No More Red

Octopus Community Network address social injustice

Octopus Community Network

Every month, we’ll spotlight one of our 10 No More Red charity partners who are helping to keep young people safe. This time, it's Octopus Community Network.

Donate to Octopus Community Network to help them continue their important work in the community.

What do you do?

Octopus Community Network is a mutual collaboration between 15 of Islington's largest multi-purpose community centres. We have worked together for over 23 years, to address social injustices – including food insecurity, health inequality, race and gender inequality, and climate crises.

We are passionate about the role of community centres in tackling poverty and lack of opportunity through community organising and community-led development.

What impact have you seen in the local community?

Community Centres are at the heart of their communities. We see every day the positive impact they have to the lives of their local residents, where they come together, learn new skills and take part in a range of events and activities. Community Centres provide safe spaces for local people. They are trusted local organisations led by residents, who are at the centre of their work.

As a Network, we facilitate joint projects across centres, the sharing of resources and knowledge, and coordinate additional opportunities, including our involvement in the No More Red campaign. This fosters collaboration and community across the Network, supporting the centres to respond to local needs in the best possible way.

What are your current goals as a charity?

Engage: those who lead and develop multi-purpose community centres in order to share lessons learned and effective practice.

Inspire: a new approach to community-led development by involving all those who make up our local community, sharing ideas, thinking big, staying positive and keeping an open door.

Motivate: change by constantly and consistently reviewing what we do so that we can demonstrate impact.

Equip: those responsible for community-led development with the skills, know-how and values to increase participation and foster strong, sustainable communities.

Support: to reflect on and review how we support community leaders by facilitating routes to a range of development opportunities, routes to expertise, and peer-to-peer support.

What does it mean to you to be an official charity partner of No More Red? 

Being an official No More Red charity partner has been a valuable addition to the work we do with young people across the Network, providing a number of opportunities, including the chance to visit the Emirates, play on the pitch and earn the No More Red white shirt.

Through No More Red and in collaboration with Anthropologist Dr Kelly Fagan Robinson (University of Cambridge) we devised a programme using Anthropology By Communities (ABC) methods, where the young people involved commented on what ‘home’ means to them using photography, film, and audio-narrative.

These workshops have created spaces for conversation about what they love about their homes and communities, and what changes they would like to see. By using the ABC methods, participants reported this process made them feel their ideas and thoughts were being properly listened to for the first time.

Participants travelled to Cambridge in October 2023 to share their work with artists, academics, policymakers and charity leaders. After watching the film produced from earlier workshops, the young people led group conversations about what needs to happen to ensure their peers have access to safe spaces.

From this event, more than 40 people committed to at least one practical action towards making positive change happen.

No More Red supported this event by providing access to the adidas box at Emirates Stadium for one of the sessions and funding refreshments and travel to the University of Cambridge. All young people who presented will be awarded a No More Red white jersey.

How can people get involved? 

Have a look at our website for information on all our current programmes, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all the latest.

Support our work to continue by donating here.

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