Yippee – we’re in chutney-making business!

Yesterday, Daniel, Garfield and I spent the afternoon making green tomato, apple and ginger chutney. It was a mammoth adventure of chopping, weighing, cooking, stirring and potting. All done in a military (ish) fashion, with a few jokes and no major disasters.

Daniel has become an expert in chopping (but not onions) and Garfield has excelled in his washing and clearing up skills, really, he has an exceptional, and much admired, skill in making the kitchen look spik and span after our cooking escapades.

But, what’s more exciting, (is there anything more exciting than chutney?, I hear you ask…) is that today we sold our first two jars of chutney! Yippee!! My Crouch End Festival friend, Amanda, came over for coffee and came away with a jar of spicy apple chutney and a jar of green tomato and ginger chutney.

chutney stirring

Congratulations Amanda – you are Accumul8’s first ever customer! (Let’s hope the first of very many!)


Pear and Vanilla Cake

With some of the left-over pears from last week’s session I made a pear and vanilla cake. There was a slight experimental edge to it and, with anticipation, I shared it with the YMCA residents today as we chatted about Accumul8 and its future.


First thoughts about a logo for Accumul8 – very rough I know!


This is the idea, with a space to write what the product is. It’s early days, but any comments are very welcome

Apple, cardamon and rosewater jam and other stuff…

Today, Sean, Garfield, Daniel and I spent the day making Linda Dagoor’s recipe for apple, cardamon and rosewater jam. We improvised a bit, chatted about foreign countries and started to plan for our first sale of the chutneys and jams on November 16th. We still need to get the branding done and also design the stall, but slowly, slowly, catchy monkey….

More brilliant news for Accumul8 – it keeps rolling in!

1. The New North London Synagogue has set up a community fruit tree. The community fruit tree is part of their Tikkun Olam (social outreach) initiatives, and they they collect and redistribute surplus fruit and vegetables from allotments etc in the community and give to charities and food banks etc. (Great project!) They are now donating fruit to Accumul8 and I picked up masses of apples, plums and pears on Sunday – thank you! We will be making apple and rosewater jam on Friday.
2. Urban Harvest are also donating apples to Accumul8 from their Apple Day run by Transition Crouch End on October 19th at Hornsey Vale Community Centre, Mayfield Road, N8. Thankyou!
3. Blink Pop-Up are brilliantly giving Accumul8 a stall at their craft fair on 16 and 17th November at Hornsey Parish Church, Cranley Gardens, N10.  So, you can buy all of our produce at this event – hope to see you there!
4. The local MP, Lynne Featherstone, has asked to meet up and talk about Accumul8 – completely out of the blue and how great that the word is spreading about the impact and benefits of this project!
5. All super stuff, real community engagement and support and more cooking to happen on Friday!

Darius Malik and his wonderful talk to Accumul8


Darius Malik brilliantly gave his time to talk to the residents at the YMCA about his career, but most importantly, how he changed his life from being a serial offender, in prison from the age of 14 to 22, to a successful music manager. This talk came about after I emailed the mailing list from The Crouch End Festival and his PA, Olivia Rosen, responded.

This is the letter I wrote to Darius afterwards, it was a truly memorable talk and the residents and I learnt so much about overcoming adversity and making something of your life.

Dear Darius,

I want to personally thank you for the inspiring and motivating talk you gave to the residents at the North London YMCA Hostel about your personal journey.

Your ability and natural gift to capture an audience’s attention, connect with them and enable them to relate, understand and learn from your experiences meant that the residents related to you and your story and got such a lot from your talk.

The transitions you have made and the achievements you have realised are a testament to you as an individual and showed the audience that they too can overcome their own challenges through ambition, self belief and drive. The way you communicated this meant that everyone listened to you and could not fail to be inspired, your talk made such a difference to them and their lives and they all took something positive from it.

Thankyou again for giving your time and knowledge, it meant so much to everyone,

Best wishes,

Marice Cumber

Accumul8 – the start of a journey to change the world through chutney

So, Accumul8 has been going since 22nd August, and it all started off when the local YMCA approached The Crouch End Festival with the idea of creating links between the YMCA hostel residents and the creative people of the area (of which we have many!).

A poster went up at the hostel about learning how to set up a creative business. At the first meeting, about 20 residents turned up to listen and find out what this was all about. It went well, albeit with a few hiccups, and then on to meeting number two etc. and the project was born!

So, the residents decided on their name for their project – Accumul8, as the 20 reduced to 8 regular attendees, they live in N8 and as they say, you have to speculate to accumulate.

And here is a summary of what Accumul8 is all about (the formal version):

Accumul8 helps the residents at the YMCA hostel (who are long term unemployed and often disenfranchised from the community) gain employment skills, increase their confidence and return to the workplace. The residents attend weekly training and workshops on setting up their own creative business and are also working towards an exhibition of their creative work at The Crouch End Festival in June.
The residents are raising their own funding to pay for their exhibition, which is all part of their learning process. They are doing this by making jams and chutneys and baking and selling cakes for sale at craft fairs etc.,
Alongside knowledge acquisition and  the intended income generation aspect of selling the jams and chutneys, the residents are really working well together and look forward to every week’s cooking session.
The Accumul8 project engages and upskills the residents and gives them confidence, self-management skills, business training, discipline, independence and employability.
Ok, formal bit over, suffice to say, that I absolutely love this project and am enjoying every minute of it. Truly, you can change people’s lives through chutney!