Walk and Talk with Sam Kidby

Sam Kidby is the Project Director of Urban Partners.

 

  1. When did you start working/living/socialising in the area?

I grew up in Highbury so have always known the area pretty well, it’s certainly changed! I first started working in the area around the reopening of St Pancras International, where I was part of the PR team for the station developing the ‘destination station’ messaging. After leaving my then agency, I ran the social media for the station for two years before being appointed to project manage Urban Partners. So, in short, the area has been a huge part of my life for over a decade.

  1. What do you love most about your role as Project Director of Urban Partners?

Being a local, one of the things I love most about my role is how we develop innovative projects and initiatives that make a real difference to the wider area and people living here. In particular the work we have done around employability and connecting young people with job opportunities has been a real highlight.

  1. What is the most challenging aspect of your role?

Making sure that we are responding to the needs of the area rather that prescribing what we think people will want. We want to make sure we make a real difference and to do that we have to make sure we are constantly listening and responding to issues that those living and working here are affected by.

  1. How has the area changed since you started working with UP?

It’s changed a lot! I love that almost every time you come to the area there is a new building being built or public realm space being opened. It’s also been incredibly exciting to see all the amazing businesses that have made the area their home in the last few years, and there’s many more to come!

  1. What’s your favourite place in the UP area?

There are quite a few to choose from but in the summer the terrace outside Rotunda, looking out on to the canal, is a real oasis of calm in the centre of a crazily busy neighbourhood. St Pancras International will always have a special place in my heart and I’ve never got over entering the station and looking up at what I consider to be one of the most amazing roofs in the world

  1. What do you love about our neighbourhood?

That it’s an incredible melting pot of those who live, work or are visiting it. From tourists, to employees to commuters and local school children, all from different backgrounds, I find it hard to think of anywhere quite as diverse and dynamic.

  1. What’s your favourite community activity in the area?

With so many amazing charities and organisations working in the area it’s hard to choose. The work of the Somers Town Community Association is great, as is that of Small Green Shoots, New Horizon Youth Centre and Scene and Heard.

  1. What is your favourite event that Urban Partners hold?

I think they are all fantastic, so can’t have a favourite, though I may be a bit biased….

  1. What challenges will the area face in the future?

Ensuring it stays a cohesive community where businesses are truly part of the community and are providing opportunities that ensure it doesn’t become a ‘them versus us’ situation and those living locally feel isolated from what is going on.

  1. Where do you see our neighbourhood in the next ten years and what kind of image will it have?

I think it will be the global example of how to reenergise inner city urban area. With HS2, the Euston end of our area is about to experience just as dramatic change as the King’s Cross end and it will change the whole area again. It’s an exciting time.

  1. If our neighbourhood had a theme song, what would it be and why?

It’d have to be Return of the Mack by Mark Morrison. The area has to been seen as one of the best in London if not the world. It was always destined to make a comeback.