For years, Hornsey Vale Community Centre has played a vital role in bringing locals together to share and foster an inclusive and sustainable community. It was no different at the Green Christmas Fair, held on a chilly November 28.
The Fair, first held in 2013, was resumed after a one-year pause due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions. The motto of the Fair was to keep Christmas celebrations local, sustainable, and ethical, while also providing a space for creative entrepreneurs to share their work.
The Fair received about 400 visitors who circulated through the several indoor stalls which featured ceramics, clothes, food and more. Visitors could also enjoy an exhibition of manga drawings done by the centre’s young artists and enjoy a home-made cake with mulled wine. Local non-profit Wheely Tots showcased their bicycles, and shared their efforts to get residents in Haringey cycling safely; while Lingotot, which holds classes at the centre, helped children write letters to Santa.
Clare Cummins came all the way from Norfolk to share and sell her ceramics, after her sister Anna Loughlin, who lives in Drylands Road, told her the Fair would resume this year. “It’s great to have the community together again. We have more people this year than in previous years probably because the people missed being together,” Anna said.
For writer Barbara Hickmott, who lives in Weston Park, the Fair brought her values together. A member of several initiatives, including environmental group Transition Crouch End, being local is part of living in a more eco-friendly way. “Community fairs are very important because, among other things, it reduces the environmental impact. It’s less miles,” Barbara said. Visitors to the Fair had the opportunity to buy Barbara’s book, Grasshopper and the Ants—A New Twist on an Old Tale, which she wrote during lockdown, inspired by her granddaughters.
For Gemma Lee and Philip Adams, who live on Mayfield Road, it was a privilege that the first Fair they participated in, with their newly-created independent brand of indoorwear, was local. “It’s much busier than I had expected and it’s great to see some familiar faces,” said Gemma. Being in a local Fair matches the sustainability concept of their brand, Insiders. “We make clothes to last for a long [time].”
It’s beautiful to see the community together. Producing local and selling local reduces the footprint, making it all more sustainable and joyful.Islington resident Bulent Golbas
Islington resident Bulent Golbas showcased his hobby making honey with his brother. During the week he works in a cafe, while on weekends he participates in farmers’ markets and local fairs to sell the honey they harvest from hives in backyards, garages, and school rooftops in Islington and Haringey. “It’s beautiful to see the community together. Producing local and selling local reduces the footprint, making it all more sustainable and joyful.”
Local businesses kindly donated gifts of products and services as raffle prizes, further encouraging people to shop locally: Beam, Lyons Seafood restaurant, Waterstones, Avalon Hair Salon, Virgin Active, Queens pub, the Arthouse cinema, Lingotot and Florian’s all gave generously.
If you are interested in sharing your thoughts about the Hornsey Vale Community Centre’s impact, or contributing to an ongoing oral history and archive project for the centre’s 30th year, please email Emma Watson at email@example.com.—Telma Marotto