to the heart of our community".Dr Mark Sealy MBE, Director, Autograph said: "Autograph is delighted to have been awarded a Shoreditch and Hoxton Art Fund grant by Hackney for our new project #HackneyisHome. We believe that visual representation and photography are powerful forces for change. With our partner Mouth That Roars, this project will bring together people who are newly arrived in Hackney with long-term residents, to create photographs exploring what home means to them. These will be displayed prominently on a digital billboard at Old Street, and our building Rivington Place in Hackney. The communities living and working in Shoreditch and Hoxton will be invited to share back what home means to them via social media, in response to this public art project. We’re proud to be working with the people of Hackney, and can’t wait to share their creative response to #HackneyisHome." Winners to the second round of funding: Autograph ABP gallery (in partnership with Mouth that Roars) - £20k Shoreditch based art and photography gallery Autograph ABP has partnered with youth film training organisation Mouth That Roars to present a photography exhibition called #HackneyisHome. Exploring the concept of ‘home’, the project will be presented at Autograph gallery in Rivington Place and will see a collaboration of young refugees and asylum seekers enrolled in ESOL courses at Hackney Community College and older residents in Shoreditch and Hoxton. Grand Union Orchestra - £17.3kThe long-running music organisation will create an intergenerational, cross-cultural orchestra painting a live, acoustic musical picture of the contemporary spirit of Hoxton. From summer, they will recruit participants to form a street band to perform in parks and Hoxton Market. Later in the year the project will see a formal programme of workshops with worldwide musical contributions plus festive performances with free shows for residents.Hoxton Hall - #CLASS £6k Hoxton Hall theatre are now working on a mulit-artform festival of live performances exploring working-class identity called #CLASS. This compliments their current work on ‘Hoxton Street’ - an interactive live drama which was funded in the first round of the Shoreditch and Hoxton Art Fund. ‘Hoxton Street’ will form the centerpiece of #CLASS with four episodes staged throughout the 3 month festival, culminating in an omnibus of the four plays created with audiences of Hoxton. The new funding contribution will support episodes two and three of the live soap.Ministry of Stories - Poetry in Unexpected Places £20k The Ministry of Stories is a local writing and youth mentoring centre in east London. Using a £20k grant, they will develop ‘Poetry in Unexpected Places’ - a guerilla poetry project to enable young diverse writers to create professional poetry. Poems will be planted in innovative ways and unexpected places around Hoxton and support the work of 100 young writers. Snooze Fabric - £6kArtist duo Snooze Fabric will work with local young people to produce a prominent mural on Hoxton Street. Workshops will use visual art to explore and represent the value of community. Snooze will use workshops and the co-designed mural to make art accessible and include participants who might not otherwise consider creative outlets for wellbeing or career opportunities. Studio Wayne McGregor (in partnership with Shoreditch Trust and Museum of the Home) £15.5k Studio Wayne McGregor, Museum of the Home and Shoreditch Trust are working in partnership to create a 20 minute dance film called ‘HOME’. The sensory film will explore the ever-changing concept of home including personal interpretations on gentrification, displacement and migration through dance and film. Led by dance artist Lily Dettmer, film artist Ravi Deepres and a commissioned score by composer Scanner, the film will gather the talents of young people from schools and youth groups as well as the Shoreditch Trust’s Stroke Project enabling stroke survivors to highlight their experience. Round one success stories The first round of funding has seen five successful ideas now well underway. Where necessary, they have adapted to engage with participants in their own homes during the coronavirus lockdown or rescheduled to a later date. They include; visual arts exhibitions and job placements from PEER Gallery, a creative teacher training programme in 3 primary schools from Eastside Educational Trust, paid placements as ceramic potters and business mentoring from Create London, a community dance theatre show at Shoreditch Town Hall, and Hoxton Hall’s interactive soap opera ‘Hoxton Street’. Funding for episodes 2 and 3 of ‘Hoxton Street’ will feature as part of their new successful round 2 bid to program a mulit-artform festival exploring working-class identity called #CLASS. More: For more information on the Shoreditch and Hoxton Art Fund and the Council’s cultural work, visit hackney.gov.uk/cultureDetails of the projects funded from the first round of the Hoxton and Shoreditch Art Fund can be read here. For more information on the arts organisations who will receive funding please visit their websites below:Autograph ABPGrand Union OrchestraHoxton HallMinistry of StoriesSnooze FabricStudio Wayne McGregor

Hackney Giving: Message from the Speaker of Hackney

3rd June 2020
Over the past couple of months, our brilliant, established voluntary and community sector, have worked alongside mutual aid groups, who are self-coordinating to deliver support. They have rallied together to care for the most vulnerable in our communities and support the frontline response to the coronavirus pandemic. These groups embody the inclusive, welcoming and caring nature at the heart of Hackney’s ethos, and we continue to be inspired by their passionate commitment to supporting their communities in the face of the greatest global crisis in modern times.  Hackney’s voluntary and community sector (VCS) - one of the strongest in the country - has adapted rapidly to respond to this crisis, helping to serve the community in new ways. However, as with all areas of the economy, the sector is facing immense challenges - including meeting increased demands, coping with high staff absences, moving services online and struggling with financial hardship.  Both ourselves and our VCS partners are deeply concerned about the impact that coronavirus will have on the small voluntary and community organisations that are central to building community resilience and cohesion during this time of intense national and local strain.  To help address these issues, our partners Hackney Council for Voluntary Services (HCVS) have rapidly repurposed their Hackney Giving fund. This fund is already making a significant difference to the sector at a local level, having provided grants of £3,000 each to five brilliant frontline organisations that are helping people to access food and essentials during the crisis. The organisations so far are African Community School, Cambridge Heath Salvation Army, Community African Network, Day-Mer Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre and the Schoenefeld Foundation Hackney Giving is helping these organisations to continue the incredible work that they’re doing during these difficult times, and we want to help support these efforts as best we can. As part of our recently-announced £370k coronavirus support package for our Voluntary and Community Sector, we have committed to matching donations from residents and businesses to Hackney Giving’s Coronavirus response fund.  Through Hackney Giving, residents and businesses can donate money knowing that it will be fairly and diligently distributed to the key organisations who are supporting communities locally.  I would like to give a huge thanks to the residents and businesses who have donated to the fund so far. Your support is playing a key role in helping both the local people who rely directly on voluntary and community organisations’ services, as well as supporting the sector to take the strain off our NHS and the other key services that we all rely on.  I would also like to thank Hackney CVS for the incredible work that they do. For over two decades, they have worked tirelessly to make Hackney fairer because they, like us, believe strongly that everyone deserves the best start in life and the opportunity to reach their full potential regardless of race, background, socioeconomic status, sexuality, gender, age or disability.  We are extremely grateful for the work that they have done to support our VCS and we continue to be inspired by their ability to adapt rapidly to meet the needs of the sector.  If you want to find out more or to donate to Hackney Giving’s Coronavirus Response Fund, you can visit hackneygiving.org.uk.
Volunteer Centre Hackney attracts record number of volunteers
More than 2,000 volunteers have signed up with Volunteer Centre Hackney (VCH) since the lockdown came into force in March, more than double the annual figure within just two months. VCH is the organising hub for Hackney Council’s volunteering response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the community. Volunteer Centre Hackney has placed over 250 volunteers with multiple local charities including Hackney Foodbank, Shoreditch Trust, Marie Curie (St Joseph’s Hospice), BlindAid, Age UK East London, Young Hackney and Badu Community CIC. The team at VCH screens volunteers, offers training in telephone befriending, advises charities on their volunteer programmes and coordinates volunteers to deliver food and medication in the borough. VCH volunteers have delivered more than 2,000 prescriptions. The charity is also supporting GP surgeries to deliver blood pressure monitors. Volunteers, local residents and partners on working with VCH‘Volunteer support really is the backbone,’ Melanie Rochford, Hackney Foodbank‘Volunteer support really is the backbone of what we do,’ says Melanie Rochford, Business and Development Director at Hackney Foodbank, which runs five foodbanks across the borough. ‘They are massively important in all of this.’ Since the lockdown, demand at their busiest foodbanks has tripled. Hackney Foodbank has turned to VCH for support to help them manage volunteer recruitment and screening.‘Lots of small charities like ours have suddenly in the face of the pandemic become overwhelmed by good will and people wanting to volunteer,’ says Melanie Rochford. ‘We just need to prioritise what are the biggest fires that need putting out - and it’s keeping up with the demand, it’s serving people in crisis, ensuring that we signpost them to additional forms of support to address their underlying issues, and it’s getting the food out to them. So VCH can offer that support of looking at those [volunteer] applications for us and also looking at what they’ve got in their own pool and matching up our requirements.’VCH is also recruiting volunteers to support the charity BlindAid in telephone befriending. London's oldest visual impairment charity, BlindAid works to improve quality of life and promotes independence for Londoners with visual impairment. Under lockdown, BlindAid is unable to offer face-to-face support to its service users. ‘We want to connect as many people as we can by telephone,’ says Elaine McCann, BlindAid volunteer specialist and sight guide trainer. ‘It’s been invaluable the partnership that we’ve built up with Hackney Volunteer Centre, it’s just worked so well.’ ‘A life saver,’ Anthony, 71, local residentAnthony, 71, describes VCH’s support as ‘a real game changer, a life saver’. Volunteer Joshua delivers food parcels to Anthony. ‘I’m very grateful to Josh and to [VCH] for organising this and being kind to me. It’s really helping me through these hard times. It gives you hope in humanity.’‘It’s nice to be able to support people who are obviously suffering and are isolated and in desperate need,’ says Joshua, who works in television. He is currently on furlough and is volunteering four days a week for VCH and Hackney Foodbank. Joshua hopes to continue volunteering beyond the pandemic. ‘People who are less vulnerable need to help out the more vulnerable,’ Ella, volunteerMother and daughter Marianne and Ella are delivering prescriptions three times a week as a team in their neighbourhood in Clapton. ‘It’s such a completely unprecedented situation that I think it appeals to lots of people to just step up and do what we can,’ says Marianne, who has recently retired from her job as a human rights lawyer. ‘We can’t predict how this situation is going to evolve and while we can do something it feels absolutely the right thing to contribute.’ ‘There’s lots of people in a vulnerable position right now and if you’re someone who is able to do something, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t,’ says Ella, who was working as a lab technician before lockdown. ‘People who are less vulnerable at this time need to help out the more vulnerable.’ For more information about Volunteer Centre Hackney, visit: www.vchackney.org/Press release and image courtesy of Volunteer Centre Hackney
3rd June 2020
Statement from the Mayor and Cabinet about the death of George Floyd
The death of George Floyd is truly shocking. Footage of his arrest and murder has been shared around the world and we know that many residents across Hackney will be feeling hurt, scared and angry about what has happened.  We share those feelings of deep sorrow and anger. Hackney has a strong tradition of standing up to racism and we are a proud, diverse borough but the death of Mr Floyd highlights the injustices faced by Black communities and how vital it is that we never stop fighting discrimination and hate. This awful event happened thousands of miles away in the USA, but we know that there have been events much closer to home over the years that have caused similar anger and distress. We will not tolerate discrimination in our borough or our city, and we stand against it across the world.  At the same time, a report from Public Health England, published today, has highlighted a  clear disproportionate impact from Covid-19 on Black, Asian and other communities and those with protected characteristics. We must not allow this to be forgotten or ignored.  We will reflect on this evidence and are listening to the lived experience and local concerns from residents and community partners to understand what we can do locally to make a difference within our own communities now and in the future. Over the coming weeks we will outline the further steps we will take to not just continue, but re-energise local conversations to understand what we need to do in the longer term to support our Black residents and staff.  Tonight parts of Hackney Town Hall will be lit purple, in memory of George Floyd and to show our support to those protesting peacefully in America, while reconfirming our commitment locally to addressing inequalities and injustices in our own borough. As a Council we stand in solidarity with you - and with Black communities across the world.  The Mayor of Hackney and Cabinet
2nd June 2020
Over 70 fines issued for urinating and littering in London Fields
Over 70 fines were issued for urinating and littering in London Fields and the surrounding side streets over the weekend, as large volumes of rubbish were cleared by Council staff from parks across the borough.  The 72 fines - of £150 each - were issued by Council enforcement officers deployed to help park staff maintain Hackney’s green spaces over the weekend.  Significant volumes of rubbish remain an issue in the borough’s parks, and the Council is encouraging people to take rubbish home with them or use the 84 new large commercial capacity bins it has delivered to parks across the borough.  Toilets in parks are now open from 12 - 9pm every day, but the Council is encouraging people to return home if they need to use the loo where possible to reduce pressure on these spaces and wider Council resources.  Saturday and Sunday also saw large volumes of rubbish cleared from all green spaces across the borough. The Council is urging people to:  Keep two metres apart at all times, unless from same household Avoid gathering in groups of more than six people, unless from the same household Take litter home or put it in the bin Return home to use the toilet if possible to reduce pressure on Council resources Respect the borough’s parks and their staff The Council has already implemented its full summer waste collection routines for parks a month early, which will see more staff collect rubbish first thing in the morning and into the evening. However, this is placing increased pressure on Council resources - with rubbish collections during the summer at London Fields alone last year costing nearly £100,000 and additional bins expected to cost £80,000.
2nd June 2020
Respect the borough’s parks this weekend
Significant volumes of rubbish and antisocial behaviour have been reported in the borough’s parks in the last week, as the Council urges people to respect each other and Hackney’s green spaces ahead of the weekend.  At Hackney Marshes, London Fields, Daubeney Fields, Hackney Downs, Shoreditch Park, Haggerston Park, Clissold Park and many other green spaces, the Council has collected unusually large volumes of rubbish - much of which was left on the grass.  Over the bank holiday weekend, residents by London Fields reported significant issues with urination and defecation in the park.  In response, the Council is reopening public toilets in parks this weekend and continuing to task enforcement officers to parks, which last week resulted in over 40 fines for urination and defecation at London Fields alone.  The Council has already implemented its full summer waste collection routines for parks a month early, which will see more staff collect rubbish first thing in the morning and into the evening, and it will also deliver large capacity bins to parks with litter issues.  However, this will place increased pressure on Council resources - with rubbish collections during the summer at London Fields alone last year costing nearly £100,000 and additional bins expected to cost £70,000.  The Council is calling for people to do everything they can to respect the government’s coronavirus guidance and the borough’s parks by:  Keeping 2 metres from others at all times, unless from the same household Taking litter home from parks and returning home if they need to use the toilet  Anyone caught littering or urinating in public could receive a fixed penalty notice.
29th May 2020