CTCer Spotlight: Sue


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.

Nelissa’s tribute to Grenfell

IMG_7553Last week London remembered the lives lost and the homes destroyed in the Grenfell Tower tragedy on 14th June 2017.

To mark the occasion, I wanted to share this beautiful poetic tribute penned by Abbey regular Nelissa. Many of you will know her as our creative writing tutor from a couple of years back, and also for her spoken word performances at our Saturday cafe and special events. Nelissa performed this poem at the Grenfell 2nd Memorial Service in St Helen’s Church, West London, in recognition and remembrance of the tragedy.

Grenfell RIP

In Honour and Memory of My Cousins Mary and Khadijah

God Bless your loving Souls,
We are sad you were taken this way,
In unbelievable and extraordinary circumstances,
We are left with complex feelings, that are very hard to say.

We worried until they named you,
Thankfully, your bodies they did find,
But the memory of your passing,
Can never be erased from our minds.

Such a tragic ending, for our beautiful relatives.
We are glad we believe in God and Heaven,
Because…this is where you now live.

Please pray for us left behind, as we grieve for all those who died.
Pray for the Truth and Justice to come, and no more stupid lies.

Rest In Peace, with your Grenfell Friends and Neighbours,
Who joined you on that fateful day,
United together in the House of God,
Until we meet again.

As we remember all the Souls that passed in that terrible raging Inferno,
We will try our best to find some peace, Until the Truth can be known.

People are caught in the tangled web, not able to release.
So many questions waiting for answers,
before we can find closure and peace.

So many people grieving, so many lives destroyed.
People need answers and respect, not treated like broken toys.

So as we come together, as a collective community,
To remember all those who died, and those who managed to flee.
Let us keep them in our prayers, for healing wherever they may be.
Two years on with Grenfell gone, we give love and respect to the community.

For all of those affected, for all those far and near,
I pray to God Almighty,
That we will see Justice before this time next year…

Rest In Peace Grenfell and Rise In Glory with The Most High Creator.
For the Named, and the Un-named… God Bless you.

© Nelissa Mendy   (2019)

Abbey’s Community Cafe x The Restart Project goes down a treat!

On Saturday we hosted a Restart Party alongside our usual Community Cafe.

Volunteers from the Restart Project helped our visitors repair their broken electronics and taught them how to do so in the process. The party was followed by a wonderful lasagne made by our cafe volunteers and pear cake for dessert. Yum!

The Restart Project is an organisation who voluntarily fix broken electronics that would otherwise contribute to the growing amount of e-waste in the UK. In February 2019, the project reached a milestone having fixed over 10,000 devices!

Have a look at the photos to see what it was all about:

Foods of the World: 1st session!

Our Foods of the World project has well and truly kicked off at Abbey’s Cafe. 

On Saturday our volunteer Kanchan cooked up a storm with Chana Masala and Semolina Halva as main and dessert, and people just kept coming back for more!

Shakina, Christina and Joss were all on hand to help. Meanwhile Su, Anita & Debbie were serving up and taking orders.

You can view Kanchan’s recipe and accompanying info here. We handed out copies to all volunteers and guests at the cafe so they can recreate it at home. This included all the Tech Buddies crew who were hard at work learning new skills on their phones and laptops with the help of our volunteers.

The next Foods of the World cafe session will be June 29th with a meal by Prabhat! We’ll also be having some music by our favourite band the Elderly Brothers so it’ll be one not to miss. Other cafe events coming up are a Restart Party on the 15th along with a visit from dementia researchers from Imperial College London. We are open every Saturday from 11-2 so please do pop down one weekend.

Foods of the World has been funded by Team London small grants. If you’re interested in joining and contributing your own recipe to our cafe then please get in touch with me on activities-coordinator@abbeycc-kilburn.org.uk. In the meantime, why not try and cook dinner Kanchan-style?

Men’s Fitness: Powering through!!

We can’t resist sharing these brilliant photos from our 50+ men’s CHAPS fitness sessions, which happen every Wednesday afternoon. Our trainer Augusto has really been putting the guys through their paces with circuits but they are having loads of fun too.

As you can see the group are using weights and bands to increase their core strength. Having good form is very important for this to avoid injury and get the most out of every exercise. So it’s brilliant we have our professional trainer Augusto to keep everyone on the right track.

The guys love to spur each other on and always have a cuppa together after the session. Many are making leaps and bounds with their fitness – literally! We’d like to thank Augusto as well as Ageing Better in Camden for funding towards these classes, which show no sign of slowing down any time soon…

“Never thought I’d enjoy a men’s gym class but this has changed my lifestyle.”

“Since joining Men’s Fitness my health has improved enormously and I look forward to these classes as it brings the community together. Every week I look forward to joining in the class.”

“Coming to the exercise class has given me more confidence around people. It has really improved my fitness as I was a smoker for 30 years. It is a great asset to the community!”

“Knackered in a very good way!!”

iPad Photography: Take your first selfie…

We recently played host to a brilliant Men’s iPad Photography course here at Abbey with Mary Ward tutor Anthony. This taught the guys all the basics around taking great photos with iPads – from close ups to self portraits!

The guys are now using their photos to create their own photobook, which will be shown to new men who come along to CHAPS activities. This book will show them what CHAPS is all about, while showcasing the men’s photography skills! These photobook sessions are happening with Graham and Erica from 2-4pm on Tuesdays in the Garden Room.

This iPad Photography course has been so popular we are running it again for our Community Time Camden folks too! It will take place on Wednesday 26th June, 3rd and 10th July, men and women aged 50+ are both welcome. Sessions will run from 2.30-4.30pm and the course is free. Put your name down fast! Contact Reception on 020 7624 8378.


NEW: Chess Club!

If you have a spare hour on Monday evenings, make sure you pop by Abbey for our brand new Chess Club with our fab tutor Mike. Taking place from 6.30 – 7.45pm, the group is for all ages and abilities. A great chance to get to know other locals while getting to know the beautiful game!

Chess Club will not be on Monday 27th May but will be back in action from June.