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Film-maker’s hopes for Finsbury Park homeless project

Changed Times documentary follows the transfor­mation of an empty warehouse into a shelter

11 October, 2019 — By Jane Clinton

Sam Hadfield, a co-ordinator at the Glass House shelter in Finsbury Park

THE maker of a film charting the transfor­mation of an empty warehouse hopes the project can act as a template for the rest of the UK to follow.

The Glass House shelter in Finsbury Park was a pilot project offering a place to stay for 16 people maintained by more than 200 volunteers who cooked, cleaned and looked after the space.

It closed its doors in May, as it was always scheduled to shut after 12 weeks. The film about the project in Hornsey Road run by volunteers will be shown at Union Chapel on Sunday.

Filmmaker Nina B, 32, who lives in Finsbury Park, knew Sam Hadfield, one of the co-ordinators at the shelter. She met him while making a film about his Caris Boxing Club in Islington.

“Once I heard about the Glass House I just knew I wanted to make a film about it,” she said.

The main room of the Glass House

“It shows what can happen when people come together and work together. It was a beautiful thing to see. I called the film Changed Times – it is a message: the change the shelter has made to people’s lives, to the community. It is a different approach to tackle homelessness.”

Several organisations, including campaign group Housing Justice, Islington Council and volunteer-run Streets Kitchen founded by Jon Glackin, joined forces to create the Glass House shelter at the Hornsey Road site.

Those staying overnight were offered art and craft classes, a hot meal, warm shower and toiletries.

There are plans for another shelter to be opened but those behind the Glass House are looking for a site.

“It would be great if people saw the film and used this as a template on how it can be done,” Nina said. “I want to take the film to different boroughs across London and hopefully inspire people to take the initiative.”

Changed Times is being shown at Union Chapel, Compton, N1, on Sunday. Doors open at 3pm. Admission free but donations welcome. Tickets from www.unionchapel.org.uk/event/13-10-2019-shock-to-the-system/

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