CTCer Spotlight: Sally


Community superstar Sally has always been active in the local area, starting her own group in West Hampstead 20 years ago – W.Heart, which would fundraise so that those less well-off could go on trips. This included people of all ages and she even used to organise hostel trips where older and younger people would live together for a week – ‘It really worked, someone said ‘the wisdom of the old and the energy of the young – together they work wonderfully!’ Three weeks after joining Abbey, Sally had a mini-stroke which meant she had to spend six weeks at home. She asked Laura if she could run a bingo session as calling out the numbers would help with her rehabilitation – and bingo is now one of the most popular activities at the centre! Ever since then she’s been a real Abbey regular and a great asset to the centre.

How did you find out about Abbey Community Centre?
I went to a meeting called ‘Heroes of Kilburn’ organised by Ageing Better in Camden and I met Laura there. That must have been four years ago now. Then I came for a lunch at the centre with my granddaughter.

What is a typical week for you at the community centre?
Coffee morning, boccia, collecting raffle prizes, a bit of gardening, Re-cycle-art… always getting to have input and ideas there. It was my idea to do the mosaics in the Abbey garden for the 40th Birthday party. I also loved doing Dig It! recently with my grandson, it was a great way to spend some time together.

Wow, you’re busy! How would you describe the experience of being part of a CTC group?
Yes, I have one ‘day off’ a week, on a Wednesday. I’ve always been busy all my life so why stop now? Being part of a CTC group is great – one of the best things about getting older! My younger friends will say ‘where are you going’ and I’ll say ‘I’m off to the Abbey’ and they’ll want to come too! It’s inclusive, it’s all about seeing the good in people. People are appreciated for their gifts. We all give, we’re all volunteers. CTC is what churches should be like!

What is the best thing about Abbey Community Centre?
So much! That I feel free to suggest things… or even to criticise things that aren’t working. It’s no good to be ‘bleurgh’ about things – either appreciate it or change it! Every cloud has a silver lining.

Have you spotted anything on the Calendar of Upcoming events that takes your fancy?
I like anything intergenerational. I recently asked Laura if I could put on an event to help everyone gel across the centre. So I am putting on a Winter Warmer event with Joanna and Kilburn Good Neighbours with sandwiches, cakes and a singalong! It’s on the Wednesday 1st November and it will be Kilburn Good Neighbours and CTC, so everyone from age 50 to age 90 and beyond! And I’m also looking forward to the panto.

What one thing would you say to others about the centre?
Come and join us! We’re as nutty as you. And that we always win people round in the end even if they’re shy at first. I like helping people blossom.

How would you sum up Abbey Community Centre in three words?
Dip your feet… into the Abbey experience! With a smile.

A note from the editor: Thanks Sally for chatting to me about your experiences of the centre. If you’d like to be interviewed or have a story to share, do get in touch on publicity@abbeycc-kilburn.org.uk or 07805869136.

Read the full October / November newsletter here: https://communitytimecamden.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/ctc-oct-nov-2017-newsletter1.pdf

Saturday Trip to the Museum of London

On the 7th October our all-ages group enjoyed a trip to the Museum of London. They were very impressed with the way the history of our fair city was showcased – how daily life was 2000 years ago in the lower Thames Valley until the creation of Roman city of Londininum. Participants also strolled around Victorian streets and visited a Victorian Magical Garden. Several commented they might go back there one day.


Our Saturday trips are a lovely way to visit London’s many attractions in a friendly group. Our next trip this Saturday (14th) will be to the Royal Air Force museum. We’ll leave Abbey at 2pm and take public transport to Colindale. Contact Simone if you’d like to come along on 020 7624 8378.

Kilburn Good Neighbours: George and Wael

George & Wael

I was lucky enough to meet George and Wael, two members of our Kilburn Good Neighbours befriending scheme, last month. George has been visiting Wael once a week for eight months now. Read on to find out what being a part of Kilburn Good Neighbours means to them.

Wael, 69, has lived in Camden for over 40 years, working as a structural engineer – you can see his work on many of the bridges on the North Circular. George, 31, has lived in Camden for the past four years, moving to the West Hampstead area two and a half years ago. He works as a lawyer in Wembley.

Wael signed up for Kilburn Good Neighbours after searching for IT classes in his local area and coming across Abbey Community Centre. George came across the opportunity online and has been visiting Wael once a week since February.

They meet for an hour and chat about everything – from history and politics to football (‘though Wael prefers rugby’, George adds). “I learn so much from Wael –  his knowledge of history and languages in particular is unbelievable.” George also comments that seeing Wael is a relaxing way to spend time as it gives you a different perspective on life.

Wael feels the same. ‘It’s good to see how younger people think… about politics, fashion and everything else. I’m 69 so most of the people I know are over 50 and George is my link to a younger generation, I’d have no connection otherwise. Although we found out that George’s girlfriend likes the same 60s and 70s music as me, like Fleetwood Mac!’

As well as the joy of learning from each other and widening their social networks (George has now met some of Wael’s friends and vice versa) Wael is especially grateful for George’s companionship as he has difficulty walking nowadays. ‘For someone in my situation, if you want someone to talk to, Kilburn Good Neighbours is the best way to get an introduction to someone. It’s very hard to meet anyone new otherwise.’

And George is equally happy to be a part of the scheme. ‘You definitely get more out of it than you put in.’

We’re always looking for more volunteers for Kilburn Good Neighbours. Many Community Time Camden members (like Connie, John and Christine below) choose to give an hour a week to support someone on the scheme – could you get involved? Please contact Joanna on 0207 604 4832, email her at kgn@abbeycc-kilburn.org.uk or drop into the centre. She is usually in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. 


Re-cycle-art wall art & some exciting news

I popped into Re-Cycle-Art on Tuesday evening (4-6pm) and was very taken with what they were up to with these recycled boards. Their brief was simple – to create some wall-art to hang up on the construction site opposite the centre (currently being built up by Wates group) to capture the theme of ‘community’. Luckily here at Abbey that’s our favourite topic!

First up is Christine’s piece – a collage tree which showcases the diversity of our Kilburn community. Fabulous! (although – do I spot a certain Donald Trump’s eyes in the second pic? Jury’s out on that one!) Some gorgeous floral illustration there too.


Next up we have Karin and Sally who had taken an ‘Abbey area then and now’ approach with old and new scenes in the area around the centre.

These two were focusing on activities in the centre itself. How many can you spot? Love those collage leaves too.


Finally Connie, Chanda and Violet had paid homage to our favourite 31 bus route and drawn up a community mural of all the people you might see from the bus window!

Can’t wait to see the finished boards up on the site. We also have some other exciting Wates-based news… the community team at Wates have kindly fundraised for our art group to have a coach trip to Hampton Court Palace in November! As well as a chance to get out of the big smoke, the paintings and sculptures are bound to spark off ideas for future Re-cycle-art sessions.



Finally, I’ll leave you with this Guardian article about arts and health, really interesting read. If you’ve been thinking about joining in with some of our arts activities at the Abbey this might give you the push you need to take the plunge! As well as Re-cycle-art on Tuesdays at 4pm, we are now going to be holding all-ages arts and crafts sessions alongside our cafe every Saturday 11am – 1pm, so no one misses out.

Chutney-making with Vera

On Sunday we held a one-off chutney-making class thanks to volunteer Vera from Transition Town (Kensal to Kilburn). We all got stuck in to make some delicious pear chutney, all from locally grown and waste produce. It was really popular with people of all ages attending, so perhaps we’ll have to do it again – make a chutney for every season perhaps!

See their website here: http://ttkensaltokilburn.ning.com/

September Saturdays at Abbey

Saturdays at Abbey are always a hive of activity of late, especially since our lovely cafe reopened on September 9th. We had an article about it all in the Brent and Kilburn times recently, which was brilliant!


It might be partly in thanks to this that attendance has been reaching record highs this month! Lots of old and new faces from across the borough and beyond.

As well as the gorgeous food we have board games on offer to work those mental muscles and work up your appetite for lunch! Abbey staff are often around as well so you can come and pick their brains on future trips/activities or volunteering opportunities you might like to get involved in.


And as for the food (have I mentioned the food??) we’ve had some real corkers recently thanks to Jenny and her crack team of volunteers. Feast your eyes…

That crumble! Beetroot risotto! Apple tart! Gooey chocolate brownies! And plenty of fruit and veg of course.

We held a raffle on Saturday 16th to celebrate our reopening. Raffles used to be a mainstay at our monthly Saturday Club and this time we had some brilliant prizes from local businesses, including Provenance Butcher, The Village Haberdashery, The Railway Pub and Healthtown in West Hampstead plus our local barber, Monte! Very smiley winners below…

And running alongside the cafe are our Tech Buddies drop-ins and all-ages arts and craft sessions which continue to be very popular.

So popular in fact, that we’re now advertising more vacancies for volunteers to come and help us out on Saturdays. For more details: https://www.charityjob.co.uk/volunteer-jobs/saturday-volunteer/528912?tsId=8


This includes cafe volunteers – great if you’re looking for some work experience in catering or customer service. Who wouldn’t want to join this wonderful team?


With thanks to all our volunteers who are making Saturdays magical at Abbey! If you’ve been thinking about popping by on a Saturday but haven’t got round to it, please do come by soon. We look forward to giving you a warm welcome!


‘Tasty & friendly as usual.  Thank you! Great vegetarian dishes.  Nice atmosphere!’
‘Great! Very welcoming atmosphere and amazing food.  Such good value and delicious.’