Today our Publicity and Projects intern Molly spoke to Abbey regular Sue about what makes Abbey special. Read below to see all the wonderful things Sue had to say:
How did you find out about Abbey Community Centre?
I like to think I keep on the go at all times, and as I travel a lot, whenever I settle in a new area I always have to find something to keep me busy. When I moved here many years ago and did exactly that, I found the Abbey Centre online and had heard about it from libraries so I thought I’d go and see what they do. Years later I am still volunteering here, and like to think I’m a regular even if I do have to travel from time to time! Sometimes people I haven’t met wonder if I’m new here, I explain that I’m not, I just travel a lot! I always seem to find my way back here though. It keeps me moving which I like, a lot of my friends back in India are having knee replacements, but because I walk here from home all the time I don’t need one!
What is a typical week for you at the community centre?
I like to help out wherever I’m required. I mostly volunteer with the Cafe on Saturdays, but I also help sort through the food donations from the Felix Project on Thursdays and distribute them to our visitors. Oh, I also play Boccia, I really enjoy that. The team we have here play in local tournaments – we’ve won two times! I also volunteer at the coffee morning, helping make coffee as not all of us can stand for too long – especially in the pantry – it’s so small! I do get quite busy during the week but I just think whilst I enjoy it – why not? I’ll keep doing it until the day I can’t. The worst punishment in life is having nothing to do!
How would you describe the experience of being part of the Abbey Community Centre?
In all honesty, it’s like being part of a big family. the social interaction makes it seem like that. People miss you when you’re not there; and when you come back they’re really happy to see you! The staff are lovely too – very warm and welcoming. We get regular visitors and it’s really nice to catch up with them, especially when I return after going home to Delhi for the winter – it’s really nice to see everyone when I come back !
What’s the best thing about Abbey Community Centre?
The people of course! And the activities…oh the combination of both!
Have you spotted anything on the Calendar of Upcoming events that you would like to be part of?
Well – your health and fitness seminar! I have a qualification in natural medicine and I love anything like that so it’s right up my street. I’m also looking forward to the raffle as part of the cafe next Saturday – I always join in even though I never win anything! We run those sort of cafes once a month or so, they’re always so lively and I enjoy the live music. Even though I’ll be volunteering in the cafe next Saturday so I’ll be doing my jobs in there, I’ll still be able to see the goings-on outside and chat to the regulars. I’ll still buy a raffle ticket strip too!
What one thing would you say to others about the centre?
The warmth of the people here is so motivating. Only last week I visited a man at a different centre, he was so lost and suffering, I think with depression, I said to him “why don’t you come to Abbey? You won’t regret it, they’ll take care of you.”
Finally, how would you sum up Abbey Community Centre in three words?
The key word would have to be “accepting”. Everybody here is so accepting of everyone, regardless of your background or where you come from. I think it’s good to be accepting of other people – after all – if you accept them for how they are they can hardly not do the same for you! The day your mind closes to new things and new people, you’ll be finished. So I think my three words are accepting, warming and comfortable.