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My King’s Cross: Charity fundraiser speaks of ‘remarkable transformation’ of King’s Cross

17:00 14 June 2014

Tom Blackie

Tom Blackie

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Tom Blackie is a fundraising officer for Age UK Camden.

When you look back at what the area was like when you first moved there, what changes have you seen?

I arrived in Camden to work on the King’s Cross regeneration in 1997, so for me the most obvious changes have been its remarkable transformation and the areas around Somers Town and south of Euston Road.

How has your work for Age UK Camden changed over the years?

My work with Age UK Camden and many other great charities in the borough has remained fascinating and rewarding, but with such severe central government-led cuts in recent years it has become far more challenging as the competition for funding is fierce.

If you were guest editor of the Ham&High for a day, what one local issue would you most like to see reported?

Camden has some of the worst mental health statistics in London and that needs to be explored more to find more effective solutions.

What have you learnt most from your work at Age UK Camden?

It’s uplifting – the charity supports 7,000 older people every year and makes such a difference to the lives of some very isolated, frail and vulnerable older people.

Are the people Age UK Camden help in a better or worse situation since you began working for the charity?

The charity provides such a range of services that when someone finds out about us a whole new world of support and friendship can open up to them, so for those that we help they definitely end up in a better situation.

What makes you smile when you walk to work?

I cycle to work and smile knowing that the borough just gets better and better – it’s vibrant, wonderfully multicultural and diverse and I normally bump into people I’ve known over the years, so there’s always a potential surprise around every corner.

What would you say is the area’s best kept secret?

I love being able to walk along the canal from King’s Cross to Primrose Hill on a Sunday afternoon for a roast at the Landsdowne pub. I always feel at home and relaxed there.

If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?

He loved people and he loved life!

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