Ain’t no party like an Abbey Christmas party

“Excellent festive music, most delicious food, thank you!”

On Saturday we had what must be one of the biggest Christmas parties ever with our volunteers and centre regulars. And what a party it was! We had well over 100 folks in the centre to celebrate 2019 with food, a raffle, music from the London Metropolitan Brass Band and a performance from our Gentle Dance group.

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The band created a lovely festive atmosphere and even took requests! Huge thanks to them for fitting us in and coming to perform free of charge. Everyone loved it and enjoyed the music as they had tea, coffee and all importantly some mulled wine.

It was also our Foods of the World celebration event so we enjoyed Italian and Lebanese canapes as well as ginger biscuits and mince pies baked by our cooking group.

Lots of catching up. We had to put more tables out in the foyer because it got so busy! Thanks to Joss and all our kitchen helpers plus Donna and Tigrine from Sainsbury’s who stopped by to help hand out canapes and sell raffle tickets. Maria Elena and the gardening volunteers also made some great Snowman decorations.

The party in full swing, it was soon time for the raffle numbers to be called – everyone’s favourite moment! Big thanks to K2K Radio, Offside Books, Kiln Theatre and everyone else who donated gifts, we really appreciated it.

We then had a performance from Emma’s Gentle Dance Friday group which was amazing (especially after all the food!) See if you can spot Bryony joining in….

Before we knew it it was time to say goodbye so the staff could clear up (and have a glass of mulled wine)…

We would like to say a huge thanks to Camden Community Festivals Fund, Sainsbury’s Kilburn and the Team London Volunteering Fund for making this bumper festive celebration possible!

A very happy Christmas everyone.

Goodbye Stac!

Last Tuesday we said a fond farewell to our wonderful choir tutor Stac (from Mary Ward Centre), who has been leading the Abbey Community Choir for several years now. The talented Stac has provided a warm and friendly atmosphere every Tuesday for everyone from complete beginners to seasoned singers and we will all miss her very much!

Stac is moving on to new projects and we all wish her the very best of luck. Our all-ages choir will be continuing in the new term at the same time, Tuesdays 6-7.30pm from 14th January, and is free to attend. If you’re keen to join please get in touch with us on 020 7624 8378 🙂

 

Santa Claus truly came to town – all thanks to you!

Yesterday at the centre we had a very special Children’s Christmas party with our usual winning combination of festive snacks, parachute games, a sing-a-long and a visit from Santa himself. However, something made it all extra lovely this year.

Last week we put out some calls for donations of Christmas presents online. We like to give out something to all the kids every year as some of the families don’t have much in the way of money for gifts. Sometimes we get donations from companies but that wasn’t to be this year so we appealed to the Kilburn community on Twitter and Nextdoor. And my goodness they delivered!

We received enough gifts for every family, many brand new, and we would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone for their generosity. It meant an awful lot to us and as you’ll see from the photos, to the kids as well.

Santa’s grotto and party food all set up!

When the parachute comes out we know the festive season has truly begun… Then it was time for some carols!

Meanwhile there was excitement in the air as we knew Santa was on his her way!

(Thanks Diana for that big pile under the tree there!) Everyone visited the ‘grotto’ one at a time and got their own lovely Christmas present after a high five with Santa.

Everyone was happy after a glorious morning.

Huge thanks again from all the Children’s Services staff and volunteers as well as our families. We are really grateful to everyone who donated us something. We even have some presents left over and these will be given out next week to any families who couldn’t make the event.

We can’t accept any more gift donations but always very much welcome cash donations (especially now in these tricky and uncertain political climes!). Click here for more info on how to donate.

Thank you and happy Christmas!!

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Christmas is coming…

With Christmas just around the corner we are sprucing up the centre with plenty of decorations and our tree! We are very happy with the way the foyer is looking…

The kids from our children’s creche have also been hard at work creating these gorgeous decorations and Christmas artwork…

The ladies from Re-cycle-art (Tuesdays 3.30-5pm) finished off their table centrepieces for our Christmas party this week. They are ingeniously constructed with fairy lights (with a switch in the cork) and empty wine bottles with plenty of glitter and ribbons. They look absolutely amazing! Thanks gang!

 

Men’s Photography: on tour…

Recently we were delighted to put on a special Men’s Photography Walking course with the wonderful Erica from Mary Ward Centre. Many of the CHAPS have built up enthusiasm for photography during the various courses Mary Ward have held at our centre, so the idea behind the photography walks was to get together and have a laugh while taking photos of London’s striking architecture, landmarks and nature.

Of course the walks included a chance for a spot of table tennis, the CHAPS’ favourite sport!

Erica also helped us to coordinate the production of this beautiful Men’s Photo Book at the centre, which showcases the CHAPS project at Abbey. They look gorgeous and each of the men has been given a copy to keep at home. We also are showing them to new guys at the centre so they can see what we get up too. So big thanks to Erica at Mary Ward and of course to all the guys for coming along.

 

Abbey Cafe the musical!

We had a fabulous time on Saturday as Hassan was organising the monthly Open Mic event. We had poems, songs and even broke into some dancing! I just had to share these joyous pictures…

First up was Faye who sang some classic old-timey London ballads and soon had everyone joining in for a sing-a-long.

We also had the wonderful Nelissa Mendy read some of her poetry, which can be found on Youtube here. Nelissa is a local spoken word artist who used to run the writing group here at Abbey.

We also had Richard and Lili sing some classics which led everyone into a joint dance and sing-song! With Hassan keeping time on the tambourine of course…

A joy to have our open mic become such a success! Meanwhile the wonderful volunteers and chef in the kitchen were cooking up the below delectable dishes…

Big thanks as always to the People’s Health Trust who have been funding the cafe project since 2017 and making all this possible. Join us next Saturday 12-2 for music from the Elderly Brothers band and more delicious food.

Memory Meals

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Camden Giving, who recently funded a 10 week cooking project, Memory Meals. The idea behind this was to give participants an opportunity to indulge in nostalgia and share those favourite childhood recipes, whether they grew up in the UK or further afield. The group got to share their own cooking skills, ingredients and techniques with each other and made new friends along the way.

Being a diverse bunch in Kilburn we enjoyed everything from Jamaican beef patties to Sri Lankan curry to a classic Italian lasagne over the course of the sessions. What was really nice is that there was an equal split of men and women too. We received the following comments from the group:

“The communal and social atmosphere is a plus.”
“Good for my mental health. Great to mix with different people.”
“Enjoyable class, learned new recipes, lovely group and teacher.”
“Wonderful experience. I am not a good cook but now I don’t find cooking a problem. I am ready for more challenge!”
“Enjoy meeting people from other nationalities”

Big thanks to Camden Giving for giving us the funds to make this happen.