Judith Ziari is a long time Tottenham resident who has seen many changes over the years. As a woman who is passionate about the area, she created the Facebook group "Tottenham Rise". Judith is prolific and unbiased in sourcing information about and events happening in the area, whilst also giving others a chance to share and promote too. It's like a one stop shop to find out what's happening in Tottenham! Rachel Ho is a long time user of the group, so was curious to find out more about Judith, and caught up with her to ask a few questions.
Where did you grow up and what did your parents do?
I grew up in a small village in the South East of Scotland. My parents owned and ran a bed and breakfast. It was mostly run by my mother, and my father was an antiques dealer.
Describe your relationship with Tottenham.
I have a very strong bond with the area having lived and worked here as a psychiatric nurse for over 35 years. It's the place I call home.
Photo supplied: Judith Ziari, founder of Tottenham Rise, at The High Cross
What is Tottenham Rise and how did it come about?
Tottenham Rise is a Facebook group where people can get information about what’s going on in the local area, a place where people can come together and share their information, events, ideas, photos etc. It's a very open group where I encourage people to add anything that they think would be of interest to everyone in locally!
I was inspired to set up Tottenham Rise after seeing the carnage caused by the 2011 riots, which marked a moment for me where the realisation of just how much the area had been neglected was difficult to bear. While the event itself is something the area has largely forgotten now, I felt incredibly proud by how the community pulled together, to help each other, and help to clean up the area and get it back on its feet. It is an energy that I don't think has left since. We've had two riots in the area, the one in Broadwater Farm in 1985 and the one in 2011; they were two unfortunate events that put the Tottenham on the map.
So out of that which Tottenham Rise came about; I felt inspired to start up the group and tap into the wonderful energy that I have always known is there, and to give a voice to that and all the people who have kept the area alive in their own ways and continue to do so. I wanted people to think of Tottenham as the place of diversity, culture, greenery and kindness that it is.
As a woman, how do you think Tottenham has changed? What would you like to see change?
I don't know if my being a woman has a reflection upon how I think about the changes that have happened in the area. I think any one you ask would probably feel the same as me. I strongly believe that the community is fighting back and trying to make the area a more attractive place to live for the old and new people moving into the area, while remembering its roots and holding on to that.
Tottenham has had a lot of investment placed in it since 2011, with a focus on regeneration. Tottenham already had a lot to offer us with the Bernie Grants Art Centre, which has been here for years, Bruce Castle, many parks, a nature reserve, the canal, walks, and places to cycle, not to mention a diversity of restaurants offering food from South America to Africa.
Photo supplied: Judith at The Beehive
That is being built upon as the community grows to offer more things, like the Sunday Market for example, having a variety of coffee shops to choose from, breweries, cheese makers, and so on. It's also very easy to get out the area too!
What I would really like to see is more opportunities for the young people of the area, things that interest them and inspire their creativity and intelligence, a place where they can also feel part of the place they live, and not to mention some kind of local government assurance that people in the rental market won't get priced out of the area.
Favourite thing to do in Tottenham?
I love Tottenham Green Market on a Sunday with its vibrant community spirit. I love the fact that there is a choice of different restaurants. I love Pueblito Paisa, we celebrated my daughters birthday there last year and we had such a good time with its tasty Columbian/Peruvian food and vibrant and friendly atmosphere. They do good coffee there too, and its the place where Wards Corner Association would meet to discuss their opposition to Seven Sisters Market being demolished. It's really an important place.
I really love a long walk through Lordship Rec, up to Downhills and then down Phillip Lane with a little pitt stop for a refreshment in Tri-Prana. I also love a cheeky bit of fried chicken from Chick-King if I'm not in the mood to cook!
I also like walking to Tottenham Marshes along the tow path towards Tottenham Hale where I would often pop into Craving Coffee on my way back for a coffee or a bite to eat.
Judith's photo of Tottenham Cemetery
I love the fact that I have so many choices of places to meet up with friends without even having to leave the area.
Anything you would like to add?
I am excited to see what other changes are coming next to the area especially when Spurs and White Hart Lane is finally completed.
However I do have some concern about the redevelopment of certain areas and how it’s changing the local communities, culture, homes and businesses some of which have been in the area for many years. My only wish is that they do not get pushed out in order to make way for new developments.
Young people’s voices need to be heard and encouraged to get involved with the community, I'd like to find out a way that we can begin to make that happen.
I would definitely like to see a few more independent shops, like a bookshop, instead of the large corporate shops.
I would like us all to get closer together, and to be able to find and support one another.
Join the Tottenham Rise Facebook Group: