Carboard Citizens get in the mood for Hackney One Carnival

Hackney One Carnival
Sunday 7 August
Kicks off midday at Ridley Road Market
Parade works its way north up the A10 to Stoke Newington Church Street
Arrives at Clissold Park at 2pm
Parks for Life event, 1-6pm at Clissold Park - a festival of live music, dance and fun activities

With just one week to go until the Hackney One Carnival, a group of homeless people are hoping their contribution will help to make the event on August 7 the best ever.

Cardboard Citizens is an east London organisation that supports homeless and displaced people through theatre and the performing arts. This year, they have run a series of Carnival workshops teaching drumming, Brazilian dance, costume and puppet making to people who are mostly living in temporary accommodation. The group will then form a troupe that will take part in the Carnival parade.

Now in its fourth year, the Council-run Hackney One Carnival brings together hundreds of performers from carnival and community groups across the borough as part of the Cultural Olympiad - giving residents the opportunity to celebrate arts and culture alongside sports in the run up to the 2012 Games.

Cardboard Citizens Project Manager Mike Sells says: “The participants enjoy being part of a band, making friends, it reduces feelings of isolation and the drumming in particular is really easy to pick up. If they are not musicians or don’t enjoy acting this is something they can get into quickly. It’s been good to be able to take workshops to where the people are, so they don’t have to worry about having the confidence to get anywhere if we can bring it to them.”

Mo Arfam, 26, lives in Hackney. He says: “I was at St Mungo’s using the computer when I heard the music coming from downstairs. I came down to see what was going on and I thought why not join in? I’ve done all the sessions so far and it’s been enjoyable, something to look forward to. The drumming has been my favourite activity so far. None of us had done it before but it all came together and now the Carnival is going to be wicked!”

Toni Assor, 32, lives in Stoke Newington. She says: “I got involved with the workshop through my key worker. This is nice and the music is good. I didn’t even know there was a Hackney Carnival so I’m really happy to be involved. It’s a great idea.”

This year the carnival parade kicks off at midday at Ridley Road Market and then works its way north up the A10 to Stoke Newington Church Street, before arriving at Clissold Park at 2pm.

Meeting the Parade at the park will be a Parks for Life event - a festival of live music, dance and fun activities from 1pm until 6pm.

Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe said: "With just one year to go until the 2012 Games, Hackney One Carnival is a great way for residents to come out and celebrate our role as a host borough and to get involved in a community event which has proved to be extremely popular for the past three years."

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For photos of The Costume Making and Dancing Cardboard Citizens workshops - please click on the related link to download - credit Olivia Harris