Coming up at the café

Anyone who’s visited the Abbey Café recently knows it’s a hive of activity, with food served 11am – 2pm, people of all ages relaxing with some arts’n’crafts from 11am, and our popular Tech Buddies sessions abuzz with IT help from 10 – 12noon.

However, every now and then we like to put on something extra too! From raffles to bookswaps, we always find low-cost ways to entertain our guests. Here are the special events coming up the next few Saturdays.

Saturday 24th February 10.30am – 1pmStellaria Young Minds Workshop
Patterns and Fractals in Art: Join us for an intellectually stimulating morning of artistic and science based activities for over 55s wanting to learn new things and stay curious. £2.50, booking essential.


Saturday 3rd March (leaving café at 2pm) – Kew Gardens Trip
Trip to the Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens (by public transport). Booking essential – call 020 7624 8378 to find out more and book your place. Why not have a spot of lunch at the cafe before you head off?


Saturday 10th March (leaving café at 2pm) – London Trip
London trip (location TBC). Pop in to find out where we’re headed this time for our monthly adventures in London. Booking essential.


Saturday 17th March 11am – 1pm – Spirituality Discussion
Join Esi for a fascinating discussion on spirituality and the paranormal, encouraging all attendees to share their experiences and stories of funny coincidences or inexplicable events.
coffee morning

Saturday 17th March 11am – 12noon
Councillor’s Surgery – a great way to meet your local councillors in person and talk about any local issues which have been on your mind.

Cafe closed over Easter (March 31st & April 7th)

Saturday 14th April 11am – 2pm – Plant Sale
Plant sale! All grown by our fabulous volunteers in our award-winning community garden. All funds raised to support the Abbey Community Centre.


Saturday 21st April 12 – 3pm Restart Party
Restart Party Community Repair Shop – If you have any small broken electrical items (hairdryers, radios, microwaves, cameras etc.) you have an inkling can be fixed but don’t know how, bring them along to our Restart Party where trained volunteers will help you get them restarted. First come first served so get here early! Have lunch while you wait!

restart party

So there you have it! Plenty to tempt you to the café this spring as well as the delicious veggie food on offer. If you have any questions about the above do contact Laura on 07447 932 564. And if you have an idea yourself for a Saturday workshop or activity, do please get in touch!

IT for Beginners

As you may know, we have all sorts of IT and technology support projects going on at Abbey – our Tech Buddies home-befriending and group sessions are always busy. And we are currently lucky to be partnering with Camden Adult Community Learning to be providing a free ‘IT for Beginners’ course at the centre.


Participants will be covering everything from identifying icons on the screen to sending emails. Learning the basics is the first hurdle when it comes to making the most of your device. Tutor Pippa has been brilliant and gives attendees booklets to work from and take away with them.

The 6 week course is currently all booked up, but we will be running an intermediate course in the springtime so watch this space. Contact Gavin for more details on 07505 933617.

Dick Whittington comes to Abbey!

We saw off 2017 in style with a ‘Christmas Cafe’ on Saturday 16th December. Everyone across all our services in the centre was invited and the hall was totally packed with guests of all ages – it must have been some kind of record!

Festive crudites abounded thanks to Jenny and our kitchen volunteers. We were able to served these as complimentary as we received surplus from The Felix Project and a generous donation of some giftcards from Sainsbury’s Kilburn High Rd. Everyone was pleased!

Before the panto performance we had some stalls in the foyer from our crotchet group and other crafty locals – the perfect chance to get some last minute Xmas shopping done.

Meanwhile the cast of the panto – Dick Whittington (The Abbey version) had been getting their makeup done and making some last minute preparations backstage… They’d been getting together and rehearsing for several weeks thanks to director John. Here they are in dress rehearsal…

The cast was as follows:

Dick Whittington: Selene
His cat: Joanna
Pete: The Alderman
King Rat: John  (the villain!)
The Cook: Sally
Idle Jack: Jean
Kanchan: Abby (The love interest!)
Ellen: Fairy Bowbells

A few strokes of makeup later and the cast were well and truly in character. Ready to take to the stage…

Dick Whittington is a story of aspiration, city life, a villainous rat, decoy cakes and loads of romance for good measure. We made a few modern adaptations but still kept the classic panto ‘oh no we didn’t!’s and ‘mwahahaas’. The kids all loved it – plenty of our Children’s Services families and other locals were in the audience which was great to see.

It was all very well-received and it was all rounded-off by a carols performance from the Abbey choir.

We’d like to thank everyone who attended – you made it a Christmas to remember, and hope to see you all soon at Abbey activities in 2018. And thanks to our great team of kitchen volunteers who kept us all fed and watered!


New year, new you!

The New Year is the perfect time not only to break old habits but also to try something new—and at Abbey we’ve just the ticket! 2018 is going to be jam-packed with new courses for you to try out. Learn a new skill and meet some mates along the way. All courses will be about ten weeks TBC and are run at Abbey in partnership with the wonderful Westminster Kingsway College and Mary Ward Centre. They are all absolutely FREE!

  • Mindfulness: Thursdays from April 5th. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. It is commonly used as a therapy, though it’s also something you can incorporate in your everyday life, and is proven to improve your health, mental wellbeing and relationships. This course is open to over 50s. People under 50 may attend if they a. have a mental or physical disability or b. are a parent or carer.
  • Healthy cooking and baking course from January 25th Thursday 3-5pm. Enjoyed some of the healthy cuisine at Abbey’s Café recently? Learn to make your own dishes and bakes which are delicious but nutritious! Perfect for those who resolve to eat healthily every January but find it hard to stick to! (I’m definitely one of them! – Ed.)


  • Aromatherapy: Thursday 22ndFeb to 22nd March (5 weeks) from 1 – 2.30pm. Learn how to use essential oils to boost your physical wellbeing and manage everyday aches and pains.

All of these courses are bound to book up quickly so if you’re interested put your name down with Laura (07447 932 564).



CTCer Spotlight: John!


John is one of those people at Abbey who does a bit of everything. He joined us three and a half years ago after working for 25 years in the film, theatre and television industry and studying for 3 years at Birkbeck for a diploma in counselling and psychology. Last month you could find him practicing his ‘mwa ha hah’s and ‘oh no she didn’t’s’ for the Abbey panto, which he directs, acts in and builds the set for. He also built the famous Abbey tombola! Unlike many of us however, John doesn’t live in Camden but comes to us from St Albans, where he also volunteers with a Buddhist centre as Chapter Leader.

How did you find out about Abbey Community Centre?
I was volunteering in Camden as a befriender for a charity but they went bust, so I was put in touch with Joanna and started volunteering with Kilburn Good Neighbours instead. I’m still doing that now, once a week. Soon I’m going to start doing it with an additional person too, but fortnightly for each so that it remains a weekly commitment for me. It just involves having a chat with someone who for whatever reason can’t leave their home very much. Anyway, soon I found out about everything else that goes on at the centre—coffee morning was first thing and it went from there.


What is a typical week for you at the community centre?
I do my befriending on Wednesdays, and come in to do Men’s Fitness (3pm). I also occasionally used to come in for Men’s Cookery. Coffee mornings on Fridays, followed by boccia—I referee for it. At the moment we’re also doing rehearsals for the Abbey Panto Dick Whittington, which I’m directing and acting in!

How would you describe the experience of being part of a CTC group?
Different, haha. I think it’s great – very satisfying and I get great pleasure out of helping other people.

What is the best thing about Abbey Community Centre?
Men’s fitness! I hope it keeps going. We usually get around eight people. It’s great because it gives us a feeling not only of keeping fit but also a sense of togetherness. Lots of people have been going for a while and have got to know each other. I admire lots of the older guys as they might have some physical problems but are still willing to give it a go.

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Have you spotted anything on the Calendar of Upcoming events that you would like to be part of?
I’d like to go on more trips but depends on timings as I come from St Albans—the trains can be a nightmare! I also like doing the set teas – like the Winter Warmer Kilburn Good Neighbours did recently. And of course the panto on 16th December-make sure you see it!

What one thing would you say to others about the centre?
Come and join in the fun! The social aspect of it is great for making really good friends and getting you out and about with other people who care.

How would you sum up Abbey Community Centre in three words?
They are brilliant!

Note from the editor: Thanks John 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 or 07805869136.


Trip to Hampton Court Palace for Re-cycle-art

“We had a very nice outing to Hampton Court. Simone was very nice. We went by mini coach, which is easier for elderly people. There was so much to see in Hampton Court.”

We’d like to say thank you very much to the Wates Foundation—in particular Michelle, who recently fundraised for our talented Re-cycle-art group to enjoy a coach trip to Hampton Court Palace and Gardens.

“Really enjoyed the day out to Hampton Court. It was such a wonderful day. We enjoyed the performances they put on and all the information about Henry’s wives, the paintings and the gardens and courtyards. The trees were amazing. Thank you to Wates for such a wonderful trip.”

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The group were singing non-stop on the journey to the palace (and enjoying Celebrations chocolates!) which gives you an idea of how excited they were.

“When I received the invite to go to Hampton Court I was a bit down. Maybe I would not be able to as it’s all day and I’m not used to being out that long… I went though and it was so nice to be with others from the club, and not alone all the time. We had a lovely ride in the coach all together. We arrived at the palace and was given headphones which explained how the palace came to be, Henry VIII and all his wives. I liked to tapestrys, his crown, the chapel. What a wonderful day. We had a walk in the gardens, I did a drawing of the front of the palace. Simone stayed with us all day, she looked after us so well I did feel wanted, I could not tell her how happy I was to be part of the group. Singing on the way home and some sweet treats really boosted me up. Thank you Wates for giving us such a wonderful day.

They spent time admiring the garden and interiors of the palace, which will definitely provide some inspiration for future artworks. Jean and Frank bravely stood up outside in the cold and produced amazing sketches of the Palace’s façade.

“I was looking forward to the trip, there was lots to do there and it was warm inside and I don’t go out much on my own and I have achieved a lot and looking forward to coming back.”

Christine and Dorry kept nice and  warm indoors and sketched beautiful details of the building.  We all had lunch together in the Palace’s café, Chanda brought delicious sandwiches and Indian snacks.

“I enjoyed the trip very much. It was great fun. Before the trip I was thinking of things… after I felt energised and happy. Our group were great and the transport made the whole experience special. Seeing the actors was great fun and made you think of a different era.”

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Sally, Connie, Ellen, Violet, Chanda, Kanchan, Frank and Carmel travelled in time, watching the indoor and outdoor performances going on at the time. Frieda and Frank also visited the palace’s kitchen and were very impressed with the size of it.

“I had the most entertaining time. I am not sure what was the best bit. Wonderful company, great location, and a caring leader. I got home feeling so blessed. I am grateful for all my friends at the Abbey. They are full of fun. Up for any mischief. My inner child was able to enjoy herself. Something I could never do when I was young. I was able to learn lots about Henry VIII and his last wife Catherine Parr. I never had time to embrace history. The enactment makes it easy to retain the details. I hope to visit lots of other historical sites. Thank you to Wates, who made this visit possible.”

A big thanks to Wates for providing such a special experience.

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Carolling at Sainsbury’s!

Last Wednesday the Abbey Choir had the pleasure of bringing some Christmas cheer to the customers at Sainsbury’s Kilburn High Rd. We’d like to thank Gerry, Shuzna and other colleagues at Sainsbury’s who helped us to organise it and supported us on the day.


We were there early evening – a great time to catch people doing their after-work shopping – and managed to raise around £40 for Abbey, which went towards the costs of our Saturday Christmas cafe. Thanks very much Sainsbury’s!