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Coronavirus: Kilburn community charity receives welcome £250,000 boost

PUBLISHED: 11:17 13 November 2020 | UPDATED: 11:17 13 November 2020

Back: Alan Norman, Jian Choi, Debbie Elliot, and Margaret Halliday. Front (from left): Joss Nicholas, Jenny Corrie, Laura Wigzel at Abbey Community Centre. Picture: City of London

Back: Alan Norman, Jian Choi, Debbie Elliot, and Margaret Halliday. Front (from left): Joss Nicholas, Jenny Corrie, Laura Wigzel at Abbey Community Centre. Picture: City of London

Archant

Hundreds of older people in Kilburn have the chance to get active, keep healthy and make friends thanks to a big cash boost for a community charity.

Vimal Sahani is shown how to use a tablet and explore online by one of Abbey Community Centre's volunteer ‘tech buddies’. Picture: City of LondonVimal Sahani is shown how to use a tablet and explore online by one of Abbey Community Centre's volunteer ‘tech buddies’. Picture: City of London

Abbey Community Centre (ACC), in Belsize Road, has been awarded a £250,000 grant over five years from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable arm.

The centre will run arts, sport and fitness, and health and wellbeing activities, as well as offering volunteering opportunities.

The activities will be aimed at older people in and around Kilburn at risk of social isolation, age-related impairment, disability or financial disadvantage.

Paul Fordham, community projects development manager at ACC, said: “Coming to the centre helps to give people a sense of purpose, to make new friends and try new activities.

Dhruv Patel, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee. Picture: City of LondonDhruv Patel, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee. Picture: City of London

“Rather than being stuck at home, they know they can come here, get a warm welcome and feel part of a community.

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“The activities we do really benefit our members’ mental and physical health, and we see a real difference in people after they start coming here.”

During the pandemic, the centre has been offering online and telephone support to its members.

Sally Bowman went on an Abbey Community Centre-organised trip to Hampton Court Palace last year to learn about the history of Henry VIII’s former home.

“I had the most entertaining time, with wonderful company, a great location and a caring leader,” she said. “I got home feeling blessed and am grateful for all my friends at the Abbey. They are full of fun and my inner child was able to enjoy herself, something I could never do when I was young.”

Barbara Wilson attends the centre’s Colouring Calm arts and crafts sessions.

She said: “I found the course very relaxing, and the atmosphere was very soothing. I thought that the herbal tea was a nice touch, and everyone seems to agree that we should continue with the course.”

Dhruv Patel, chairman of City Bridge Trust’s committee, said ACC did a “fantastic job”: “This funding will provide them with the security of knowing they can continue to play this vital role, which is needed more than ever, with older people in particular affected by isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”


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