Using Local Knowledge To Support SLT In 2014 Hannah, SLT’s Chief Executive, was interviewed by Islington Faces about her experience of living in Islington and why she wanted to work at SLT. “Hannah was 17 when she moved to a basement flat in Islington in 1977, rented from her friend, the costume and theatre set designer Alistair Livingstone while he was overseas. “I was really happy living there,” says Hannah thinking back to those teen days of freedom. “I was working in the theatre – after doing a foundation course at St Martin’s school of art – and had his cats to look after.” Settling in Islington wasn’t a vast geographical move. She’d been born in Stamford Hill and brought up in Southgate, but her family were initially apprehensive about her taking on the Oakley Road, N1 address in “rough” Islington. “The rent was cheap, only £8 a week, so they agreed it was an adventure,” says Hannah exuding calm – you can see she’d have made a good case to her parents all those years ago. Hannah’s a lovely person to meet: someone who has spent years in the theatre (her real high point was working with the original Cats cast), but then went back to university to do a Psychology degree at UCL in the late 1980s. She then worked for Islington Council, did some counselling courses and in 2002, having worked her way up since joining the organisation in 1995 became director of the Immune Development Trust*(later known as Complementary Health Trust) which offered complementary therapies for people with HIV, cancer, MS and lupus. She’s lived all round Islington – even meeting her partner, Tony, at a dinner party held at the vintage specialist shop Past Caring* on 76 Essex Road. “I’ve lived in Islington a long time – I feel really fortunate – so I want to give back,” explains Hannah. In 2007, she took a short break from full time work to “be there for my mum who had Alzheimer’s. My father had previously passed away at St Joseph’s Hospice, so I felt I wanted to give something back by working there as a part-time co-ordinator. I also helped out at their jumble sales. After mum died, and after being at St J’s for six years, I felt the rumblings of a new challenge in me and I wanted this to be local, in Islington.” As luck would have it the Stuart Low Trust was looking for a general manager. Hannah seems immensely proud to have joined the organisation in April (2014) telling the Islington Tribune: “I am so moved by the valuable work of the Stuart Low Trust. Their social therapeutic groups for vulnerable people alleviate fear, despair and social isolation”, says Hannah. “It is a lifeline in Islington, a non-judgemental, safe community, combating the above average suicide rate here. It’s helping people to gain confidence and achieve better mental health and well-being”.* In 2019 Hannah reflected on her experiences at SLT over the last five years. Since her blog was written in 2014, Hannah feels delighted at the way SLT has evolved, with a new programme of Saturday workshops, partnerships with local organisations, a new dynamic staff team and over 55 incredible volunteers who give over 5000 hours per annum. Hannah is now taking forward the Board's Business Plan which will see new activities, including a younger persons project and a mental health befriending project, start in the not too distant future. *This blog post was originally published on Islington Faces.