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It’s a blessing to ‘believe in dog’

Who’s been making the news round your way this week?

17 February, 2017 — By Gabe Evans

Louise and fur-legged friend at the New Unity service. Photo Rufai Ajala

“BELIEVE in dog,” say the New Unity Community who held a special service in Newington Green for their canine friends and the people who love them. “Every bite you take,” bellowed along the halls as dog-lovers sang their own hound-friendly renditions of pop classics. People discussed what dogs had taught them, remembered those they missed – there was even a dog memorial wall – and Minister Andrew Pakula gave atheist dog blessings with a biscuit. “It was wonderful,” said Rev Andy, who has a flat-coated retriever and is well-known for his inventiveness. “Having a dog has changed my life – it’s taught me about being mindful and in the moment. Dogs don’t think about the future, plus you meet people you would never normally meet. I did have a lot of people asking ‘what about cats?’ though. I had to say ‘next time’!” In light of recent political upset, New Unity is more active than ever, helping to house Syrian refugees, exploring solutions to the shortage of social housing in the area and starting a new discussion group on what it means to be a “man” today (open to all who identify as a “man”). Find out more at www.new-unity.org/

Romance? It’s a piece of cake

Emerson Cozier

LOVE was in the air at St Luke’s Community Centre on Tuesday, as local pastry chef Matt Jones led a delicious Valentine’s special baking session. “It was really lovely, very vibrant,” said Sofia Larrinua, the cookery school manager. “We baked all kinds of goodies – carrot cake, profiteroles, lemon tarts, scones.” The Central Street Cookery School is a favourite at the community centre and home to a loyal following. Emerson Cozier, a stalwart Arsenal fan who baked a deliciously romantic lemon tart, has been coming to the classes for four years and is now quite the connoisseur. The baked goods were enjoyed by the centre’s elderly members in the afternoon at their Valentine’s party, complete with the cheesiest of discos and a room full of red balloons. For details of the Cookery School and upcoming classes visit http://centralstreet.org/

A walk on the LGBT+ wild side

Islington Pride walkers on Saturday, with Mayor Kat Fletcher, Karen Lansdown and Jeremy Corbyn

POLITICAL intrigue, the plight of the artist, love, lust and murder kept the icy rain and blistering winds at bay for the Clerkenwell and Islington Guides Association (CIGA) free walk last Saturday – generously funded by Islington Museum – which uncovered 50 years of Islington’s LGBT+ history. Outside the Noel Road home of the playwright Joe Orton, who was murdered there by his lover Kenneth Halliwell in 1967 – just two weeks before the 1967 Sexual Offences Act decriminalised consensual sex between men in private – Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader and Islington North MP, proclaimed the walk “an excellent event”.

Joe Orton

Islington mayor Kat Fletcher, under a rainbow-patterned umbrella, also joined the tour. The walk, guided by Karen Lansdown, has been developed in collaboration with the Islington Museum’s current Islington Pride exhibition celebrating LGBT+ history month – reported in this column last week. The free February walks are now fully booked but due to popular demand new dates have been added in March. Look out for details at www.ciga.org.uk.

Friday nights at Stuart Low Trust

THE Stuart Low Trust is recruiting for Friday Evening Event Hosts in order to continue and expand its work. Every Friday, 52 weeks a year, SLT runs some form of evening entertainment for its clients, complete with a buffet. The host is responsible for the evening’s smooth running, supported by a Friday evening assistant, a volunteer coordinator and a team of volunteers. Prospective candidates should have experience of working with vulnerable people – alone and in group settings – who may have mental health issues, and they should be confident managing large groups of people (between 40 and 100). Contact Hannah Kalmanowitz, chief executive of Stuart Low Trust, for details by emailing hannah@slt.org.uk or call 020 7713 9304. Stuart Low Trust is an Islington charity that supports local people experiencing social isolation or mental distress, helping them to manage their lives successfully.

Sky’s the limit at Estorick art classes

Artists Ann Kozlowski-Hunt, right, and Jane Wisker

DRONES, sweeping hills and First World War planes. Landscapes From Above, the first of two free art classes which took place on Tuesday, exploring the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art’s current exhibition, War in the Sunshine: The British in Italy 1917-1918, used war plane reconnaissance and the aerial landscapes of celebrated war artist Sydney Carline’s paintings as inspiration, alongside modern-day imagery of drones and satellites. Run in partnership with the Islington Adult & Community Learning Service and Stuart Low Trust, different classes – primarily for adults on low income – run throughout the year inspired by the many and vibrant exhibitions at the Estorick. “They’re really amazing these classes,” said Ann Kozlowski-Hunt, 53, a former art teacher who has lived in Finsbury Park her whole life and now attends the classes regularly. “They get me out of my usual zones.” Until recently, Ann was a full time carer for her elderly mother and unable to pursue much of anything for herself, let alone artistic endeavours. “When you become a carer you think your nobody. So I call this my second coming,” she said. “I’ve been nagging her for years,” added her old school friend, Jane Wisker, 53. “Then last year she just had this explosion.” Ann is now holding a small exhibition at the Meditatio Centre at St Mark’s Church in Angel, with her friend and artist Shirley Maher until March 4. The second art class for the current exhibition, Actions in Motion, is on March 7. For more details and to book call 020 7713 9304 or email info@slt.org.uk. Also visit the Estorick website for details on upcoming events www.estorickcollection.com/exhibitions.

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