Creating connections within a community might sound like work for some, but for Sherilyn Sibanda, it’s magical.
The occupational therapist, who has lived in Hornsey for about ten years, first saw the power of locally-based networks when she began volunteering for the Challenge Group in Crouch End, which supports parents of children with additional needs. There, she would help parents work on occupational therapy strategies, and signpost them to different services in the community.
She also began volunteering at the Hornsey Food Bank during the pandemic. “Learning people’s stories and things people are going through, how [the pandemic] has hit them, their struggles–it’s made me realise how much people are searching for that belonging, that sense of community.”
In response, Sherilyn formed ‘A Sprinkling of Magic,’ a group hosting wellbeing retreats, pop-up events, and community gatherings designed to connect people with each other and local services, and “bring smiles and good vibes.” The group can be found on Instagram and Facebook.
Hornsey Vale Community Centre has hosted two events in partnership with Sherilyn and her group so far. The first, on 19 December 2021, was a festive collaboration with the Hornsey Food Bank, which saw local residents donate ready-wrapped presents to children attending the event. Several businesses also supported the event.
A second event was held on 12 February with arts and crafts stations for children, bubble and parachute games, and free play for children. The event was designed to invite parents to suggest more free family events that would be particularly helpful over school holidays and weekends. It featured cupcakes donated by Dunns Bakery, which were also shared with residents of Stokely Court Sheltered Accommodation.
Sherilyn is hoping to formalise the group further as she learns from each event and builds partnership with local groups. “I’m excited to work with Hornsey Vale Community Centre and collaborate with local communities,” said Sherilyn, “plus find out more about other initiatives in the community so I can better sign post.”