All about orchids: Re-cycle-art update

Our Re-cycle-art group (Tuesdays 4-6pm) have been busy recently creating paper orchids, ready for the spring. The group love to get out and about to hunt for inspiration and the idea came about after a visit to the Kew Gardens Orchid Festival.

The orchid festival is held every year and this year the theme was Thailand. Thailand is home to 1,100 species of orchids (orCHID you not!) and the colourful floral displays in the tropical glasshouse were a fitting tribute. There was also a special Thai cart on loan from Thailand’s embassy in London.

Back at the centre the group got busy painting the ‘petals’ with soft pastel before forming them into the orchid using wire and tape.

We think you’ll agree they look absolutely gorgeous and so realistic! Eventually we’re aiming to have a stem with six orchids, each member making a separate branch. We’ll use this as a decoration in the centre.

Re-cycle-art is always open for new members, so if you like what you see here why not pop by one Tuesday and join in? Or if you fancy heading out on a trip like our one to Kew, have a look at the new Neighbours2Friends page on our website.

Camden Boccia League: Bowling their way to the London Sport Awards!

Last Thursday 8th March, three members of Abbey’s Boccia team rocked up to the London Sport Awards to help represent the Camden Boccia League at the ceremony in Wembley Stadium.

Dennis, Marie and Carmel were delighted to attend on Abbey’s behalf. We joined the Camden tables along with representatives from Camden Council and the other teams – Castlehaven, Somers Town Community Centre, Origin Housing, Third Age Project and St Pancras Community Association.

The Camden Boccia League was shortlisted for the ‘London Together Award’. This award was created to celebrate the achievements of the community sport sector in London; to recognise the organisations that bring together people of all ages and backgrounds to take part in physical activity, breaking down the barriers between people using the power of sport.

These things are definitely reflected in the way the Boccia league runs; every month all the teams come together for a friendly tournament at one of the venues and enjoy a tea break and chat together as well as the match. We always have a laugh at the tournaments and they bring together groups from different parts of the borough who might not otherwise have the chance to get to know each other. It’s also a totally accessible sport – you can take part whatever your fitness level or mobility.

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In the end the category award went to La Liga Female Recreational Football League in Southwark – congratulations to them. We really enjoyed our trip up to Wembley! See a report from London Sport here.

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Our Boccia team always welcomes new players – why not join us next time? We practice on Fridays from 12.15pm. Call Laura for more info on 07447 932564.

 

Aromatherapise your life!

So that cold snap we’ve just had seems to (fingers crossed!) be over and it won’t be too long before the smells of spring begin to waft through Kilburn. But until then there’s a very lovely set of scents drifting from Abbey Community Centre as Micha, a Mary Ward tutor, is leading an aromatherapy class for some of our users every Thursday.

The focus is on what essential oils can do for our bodies, especially how their natural properties can ease aches and pains, joint discomfort and poor circulation. Each week the group look at different ‘synergies’ of essential oils and blend them themselves.

There’s a fair bit of enthusiastic sniffing going on when I visit. Entering the room I already felt more relaxed! Today for the second session of the course they were blending marjoram, rosemary and bergamot. Last week they blended the oils with epsom salts to create some gorgeous bath salts.

Kanchan is always ready for a picture!

Thanks very much to Micha and Mary Ward for a really enjoyable and informative start to the course. We love being able to offer something a bit special every now and then for Abbey users.

Coming up at the café

Anyone who’s visited the Abbey Café recently knows it’s a hive of activity, with food served 11am – 2pm, people of all ages relaxing with some arts’n’crafts from 11am, and our popular Tech Buddies sessions abuzz with IT help from 10 – 12noon.

However, every now and then we like to put on something extra too! From raffles to bookswaps, we always find low-cost ways to entertain our guests. Here are the special events coming up the next few Saturdays.

Saturday 24th February 10.30am – 1pmStellaria Young Minds Workshop
Patterns and Fractals in Art: Join us for an intellectually stimulating morning of artistic and science based activities for over 55s wanting to learn new things and stay curious. £2.50, booking essential.

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Saturday 3rd March (leaving café at 2pm) – Kew Gardens Trip
Trip to the Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens (by public transport). Booking essential – call 020 7624 8378 to find out more and book your place. Why not have a spot of lunch at the cafe before you head off?

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Saturday 10th March (leaving café at 2pm) – London Trip
London trip (location TBC). Pop in to find out where we’re headed this time for our monthly adventures in London. Booking essential.

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Saturday 17th March 11am – 1pm – Spirituality Discussion
Join Esi for a fascinating discussion on spirituality and the paranormal, encouraging all attendees to share their experiences and stories of funny coincidences or inexplicable events.
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Saturday 17th March 11am – 12noon
Councillor’s Surgery – a great way to meet your local councillors in person and talk about any local issues which have been on your mind.

Cafe closed over Easter (March 31st & April 7th)

Saturday 14th April 11am – 2pm – Plant Sale
Plant sale! All grown by our fabulous volunteers in our award-winning community garden. All funds raised to support the Abbey Community Centre.

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Saturday 21st April 12 – 3pm Restart Party
Restart Party Community Repair Shop – If you have any small broken electrical items (hairdryers, radios, microwaves, cameras etc.) you have an inkling can be fixed but don’t know how, bring them along to our Restart Party where trained volunteers will help you get them restarted. First come first served so get here early! Have lunch while you wait!

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So there you have it! Plenty to tempt you to the café this spring as well as the delicious veggie food on offer. If you have any questions about the above do contact Laura on 07447 932 564. And if you have an idea yourself for a Saturday workshop or activity, do please get in touch!

IT for Beginners

As you may know, we have all sorts of IT and technology support projects going on at Abbey – our Tech Buddies home-befriending and group sessions are always busy. And we are currently lucky to be partnering with Camden Adult Community Learning to be providing a free ‘IT for Beginners’ course at the centre.

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Participants will be covering everything from identifying icons on the screen to sending emails. Learning the basics is the first hurdle when it comes to making the most of your device. Tutor Pippa has been brilliant and gives attendees booklets to work from and take away with them.

The 6 week course is currently all booked up, but we will be running an intermediate course in the springtime so watch this space. Contact Gavin for more details on 07505 933617.

Dick Whittington comes to Abbey!

We saw off 2017 in style with a ‘Christmas Cafe’ on Saturday 16th December. Everyone across all our services in the centre was invited and the hall was totally packed with guests of all ages – it must have been some kind of record!

Festive crudites abounded thanks to Jenny and our kitchen volunteers. We were able to served these as complimentary as we received surplus from The Felix Project and a generous donation of some giftcards from Sainsbury’s Kilburn High Rd. Everyone was pleased!

Before the panto performance we had some stalls in the foyer from our crotchet group and other crafty locals – the perfect chance to get some last minute Xmas shopping done.

Meanwhile the cast of the panto – Dick Whittington (The Abbey version) had been getting their makeup done and making some last minute preparations backstage… They’d been getting together and rehearsing for several weeks thanks to director John. Here they are in dress rehearsal…

The cast was as follows:

Dick Whittington: Selene
His cat: Joanna
Pete: The Alderman
King Rat: John  (the villain!)
The Cook: Sally
Idle Jack: Jean
Kanchan: Abby (The love interest!)
Ellen: Fairy Bowbells

A few strokes of makeup later and the cast were well and truly in character. Ready to take to the stage…

Dick Whittington is a story of aspiration, city life, a villainous rat, decoy cakes and loads of romance for good measure. We made a few modern adaptations but still kept the classic panto ‘oh no we didn’t!’s and ‘mwahahaas’. The kids all loved it – plenty of our Children’s Services families and other locals were in the audience which was great to see.

It was all very well-received and it was all rounded-off by a carols performance from the Abbey choir.

We’d like to thank everyone who attended – you made it a Christmas to remember, and hope to see you all soon at Abbey activities in 2018. And thanks to our great team of kitchen volunteers who kept us all fed and watered!

 

New year, new you!

The New Year is the perfect time not only to break old habits but also to try something new—and at Abbey we’ve just the ticket! 2018 is going to be jam-packed with new courses for you to try out. Learn a new skill and meet some mates along the way. All courses will be about ten weeks TBC and are run at Abbey in partnership with the wonderful Westminster Kingsway College and Mary Ward Centre. They are all absolutely FREE!

  • Mindfulness: Thursdays from April 5th. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. It is commonly used as a therapy, though it’s also something you can incorporate in your everyday life, and is proven to improve your health, mental wellbeing and relationships. This course is open to over 50s. People under 50 may attend if they a. have a mental or physical disability or b. are a parent or carer.
  • Healthy cooking and baking course from January 25th Thursday 3-5pm. Enjoyed some of the healthy cuisine at Abbey’s Café recently? Learn to make your own dishes and bakes which are delicious but nutritious! Perfect for those who resolve to eat healthily every January but find it hard to stick to! (I’m definitely one of them! – Ed.)

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  • Aromatherapy: Thursday 22ndFeb to 22nd March (5 weeks) from 1 – 2.30pm. Learn how to use essential oils to boost your physical wellbeing and manage everyday aches and pains.

All of these courses are bound to book up quickly so if you’re interested put your name down with Laura (07447 932 564).