It’s long been a dream at Abbey to open up the centre on a Saturday and set up a bit of a weekend community hub for local people – with food, activities, learning, volunteering and skills-sharing opportunities and a safe space to socialise, bring the kids and meet new people. With funding from the London Evening Standard Dispossessed Food For London fund, The Mercer’s Company, The Felix Project, law firm Olswang and Sport Relief we’ve well and truly made this a reality! It seems like every week the centre on Saturdays gets more lively, with people from all walks of life coming along to enjoy:
- Our Saturday Cafe – very low-cost re-purposed food and drink which also happens to be delicious! Ensure you and the kids get their five-a-day and an affordable alternative to high street chains. Every Saturday, 11am -2pm
- Dig it! sessions with Maria Elena and Simone in the garden. Learning about conservation and nature through arts and crafts. All using recycled materials. We’ve had people of all ages attend these lovely sessions. 1st two Saturdays of the month; 2 sessions 10am – 11am and 11.10am – 12.10pm.
- Tech Buddies IT support sessions with Gavin and skilled volunteers. Get to grips with your phone or laptop. 1st three Saturdays of the month; 10am – 12noon.
- Saturday London trips: See the sights of London with a friendly all-ages group. Next trip is to Kew Gardens on the 1st July! 1st two Saturdays of the month, 2-5pm.
Often people will come to Tech Buddies or Dig It! and then enjoy a meal at the cafe afterwards, which is lovely to see. Here’s some pics of the action from Saturdays in June.
We’ve had a fantastic couple of Saturday Cafes already this month. After a leaflet drop by the wonderful GoodGym Camden, we had loads more new people stopping by to enjoy lunch or a snack, including centre regulars, families with children to people off the street including the builders over the road! Anyone at all is welcome to come along.
All our tables have been filling up each week, with 50+ local people buying food last Saturday. Loads of great feedback too!
As well as the opportunity to meet your neighbours and enjoy the relaxed vibe, we reckon the food may also be a draw.. cook Jenny and her team of volunteers have created some masterpieces. Just look at that mozzarella…
And there are always cheap, healthy options like jacket potatoes and paninis in addition to the main meal.
Not to mention dessert! These were our latest options – apple tart and some sort of creamy banoffee thing which is making me hungry for lunch…
We have a busy kitchen with 7 or 8 volunteers each week to cook and serve the food. We couldn’t do it all without them, nor without the Felix Project who bring us the bulk of ingredients, especially the fresh fruit and veg.
So why not come along next time – main meals are £2 by donation with potatoes/snack options £1.50 or less. We have fruit, tea, coffee, puddings… and for those for whom money is an issue, we can waive any obligation to donate. This cafe is for everyone and that includes those who might be facing financial difficulties.
To work up your appetite for lunch, try one of our morning activities! In the last couple of weeks, the Dig it! group have been painting pebbles and making their own scarecrows.
We love being able to welcome people of all ages, from 8 months – 80 years!
Not sure their scarecrow efforts will frighten the birds away though…
Happening at the same time as Dig It! is Gavin’s Tech Buddies IT session, where people over 60 can bring their laptops/phones/tablets and receive support from volunteers. It has been really well attended recently thanks to our loyal vols. I was amazed to hear that the lady in the large picture is NINETY-THREE years old – proving you’re never too old to get to grips with tech!
If you’re not too tired by the afternoon, you can then enjoy a trip with Simone, Gavin and locals of all ages to explore London attractions. Our most recent trips were to Camley St Natural Park and Spitalfields City Farm.
On the way to Spitalfields…
Enjoying encounters with new people as well as the local flora and fauna!
There were some lovely pics from the Camley Street outing too:
So if you find yourself at a loose end one Saturday, why not nip down to Abbey? Activities are free and food very low cost. Just ring us on 020 7624 8378 for more info or to book. Hope to see you soon!
We’re also looking to expand our Saturdays even more in future, offering a range of opportunities to learn new skills and create a sort of fun Saturday School at the Abbey! If you have any suggestions, please do get in touch.