The latest from Neighbours2Friends

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Have you taken part in our Neighbours2Friends activities yet? Originally set up for residents of our local estates, this lovely all-ages project is now open to everyone from our local area and beyond! Most recently, the happy group above enjoyed a Saturday trip to Kew Gardens to enjoy the Orchid Festival (which had a Colombian theme this year)… I am absolutely in awe of this sloth!

The next trip will be on Saturday 6th April to the Tate Modern, run by two of our fabulous volunteers, and everyone is welcome to come and dissect the art with us! The only costs involved are for public transport – of course those age 60+ use their Freedom Passes.

Table tennis sessions on Mondays have continued to flourish! It’s been great to see many more new faces turning up to get fit with other locals and enjoy mini tournaments.

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So do look at the full list of activities here and make sure you pop along soon!

Happy International Women’s day!

Today is International Women’s Day, celebrated every year on March 8th. The theme this year is: ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’. At Abbey we like to think we’re pretty innovative and are always working to find ways to include women of all ages, backgrounds and circumstances here at our centre. From the many women who volunteer at our cafe and on reception, to our Kilburn Good Neighbours scheme volunteers, to our trustees, to the over 50s who participate in everything from dance classes to creative writing to Bridge to IT classes, Abbey wouldn’t be able to run without the many local (and further afield!) women who contribute to our community.

I invited a few of the wonderful ladies here at the centre today to share one wish for women around the world.

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Simone, Receptionist & Activities Facilitator
“Independence!”

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Aleha, Reception Volunteer
“Freedom.”

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Luisa, CTC member
“Peace.”

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Bryony, Publicity and Fundraising Coordinator
“To feel proud & confident in themselves.”

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Masni, CTC member
“A good life!”

emma

Emma, Gentle Dance Tutor
“To fulfil their potential.”

Esi

Esi, CTC member
“To be respected.”

A big thanks to the women who spoke to me, to the women who make Abbey what it is, & to women around the world for all your determination, resilience & bravery.

Spring has sprung!

You may remember that we were delighted to win the Camden in Bloom Award for Best Community Garden last year. Part of the prize is a voucher for Camden Garden Centre which we were very pleased to have. Today our head volunteer gardener Maria Elena showed me the spoils from her shopping trip…

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All this plus lots and lots of compost which will come in handy. We have never grown butternut squash in the garden before so this is especially exciting, imagine the autumn soups at the Abbey cafe! Thanks again to Camden in Bloom for the prize.

Taking a turn around the garden today it seemed that although it’s only just turned to March, growing season has well and truly begun. We have lots of coriander (good because curry is a staple at Abbey!), pea shoots and oregano plus much more.

Maria (above) is looking for more volunteer gardeners to join the team and drop in on Fridays to help all these new crops to flourish! So if you fancy it, you can get in touch with me on bryony@abbeycc-kilburn.org.uk.

 

The mysterious Mithraeum

Our Neighbours2Friends group had a magical time on their most recent Saturday trip this month. They were transported back to AD 240 to see the Roman Temple of Mithras – all in the space of an afternoon…

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The London Mithraeum holds the reconstructed remains of the temple and uses sound and light to sweep visitors back into the past. The group all had goosebumps upon entering the space.

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Not much is known about Mithras, the mysterious cult figure and bull-slayer worshipped by Roman soldiers. However, the Mithraeum is full of artefacts (600 were on display) which provide evidence of trade, consumption, food and industry. The group were given iPads which enabled them to access information about each object.

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They very much enjoyed the afternoon and would recommend the Temple to any individuals or groups looking to delve into Londinium’s past. The next Neighbours2Friends trip will take place this Saturday when the group will be visiting the Orchid festival at Kew Gardens.

Congratulations Hassan! Our Table Tennis volunteer scoops award nomination

We’d like to say a big congratulations to our long-standing volunteer Hassan (below left), who has been nominated for an Inclusivity Award / Club and League Volunteer of the Year by Table Tennis England!

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Hassan has been running table tennis sessions here at Abbey Community Centre for two years, having completed a coaching qualification with Table Tennis England. He has consistently been leading on our weekly Monday evening (6-8pm) sessions; helping to set up; run tournaments and help people of all ages and abilities build on their ping-pong skills and improve their physical health.

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These sessions are part of our Neighbours2Friends programme, which aims to bring people together from two housing estates local to us in fun and inclusive activities. They are open to people of all ages, including children. Table tennis quickly became one of our most popular activities and we found that it’s a sport which brings people together like nothing else!

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If we did not have Hassan on board, it would be very difficult to carry on running the sessions regularly, so it really is down to him that an average of 15 – 25 people in our local community are able to come together and enjoy table tennis every week in a safe and welcoming place.

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Hassan also supports us to run community events, such as a table-tennis pop-up outside the local library, to help recruit more members to the club and to the community centre itself.

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As well as being dedicated and reliable, Hassan is so well-loved at club due to his sunny disposition, patience (especially with first-time players) and ability to motivate the players and get everyone involved. He’s always joking about and it’s hard to be worried or sad when he’s around! Hassan says about his volunteering:

“I see a lot of positive energy going on here at the centre. A lot of people with problems in their lives come here and it’s like therapy for many of them. This comes from sharing skills and participation. Together we create that environment for people. We need things in society where people don’t worry about money, and to challenge the culture where everything’s about profit and privilege, which can exclude people.”

Hassan is passionate about inclusion and helping others – a real community gem. We think he deserves recognition for his time and dedication so are delighted he has been nominated for this Pride of Table Tennis award and been invited to their conference weekend at the end of March. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, do come and join us on Mondays 6-8pm, or our new men-only session on Thursdays at 1pm, to practice your pingpong!

The Great CHAPS Bake-off

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I arrived at the centre today to the very welcome news that the Men’s Baking group would today be making pizzas and am already hoping there’ll be some going spare for my lunch. For the past four weeks a group of our CHAPS have been cooking all sorts of lovely things in the Abbey kitchen under the guidance of tutor Justine.

From spicy biscuits to quiche to cakes, the group have explored a range of new recipes and enjoyed sharing their spoils afterwards. We’re now hoping to get some funding in to make this a regular event on the CHAPS calendar as it’s been so popular. This Victoria sponge was especially tempting…

With thanks to Justine for some wonderful sessions and to the guys for coming along and making it happen! If you know anyone who might enjoy coming to any of our CHAPS sessions and getting to know some other local 50+ guys, please read our latest newsletter.

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Saturday is game time…

… and we don’t mean the football! Visitors of all ages at Abbey’s Saturday Cafe have been ditching screens and seeing off the winter blues by getting together over classic board games. Dominoes has become a firm favourite at Abbey, with Men vs. Women tournaments planned soon…

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Last Saturday also saw a group get the Scrabble out, so we had two groups enjoying their favourite game before having a bite to eat at Abbey’s Cafe.

Games start at 12pm after Tech Buddies, so if you fancy meeting your neighbours over these nostalgic games then please pop along next Saturday!