Dennis (Community Time Camden and CHAPS member)
I didn’t know about the centre for ages actually despite living a stones throw away! I must have seen some leaflets in the library or shops. I love walking so I decided to go along to the Wednesday Walks, which is a social walking group who meet weekly for about an hour and a half and it went from there.
What’s a typical week?! Well the pingpong is a crucial item in my calendar. And Boccia on Fridays of course. We had 15 people today. We take it very seriously! We’ve won the last few tournaments in Camden. And the walks and the men’s cooking too – I enjoy that. My kids say I’m a good cook!
The centre has a great atmosphere created by the volunteers and staff. I’ve never witnessed a shouting match here which is unusual when you’ve got a lot of people in one place! I see it as an extended family now, that’s how I look at it. You make new friends. I look forward to every week.
Our men’s afternoon has just started (Men’s Barbershop, 1.30pm – 3.30pm on Fridays) today and already there’s bonding going on! We had a laugh. We’ll definitely come back next week.
Some men find it difficult to come along, especially if they live alone. For whatever reason, they withdraw. You get into a comfort zone, getting your breakfast, watching the telly. I would tell these men that you live longer if you get out and socialise. I’m trying to persuade a friend from church to come along at the moment, he doesn’t get out much apart from church so I’m working on it.
I’d honestly describe the centre as lifesaving! It’s the question of, what would we be doing if we weren’t involved here? Being a part of CHAPS makes a massive, massive, massive difference. You’re exposed to new activities and people of new backgrounds. You meet new people and then when you see them on the street you extend pleasantries and get to know each other. The way I see it, it’s a home.
Jean (Community Time Camden member)
I found out about Abbey Community Centre when I saw an advert for crotchet classes on the bus stop! In the end I didn’t end up going to crotchet but joined almost everything else… I’ve been coming to the centre for about two and a half years now.
Tuesdays is keep fit at 1pm, followed by bingo and then Re-cycle-art at 4pm—so it’s 1—6pm on Tuesdays! On Fridays I come along to coffee morning and Boccia. Oh, and a few of us, Violet and Connie and so on, we go to the pictures now on Mondays. Simone also organises wonderful trips for the art group like to Hampton Court and Kew.
Everyone at Community Time Camden is just lovely, so friendly. And all the staff are so amicable. Abbey's open almost every day now which is great.
When I first came along I was quite scared—I thought people might be judgemental or rude. But it’s not like that here. Everyone accepts you for who you are. The centre’s like a party everyday!