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Living in Lockdown: Islington Coming Together - Essential Living

Living in Lockdown: Islington Coming Together

Blog London Lifestyle

There’s nothing quite as heart-warming as the local community coming together during difficult times. News stories up and down the country have shown businesses connect with charities, residents look after vulnerable neighbours and people sparking random acts of kindness throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic.

London has been a haven of uplifting stories, despite being one of the nation’s hardest hit cities. Here are just a few of the initiatives we’ve heard about in and around our very own Vantage Point in Islington.

Tour De Thanks Bike Lending Scheme

Founded by Lucy Wellings, a paediatric nurse at UCLH, Tour De Thanks was designed to help NHS and essential workers travel about London by bike. Due to fears around safety and overcrowding on public transport, cycling is a primary solution for many people up and down the country. The initiative asks Londoners to lend or donate their bikes to key workers, allowing them to travel safely to work without having to use public transport.

The Islington resident was inspired to set up Tour De Thanks after her own bicycle was stolen from Victoria Park in mid-March. Thankfully, with the help of the police she was able to get her bike back and has since encouraged other Londoners to get about by bike where possible.

Following its conception in March, more than 100 key workers have been matched with bicycles as part of Tour De Thanks.

Learn more about the initiative on Instagram or Twitter.

Sew Over It Face Mask Tutorials

Following ongoing government announcements about wearing face coverings, Lisa Comfort of Sew Over It created an easy-to-follow tutorial video on how to make your own DIY face mask.

Founder of the Islington sewing school and shop, Lisa took to YouTube to help inspire people to make their own mask as part of her #stayhomeandsewalong series. The video tutorial encourages you to get creative with your mask, using fabric that you already have or repurposing an old piece of clothing to create the design. They also hold regular sew-a-longs on YouTube, as part of the campaign.

Watch the video here.

Free Coffees at Bread & Bean

In the early days of the pandemic, many businesses were looking for ways of supporting the NHS. Independent coffee shop Bread & Bean offered free coffees to all NHS workers in March.

The café is now operating a takeaway service and free collection option, so that you don’t have to miss out on your caffeine fix. On weekends from Friday to Sunday, you can also pop by for takeaway brunch – order by phone and collect when you’re ready.

Keep an eye on the Bread & Bean Instagram or Twitter for updates.

Map Gift Shop & The Toy Project Collaboration

Neighbouring businesses Map Gift Shop and The Toy Project came together to support children in the local community. The latter is a charitable organisation that has been giving donated and second hand toys to children who need them both in the UK and internationally since 2013.

Since both stores were closed during the initial lockdown, The Toy Project was unable to accept donations, the partnership with the Map Gift Store welcomed customers to donate a gift to The Toy Project as part of their online purchase. The unique gift shop handpicked a number of their own different items – from books to cuddly toys – eligible for the initiative.

These toys have been passed onto children living in difficult situations, those in hospital, and to children of key workers. Learn more about how to support the collaboration here.

The Map Gift Shop remains open online here, and The Top Project will re-open when non-essential shops are given the go ahead. Check their website for updates:

Celtic Bakers Celebrate NHS Workers

One of Archway Market’s most popular vendors, Celtic Bakers, announced discounts for NHS workers. The acclaimed bakery launched an online shop following the government’s call for business closures across the UK. To celebrate the launch and to say thank you to NHS staff, a 10% discount was applied to all online orders made via an NHS email address.

Throughout the lockdown, the bakery have championed their #breadtoyourdoor project, hand-delivering batches of fresh homemade loaves, cakes and pastries to addresses across London. While many people have taken to making their own bread from scratch during lockdown, the bakery makes it easy for those who don’t have time to do this (or those that still can’t purchase flour from supermarkets!).

Joginder’s Supperclub for NHS Heroes

Joginder’s Supperclub is another Archway Market regular that has adapted daily business in the age of the pandemic. The food vendor has been running weekly food drops for NHS workers, delivering their delicious punjabi food as a thank you gift to those on the front-line in hospitals and those driving London’s ambulances.

Ordinarily, Joginder’s hosted regular supperclubs and sold their mix of samosas, relishes and other savoury items at the local market. Since this hasn’t been possible, the team have come together to deliver #foodmadewithlove to people across London. As well as NHS workers, Joginder’s has sent food packages to elderley and vulnerable people in the community, as well as opening a delivery order service for those who have loved buying their food over the years.

Virtual Wine Tastings with Theatre of Wine

It’s not too surprising that nationwide figures have shown that wine and beer sales have skyrocketed during lockdown. Junction Road’s Theatre of Wine has continued to bring exceptional worldwide wines to Londoners via their webshop.

The wine merchant regularly hosted tastings across their three London branches, but has moved things online to keep the enthusiasm for wine flowing. Their Thursday tastings have been running as online events via Zoom, inviting both wine connoisseurs and novices to sign up to learn more about wine while appreciating a good glass.

With stores starting to reopen, the wine shop continues to operate its online shop and offer door-to-door delivery service for those that don’t want to leave the comfort of their home.

Living in Islington

Although the last year has been difficult on residents and local businesses alike, there are moments of hope on the horizon and these stories show people everywhere coming together for a more positive future.

Have you seen another Islington business sharing the love throughout lockdown? Let us know by tweeting @EssLiving.

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