Islington’s community greats
They are the heart and soul of Islington’s community, and the unsung heroes who represent the best of our borough. The winners of the Mayor’s Civic Awards and the Ben Kinsella Award have been announced. Read their amazing stories…
Shauna Maragh, winner of the Ben Kinsella Award 2019
Shauna is a role model and mentor to other young girls. She is a member of the Hear2Change project, run by Solace Women’s Aid, which is a youth-led project in Islington and Haringey to prevent violence against women and girls. Shauna attends fortnightly meetings and speaks about violence against women and girls at school assemblies.
Sadia has been helping mothers, fathers and young people in the Somali community for many years. She campaigns relentlessly against youth knife crime in Islington and has helped a number of parents find missing loved-ones who have become involved in county lines drug trafficking. She has set up phone banks for mothers of missing children over Christmas, and ‘walkabouts’ on the Andover and Harvist estates to talk to young people about the dangers of drugs. She is the eyes and ears of her community and does this all as a volunteer.
90 years young, Irene is still very active in the community. She’s been a member of her Tenants and Residents Association from the very start and works hard to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in her local area. Irene has earned a lot of respect from people over the years and is always willing to help her neighbours. She is a true Islingtonian, who has lived through hard times and the war. Irene gets on with life, reshaping and developing her community, whilst having a laugh and a joke. She is an inspiration to us all.
Jane, a former teacher, set the Toy Project up five years ago and now works full time on it, donating thousands of toys to children in need in Islington and further afield. Before Christmas she launched the charity’s Grandparents Project to enable grandparents who are struggling financially to give their grandchildren a present at Christmas. Jane is also a member of the Archway Town Centre Group and works to improve Archway, by raising money, encourage visitors and supporting local independent business. You can even find her running a market stall at Archway Market selling toys to raise funds.
Dot is Secretary of the Islington Pensioners Forum and although in her 80’s, her activity and commitment puts many younger people to shame. Tireless in her fight for justice for all pensioners in Islington and across the UK, she also makes her commitment for inclusivity real and has supported the Windrush campaign among others. Dot’s good sense and wisdom are an invaluable source of advice, along with her leadership and political mind.
Steve is an exceptional youth work practitioner, supporting some of the most challenging young people in Islington. His career-long commitment to improving the lives of young people in Cally is unsurpassed. Steve has demonstrated remarkable ability to maintain trusting relationships with vulnerable young people and has re-directing many towards positive engagement and away from the extreme hazards of criminality. There are young people in Cally who owe their lives to Steve.
Mick is the Chair of the Eagle Recovery project, which supports people experiencing, or in recovery from, alcohol or substance misuse. Having been through the recovery journey himself, Mick has used his experience to support other people and to help the council design, commission and deliver better approaches to health and social care. Mick cares so much about Islington and the people in it – his commitment to helping others, and his willingness to participate openly and constructively with the council to make the borough a better place is impressive.
Jessica’s son, Shaquan was tragically stabbed to death in January 2015. She now visits schools to try and guide young people away from carrying knives and to stop mothers and fathers having to feel the same pain that she did, and still does. So far, she has spoken to more than 4,000 young people and adults in schools and churches. Jessica is saving young lives and represents the very best of Islington.