Depressed by consistently negative news, neighbours in Oldfield Road, Stoke Newington decided to support a different charitable cause every month. So far, with eight months to go, they’ve raised hundreds of pounds for four great causes and the campaign has brought this already close-knit community even closer.
Anya Sizer, who thought up the campaign, said: “I was getting very frustrated about the political climate and the appalling things that were happening. I decided it was time to put something good back.
“We live on an amazing street with wonderful friendships across the generations and regularly hold street parties and playing out days. We have a brilliant email chat between residents which acts as both a neighbourhood watch and a chance to share recommendations and it seemed a wonderful resource for doing good. Thankfully my neighbours leapt at the chance to help.”
The first charity supported by the Year of Giving was the homeless charity St Mungo’s. Anya’s 10-year-old son Barney took part in a Santa Run and the family held a cake sale and raised more than £800. In January, a couple on the street chose to support Hackney Food Bank (around £130 was raised). In February residents donated their old glasses to the third world via Askew Eyewear. In March, they raised funds for Educate for Life (a school in India that integrates education, healthcare and community work).
A different neighbour chooses which charity to support each month and sends an email with information about that charity and their planned fundraising activity.
Anya’s husband Damien, a secondary school teacher, has chosen the charity for April. He’s raising funds for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Radio, where he works as a volunteer DJ each Friday.
Mother-of-three Anya, who is an area coordinator for The Fertility Network, added: “We are reminding each other that there is good in the world – there are more people doing good than harm. Rather than feeling scared and frustrated about the negative things being reported – let’s find ways to put good back. It has given us a lovely focus and brought us closer as a street.
“In my wildest dreams, it would be so lovely to think that other streets could decide to hold their own Year of Giving.”
Residents are also planning a Hope Not Hate street party in honour of the late MP Jo Cox.
We are reminding each other that there is good in the world
Posted 13th April 2017
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