One of the Islington Storytellers, Han, tells how volunteering at the ARC brings the Islington communities closer together.
Grab a flat white in their intimate cafe, and you’ll see the gentle buzz of the ARC unfold. The friendly hive hosts everything from yoga classes, underground bachata nights and community crafts to an incredible food bank and more depending on when you pop in.han, islington storyteller & Arc volunteer
Having lived in Islington for many years, I had always meant to volunteer and help out in the community, but truly never made the time. It took the pandemic for me to shed my regular excuses (office hours, commuting) to finally stop and see all the altruistic initiatives right here on my doorstep. In the end, putting my hand up to help out at the ARC was exceedingly simple.
Now as one of the crew of volunteers at the ARC Foodbank, I’m benefiting from seeing how our neighbourhood comes together in ways I simply didn’t before. Each week it’s a real joy to chat with our regular clients, getting to know their stories over time and share a laugh or two.
The foodbank itself is an incredible community outfit that serves 100 households (300 neighbours) on a weekly basis. Run impeccably by the illustrious and cheerful Melissa with a team of dedicated volunteers, it’s operations are supported by the centre’s earnings, private donors and members of the community themselves. Fresh food donations from many generous local businesses stream in each week – painstakingly collected by the foodbank team by hand, bike and cart.
Sadly, anticipating the rising wave of costs that households will experience across the country, we expect that more of our neighbours will urgently need a hand.
The good news is that all of us can pitch in! Stop by the @thearcn1 when you’re nearby and say hello – the cafe, yoga studio and garden project always have something on, and everything goes back towards the community.
You can find the ARC Centre on 98b St Paul St, London, N1 7DF
About the authors: Hello neighbours, we’re Andres & Han, two friends exploring the people and places that make Islington a great neighbourhood to live in. Join us on our journey @our.islington!