Sioned Churchill’s first job in King’s Cross was at the Neighbourhood Centre on Argyle Street, where she organised activities for older people. At the time she was struck by the camaraderie and sense of community that she found there. The residents were cheerful, resilient and full of humour, despite the hardship that some of them had been through. She particularly remembers Phyllis, one older woman who, in the face of her street being bombed during the Blitz, could think only of rice pudding.
She also remembers the day she was asked to help prepare for the Children’s Festival at Bramber Green (now re-named Judd Street). She arrived, bright and early, ready for work, and was more than a little dismayed when the task at hand was to clear the park of dog shit. Community activism, she discovered, was a business that involved getting her hands dirty.
Her discovery was cemented when a woman in the neighbourhood came to Sioned to tell her that her young son had just picked a used condom up off the street, thinking it was a sweet. That was the moment that Sioned understood the enormity of the task at hand. She proceeded to work with community members, drug workers and the local police to clean the area up. She talks here about some of the interventions she was involved in, including setting up a mobile needle exchange that provided clean needles for drug users, and a safe way to dispose of used needles.
Story by Polly Rodgers