Déjà vu on the canal

The morning trip to Camden’s canal, headed by our CHAPS coordinator Gavin, was a unique and delightful experience for everyone involved. While many of the members had never set foot on a canal boat others had worked on site several years ago.


A couple romantically reminisced about a weekend boating trip in Leeds which happened to be one of the “best breaks” they’d ever been on.
One gentleman wanted to really get stuck into canal life by opening the lock and was lucky enough to get some assistance from the skipper as well as Norman, a boating enthusiast.
Some attendees had such a positive reaction to the trip they were considering and enquiring about renting a boat for themselves!

Thanks again Tarporley crew for making this lovely adventure possible J

A treat for you! Here’s a snapshot from a wonderful coffee morning at the Marriott Hotel, Maida Vale. A big thank you to the staff who arranged this!


All aboard! Trip on Tarporley Community Narrowboat

“This has been one of the best trips!” – Jenny

Thanks to the wonderful team of volunteers over at Tarporley, Camden’s Community Narrowboat (http://www.camdencanals.org/), two teams of CTCers were able to cruise the Camden canal yesterday – the warmest March day for five years! I went on the afternoon trip with 10 CTCers and we had a glorious time.

Tarporley sets off from Kings Place by St Pancras station. Setting off from Abbey, we took the train together from West Hampstead to St Pancras. Hassan kept us entertained by demonstrating his fitness regime as we waited for the train. T-C counted his press-ups, he managed 23!

We met the Camden Canals volunteers at Kings Place. Alan and David welcomed us aboard and gave us a safety briefing before we all helped ourselves to coffee and tea – just what we needed after braving busy St Pancras. Soon everyone was relaxed and loving the sunshine.

We were all offered the chance to help operate the locks and have a go at steering the boat.

Hassan even managed to get some passer-bys involved…

To get to the steering end of the boat, we had to walk around the sides, which felt a bit precarious! Still, Jenny was straight in there to have a go at steering after Hassan, and even I decided to have a go after that.

The guys were wonderful at showing us how to steer the boat and generally had lots of knowledge to share about the waterways. We were able to relax and enjoy the beautiful views over Camden, knowing we were in safe hands. Jyoti opted for a window view around the side!

We also went through the Islington tunnel which was quite an experience – it’s 900m long, so took quite a few minutes. Here we are about to enter the darkness…


Things get a bit dark and murky after that… luckily there was light inside the cabin which was nice and cosy as we traversed the tunnel.

There was a literal light at the end of the tunnel and we all cheered when we were back in the warm sunshine.

We were then cruised gently back to our starting point at Kings Place, having enjoyed the canal for over 2 hours. The boat and volunteer crew really are fantastic. They offer boat trips for events like birthday and hen parties as well as trips at a discounted rate for community groups like ours. Add in a few cocktails and it would be a celebration to remember, so check out their booking details here: http://www.camdencanals.org/4.html

“This was my first boat trip on Camden Canal. It was a beautiful and educational experience. I learned how to steer the boat and operate the locks. I got some idea about how the gates work. It’s amazing that they work so well after 200 years. And nice people to travel with – very relaxing.” – Hassan

“A lovely day, enjoyed it and the group gelled well together. Plus we had our professional photographer Hassan! An educational trip, a lovely cup of tea and the people running the boat were very nice.” – Connie

“I enjoyed it and overcame my seasickness! I’ll have to come to future trips. Loved meeting new people on the trip.” – T-C

Thanks for a fabulous day, Tarporley crew!


March Saturday Club

Is it spring yet? It’s certainly daffodil season in the Abbey Garden… thanks May for all the pics in this blog!

On March 18th we held our monthly Saturday Club, which was fruit-and-veg central! Forget five-a-day, we were getting closer to ten-a-day with a 3-course meal of lentil soup, vegetable spaghetti with aubergine and carrot side dishes, and fruit salad to finish off. All prepared by the culinary experts below.

Not so healthy, but extremely delicious, were these Italian biscuits Elizabeth showed us how to make.

We had a hall packed with guests as usual.

Between courses we got the lowdown on a new project coming up at Abbey. Details are still under wraps for now… but the gist of it is that soon we’re going to be open EVERY Saturday – Saturday Club success reaching new heights!

Along with our usual (but always much-anticipated) raffle, we enjoyed a lovely performance from our very own Abbey Community Choir, led by Stac. Bring Me Sunshine was a firm favourite.

Thanks to everyone who cooked, cleared and helped organise the day. The next Saturday Club will be held on April 22nd.


A day to remember: Trip to Saffron Walden

With special thanks to The Goldsmiths’ Company
Earlier this month the Kilburn Good Neighbours team enjoyed a coach trip to Saffron Walden, a delightful medieval market town located in north-west Essex. Filled with beautiful historic architecture, a museum and library, everyone absorbed and took home with them insightful knowledge of this culturally rich town.


saffron walden

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The sun was shining brightly, the perfect weather to appreciate the scenic garden and lake. Everyone took advantage of the top bargains on offer at the abundant selection of market stalls and had a wander through different charity shops. After a few hours on their feet the members and volunteers filled their bellies with a hearty lunch at the local chippy.

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Once again, the opportunity to escape London for a culture-filled adventure in a different part of our diverse country is appreciated by all. This experience was enriching and a great addition to our catalogue of Kilburn Good Neighbours’ memories.
A massive thank you to The Goldsmith’s Company for making this trip possible!

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A true success?! Don’t just take my word for it! Hear what some of the trip attendees had to say…
“Interesting country town, lovely old buildings. Beautiful garden and church. Thank you for a lovely day.”
“I was so rested that I would have stayed a bit longer. Thank you for making me feel better today.”
“Lovely and peaceful place to be.”
“A nice new experience. Friendly. Got to see everything. Look forward to more trips.”
“The market was very good with nice food and the day was lovely and sunny. Joanna is a good organiser. Thanks all for a wonderful trip.”
“A beautiful town and what a wonderful day. The museum was fantastic and a lovely church.”
“Was very nice place. Lots of fresh air.”
“Well-planned and great! Much enjoyed it. Would like to go on more day coach trips.”



Thank you to all CTC members for the great feedback you provided on Abbey Community Centre at last year’s Christmas party! We hope your comments inspire more locals to join in the fun :)

“Very kind and cooperative people! They are organised and display a lot of love and respect.”

“Members are multicultural, cooperative, organised and helpful. We always enjoy coming here.”

“The best thing about Abbey Community Centre is the warmth and friendliness of the staff. The people who attend are also lovely.”

“The centre is welcoming to all communities with a great variety of services which help many to avoid loneliness and exclusion.”

“We always enjoy coming here! All the activities are enjoyable. Many thanks for what you’re doing for us.”

“Multicultural gatherings where we thoroughly enjoy ourselves. The staff are very welcoming and the activities are both useful and fun!”

“I love everything about Abbey Community Centre! The volunteers, the events, the atmosphere..!”

“Very friendly, hospitable, loving, accommodating and highly educative.”

“I love attending the parties and gatherings. It’s always homely and has a feeling of togetherness.”

Bookswap, London Zoo, curry and a nordic walk… February Saturday Club!


Forget the February blues, this month’s Saturday Club was jam-packed with food, activities and special guests. Here’s what went down…

The kitchen team was led by Chanda and Kanchan along with a fab troupe of volunteers who chopped, cleaned and served brilliantly as usual. On the menu was homemade salsa, garlic bread and tortilla chips for start. A glorious potato curry and rice for main was followed by divine fresh fruit salad, which used produce provided by food redistribution charity the Felix Project.

Gavin held an invigorating walk pre-Saturday Club, which was really popular. Worked up everyone’s appetite for lunch! Everyone enjoyed the exercise equipment in Paddington Rec…

Following the success of the clothes swap last year, we held a book-swap so everyone could grab a new read on the cheap and save the trees at the same time! New volunteers Chaine and Colin, plus the brilliant Bobbie-Rose, Gavin’s daughter, looked after the stall.

Nordic Walking tutor, Martin, did a demonstration taster of Nordic Walking to advertise the new weekly sessions starting from March 14th. Tuesdays 2-3pm, £1 a session, if you’re interested!

Lucia and her colleague came from London Zoo to tell us all about the restoration project of the Snowden Aviary on the Regents canal (a listed structure). We hope to take a group down in the near future for a tour. They brought a lion skull!

Meanwhile, Prabhat’s sewing group were selling their wares. The aprons were really popular and they took 10 new orders for more!

Here’s our former, much-loved Healthy Bones fitness tutor Nikki, who popped by for a visit.


All this in one day, phew! And not to mention the usual raffle – thanks to Debbie and Gavin for calling, plus everyone who donated prizes. This includes the Felix project who gave us some wonderful multi-coloured roses. We’d also like to say a big thank you to Karin for always bringing along delicious cakes. Her chocolate-covered macaroons are exceptional! Thanks to May for her great photography skills. Finally we’d like to thank everyone who helped out with clearing away chairs and cleaning the hall. We really appreciate it.

Until next month folks 🙂 Please book if you’d like to attend (March 18th) by calling 07447 932 564 or 020 7624 8378 or popping by reception.

And the Kilburn table tennis champions are…

Our table tennis sessions have been running for a few months now with great success, thanks to our beautiful tables from Loop in the Community alongside a grant from FreeSport. Since receiving both donations, the sessions have seen more and more participants of all ages each week. Two of our CTCers, Lynda and Hassan, trained up as coaches with Table Tennis England with money from FreeSport. We even had another table donated anonymously by a very generous member of the community, to accommodate for the growing numbers of attendees. It’s been a fab way to get older and younger generations together and to get everyone active.

To celebrate, we held a much-anticipated tournament here last Monday.

The tournament had a straightforward ‘knockout’ structure with winners going through to the next round. But at the Abbey CC tournament the ‘losers’ also had a chance to play again with the ‘losers’ from the other tables.So everyone’s a winner after all!

Firstly we held 4 tables of doubles competitions in which adults and children were competing.We offered the choice of playing separately to the children, but they decided to challenge the adults! Four people kindly offered to be volunteer referees for the Doubles:Dashmoor Qarkaxhiu, Dennis Ajufo, Jamal Ali and of course our wonderful coach Hassan. A BIG thanks to them – they were fantastic!

Our doubles winners were Sue and David Lyn, and runners up were Diana Robin and Michael Stuart. Sue and David are pictured below with Simone and Hassan.


We then held four tables worth of singles competitions in which the top players were competing. The talented winner was Dashnoor and runners up Dennis and Jamal. Congratulations guys!

All winners won golden trophies and runners up golden medals (all children who participated also received a gold medal for effort. They were very happy!) Some of the ladies won flowers, which prompted jokes from the gents who also secretly wanted a bunch of blooms! 





In total, 31 people turned up for the tournament, which meant we had to run the doubles and singles one after the other, so we could make use of all four tables.

We’d like to give a special thanks to Hassan here – his dedication and help as a table tennis coach the last few months has been amazing. He is wonderfully patient and motivates all the players. Peter Rees has also been a fantastic help every Monday, setting up the table tennis tables, chairs and snacks.

If you haven’t come to a ping pong class yet, why not pop by? Classes are held here at Abbey on Mondays from 6-8pm, are open to everyone and are completely FREE! We hope to see you soon! Maybe you’ll even give our current champions a run for their money in our summer tournament…