Ping-pong merrily on high!!

Please excuse the terrible pun – it’s just a way of telling you how wonderful Abbey’s Christmas Table Tennis Tournament was on Monday.

Table tennis xmas tournament

We had 15 players turn up, with a family of four joining us at the end of the tournament. The participants bravely defeated the cold evening weather (3 degrees) and played table tennis with plenty of energy. Game on! We had mince pies, snacks and refreshments to recharge the batteries and keep them going.

The referees were Jamal Ali, Dennis Ajufo and Hassan. The winners were:

Level 1 Single (children and adults): Barbara Wilson
Level 2 Single (children and adults): David Lyu
Level 3 Single (adults): Jamal Ali
Doubles: Sue Lyu and Pouya Kazemian

 All winners received prizes of bats, pingpong balls and chocolates. Congratulations to them!

A big thanks to our brilliant volunteer coach Hassan and for the support from the referees. Table tennis sessions will restart on Monday 8th January 2018 from 6pm until 8pm. Ping-pong really seems to be a sport which brings the community together – we’re so glad we got our tables from Loop in the Community.

Christmas Volunteer Party

We had a fantastic turnout at our Xmas volunteer bash on Wednesday – well over 50 people, possibly 60! Much bubbly was drunk, many laughs were had and questionable raffle prizes received.

The raffle prize novelty moustaches went down a treat with two of Gavin’s Tech Buddy volunteers.

Not only is May in the photographs above one of our Trustees, she also does loads of other stuff around the centre, such as being our photographer and assisting with our newsletter distribution. We love you May! You can read an interview with May in our November 2016 newsletter.

We were really pleased to welcome some of our Saturday cafe volunteers too. They help us to feed over fifty guests every Saturday! The great thing about volunteering at Abbey is that many of our roles are very flexible – some of our cafe vols do a shift once a month and some love it so much that they come almost every week!

Our choir also put on a stellar performance to get everyone in the party mood. Here they are rehearsing:

IMG_2525

Hassan (above, centre) is our Table Tennis volunteer at the centre. He trained to be a qualified coach at the centre after we were awarded a FreeSport grant at the centre. Sometimes opportunities like this pop up for us to get some really good quality training for our volunteers so they are getting something back as well as giving.

Our volunteers are all ages and come from all backgrounds. Most are local but many come for far away to bring their magic to Abbey! Everyone brings something different to the table.

IMG_4867IMG_4870

We hope everyone had as much fun as we did! If you’d like to join the happy bunch above, all you need to do is click here.

Saturday trips update

In November we enjoyed two Saturday afternoon trips together: to old favourite Kew Gardens and a new destination, Sir John Soane’s Museum in Holborn. Some lovely pictures of the gang at Kew are below.

Getting ready to explore…

The whole group. These trips are all-ages so come along and bring the kids/grandkids!

IMG_4599

And we’re off! Can you spot our volunteer head gardener Maria Elena, below? A tree-hugger if there ever was one!

Resting at the end of a long and lovely afternoon 🙂

IMG_4634

Our next Saturday trips will be to the Tate Modern Christmas Market on the 2nd December and to Covent Garden on the 9th December to see the Christmas lights! Both trips depart from Abbey at 2pm by public transport. All-ages and free. If you fancy it, contact Simone on 020 7624 8378 for further info.

Poetry, community and creativity at Abbey

img_20171026_131042_38461142351_o

Have you ever been to a free creative writing session at Abbey Community Centre? It’s one of our all-ages activities at Abbey and we’ve had people from age 23 to 73 attend! It’s also for all abilities. Some of our attendees studied English at university while some have never written much at all before.  We hold them (usually) every third Thursday of the month in the Garden Room which has a lovely quiet atmosphere with inspirational proximity to nature.

garden-one

Each session has a theme chosen by the group members. We read a couple of poems or extracts written about the theme and use them as a springboard for our own ideas. All of the poems tend to provoke lively discussion and we have lots of laughs along the way.

img_20171116_130545_38461141221_o

This month our theme was ‘coming-of-age’ – all things adolescence and growing up. Definitely an interesting one! We had a funny letter by Derek to his 16 year old self (‘you should practice the piano more… there’s hope for you yet’), a reflection from Tony about how your outlook changes as you grow older, and a poem by Maria about a whole family of imaginary friends.

Here’s everyone concentrating hard…

img_20171116_130527_26684303759_oimg_20171116_130533_26684303739_o

It’s funny how the poems we read provide such deep talking points. We don’t really know each other outside of the group (though as the months go on the regulars can often be found having a cuppa after class!) but end up talking about everything – our childhoods, beliefs, relationships and thoughts about how society has changed over our lifetimes. Today Marjorie joked that we should start charging for psychotherapy as that’s what the group provides!

So why not come along to our December session on the 14th? As well as some December-appropriate poems (guess what the theme is?) we’re going to have a few festive snacks and drinks to get us in the Christmas spirit.

Winter Warmer

We held our Kilburn Good Neighbours annual ‘Winter Warmer’ tea on Wednesday 1st November here at Abbey Community Centre with a great turnout of members and volunteers.

Guests enjoyed cakes, mulled wine and various other warming goodies as well as a lively raffle.

We also had a lovely singalong organised by CTCer Sally. Thanks go to her for helping us organise the tea and making it an afternoon to remember.

Our next Kilburn Good Neighbours event will be a cream tea to celebrate the coming of spring. To find out more about Kilburn Good Neighbours, do visit our website: https://kilburngoodneighbours.org.uk/

And thanks May for being our resident photographer!

A win on home turf! Camden Boccia League tournament

On Monday we hosted the Camden Boccia League, competing with groups from Castlehaven, Somers Town Community Centre, Origin Housing and St Pancras Community Association. There was everything to play for…

20171106_122236_38232386196_o

In case you don’t already know, the aim of Boccia is simple – get the blue / red bowls as close to the white target ball as possible. Whichever team (red or blue) gets closest overall wins the point! So here we had a very close one, Andy had to judge carefully…

20171106_122018_38287287381_o20171106_125319_38255356602_o

A video of us in action is here. Of course we had to have a break after an hour for refreshments – Boccia is serious business! Laura put on a fabulous spread.

20171106_121958_38287289711_o

But not before we’d had the obligatory group photo. The teams were only too happy to strike a pose.

20171106_131410_37576520144_o

The Abbey team were delighted in win the tournament in the end – here they are revelling in victory!

20171106_141554_38232355606_o

Seems like the perfect time to join the winning side, no? Our boccia practice takes place 12.15 – 1.15pm every Friday with pro instructor Andy. Free to attend – and why not drop into our coffee morning in the Garden Room beforehand too?

Piano recital with Anastasia Parker

Yesterday we were very pleased to play host to classical pianist Anastasia Parker (https://www.anastasiaparker.com/) who popped into Abbey to give a mini-concert, combining beautiful piano playing with forgotten tales about the music.

20171108_161226_37576508714_o

Anastasia treated us to pieces from Chopin to Rachmaninoff to Bach, sharing backstory about each. For Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C# Minor, the story goes that he wrote it about a friend being buried alive in a coffin after a grisly medical mix up. The Bach piece she chose was composed when Bach was an adolescent – apparently critics said the reason it was so powerful was because of all those teenage hormones!

20171108_161425_37576505254_o

For Chopin, she talked about his role in elevating musicians into ‘high society’ whereas previously they were treated like tradesmen and not allowed to eat with guests at the parties where they performed. All very interesting stuff. The music was utterly entrancing and we all felt deeply relaxed and moved by it.

20171108_161944_37576502154_o20171108_164653_38232350676_o

Anastasia says about her concerts:

“I want my concerts to be fun, I want the audience to leave there buzzing – from the music, from a great performance, from new information, and with a smile on their faces. Because I have one on mine.”

We think she’s definitely achieved her goal! Thank you so much for coming and playing for us.