Finsbury Park is a vibrant and diverse area in north London bustling with life.
This unique ward grew around an important railway interchange at the junction of the boroughs of Islington, Haringey and Hackney, and it borders one of the great London parks laid out in the Victorian era, a peaceful retreat from the busy urban life for its residents.
The smell of freshly made Turkish bread mixes with scents Ethiopian gastronomy as you walk down the Blackstock road.
Home to people from all corners of the world, over a hundred languages are spoken in the ward.
Finsbury Park moved from being a largely Irish area to the mix of communities it has become over the last 50 years.
Immigration has made the area thrive
Immigration in the 60s and 70s included Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Indians and Burmese, who settled in the borough and made huge contributions to local businesses, politics as well as to religious institutions (such as founding the Finsbury Park Mosque).
As time went on, people from other parts of the world settled in the area, at the same time as Blackstock Road began to be colloquially known as Little Algerie due to its newly arrived Algerian community.
In the 80s and 90s, Somalis made Finsbury Park their home after leaving their war-torn country and over the 90s and 2000s, more and more continental Europeans decided to settle in the north of the city as well.
Life in Finsbury Park
Despite the energy and spirit of the area, and a broad amount of available services, residents of Finsbury Park continues to face social challenges. High levels of housing and security problems contribute to the fact that it’s one of the most deprived areas in Islington, with many individuals and families struggling to cope with poverty. 30% of children live in out-of-work households, compared to 16% across London, and 56% of lone parents are not employed.
As a result, the work of some local volunteer organisations in the area is key to the wellbeing of vulnerable groups of people.
“Our mission is to bring about a culture shift in the way services are delivered to young women affected by gangs and county lines, so that: they feel safe to access help; they are no longer a hidden group in our communities; and they are free from harm and abuse”
Our support around the area
Abianda works with young women affected by gangs and county lines, and the professionals who support them.
“Our mission is to bring about a culture shift in the way services are delivered to young women affected by gangs and county lines, so that: they feel safe to access help; they are no longer a hidden group in our communities; and they are free from harm and abuse”, explains Mary Henes from Abianda.
They do this by delivering frontline services to gang-affected young women aged 10-25, and delivering training and professional development programmes to professionals who work with them. Abianda practitioners are co-located in Islington’s Targeted Youth Support team, and the award-winning Integrated Gangs Team. Abianda also delivers a pan-London service funded by MOPAC. Having been based in Islington Council’s Andover Community Centre for two years, Abianda has recently relocated to Leroy House, Essex Road, with more room for the growing team.
Company Three works with young people to improve their confidence, self-expressions and relationships, and helps them fulfil their potential through theatre based workshops and performances. They're part of Cripplegate's Development Partner programme.
Chance UK empowers children to develop their skills, confidence and life aspirations through a year-long mentoring programme. You can read the story about how the team connected Ingrid and Ramarn to a mentor, Amy.
Middle Eastern Women and Society Organisation helps women and their families deal with the serious issues facing Middle Eastern refugee women in London. Community Chest grants have enabled MEWSO to adapt its services to help women navigate the challenges of adjusting to a new life with sensitivity and flexibility.