Big thanks to Lendlease!

We would like to thank Lendlease who this week generously donated a wash-stand to our centre, which are normally worth hundreds of pounds! We are working towards a carefully-planned re-opening (earliest will be September) and this extra sink and sanitising station will be one precaution we’ll be taking to keep our centre users, volunteers and staff safe. Thanks to Eric Prendergast of Macai-Projects and Campbell Rowe of Lendlease for organising.

Here they are bringing it in with our volunteer Maurice! These pics are making me miss our lovely centre… but we’ll be re-opening as soon as we can be confident all the necessary safety measures are in place. Don’t forget to fill out our re-opening survey if you are an Abbey regular and haven’t already done so.



Virtual Activities Update: Eggbox-flowers, limericks and guided meditations!

Creative Writing: Fridays 10.30am-12.30pm

We had a fab session this week on ‘Praise’ with lots of us sitting outside to enjoy the weather! You can read the session materials here. Centre regular Derek joined for the first time this week on Zoom which was amazing and he penned this limerick! The next session will be on July 10th; email me if you’d like to join on

I am really excited by Zoom
Which brings everyone into my room
With poems of their choice
Read in their own voice,
Thus putting an end to my gloom.


Colouring Calm: Tuesdays 3.30 – 4.30pm

We’ve had a great couple of sessions over the last two weeks. On the 9th it was lovely to welcome Cynthia for the first time who normally takes part at the centre but hasn’t Zoomed so far. During our breathing and relaxation time we imagined walking to the top of a cliff where we could feel the sea breeze and see on the horizon dolphins swimming in the sea. Participants were simply absorbed in their own world while colouring and listening to the playlist. We almost missed finishing time! And on the 16th, we imagined during our breathing relaxation travelling in a hot air balloon and admiring colourful landscapes. We then coloured drawings listening to relaxing Brazilian bossa nova music.  Cynthia will be preparing the music playlist for next week which is exciting!

‘It was nice to be part of the virtual group’

Re-cycle-art: Thursdays 3.30-4.30pm

On the 11th the group made colourful orchids, daffodils and dalias out of egg boxes! Simone showed them the basic shapes and how to make the flowers step by step. They then painted and embellished them and even made bouquets! Those who didn’t have egg boxes made paper flowers instead. Gorgeous results below. You can also see another coffee-art painting here from Vimal!

On the 16th the group made loads of colourful and creative fish shapes out of recycled cardboard, paper or wire. They all enjoyed the class and were joking they were feeling like having fish and chips this evening!

If you’d like to join either Re-cycle-art or Colouring Calm, contact Simone on

Remember you can also join in our Afternoon Tea (Fridays from 3pm) or Choir sessions (Wednesdays 4pm run by Mary Ward Centre – just give us a ring on 020 7624 8378 if you are craving some Abbey magic!

A big thanks to the Hampstead Volunteer Corp

It being Volunteers Week this month, we wanted to extend a huge thanks again to Hampstead Volunteer Corp who continue to provide brilliant support to our Children’s Services Team, helping them to distribute food packs to families in need. Below are some wonderful messages from our families which really put across just how much the support means.

Dear Zamzam,

Hoping all is safe with you. We would like to say that we are grateful to Abbey CC with all the help extended to us and mostly to you who always make an effort to drop off food packs even weekends. It is a big help for us.

Anyway, below are the activities that the boys were up to. Also the activity packs are helping G exploring to be crafty. Keep safe always and sending you virtual hugs.

Dear Zamzam,

I would like to  thank you and co-worker so much for  dedicate  your  time in this this condition  to bring us items and this stuff have really helped us a lot and I have attached pictures of C using some of the items like mark-making  tools to  develop his fine motor skills. Thank you.


Dear Zamzam,
I would like to thank you for putting me in touch with Veronique (from Hampstead Volunteer Corp).  I am so grateful to have her in our lives during this very trialing period.  Veronique has been so kind and helpful.  She goes out of her way to bring us vegetables and bits and pieces for us on her bike.
She has been for lack of better words a Gd sent. But what strikes me the most is that when she comes, she does it with a smile and with so much warmth. Like she is really happy to see us, to be of help, and that is priceless.  So much so that even my son keeps wanting her to ‘come with me, come home.’  And that means a lot, specially at times when the only person we got to see during the day was her.
I would be very grateful if you could pass on this email to the organisation who made it all possible.
Warm regards, Neta

Virtual Activities Update: Fruit sculpture, Afternoon Tea and Moon River!

NEW! Afternoon Tea (Fridays, Session 1 3-3.30pm, Session 2 3.40-4.10pm)

We launched our Afternoon Tea sessions last week and had a wonderful time! So nice to see some familiar faces. Simone, Bryony, Kafia and Lydia will be running these on alternate weeks. So we launched with Simone last Fri and people had lovely things to say 🙂 Sam also showed us his dog, a gorgeous little Westie!


‘Thank you so much for the tea session Simone. Such lovely people!’
‘It was such a lovely afternoon tea session’
‘Thank you so much for this session, it was so wrm and nice, and you were so great, smiling and asking all of us how we were! Thank you!’

NEW! Choir, Wednesdays 4-5pm

I had the pleasure of joining the Abbey Choir session this Weds, run by Mary Ward Centre tutor Deanne. I surprised myself by getting really into the singing (and actually you are on mute most of the time so don’t need to worry about other people hearing you!) So uplifting and great song choices! Anyone can join in with this lovely group, you just need to register with Mary Ward if you haven’t already. Contact Erica – to get involved.


Colouring Calm, Tuesdays 3.30pm

Last week we visited a secret garden in our minds during the breathing relaxation and all the flowers and birds colours we imagined, we transferred to our colouring pages!

‘Enjoyed it very much thank you for setting up zoom’.
‘My work while listening glorious music.’

Re-cycle-art (Thursdays 3.30pm): Fruit & veg characters! 

The re-cycle-art group absolutely amazed me this week with their adorable characters and animals carved from fruit and veg! They not only made great sculptures, but got their five-a-day at the same time…

Creative Writing, every other Friday 10.30am – 12.30pm

A fab session last Fri on ‘honesty and confession’ – read the session materials here. No session next week as I’m on leave – our next one will be on the 26th June 🙂
CW Honesty

Phew – that’s it for now! If you’d like to join in any of these activities you’d be most welcome – just give us a ring on 020 7624 8378. Until next time!

Virtual Activities Update: Coffee-art, coffee-morning, and poems about home

Afternoon everyone and hope you are well this sunny day. This week in our staff meeting we all shared about how much we are missing the centre and all of the lovely folk who attend. Luckily, our online activities are going from strength to strength so we hope you enjoy the following pictures, poems and videos!

Re-cycle-art: Coffee-art and creative drawings, Thursdays 3.30pm

In Re-cycle-art sessions at the centre, we have a wealth of donated and sourced materials to use (e.g. from the Hackey SCRAP project) as well as a good supply of paints, glue etc. The challenge therefore has been to run fun sessions without really being able to get materials to people. Simone has been putting her wonderful imagination to good use by planning creative activities which use everyday objects people have around their homes.

On the 14th May, all participants needed was a pen and paper along with a selection of objects they had handy to make creative drawings. It was a fantastic exercise in imagination and they enjoyed getting inspired by simple and small objects they use at home to create something different. Everyone really thought outside the box and the results are so good! Which is your favourite? I’m a massive fan of the noodles hairdo…

The group were in a super creative mood and even had a singing competition while making their images… Jean Taylor sang like a bird and won hands down!

Comments: ‘Love them so clever .’/ ‘Love you all. xxx’/ ‘You bring out creativity in everybody. I like when you send us interesting suggestions and we create and come up with different ideas.’ 

Simone enjoyed a week off, and then this week was back with another innovative session – coffee art! For this, Christine, Jean, Jyoti, Dehta, Vimal, Julia and Sally made up strong coffee and used cups/glasses, brushes or cottonbuds to make prints and paintings. They were very absorbed and concentrated and some sat outside to enjoy the sunshine as they worked.

Colouring Calm, Tuesdays 3.30pm
‘So much fun colouring such beautiful pictures. Thank you very much Simone.’

If you’d like to join in Re-cycle-art or Colouring Calm, just contact Simone on 07447 932 564 or 🙂

Creative Writing – Every other Friday 10.30am-12.30pm

Similarly to Simone’s creative drawings class, our writing class on ‘Home’ (22nd May) was all about reimagining our relationships to our houses and the objects in them. You can read the session materials here. I’ve also been sent work from previous classes by Ruheena and Nelissa which has made me very happy! Next week’s class (5th June) will be on the theme of ‘Honesty and Confession’ and as always, please just drop me an email on if you think you might want to join in.

Song & Rhyme Time – Wednesdays 10.45am-12pm

Song and Rhyme time with Children’s Services continues to go fabulously with many local families tuning in to practice rhymes new and old and enjoy the joyous atmosphere created by Tissy. Last week, it was Tiny Tim and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Details on joining in with this can be found here.

And coming up…. Coffee morning becomes Afternoon Tea, PLUS Singing Taster!

We are so happy that next Wednesday our wonderful choir tutor Deanne from Mary Ward will be hosting a Zoom singing taster class. Details of this are within today’s email newsletter, as are details of our new weekly Afternoon Tea which will launch next week! If you’re not on the email list and you’d like details of these get in touch with Simone on

That’s it for now folks! We hope you have a great week.




Virtual Activities Update: Solitude, incy-wincy-spiders & plenty of collage

Hello and welcome to your fourth virtual activities update from us at Abbey, a chance to showcase the lovely things you’re doing during this time and give you an update on where we’re at too, activities-wise!

Colouring Calm: Tuesdays 3.30pm

The last fortnight has seen the launch of Simone’s online colouring calm group, a chance for some meditation, music and colourful creativity. We had six participants for the first session last week – Maryse, Maria-Elena, Kafia, Lydia, Catherine and Kumud. Everyone said how relaxed they felt after the class. If you’d like to join in, give Simone a ring on 07447 932 564 or

Re-cycle-art: Thursdays 3.30pm

Last week the group made beautiful bird collages using old magazines, felt tips, paint, feathers and beads and just look at the results! Now that Whatsapp allows up to eight participants in a session that’s been a great and easy way for everyone to join. Last week Chaps member Sam joined for the first time too.

Song & Rhyme Time Abbey Children’s Services

Last week saw the first full session of Song & Rhyme Time with Tissy and Zam of our wonderful Children’s Services team. They did a couple of classics, Incy  Wincy Spider and Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes, which went down very well with the 21 kids and their families who turned up! And this week it was Abbey favourite Zoom Zoom Zoom (topical!) and Peek-a-boo. These sessions are just for our registered families at the moment. If you’d like to register, click here to download (click the three dots on the right hand side of the page and click ‘download’) the registration form, fill it in and return it to Zamzam on  In the meantime sing along with the vids below!

My name is Daniel and I’m writing to show my appreciation for the wonderful service that is Abbey Community Centre. In particular I would like to thank you for the amazing ‘Rhyme Time with Tissy’ sessions on zoom. The centre has been key in my daughter’s development and growth. Zamzam and team have been really supportive to my wife and I with our firstborn. Typically in times past the ‘Rhyme Time’ has been my daughter’s favourite part. I write this email to thank you for continuing the Rhyme Time amidst this season of pandemic on zoom. The sessions are thoroughly enjoyable, effective and have all the warmth of being back in the centre.’’ – A lovely message from a participant

The Children’s Services team would also like to say a huge THANK YOU to Livia and the Hampstead Volunteer Corp for their kind hearts, generosity and thoughtfulness to support our families through this difficult time. They have been organising deliveries of groceries and needed items, as well as a hugely generous donation of tablets. Their donations have put a smile on our families’ faces and eased pressure off parents who are unemployed, on low income or been furloughed. The tablets donated have been absolutely invaluable to those with no other devices, or access to outdoor space. They’ve meant our families can join in with Rhyme Time, access the educational links and games we send them and will be able to access school’s home learning activities. Thank you so much.

Thank you to Livia and HVC from Assa

The Abbey Garden

Just to give you another glorious peek into the Abbey Garden, which our Simone is watering every week! It’s looking beautiful and she regularly sees what we’re pretty sure is the same robin in there hopping about.

Creative Writing     Every other Friday, 10.30am-12.30pm

The writing group had a fascinating session on ‘Solitude’ last week and you can read the materials here. The next session will be Friday 22nd May and we’ll be looking at the theme of ‘home’. You’re very welcome to join – contact Bryony on to be put on the mailing list.


What’s next?

Our main focus so far has been keeping in contact with all our hundreds of members over the phone and making sure they have everything they need, but we are discussing more upcoming activities too. A cooking session, choir, a quiz, fitness and a coffee morning are some of the options in the pipeline… we’ll keep you updated!

As always please do get in touch on 020 7624 8378, Monday – Friday 10am-4pm if there’s anything we can do for you 🙂

The Abbey Team

Abbey update: Flora, fauna, rhyme-time & beauty

Hello and welcome to our third virtual activities update. We’ve been in touch with lots of you recently from our aromatherapy, dance and choir clubs to send resources from our tutors – hope you enjoyed them, and we will be trying to get round more of our groups with activities to do at home.

We are also expanding our online live activity offering this week, with Simone’s Colouring Calm Zoom club  starting on Tuesday at 3.30pm. Do give her a ring on 07447 932564, or email on, if you fancy joining. There’s a bit of meditation and then colouring to calming playlists, which can be very absorbing and relaxing if you are in need of a bit of TLC on a Tuesday. Here’s some gorgeous sheets from Christine!

colouring christine

Our Re-cycle-art (Thursdays 3.30pm on Whatsapp, also with Simone) gang continue to thrive and on the 23rd made these beautifully delicate flowers out of loo & kitchen towel rolls! Simone is doing a great job of planning sessions based on what people have in their homes. Christine, Jean, Vimal, Dehta, Julia and Maria-Elena all enjoyed taking part.

‘Love making them, thank you so much you truly have lifted my mind.’  

On the 16th the group made creative characters and planters out of plastic bottles and containers. Everyone caught up about what they’d been doing over Easter and compared daily exercise rituals! They also had great fun naming the characters they made… Christine named her dog Foxy. Can you guess which one he is?

‘I really enjoyed making it. He is losing his hair, but he is a content guy!’- Maria Elena
‘Loved it!’ – Vimal

Our Creative Writing session on Friday also went well, again with nine of you taking part (three over the phone). The theme was ‘Beauty’ and you can read the session materials here. We did a great exercise where we spin around and point randomly at an object in our house, and then write about it as though we find it very beautiful. We wrote about teabags, tables, candles and bicycle racks and it was really fun! Our session on 8th May will be looking at ‘solitude’. Contact Bryony on / 07805 869136 if you’d like to take the plunge and take part.

“Bryony’s poetry workshops have been brilliant. They are thought-provoking, fun and informative. Bryony creates a warm and nurturing environment in which to write and share poetry, and connect with others during these strange times. Her workshops always leave me feeling hopeful. Thank you!” – Zoom participant

Meanwhile the Children’s Services team have been busy and delivered their first online Rhyme / Song time session over Zoom this week! It has been lovely to have families getting in touch with the activities they are doing at home too – here’s a great idea sent in by one of them!

Please stay safe and well and as always, do get in touch if you have suggestions, queries or need support.

The Abbey Team
020 7624 8378 Monday – Friday 10am-4pm (Simone/Kafia/Lydia)
07447 932564 (Simone)
07505 933617 (Lydia)
07805 869136 (Bryony)

Gardening, eggs, playtime & poems- Abbey Update!

Hello everyone and welcome to our second Covid-19 Abbey activities update! I thought it would be nice to regularly showcase what we’ve been up to in terms of our virtual activities offering, post comments and work for everyone so we can all feel a bit more connected, and be reminded of that Abbey magic.

Hopefully everyone managed to get their hands on an Easter egg? To celebrate, Simone’s Re-cycle-art regulars had a glorious egg-painting (sharpie pens and acrylic paint) session on Whatsapp. Maria-Elena, Jean, Christina, Julia, Dehta and Vimal all took part.

And look at their masterpieces below!

‘I had a wonderful time. Thank you so much, made me happy. I’m not so much on my own xxx’ Jean

‘Happy Easter. Enjoyed the session and it was nice to see some of you.Take care.’ Julia and Dehta

‘Thanks, it was nice to seeing you. Happy Easter’. Christina

‘Thank you very much Simone, I enjoyed so much this activity, my skills as a painter need to improve enormously…but it made me forget the nightmare we are living.’ Maria Elena

There will be another Whatsapp session this afternoon at 3.30pm where participants will make their own planters, and next Thursday Simone will be trying out Zoom so more can join in. If you’d like to get involved contact her on 020 7624 8378, or Whatsapp our mobile on 07447 932564.

Creative Writing 10.04.20

Meanwhile, the first Zoom session of our Creative Writing group was a great success, with nine of you taking part! The theme was ‘anxiety and uncertainty’ and you can read the session materials here. And another brilliant poem from a participant here! I absolutely loved seeing you all and already can’t wait for the next session on Friday 24th, 10.30am-12pm. Please email me if you’d like to take part on or call me on 07805 869136. Leave a message if I don’t pick up, as I don’t work every day.

“This gave me just the right energy to start my day”.
“I really enjoyed that. I’m glad I joined in, see you next time.”

Our Children’s Services team are also working hard to make sure all families who attend their creche and soft-play drop-in are supported during this hard time, and that the children have lots of fun and educational activities to get on with. They sent me the below from families who have been enjoying activities from our resources pack.

Finally, you may be wondering how our Abbey Garden is during this time when it’s unfortunately off-limits to our regular Friday volunteer team. Well, the answer is that business is blooming and the flowers are looking lush. We want to assure you that our Simone, who lives close by, is watering the garden regularly and keeping everything ship-shape, ready for your eventual return!

That’s all for now folks. As always, if you need support, you can call the Reception team on 020 7624 8378 Monday-Friday 10am-4pm, and look at our handy links here.



What we’ve been up to…

Hi everyone and hope you are keeping as well as can be. As you know, all Abbey staff are working remotely now to keep in touch as much as poss. We miss all of you and our beloved centre. You may have seen our info hub on our website which has lots of useful links, plus things to get up to at home while we’re waiting this out!

It’s been lovely to hear from some of you and to get photos and updates of what you’re doing. Big shout outs here to Chris, who sent us her Colouring Calm artwork below, and Jean, who has been experimenting with sheep’s wool (she’s isolating with her daughter in the countryside) – the ultimate in Re-cycle-art-work! There’s also an activity sheet sent round by Simone to her group members – if you’d like to be on the list just contact her on 07447 932564.

Elsewhere, our Tissy and her Zumba-instructor mates have been setting up fantastic free online classes for you to enjoy. Her launch event at Abbey on March 14th (ahh, back in the day) was a storming success and it was a shame she couldn’t continue sessions as planned. But she’s making the best of it and wants you to join her for free ZOOM-BA! Click here for more info.


Meanwhile, Bryony sent out her first session pack for Creative Writing last week and has been delighted to read some gorgeous poems and stories from her group. Read them here! The first meeting of this virtual group will be taking place Friday 10th April, 10.30am-12pm. Please let her know on or 07805 869136 if you’d like to join in, and she’ll support you to set up Zoom if you aren’t already on it. It should be a lovely relaxing morning and a chance to get creative and read and write some poems. These sessions will be running fortnightly.

Please do keep in touch with us – our phone line (020 7624 8378) are open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm, staffed by the wonderful Simone, Kafia and Lydia.

Hope to hear from you soon 🙂
The Abbey Team






Re-cycle-art latest

Just had to share these pictures of our Re-cycle-art group’s latest beautiful artworks. The shells are made using a decoupage technique – peeling the top layer from decorative paper napkins and using pva glue and water to set it on the shells. I would definitely buy one if they were for sale to keep odds and ends in! And the paintings, which look almost 3D, are done using acrylic and string. If you’d like to join this lovely, unique group then come along on Tuesdays from 3.30-5pm.