Healthy baking inspiration with Westminster Kingsway cakes course

Recently Abbey Community Centre has been lucky enough to start playing host to an 8-week baking course run by Westminster Kingsway College. Under the guidance of tutor Lois, attendees will be learning how to make all sorts of ‘free-from’ cakes – gluten free, vegan, refined-sugar free… this was the first week of the course and they rustled up an apple crumble traybake.


The cake was vegan, so free-from dairy but certainly not free-from tastiness! Our Centre Manager Leo is a vegan and as it was his birthday, the group treated him to the resulting traybake. All of the Abbey staff gladly tucked in. Looking forward to seeing what the group bake next!

We’ve had a makeover!

As you may have noticed, Abbey has been given a revamp! We’d like to extend a big thanks to Wates Group, who volunteered to paint our outside walls this beautiful blue. The whole centre looks fresher and smarter and hopefully more welcoming for everyone who walks by.

Wates also did some work in our garden, staining the planters to freshen them up too.

Thanks so much for giving up your time all – the centre looks lovely.

Déjà vu on the canal

The morning trip to Camden’s canal, headed by our CHAPS coordinator Gavin, was a unique and delightful experience for everyone involved. While many of the members had never set foot on a canal boat others had worked on site several years ago.


A couple romantically reminisced about a weekend boating trip in Leeds which happened to be one of the “best breaks” they’d ever been on.
One gentleman wanted to really get stuck into canal life by opening the lock and was lucky enough to get some assistance from the skipper as well as Norman, a boating enthusiast.
Some attendees had such a positive reaction to the trip they were considering and enquiring about renting a boat for themselves!

Thanks again Tarporley crew for making this lovely adventure possible J

A treat for you! Here’s a snapshot from a wonderful coffee morning at the Marriott Hotel, Maida Vale. A big thank you to the staff who arranged this!


All aboard! Trip on Tarporley Community Narrowboat

“This has been one of the best trips!” – Jenny

Thanks to the wonderful team of volunteers over at Tarporley, Camden’s Community Narrowboat (, two teams of CTCers were able to cruise the Camden canal yesterday – the warmest March day for five years! I went on the afternoon trip with 10 CTCers and we had a glorious time.

Tarporley sets off from Kings Place by St Pancras station. Setting off from Abbey, we took the train together from West Hampstead to St Pancras. Hassan kept us entertained by demonstrating his fitness regime as we waited for the train. T-C counted his press-ups, he managed 23!

We met the Camden Canals volunteers at Kings Place. Alan, David and Kirk, the skipper crew, welcomed us aboard and gave us a safety briefing before we all helped ourselves to coffee and tea – just what we needed after braving busy St Pancras. Soon everyone was relaxed and loving the sunshine.

We were all offered the chance to help operate the locks and have a go at steering the boat.

Hassan even managed to get some passer-bys involved…

To get to the steering end of the boat, we had to walk around the sides, which felt a bit precarious! Still, Jenny was straight in there to have a go at steering after Hassan, and even I decided to have a go after that.

The guys were wonderful at showing us how to steer the boat and generally had lots of knowledge to share about the waterways. We were able to relax and enjoy the beautiful views over Camden, knowing we were in safe hands. Jyoti opted for a window view around the side!

We also went through the Islington tunnel which was quite an experience – it’s 900m long, so took quite a few minutes. Here we are about to enter the darkness…


Things get a bit dark and murky after that… luckily there was light inside the cabin which was nice and cosy as we traversed the tunnel.

There was a literal light at the end of the tunnel and we all cheered when we were back in the warm sunshine.

We were then cruised gently back to our starting point at Kings Place, having enjoyed the canal for over 2 hours. The boat and volunteer crew really are fantastic. They offer boat trips for events like birthday and hen parties as well as trips at a discounted rate for community groups like ours. Add in a few cocktails and it would be a celebration to remember, so check out their booking details here:

“This was my first boat trip on Camden Canal. It was a beautiful and educational experience. I learned how to steer the boat and operate the locks. I got some idea about how the gates work. It’s amazing that they work so well after 200 years. And nice people to travel with – very relaxing.” – Hassan

“A lovely day, enjoyed it and the group gelled well together. Plus we had our professional photographer Hassan! An educational trip, a lovely cup of tea and the people running the boat were very nice.” – Connie

“I enjoyed it and overcame my seasickness! I’ll have to come to future trips. Loved meeting new people on the trip.” – T-C

Thanks for a fabulous day, Tarporley crew! We’d also like to thank the volunteers, Christine, Robert and Marcus.


March Saturday Club

Is it spring yet? It’s certainly daffodil season in the Abbey Garden… thanks May for all the pics in this blog!

On March 18th we held our monthly Saturday Club, which was fruit-and-veg central! Forget five-a-day, we were getting closer to ten-a-day with a 3-course meal of lentil soup, vegetable spaghetti with aubergine and carrot side dishes, and fruit salad to finish off. All prepared by the culinary experts below.

Not so healthy, but extremely delicious, were these Italian biscuits Elizabeth showed us how to make.

We had a hall packed with guests as usual.

Between courses we got the lowdown on a new project coming up at Abbey. Details are still under wraps for now… but the gist of it is that soon we’re going to be open EVERY Saturday – Saturday Club success reaching new heights!

Along with our usual (but always much-anticipated) raffle, we enjoyed a lovely performance from our very own Abbey Community Choir, led by Stac. Bring Me Sunshine was a firm favourite.

Thanks to everyone who cooked, cleared and helped organise the day. The next Saturday Club will be held on April 22nd.


A day to remember: Trip to Saffron Walden

With special thanks to The Goldsmiths’ Company
Earlier this month the Kilburn Good Neighbours team enjoyed a coach trip to Saffron Walden, a delightful medieval market town located in north-west Essex. Filled with beautiful historic architecture, a museum and library, everyone absorbed and took home with them insightful knowledge of this culturally rich town.


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The sun was shining brightly, the perfect weather to appreciate the scenic garden and lake. Everyone took advantage of the top bargains on offer at the abundant selection of market stalls and had a wander through different charity shops. After a few hours on their feet the members and volunteers filled their bellies with a hearty lunch at the local chippy.

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Once again, the opportunity to escape London for a culture-filled adventure in a different part of our diverse country is appreciated by all. This experience was enriching and a great addition to our catalogue of Kilburn Good Neighbours’ memories.
A massive thank you to The Goldsmith’s Company for making this trip possible!

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A true success?! Don’t just take my word for it! Hear what some of the trip attendees had to say…
“Interesting country town, lovely old buildings. Beautiful garden and church. Thank you for a lovely day.”
“I was so rested that I would have stayed a bit longer. Thank you for making me feel better today.”
“Lovely and peaceful place to be.”
“A nice new experience. Friendly. Got to see everything. Look forward to more trips.”
“The market was very good with nice food and the day was lovely and sunny. Joanna is a good organiser. Thanks all for a wonderful trip.”
“A beautiful town and what a wonderful day. The museum was fantastic and a lovely church.”
“Was very nice place. Lots of fresh air.”
“Well-planned and great! Much enjoyed it. Would like to go on more day coach trips.”