Islington Giving

Islington Giving is an independent group of funders, businesses, residents and voluntary organisations working together to tackle poverty and inequality in Islington.

We want Islington to be a place where everyone – regardless of circumstance – has the opportunity and means to live a fulfilled life.

We work by shining a light on poverty and inequality and harnessing resources to address them.  


Islington Giving grew out of a shared acknowledgement by a range of local and national organisations of the depth and perniciousness of poverty in Islington. This was highlighted in the 2008 report, Invisible Islington: Living in Poverty in Inner London

Whilst deprivation and inequality had long been the concern of many working in the borough, this report, commissioned by Cripplegate Foundation, threw stark new light on the issues. By exploring the day-to-day lives of Islington’s poorest residents and allowing them to share their stories of debt, ill-health, isolation and lack of opportunity, Invisible Islington powerfully expressed the hidden human reality of inner city poverty.

Islington is a place of “striking social extremes, where London’s richest and poorest residents exist side by side, living entirely different lives.”

In the wake of the publication of Invisible Islington, a group of local and national organisations came together to form a three year campaign - Islington Giving.

In 2013 we asked how life had changed for Islington’s poorest residents since the publication of Invisible Islington   Distant Neighbours: Poverty and Inequality in Islington, uncovered people’s everyday experiences of poverty and inequality in Islington during a period of economic uncertainty, public sector cuts and welfare reform, and examines what can be done about it.

In 2015 Islington Giving moved from a campaign to a permanent role in the borough.

Who are we?

The Islington Giving partners are:

The Breadsticks Foundation

City Bridge Trust


Cripplegate Foundation

The Macquarie Group Foundation

The Morris Charitable Trust

The Need in Islington

Put simply, Islington is one of the poorest and most unequal places in the country.

Islington’s reality is:

·         1 in 5 people live in poverty

·         the borough is ranked in the bottom 10% of deprived areas in England

·         we have one of the highest levels of child deprivation – 38% of our children live in poverty

·         we have one of the highest levels – fifth in England – of older people suffering deprivation

The impact of poverty reaches into every aspect of life.

 If you are poor in Islington you are more likely to suffer from serious physical and mental health problems.  Life expectancy for men in the borough is one of the lowest in the country and we have England’s highest rate of serious mental ill health.

At the same time, Islington benefits from one of the most vibrant voluntary and community sectors in the country, which means we have the expertise and opportunities to help make positive change for Islington residents.

How does it work?

Islington Giving exists to shine a light on poverty and inequality,. We identify issues and harness resources to create positive change in Islington. We shape our work around two overarching priorities:

1.      Confronting isolation. Islington Giving works to connect people, particularly the most isolated, to local networks, activities and services to improve well-being.

2.      Unlocking Islington. Islington Giving works to open up local assets, spaces and opportunities for residents who face disadvantages in accessing them.

We address these priorities by:

·         Investing in young people. Islington Giving provides opportunities for young people to make the most of their free time with programmes of activities such as Friday Night Out. We create pathways for young people’s futures through the mentoring Islington Giving has made available in schools in Islington.

·         Supporting families. Islington Giving provides places for families to go to socialise and engage, especially at the weekends and school holidays but also provides dedicated support,

·         Reaching isolated people. Islington Giving proactively reaches out to and connects isolated people to other residents, to social activities and to support services. We have dedicated programmes to help address isolation among older people and to improve mental health and well-being for those most at risk.

All our work focuses on inclusion. Our guiding principle is everyone can give - (time, expertise or resources) to benefit their community. Projects and initiatives we support and fund which benefit Islington residents may be open to all but we work hard to reach those who are less able to access activities, services and opportunities for reasons such as low income, disability or isolation.

To maximise the impact of our work Islington Giving:

·         Makes grants to voluntary organisations for high quality activities and services in Islington. Our grants support important work at grassroots in the borough which involves and benefits residents. Islington Giving currently supports over 60 local projects.

·         Builds partnerships. Working in partnership is at the heart of everything we do. We partner with residents, volunteers, voluntary organisations, statutory services and businesses.

·         Fundraises to bring more resources into Islington and increase our grant-making.

The BIG Alliance

The Business for Islington Giving (BIG) Alliance is a business supported employee volunteer programme delivered by the East London Business Alliance (ELBA). Launched in 2013, the BIG Alliance has 13 business members whose employees volunteer for a range of roles supporting local organisations and residents including HR, marketing, legal and business planning advice and mentoring young people in schools and colleges in the borough. Over 1,300 staff have taken part in team challenges. The BIG Alliance also works with business members to help Islington residents into work.

Key successes

Since 2010, we have raised over £5million, to support over 60 voluntary organisations, and engaged over 5,000 volunteers who together have helped make a difference to the lives of over 16,000 Islington residents.

As we build on the success of the past 6 years we want to:

·         Strengthen communications – developing the way Islington Giving best communicates its message of need in the borough and how Islington Giving is a, driving force for positive change.

·         Galvanise support from individuals and cross-sector partnerships – Islington Giving will work hard to identify shared ambitions and  promote  joint actions

·         Grow the evidence of our impact – we will build robust and trusted data and information that shows how we help to make positive change in the lives of Islington residents, particularly those who are disadvantaged.

What next?

·         Over the next three years we will invest £1million each year in Islington. The needs have never been greater, and we are determined to achieve even more.

·         We will continue to grow the Islington Giving family, building new partnerships with local businesses and donors.

·         We will develop our grant-making programmes by listening, learning and evolving our approaches so that our programmes meet identified needs in the most effective ways possible.

To read more about the work of Islington Giving, and to find out how you can get involved, visit the Islington Giving website -

More contact details below:

Kristina Glenn

Director, Islington Giving

020 7288 6943