Ashley Kingham, 31, youth mentor with Newington Green Alliance

“I am originally from Auckland, New Zealand and moved to Europe in my early 20s. In 2014 I made London my home. When I first discovered Dalston Junction, I was immediately charmed by the soul and diversity of the special spot of London. The melting pot of Dalston was a true sensory experience for me. I initially lived in the South East of London, and every Sunday I would come to Dalston to get my hair cut at the Turkish barbers.

As I got out of the Overground I would be treated to a feast of diversity, people of all cultures and nationalities bustling to get their Sunday shopping done. Women in beautiful traditional African clothing on their way to Sunday church services, an array of delicious kebabs on the Dalston High Street, reggae music blasting in one side of Dalston Square, with live ragtime in another side and artsy antipodeans flocking to the latest espresso and brunch places.

There was something deeply exhilarating about having an area where so many different cultures co-exist, a beautiful kaleidoscope of food, culture and experience- and made me feel very much at home with my mixed heritage spanning across the world. I knew from my early visits to Dalston that I wanted to live in East London.

After spending a few years back in New Zealand, I came back to London in 2020, and moved to Dalston and then to Newington Green. Despite my favorite Caribbean bars being closed during the pandemic, it has been a dream come true to live in the middle of the melting pot that I discovered upon my arrival in London years ago. Newington Green has become the perfect balance between the hustle and bustle of Dalston and the serenity of Clissold Park. Newington Green has truly become my new tribe!"