Community clubbing together light up Cally Road for Christmas

Traders are clubbing together to save Caledonian Road from a bleak midwinter – by buying their own Christmas lights.

Two years ago, cash-strapped Islington Council decided to axe funding for festive fairy lights in a bid to save around �45,000 a year.

Now Team Cally, residents, traders and councillors, have come forward in an attempt to salvage some Christmas cheer.

It has persuaded Islington Council, which has a �20,000 pot earmarked for the Caledonian ward, to put �2,500 of it towards Christmas lights at the Cally. It is asking traders and residents to raise the remaining �2,500 needed.

This is part of a wider push to regenerate the once-neglected Caledonian Road by boosting trade in the area. Janine Dorling, 52, a resident representative on Team Cally, said: “I am trying in all sorts of ways to help the Cally lift its profile and have more of a community feel. Christmas lights give that feel. It would be a great shame if the community couldn’t do it for themselves.”

Mohamed Hammoudan, neighbourhood co-ordinator for Team Cally, added: “It encourages people to come out on cold winter nights and visit the shops.”

Last year, Caledonian Road put on a Christmas light display, getting half the money from the council and raising the rest.

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Cllr Paul Convery, a Labour ward member for Caledonian ward, said: “Of course it’s a shame that the council can’t pay for it outright but it’s a shame that the government is cutting �100million from the council’s budget.”