Newington Green residents and traders celebrated on Monday night after saving their high street’s Christmas lights.
Traders discovered the Christmas lights budget had been slashed by Islington Council (the Green lies on the borough border) in early November. However, Newington Green Traders Association, with help from Newington Green Action Group, the Mildmay Community Partnership and local councillors, were able to independently fund the lights, just in time for the holiday season.
Newington Green locals turned up to witness the Monday night switch-on. Mince pies, mulled cider and music got locals in the festive spirit.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like that before, but it was good fun,” said Joe Caluori, councillor for Mildmay Ward, who had the honour of switching on the lights.
Kirsty Valentine, 44, chair of the NGTA and owner of The Alma pub, said: “I think it’s fantastic. There was a great turnout of the local community and it’s made the street look really festive, so it’s a great start to Christmas for us.”
The campaign to reinstate the lights started with local traders’ plans to hold a week of festive deals in December.
Valentine added: “We worked together to create the light, the atmosphere, the promotion within our shops… we’re trying to encourage people to come here to do their Christmas shopping or have their party, rather than going into the West End or any other area in London.”
Becky Nolan, 29, owner of The Peanut Vendor, said it would have been “awful” to have no Christmas lights, especially with Westfield tempting shoppers away from local stores.
The lights were part-funded by traders themselves, and residents at the switch-on were also keen to donate.
Eleven sets of lighting decorations are fixed to lampposts along the high street, with another four in the branches of trees.
The Newington Green Christmas Cheer event runs from December 1-7. At least 11 local traders will be offering holiday discounts.