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The 2019 Cally Festival was another brilliant day: shows we are a community that’s pulling together

June 24, 2019
Cally Cllrs at Cally Fest 2019 - pic 1 - crop.jpg

Paul, Sara and Una

The ninth annual Cally Festival on Sunday 23rd June was another brilliant day in the life of our neighbourhood.

Between noon and 6pm, we closed the road between Cally Pool and Offord Road and filled it up with 10,000 people.

There was a fabulous music offering on 3 stages – especially the very successful Copenhagen Youth Project stage showcasing aspirational local talent. We had great organisations like the Institute of Physics on science and discovery; there was a traditional funfair; a massive and varied food offering, a market place and big range of sports and fitness activities … with special thanks to Times Boxing Club.


As the Festival began, car-free Cally began to fill-up


Scores of volunteers helped to make the Festival run like clockwork.

Naturally, we had a load of artsy stuff, great children’s contributions featuring the poems, stories and a song zone with our local schools … also featuring the sensational John Hegley and Paul Lyell.

Every year the Cally Festival has a tremendous vibe. And at about 4.15pm there was a colossal sound as a samba band carnival-style paraded through the Festival site to the main stage where Paul Convery introduced the two other Cally councillors and the Leader of the Council and Mayor of Islington addressed the crowds … (briefly!).

Cllr Richard Watts endorsed Paul’s observation that, despite a challenging year of ups and downs in the Cally, the Festival demonstrates we’re a community that’s pulling together to make Cally a great place to live and work.

Next year’s Festival is pencilled-in for June 21st 2020. It will be a landmark 10th anniversary event and all the stops will be pulled-out to make it the best ever.


Cally Councillors campaigning to keep Roman Way doctors service open

May 23, 2018


The GP service at Roman Way Medical Centre is scheduled for closure in August. And the Cally Labour Councillors have called for a new surgery to be opened in the local community.

The GPs currently running Roman Way are retiring after many years. NHS England has now consulted the surgery’s 4,700 patients on what should happen once the surgery closes.

NHS England has outlined two options – commission another practice or organisation to provide services for patients (eg. a new GP surgery), or to ask patients to register with another nearby practice. Goodinge and Laycock Street have been offered as alternatives.

Cally Labour Councillors – with the support of Islington Council’s leadership – have called for a new GP service to replace the closing practice. One complication is that the Medical Centre building is not owned by the Council or the NHS. Although it was built as part of the Westbourne Estate 40 years ago, the Council sold-off the freehold in 2007 when Islington was controlled by the Lib Dems.

But the west side of the Borough will experience continued increase in population as major housing developments are completed. Cllr Richard Watts (Leader of Islington Council) and Cllr Janet Burgess (Executive Member for Health and Social Care) have urged NHS decision-takers to “take a strategic view of GP provision in the area” and have said Islington Council strongly endorses the option of a new GP surgery to be opened.

Cllr Sara Hyde, Islington Labour councillor for Caledonian ward, said: “Roman Way Medical Centre is a highly valued and much-needed local GP surgery. We’re really sorry to see the surgery closing. What’s important now is that NHS England sees sense and ensures a new practice is opened as close to the current surgery as possible.

“With new housing developments in the local area on the way, including up to 1,000 homes at the Holloway Prison site at some point in the not too distant future, we can’t lose a surgery and expect other small local practices to cope with demand.

“I’m particularly concerned about older and more vulnerable people having to go further to see their doctor. We need to retain a surgery as close to the current practice as possible.”

Cllr Watts’ and Cllr Burgess’ detailed letter supporting the opening of a new GP practice identifies the impact losing a practice would have on patients who are unable to travel further, the expected population growth in the local area and the lack of capacity in neighbouring surgeries to expand. Additional supporting information attached to the letter also makes clear that local planning policies would mean the use of the existing surgery building could not easily be changed if another surgery was not provided, as it would represent a loss or reduction of ‘social infrastructure’.

Cllr Watts and Cllr Burgess have also contacted Islington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to ask them to support the procurement of a new GP practice in the local area.

It is expected that the North Central London Joint Commissioning Committee will make a decision on which option to pursue in June.



Caledonian Ward’s new Council team elected with record 68% of the vote

May 12, 2018
cally councillors Count

Sara, Una and Paul pictured as the ballots were counted and the election declared.

On Thursday 3rd May, voters in Caledonian Ward overwhelmingly voted to elect Una, Paul and Sara as their Ward Councillors for the next 4 years.

Islington Council now has 47 Labour Councillors and 1 opposition member. This is exactly the same as before!

But the new Council has a fresh intake of new Councillors and, for the first time ever, Islington now has more women Councillors than men. The new Labour Group more closely reflects the age and background diversity of Islington.

Across the Borough, Labour candidates received over 102,000 votes which represented just over 60% of all votes cast. This was the most decisive result for Labour in Islington since 1974.cally ward share of the vote 2018

In Caledonian Ward, the Councillors were elected with the largest vote share ever recorded in this part of Islington: 68% of voters backed the Labour ticket with candidates of the other 3 parties receiving roughly 10% each.

Una and Paul had served as Councillors in the previous (2014-18) term of office and were re-elected alongside Sara who is one of a dozen new Labour members joining the Council. Sara said:

“I am so overwhelmed to be voted in as councillor in Caledonian ward, where I live and whose people adopted me 15 years ago. Especially to my All Saints family who have shaped me and taught me so much. Thank you to all of you who have supported me, loved me, put up with politics messing with other plans. I know some incredible people and I’m deeply grateful. Looking forward to serving on a Council with more than 50% female councillors and with my hard-working colleagues Paul Convery and Una O’Halloran.”

A fond farewell and grateful thanks to Rupert Perry

May 2, 2018
Paul, Una & Rupert, Mayor-making 2017

Paul, Una and Rupert at the Town Hall in May 2016

On the eve of polling day, May 3rd 2018, we mark the moment when Rupert Perry steps down as one of the Cally Councillors.

First elected in 1990 for the old Thornhill Ward, Rupert has served the Cally with distinction and determination for almost three decades.

Over the years Rupert played a major role on the Council and in our community. He served as chair of the Environment Committee and the Planning Committee and was Mayor of Islington 1997-98. Over much of his extensive period in office, Rupert served as a trustee of the Richard Cloudesley Trust.

Having lived in the heart of Cally for over 30 years, Rupert and Ann raised a family of three who went to local schools, lived locally and have done well: Billy is a digital animator now working in Australia; Celia teaches in an Islington School; and Alice who works as a University of London alumni manager is also a “chip off the old block” being an Islington Councillor in St Peter’s Ward. The whole family supports North London’s favourite football club with Rupert, Ann and Alice proudly being season ticket holders for many years.

Rupert was the first in his family to reach University. He went to Oxford where he studied chemistry and, armed with a good degree from a top class university, he had a first career involving extensive international commerce. Rupert’s second career in later years took a colourful turn: he did “the knowledge” and became a black cab driver going under the name “Red Cally Cabbie” on Twitter! As a result, Rupert’s grasp of detailed local geography was unbeatable.

As a Councillor, over the years, Rupert diligently helped hundreds of families with housing and other casework – even during the 4 years when he was briefly not on the Council in 2002-06.

Rupert’s health hit a tricky patch recently and he scaled-back his Council role whilst recuperating. But he has recovered well. So his decision to step-down at the 2018 election represents a retirement of sorts. Rupert and Ann moved to a smaller home in Suffolk recently although they retain a toe-hold in Islington and both regularly attend Arsenal home games.

Paul Convery says “Rupert and Ann showed great kindness to Una and myself and they have been great people to know: good company and generous with their time and their home. Rupert has been a source of friendship, sound advice and great support to us in Cally and to his colleagues on the Islington Council Labour Group. We all wish him and Ann the best for the future and give grateful thanks to Rupert for his service. Over the coming 4 years, Sara, Una and I will continue to champion the things that Rupert held dear and continue his legacy in Cally.”


2018 Cally Festival will be held on Sunday June 17th

February 2, 2018
Road closure southside 2

You couldn’t exactly miss this! Each year we close the entire road all the way from Cally Bridge to Cally Pool

Caledonian Ward Councillors have announced that the 2018 Cally Festival will be held on Sunday June 17th. Islington’s biggest street festival is now into its 8th year.

Over 8,000 people visit the festival which features 3 music stages, informal music performance areas, masses of kids’ activities, dancing, story-telling, sports areas, arts and crafts and dozens of market stalls.

We celebrate the Cally as a distinctive place with a strong sense of community and renewed optimism. It’s the pinnacle event to an all-year-around programme of improvement to our neighbourhood and high street that aims to bridge the gap between the many communities in Cally.

The Festival shows that we are a community that’s pulling together.

For up-to-date news about the Cally Festival, follow on Twitter at If you would like to contribute to the Festival, please contact


Lift replacement at Caledonian Road tube station completed – without an 8 month station closure!

July 20, 2017
Caledonian Rd tube station lifts finished 19-7-17

Caledonian and Holloway councillors: Una O’Halloran, Diarmaid Ward, Paul Smith and Paul Convery with Claudia Webbe (lead councillor for transport)

Caledonian ward councillors joined their Holloway ward colleagues this week to mark the completion of lift replacement work at Caledonian Road underground station which was undertaken whilst keeping the station open throughout.

Transport for London (TfL) originally planned to close the station completely for 8 months from January 2016 – causing massive disruption to local residents and businesses, as well as significantly impacting residents with disabilities and mobility issues who would have had to travel far further to make journeys on the underground network.

However, thanks to intervention by local councillors – including the threat of legal action by the Council – and a petition supported by local residents, TfL was forced to radically changed its plans and agreed with the Council that the station could remain open whilst the lifts were replaced on after the other, leaving one lift in operation throughout.

Holloway ward councillor, Cllr Paul Smith, commented: “Keeping the station open was a great victory and just goes to show what a determined bunch of people can do when we stand up against decisions that are clearly unfair. I want to thank the 8,000 residents who signed petitions against the closure, those who attended public meetings and local businesses who spoke with us about the devastating impact closing the station would have had on their businesses and our community. The new lifts look great, and I want to also thank TfL for seeing sense and for completing these important works.”

Caledonian Ward councillor Una O’Halloran added: “Nearly 10,000 people use the tube station every day. TfL had a plan to lay-on replacement bus services down to Kings Cross during the closure. This would have added to the congestion down Caledonian Road, our local high street, which already has 18,000 vehicles a day.”

In November 2015, TfL announced plans to close the station for 8 months from January 2016 whilst both lifts were replaced. Swift action by local councillors saw several public meetings organised before Christmas to raise awareness of the issue and to organise the campaign against the plans. A petition was presented to Jeanette Arnold AM at City Hall at the end of November 2015, calling on TfL to rethink its plans.

Shortly before Christmas, Islington Council began the process to call for a Judicial Review of TfL’s decision and the way it was taken, particularly focusing on TfL’s failure to adequately consider the impact of the closure on disabled passengers and passengers with mobility issues. The threat of legal action meant that in January 2016, TfL announced it was reviewing its plans and the works were put on hold. In March 2016, TfL announced that it had agreed with the council’s view that the works could be completed whilst keeping the station open and a revised programme of works would take place over the next 18 months.

The 7th annual Cally Festival this Sunday “will be the best so far”

June 16, 2017

Road closure southside 2

One fantastic thing happens this weekend alongside all the Great Together events: the 7th annual Cally Festival, the pinnacle event to an all-year-around programme of improvement to our neighbourhood and high street.

Islington’s biggest street festival celebrates “The Cally” – a distinctive place with a strong sense of community and renewed optimism. The Festival shows that we are a community that’s pulling together.

On Sunday, the entire main road between Cally Bridge and Cally Pool will be closed and filled with 3 music stages, dancing, story-telling, numerous children’s activities, sports areas, arts and crafts and a large street market plus lots of food & drink. And about 8,000 people.

Click here to download the official festival programme which shows 2017 is going to be the most ambitious ever.

The weather forecast is looking sensational too: the hottest day of the year so far with clear sunshine and the temperature reaching 30 degrees in the mid afternoon. Bring sunblock!

It all kicks off at noon. There will be a short (very short) “civic” moment at around 4.10pm at the main stage when the Mayor will appear along with Cally Councillors and Leader of the Council.

Throughout the day your Cally Councillors will be “circulating” or at our stall opposite Bridgeman Road.

For more information and updates on Facebook go to or on Twitter go to @The CallyFestival