Hackney Changemakers: Doug Racionzer

Hackney Cooperative Developments have been here several decades, trying to keep commercial rents affordable so that existing business owners can stay where they have established themselves and, often, where they live. They are closely involved with the council on the Hackney Social Enterprise Borough initiative and this is how I met Sophie Higgins (see previous…

Hackney Changemakers: Luke Billingham

Hackney Quest do brilliant things in E9 for Hackney youth. Those who spend most time with our young people are the ones who’re most positive about them. There’s a real buzz about this community hub; more and more I realise what an incredible job youth workers do, with less and less resource from central government…

Hackney Changemakers: Esther Freeman

Esther gets things done. She approached me pre-Covid to collaborate on a Hackney women’s history walking project which now has turned into a podcast (listen here). As you’ll see, we both like uncovering hidden stories and we both think that by looking back, we can better understand where we are today. And who doesn’t like…

Hackney Changemakers: Toyin Agbetu

I met Toyin and heard about Ligali through the free festival of learning Antiuniversity. This 1968 Hackney phenomenon was recently revived – as education becomes more expensive and institutions become ever more business-like – and still has strong links to the borough. Toyin was researching local activism and is another character whose upbeat demeanour contrasts…

Hackney Changemakers: Amy Todd

Since 2012, I’ve been telling the remarkable story on walks of the Dissenters of Newington Green and a remarkable ‘church’ where anybody and everybody is welcome. You don’t even have to believe in God to attend the Sunday service (motto: “Believe in good”). Many of us will be familiar with the Enlightenment icon Mary Wollstonecraft…

Hackney Changemakers: LA Saunders

I met Leslie on a business course run by Allia in Hackney. Her unusual ‘Hairstorian’ mission intrigued me and her energy was infectious, so we became friends. We are from completely different backgrounds and she’s opened doors for me into other sections of the community in Hackney. I’ve been welcomed warmly by low-key community activists…

Hackney Changemakers: Sophie Higgins

I’m very excited to introduce this series of guest blogs by Hackney Changemakers who have inspired me on my own journey to achieve something different in Social Enterprise Borough Hackney. We stand on the shoulders of giants here, wading in a centuries-old river of reforming consciousness. And today’s trailblazers are all great fun to be…