Crouch End – helping to spread the community love

People in the local community of Crouch End are so supportive of Accumul8, from giving apples and fruit for the residents to make chutneys and jams, purchasing the product and giving their time to help the project succeed and reach its goals. Sometimes, you just need a “way in”, or a project that connects, to find the missing links that create positive change in the world around you. I hope Accumul8 does that.

This week, photographer Neil Martinson gave his time (Thank you Neil) and came to the North London YMCA to set up a pop-up portrait photography studio in the hostel canteen for a photography workshop. The idea was that the residents of the hostel would take portrait photographs of each other, in familiar surroundings, and get a taste of the medium of photography. Our aim was to use this “one-off” taster photography session to see what interest and take – up we got and then, if successful, to plan some more. Our goal was to get 8 people to take part in the workshop.

The day started at 10am with just three people. But those three people became the voices of why this was fun and good thing to be involved with, they told their fellow residents to join them, they knocked on doors and told people to come down and they, most brilliantly, helped plan and co-ordinate the day. By the end of the day, seventeen hostel residents took part in the activity – which is just over double our target!

The residents learnt how to use different cameras, about lighting and shadow, how to frame a picture, designing the background set and how to get the best out of a portrait photograph. They took photographs, modelled and styled for the session. It was a really successful experience for everyone and what is great is that the residents want more, so now we are responding to this and busy planning a series of photography sessions at the hostel. The photographic work that they eventually produce through this will form part of their exhibition for The Crouch End Festival.

Talking of exhibitions and The Crouch End Festival, we are very proud to say that Accumul8’s photographs will now be exhibited at Hot Pepper Jelly Cafe in Crouch End during the time of the festival (6th to 18th June) and then, afterwards, at the New North London Synagogue (who have funded Accumul8). So Accumul8 now has a touring exhibition – and we have only just started!

And finally, to top off a really good week, we now have a central Crouch End stockist of the Accumul8 chutneys and jams. Yes, the empire is growing! Tootoomoo on Crouch Hill – the well-loved Pan Asian restaurant has a local “market place” which now sells the world-renowned Accumul8 apple and ginger chutney, the tangy apple, lemon and chilli chutney and the sophisticated apple, rosewater and cardamom jam. Thankyou Vikki for making the link!

So, this week was a testament to the power of the community to help and support each other and make good things happen. Thankyou to everyone – it’s been great! And here are some of the Accumul8 attendees first attempts at portrait photography – I hope you enjoy them, Marice.