Cllr Mike Hakata discusses healthy streets and the importance of a helpful community
It’s been an incredibly busy month in St Ann’s as local residents discussed and devised plans to transform the ward’s transport infrastructure.
With the government announcement that local authorities must submit bold and far-reaching schemes, Healthy Streets, St Ann’s (a campaign group determined to make our local streets, not just safe, but liveable), reached out to residents for ideas.
Sharing their plans with council officers, the group suggested interventions that would: reduce through-traffic (the majority of car journeys begin and end outside the ward), reduce speeding (a vehicle smashed into the metal fence just outside Chestnuts School only a few weeks ago), and improve the overall environment for all pedestrians. Many of the ideas fed directly into the council’s bid for a low-traffic neighbourhood in St Ann’s, and we are awaiting a decision from the Department for Transport.
The St Ann’s mutual aid group revealed the passion, expertise and compassion of local residents. The group was oversubscribed with volunteers offering support to shielding residents in need of groceries, medicines and often just a chat on the phone. Samantha Foster was the critical lynchpin coordinating the ingenious technical aspects as well as galvanising and inspiring volunteers.
Samantha then worked with a small group of mutual aiders to create an additional group, the St Ann’s Food Hub, to address the chronic issue of food poverty which the pandemic has revealed.
Operating at first out of the church hall, the food hub struck a deal with a local wholesaler which enabled them to put together boxes stacked with fresh fruit and veg for sale and donation to families in need.
The Bridge Renewal Trust then agreed to host the food hub at Chestnuts Community Centre where it has been able to donate hundreds of healthy boxes to local people as well as almost £3000 to other food causes in Haringey.
Sarah told me that volunteering for the food hub gave her a chance to get out and connect with people in the community whilst doing something to help out. One of the original creators, Rich Walker, said that one of the highlights for him was: “Discovering how many good, kind people there are in N15 and how eager they have been to pitch in on what sounded like a crazy idea at the start.”
St Ann’s is an inspiring place to live!
Cllr Mike Hakata
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