CDA welcomes the Rt Hon Emily Thornberry MP

CDA welcomes the Rt Hon Emily Thornberry MP

Last week, the Central District Alliance team were delighted to host Emily Thornberry,  MP for Islington South and Finsbury, alongside Cllr Ruth Hayes of Clerkenwell ward and Cllr Santiago Bell-Bradford, Executive Member of Inclusive Economy and Jobs. The visit was a great opportunity to discuss the work that we do as a business improvement district and to showcase how we partner with our local community by visiting a number of Clerkenwell businesses.

Starting at our local pocket park, we then went on to meet local business owners Ian Hudson and Hugh Hudson of the Finsbury Business Centre, where we discussed the impact of this family-run business which was started by their father. The Centre welcomes more than 60 businesses from a range of sectors, from sole traders to SMEs employing over 70 staff, and was once home to Zaha Hadid and Deliveroo.

At the Museum of the Order of St John, a true London hidden gem, Ameeta Lodhia, Business Development Manager took us around some of its most historical rooms, and to the free-to-visit Cloister Garden. We also found out more about the Order’s century-old history.

Before finishing in the lush surroundings of St John Gardens, we stopped by Cowcross Yards, home to weekly street food market KERB+. We met Gavin Dunn, Managing Director at KERB Food, who told us about KERB’s efforts to remove the barriers to setting up a food business, and had the opportunity to talk with some of the traders.

Emily Thornberry MP said: “I am grateful for the warm welcome I received from the Central District Alliance and from all the business and community leaders we met. Our visit not only highlighted the vibrant and dynamic nature of the district but also the strength of our partnerships. It’s always a pleasure to see Islington’s economy in full bloom, particularly in local projects like the St John’s Garden and Cowcross Market. I look forward to working with the CDA and those they represent to make Islington an ever-better place to live and work.”

Debbie Akehurst, Chief Executive of Central District Alliance, commented: “It was an honour to welcome Emily Thornberry and our local councillors to Farringdon and Clerkenwell. Their visit underscores the vital role collaborative support plays in nurturing and expanding our business community. As we walked through our markets and historical sites, and enjoyed the greenery of our gardens, it was clear our collective efforts are essential for fostering an inclusive and thriving economic environment. We are deeply committed to leveraging these partnerships to further enhance the vitality and diversity of our district.”

Alexander Jan, Chair of Central District Alliance, added: “This visit highlighted the significant benefits of collaboration across sectors. Our discussions reinforced my conviction that by working together, we can help to meet the diverse needs of the community and provide economic opportunity. It’s crucial that we continue to work in partnership with Islington and Camden boroughs and their elected representatives to drive meaningful progress.”

Over the last four years, the CDA has worked hand-in-hand with both Camden and Islington Councils to deliver a range of initiatives to support local businesses, residents, and visitors. Notable projects include the revitalisation of Princes Circus and the redevelopment of Clerkenwell Green. Additionally, our commitment to sustainability is reflected in our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives, ensuring our projects align with the highest standards of environmental care and community benefit. We’ve also brought vibrancy to the district through our engaging summer and winter event activations, which have become highly anticipated by the community each year.



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