From 8-14 June 2015, the borough of Islington comes together for Islington Giving Week. The charity’s CEO Kristina Glenn outlines what’s new for 2015 and how important events like this are for Islington residents

First things first Kristina, for those readers not aware of Islington Giving, can you explain what the charity does?

Islington Giving is about the power of place. When we launched in September 2010 we wanted to test the difference that ‘unusual suspects’ could make. When I say ‘unsual suspects’ I mean Islington grant makers, businesses, voluntary organisations and residents coming together to shine a light on poverty and inequality in a borough where many residents feel locked out of opportunities. So far we’ve raised £3.5m. We ask for money and time to make change happen. Giving is at the heart of everything we do.

This will be the third Islington Giving Week, sohow would you say it has evolved over time?

The Resident: Arsenal FC will be involved in the Islington Giving Week 5-a-side tournamentArsenal FC will be involved in the Islington Giving Week 5-a-side tournament

We’ve gained more support each year from residents, businesses and local organisations who want to make a difference to Islington. We’ve had continued support from local businesses such as Frederick’s in Camden Passage and Fish Central in Kings Square. In 2014 the Mayor of Islington and the Lord Mayor of the City of London supported Islington Giving Week and hosted events to raise money. And since we launched the BIG Alliance (Businesses for Islington Giving) with City businesses, we’ve been able to show staff how they can make a difference to where they work. This year we are challenging Islington to show us how they are making a #differentweek. From volunteering, to creating artwork and tweeting, we invite everyone to make a difference to Islington during IGW2015.

Is it wonderful involving the whole borough?

Our supporters come from Archway, Holloway, Arsenal, King’s Cross and Clerkenwell, and the work we fund is spread across Islington. We support over 40 organisations working with families, young people, residents with mental health issues and older people. Islington Giving Week allows us to show residents who and what is making a difference and take part in free events in the borough.

What is the kind of response like from Islington locals? Are they surprised when they hear about the poverty figures?

Upper Street, leafy squares and Georgian houses are often seen as Islington. So it’s a shock to find that Islington has the second highest level of child poverty in London, the shortest life expectancy of men in the capital and the highest level of male suicide in England. That’s why IGW2015 is about seeing a different Islington through volunteering at one of our projects, or by coming on an Inside Islington tour and meeting the organisations and people who are making change happen.

Can we expect anything new during this year’s Islington Giving Week?

The Resident: The Manna Cooking Project is a great example of people in the borough coming togetherThe Manna Cooking Project is a great example of people in the borough coming together

This year we have over 25 events taking place throughout the week. Quizlington launches in June 2015. Venues across Islington will be hosting a quiz in support of Islington Giving with questions for the general knowledge genius, movie mogul or sports specialist, and of course special Islington questions. Pubs, community groups and businesses are already ordering their ready-made quiz pack and raising funds for Islington Giving.

A 5-a-side tournament will be held at the brand new Arsenal sports hub where teams get a full stadium tour along with prizes and medals for the winners.

We are working in partnership with local event organisers to offer one-off experiences. For example together with Word2015 we are putting on Grandads, Dads and Lads the performance with children from Thornhill Primary School, older poets and the Inspire Choir at the Emirates Stadium.

Are there any events you are particularly looking forward to?

Walk the Line returns with a 13.1 mile team challenge, a fantastic way to see hidden parts of Islington followed by a rooftop party hosted by Macquarie. Students from City and Islington College will be volunteering throughout the day. It’s a fantastic atmosphere.

And there are two events aimed at business. The first is a business breakfast with a difference at Frederick’s showcasing the difference that every small to medium business can make. Secondly Businesses for Islington Giving (BIG Alliance) will host an event for City businesses encouraging support for our young people’s mentoring programme in schools and colleges.

Looking ahead Kristina, what plans do you have for the future of Islington Giving?

The Resident: The Islington Giving Week quiz night is always a jovial (and fiercely competed) affairThe Islington Giving Week quiz night is always a jovial (and fiercely competed) affair

Islington Giving is different. It’s about harnessing local knowledge and making the most of every opportunity. Islington is a fantastic place to live and work and we aim to ensure that everyone can make the best of what’s on offer. We’ll continue to bring together businesses, residents and community organisations to give money and time to Islington – and we’ll continue to shine a light on issues and take action.

We’re now asking residents and businesses to support our new campaign to tackle mental ill health in the borough. Mental ill health is very common, affecting about one in six adults and one in ten children and young people at any time. But Islington has the highest level of depression in England and levels of mental ill health among 5-17 year olds are about 36% higher here than the national average. Our mental health challenge fund will support organisations to develop and test new ways to tackle this issue.

For a full list of events during Islington Giving Week, visit