A community group set up in the wake of the 2011 London riots will celebrate its achievements with a visit to the Houses of Parliament.
Love Your Doorstep (LYDS) was set up in Enfield in the wake of the 2011 London riots to fill the vacuum of community spirit in the borough.
Founder Emma Rigby told the Enfield Independent how and why she set up the directory service, which puts people and businesses in contact with others that can help them.
She said: “I had this burning desire inside of me to bring our community closer together. The riots were certainly a catalyst but it made me realise that I didn’t know my neighbours and there was no community feel.
“I wanted to find out more about the area where my kids are growing up so I took the plunge and set up Love Your Doorstep.
“The hardest part of setting up the site was gaining people’s trust that this could be a place to go find out about Enfield and what it has to offer.”
Two years on, the group is thriving in Enfield with more than 7,000 residents active on its Facebook page and more than 600 businesses using the site.
Whether it’s a bouncy castle hire or simply asking for a good hairdressers, this online community will point you in the right direction.
The group hasn't just combated the social void but works with local independent businesses to keep the high street going.
Ms Rigby added: “We put people in touch with local businesses and that way money is being put back into the economy. We are different to a Yellow Pages; we build a trusted and personal relationship with local traders so that residents can easily find the best of the borough.”
After moving from her native New Zealand 12 years ago, Ms Rigby has now been running the group for nearly three years and has seven members of staff.
The group has now expanded into Barnet, Potters Bar and Braintree in Essex, but that hasn’t stopped her from wanted to expand even further.
She said: “Hopefully we can now work closely with central government. We feel every area of the UK needs a Love Your Doorstep and we can see that there is a great sense of community spirit now.
“Businesses are communicating with each other and residents now have a closer understanding of independent traders.”
Kerry Kakoullis says that his business Give Us a Handyman, based in Cockfosters, has had huge successes as a result of LYDS.
He said: “I would say that about 60 to 70 per cent of my business comes through LYDS. It’s a massive community hub and is something everybody can trust.
“So when my business is recommended by people on the site, it can be trusted. I think the review system helps as well. Through being given one good review, I will get three more people ask for help.
“Hopefully my business will continue to grow and I will then be able to take on an apprentice who will be from the local area.”
Gary Kousoulou owns Good Looking Optics in London Road, Enfield Town and was one of the first businesses to get on board.
He said: "I think this is a great community asset in Enfield and it has also encouraged businesses to step their game up. A good review on LYDS goes a long way and they should take a huge amount of credit for doing so well."
Many business owners who work with the group will accompany LYDS staff to the House of Commons on Monday, February 24, as a celebration of their achievements.
Ms Rigby added: “This is a true highlight for our group and now the hard work really begins.”