Let's Talk: Campaign launched to tackle Islington inequality

Jessica Plummer at the launch event this week

Jessica Plummer at the launch event this week - Credit: LDRS

“Be a leader, not a follower,” urged parent champion Jessica Plummer.

She lent her voice to the launch of Islington Council’s Let’s Talk campaign, which is designed to help tackle inequalities in the borough and improve people’s chances.

The council hopes that people who live, work or study in the borough will share their personal experiences of inequality and suggest ways that it can make improvements.

Plummer is an anti-knife crime campaigner whose son Shaquan Sammy-Plummer was murdered in Winchmore Hill in 2015.

She launched a foundation in his name and spends time talking to students in schools and pupil referral units to prevent children getting caught up in knife crime.

Twenty-nine young people have been killed so far this year in the UK.

Jessica said: “We have got to work as a community and work with young people. There’s nothing out there for them to do. The children and young people need a voice."

Islington Council's leaders at the launch of the campaign

Islington Council's leaders at the launch of the campaign - Credit: LDRS

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Gladys Cobbina-Agyemang said talking can help break down barriers.

She set up the Black Women’s Link Project to help tackle loneliness and social isolation.

“When we are in a community, we need a sense of belonging,” she said.

“Some of us do not have any family nearby, some have new babies or have language problems or do not know how to access community resources.”

Paul O’Brien from the Sunflower bakery on Caledonian Road helped deliver food parcels to Islington residents in need during the pandemic.

He saw first hand some of the inequalities in the borough.

“We need to talk to everybody to understand each other, with more community spirit and helping each other,” he said.

He is the chair of the Cally Traders Association, which started last year with just six members but has grown to 55-strong in a few months.

The council hopes businesses like them, along with residents, will help test solutions to problems such as disproportionate access to mental health services, the unequal effects of air pollution, and inequalities in educational attainment which can affect young people’s opportunities.

It will be staging conversations with residents until the spring. 

A new inequality taskforce of civic, academic, and business leaders with expertise across health, poverty reduction, and education, will also help.

Council leader Kaya Comer-Schwartz said: “We want to have a genuine conversation with people going through challenges.”

To find out more, visit: https://www.islington.gov.uk/about-the-council/vision-and-priorities/lets-talk