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Thornhill Square residents help youth work with £2,000 donation

February 10, 2010

Thornhill Square is Islington’s largest residential square and it retains much of the architectural features of the 1840s when it was built. Many of the houses were bought by the Council in the 1970s and, before the Square got its Conservation Area status and the buildings were listed, quite a few houses were converted into flats. There are many families in the Square and many of the residents have lived there a long time. So it has both diversity and a very settled feeling to the place. Neighbours really do know each other. Not surprisingly, family houses are exceptionally expensive but the residents do not see themselves as living in isolation from the surrounding neighbourhood – especially the Council-built housing estates west of Caledonian Road.

Steve Griffiths, the senior youth worker at Copenhagen Youth Project (CYP) gave an excellent talk to Thornhill Square Residents Association last night. Many of the residents are very closely involved in wider community affairs and the children’s playground and gardens in the square are a very popular open space for the wider neighbourhood. So the Residents Association takes a close interest in the many ways they can help to achieve a stronger and more cohesive community here. Steve cogently explained the overall strategy towards engaging young people in the neighbourhood and how the different youth organisations work together.

As a result of Steve’s talk, the Residents Association agreed to donate £2,000 to CYP. They also decided to encourage other households in the square to match the contribution with personal donations.

Filming a Poirot episode in the square last Summer

Now £2,000 is quite a lot of money for a residents association to donate from its own funds. But Thornhill Square has a smart source of money – from film and TV productions in the square. Last year there were two large productions using the square for location filming: an episode of the new season of award-winning Criminal Justice; and scenes for ITV’s long running series, Poirot. The donation represents what they earned last year from these shoots (and a little bit more).

Paul Convery attended last night’s meeting to talk about getting the Council to renew the railings around the park which have suffered some damage over recent years. He said “I am a keen supporter of CYP and, not surprisingly, I was pleased to hear Steve’s talk. But I was mightily impressed by the determination of the Residents Association to support CYP by handing-over their entire windfall income (plus some more) . Admirable generosity indeed, I was speechless… almost.”

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