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QCCA thanks volunteers with tea party

Volunteers give so much to QCCA that we wanted to thank them with a sumptuous afternoon party.

The main hall was transformed into a sophisticated tea-room, complete with white tablecloths and vintage crockery, while QCCA staff waited on the guests.

About 40 volunteers enjoyed finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and a selection of cakes, all washed down with three different sorts of tea.

‘I didn’t realize this was our hall, it looks so lovely,’ said one guest about the impressive makeover. Thanks to our food-bank and volunteer coordinator Sarolta for making it all happen in such style.

Poet writes cheque for QCCA's foodbank

Local poet Jane Fawcett has raised £1536 for our food-bank.

Her book of poems, called Fire Up Your Dragon, proved a big hit before Christmas. 

'People have been incredibly generous,' she told us. 'One neighbour wanted six books and gave me £100.'

Jane had been writing poetry for several years but found it especially helpful as a way of processing her feelings when her husband died four years ago.

During lockdown, she wrote odes to cheer up her local residents' association and has since self-published three volumes of poetry.

When not writing poetry, Jane also supports QCCA by baking brownies for members to enjoy.

Fire Up Your Dragon is available from QCCA's reception or Owl bookshop in Kentish Town.

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Young people take to the slopes

We’re always looking for new opportunities for our young people, so we were delighted when Snow Camp suggested we introduce our young people to snowsports, with funding from London Youth.

Our first two-day taster in August at Hemel Hempstead's Indoor Snow facility was a bit hit. And this month (October) sees five young people start a five-week graduate course with others from all over London. They’ll earn ASDAN qualifications in sports and fitness as well as Snowsports England skiing and snowboarding awards.  

QCCA’s sports development co-ordinator Mark Abolaji said: ‘Our young people had such a great time in the summer that the graduate course filled up quickly. Hopefully this is something we’ll keep doing, because it’s a great opportunity for our guys to try something different and improve their employability with the following instructors opportunities .’ 

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QCCA brings advice bus queues in from the cold

When Camden Council's cost-of-living advice bus came to Queen's Crescent in January, staff knew it would be busy.

But no-one expected 150 people to turn up, queuing in the bitter cold.

With waits of several hours likely - and several mums with children in buggies - QCCA opened its hall as an emergency warm space. Everyone was invited in for hot drinks and biscuits It also gave QCCA staff the chance to tell people about other activities they can do at the centre.

Anita Khalil of Camden Council said: 'It was a life-saver having your warm, indoor space. It eased pressure on people who can't deal with the cold and if we hadn't had it, I think people would have shouted at us. That's happened before.'

Camden Council worked with Citizens Advice and the Mary Ward Legal Centre to help more than 50 people on the day. The other 100 are being contacted by telephone.

Read our annual report

Our new annual report 2021-2022 is available to read now, covering everything we did during (and after) the government's roadmap out of lockdown. Turns out, it was a busy year. Over 900 people did free sport or exercise with us; we had 455 young people coming to the Dome youth club and we kept our foodbank open largely thanks to a group of amazing volunteers.  You'll find the full report here: 

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Food-bank concert raises £3,395

The talented young musicians who held a fundraiser for our food-bank on 18 March raised £3,395.

The four were all students or graduates from the Royal College of Music or the Guildhall School of Music and heard about our work through a family friend.

The evening included pieces by Bach, Brahms and Beethoven.

With demand going up significantly at the food-bank, it's a generous gesture that couldn't have come at a better time.

A huge thank you to the young musicians themselves: Hugo Haag (viola), Joseph Barker (cello), Ami-Louise Johnsson (viola) and Jelena Horvat (violin). 

Also to our wonderful neighbours at the Camden Town Brewery, for supplying free drinks at the interval.

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QCCA's CEO calls for government help with cost of living crisis 

QCCA's CEO Foyezur Miah has signed a joint statement calling for greater government investment in the voluntary sector.

He's put his name to the open letter in his role as joint chair of C4, the Camden Community Centres' Consortium, which represents 19 organisations.

 

Other signatories are Voluntary Action Camden (VAC) and the Volunteer Centre Camden (VCC).

The statement says the sector: 'Finds itself under enormous pressure as a result of the current cost-of-living crisis' and calls for 'additional targeted financial support to deliver essential services'.

Read more here:

Zen Bus brings massages and more to Queen's Crescent

QCCA members and local residents enjoyed a bit of pampering on a chilly October afternoon.

Over 100 people were treated to free massages, guided meditations, breathwork and sound bath sessions on 20 October. There was also a hot lunch.

The activities were courtesy of the Zen Project, a charity which tours the country in a big American school-bus, where the sessions are held.

The vehicle was parked outside QCCA on food-bank day and the lunch was served inside the main building, so that food-bank users could also enjoy it.

Foodbank co-ordinator Belinda Rogers said: 'It was a great day for everyone but particularly wonderful for our food-bank members who are going through a very stressful time at the moment.'

Mind Camden and Likewise also supported the day.

 

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Dome youth club sees huge membership rise.

The number of young people coming to the Dome youth club has gone up by 109% this year.

 Both our juniors and seniors nights are buzzing, especially with the re-opening of our sound and media studio in October.

 This summer’s camp-delivered with our youth partner GOALYC -  included drama sessions with WAC Arts and Parkour with the Roundhouse (pictured) where over 35 young people learned to run, jump and roll like their YouTube heroes.

QCCA wins hardship grants for 27 older members

QCCA has secured hardship grants worth £4050 for older members struggling with bills.

The government Household Support Fund money was distributed through Camden Council.

Many people didn't know about the scheme or found the application process difficult. 

QCCA's Lifelines Champion for older people had just a month to help as many people as possible. She successfully secured the maximum £150 for 27 older members.

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Funder praises Healthy Families programme

QCCA funder Thrive London invited us to showcase our work with women and their children at an event in the summer.

 Our Ex-Healthy Families programme co-ordinator Frances White was one of just a handful of grantees who spoke.

 Our Right to Thrive grant has allowed us to offer free sports and fitness activities for women and children, especially those from BAME communities.

Our family sessions take place in the Dome sports hall, which is big enough for families to exercise side-by-side.

 White said: ‘Right to Thrive have been great to work with. They’ve actively supported everything we’ve done. We don’t think anyone else in this area is offering free fitness activities that provide childcare.’

 The Healthy Families programme includes women’s Nordic pole walking and women’s yoga.

Rankin takes a shot at our older members 

He's photographed a lot of pensioners in his time, including the late queen Elizabeth II. So we were honoured when photographer Rankin invited some of our older members to his offices to have their photographs taken.

The celebrated snapper has his studios five minutes walk from QCCA and wanted to host a day out for regulars.

The results were stunning and captured in full by the Camden New Journal.

You can read all about the day here: http://camdennewjournal.com/article/community-centre-users-snapped-by-top-photographer-rankin

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Want to know more about apprenticeships?

If you couldn't make our Adult Apprenticeships workshop about learning while you earn, here's a taste of what you missed. Joanne Mauton, an employment and training officer at Camden Council, talks about the free careers support you can get.

Camden also has apprenticeship opportunities both internally and through other employers - and they're all ringfenced for Camden residents or people who went to school in the borough.  There's more information here: https://apprenticeships.camden.gov.uk/.

QCCA donor takes a trip down memory lane

Amrit Maan’s charity work during Covid took him back to his Queen’s Crescent roots.

As the owner of the Punjab - established in 1946 and one of England’s oldest Indian restaurants – he delivered thousands of free meals to charities all over the capital.

But he had no idea that Queen’s Crescent Community Association (QCCA) was one of them until he found himself helping out with deliveries in Camden last Christmas.

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Sir Lenny backs our BAME vaccination campaign

Sir Lenny Henry sent us a wonderful message of support on April 1st for our Covid vaccination centres. He recorded the video after Gospel Oak resident and QCCA friend Michael Palin told him about the first pop-up centre we ran on March 23, particularly welcoming the BAME community.

You can also see Sir Lenny's open letter to the black community urging them to get vaccinated here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mKYnTZvIUM&feature=youtu.be

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