Poster campaign for people to stop and say hello in Crouch End

Sean Azzopardi puts up smile and say hello signs around Crouch End. Photo: Polly Hancock

Sean Azzopardi puts up smile and say hello signs around Crouch End. Photo: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A graphic illustrator from Crouch End is encouraging everyone to take the revolutionary step of stopping, smiling and saying hello to one another on the streets and in cafés and shops.

One of the posters by Sean Azzopardi cropping up around Crouch End

One of the posters by Sean Azzopardi cropping up around Crouch End - Credit: Archant

Sean Azzopardi is hanging up illustrated posters featuring the faces of people in Crouch End with the message “smile and say hello” - although he will not reveal any identities.

The 49-year-old aims to get people striking up conversations with people they might otherwise pass by.

“Crouch End is an area that has quite a strong community feeling, but you can see that people are very much going about their own business,” he said.

“People have so much other stuff in their lives, it’s hard for them to carve out a little space for others.

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“I thought at least if people could smile and say hello to each other then we’d probably build stronger community ties.”

Posters will be appearing at the Crouch End Clock Tower and at the bus stop in front of the iconic Hornsey Town Hall - where he says people spend long periods queueing for the W7 bus.

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“As an artist I spend a lot of time drawing people but also observing people - I thought if I could combine the two and get a message across to people then it might lead to something,” he said.

Mr Azzopardi has lived in Inderwick Road for seven years and he says it is already “very friendly” with schools, shops and a brilliant street party which takes place around June.

But he believes people should boost their efforts to get to know their neighbours and share security tips.

“The more people you know, the more there’s an awareness that’s around,” he said.

“One of the worries that people have is security, and just generally knowing what’s going on.”

“In many ways, Crouch End has reflected what’s going on within London with property and the changing shape of the community - houses are sold, probably split into flats - there’s a turnover of people within your own environment.”

Mr Azzopardi plans to meet with Haringey Council and the government in order to roll out his campaign, but he is also confident that the posters will make a difference.

“It’s a simple idea, but simple ideas tend to work,” he said.

Mr Azzopardi is being supported by the directors of the Crouch End Festival in June.

Festival artistic director Chris Arnold said: “The Festival is now the UK’s biggest community arts festival. We are backing Sean’s campaign as bringing together the community is the cornerstone of what we do.”

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