On Wednesday night, Centre 404 staff and volunteers headed to Voluntary Action Islington for The Volunteer of The Year Awards where we were nominated for Volunteer Team of the Year, Young Volunteer of the Year (16-25yrs old) and Older Volunteer of the Year (60+ yrs old).

Last year we had a wonderful night as our gardening team won Team of the Year and our Chair Jean Willson won The Pat Haynes Memorial Trustee of the Year award. All the volunteers had a wonderful evening and therefore we were excited to go again this year.

Upon arriving we were treated to a delicious feast of Mediterranean food with falafel, humus, pitta, baba ganoush, and other delicious bites and then sat down for Voluntary Action Islington’s AGM. The guest speaker was James Banks from London Funders who gave an interesting talk about volunteer engagement. He has been working and volunteering in London’s voluntary and community sector for over 15 years. Immediately prior to joining London Funders, James was Chief Executive at Greater London Volunteering, the regional membership body for social action charities in the capital.

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It was a busy summer at Centre 404 for our adult service users. Even though our termly clubs stopped for their summer break, the fun continued with plenty of trips out to fun places around London.

We kicked off the summer with a day of narrow boating provided free by Islington Boat Club (thanks guys!) A few of our members had the chance to drive the boat along the canal, the first time they had ever been in charge of a ship!

Matthew and Mia

‘Driving the boat, that was the best’ – Captain Nathan

Some of the hardier amongst our number also helped to open the locks, another new experience for everyone involved. We travelled from the boat club near Old Street all the way to Camden and back again. A few of us got pretty wet but that was in the rain on the way home when the heavens opened and soaked everybody on the way to the bus stop!

We were faced with some poor weather during July so we rescheduled our trip to Hampstead Heath and went to the Science Museum instead. The watch and clock exhibition was a particular hit as was the space travel area. We also ran some swimming sessions at Archway Pool before finishing off the summer with a day trip to Kew Gardens.

Luckily the weather was fantastic on the day and a great time was had by members from our music group, gardening group and people from the outreach service. These groups don’t often get the chance to socialise together and it was great to see everyone getting along well throughout the day. The majority of people on the trip had not visited Kew, and some of the more experienced members commented on how much it has changed over the years. We packed in as much as possible into the day and covered pretty much the entire park taking in all the major landmarks.

 

As well as our trips out, we also ran some dance classes at Centre 404 with the amazing dance teacher Francis who has delivered sessions previously for many of our children’s and adult’s groups. Members of our day service as well as individuals from some of our supported living services came along for the sessions and it was lovely to see so many wheelchair users joining in the dance sessions.

At the beginning of July, Centre 404’s Leigh Road supported living project were extremely fortunate to welcome a team of amazing volunteers from the M&S in Marble Arch, who worked tirelessly over the course of several weeks in order to transform our shabby overgrown garden into a stunning, accessible and sensorially stimulating environment resplendent with its own charcoal barbeque and pizza oven

It was clear after day one how impressive this project was going to be in scope and detail. By 5 pm the entire space was dug out ready to begin planting and already the space seemed far more open and inviting, despite being bereft of any greenery.

The guys from M&S spent several weeks going back and forth with us and our tenants about what they really wanted from the space and a key theme was accessibility. Although our garden had paths that lead to different areas, huge parts were still inaccessible to those with wheelchairs, poor vision or other physical impairments due to grassy slopes and areas of uneven terrain. M&S went over and above the call of duty in this regard by digging out the central area of the garden and laying wheelchair friendly AstroTurf. They also wrangled a load of concrete from some local builders working in the area and used it to build up the ground around the new vegetable garden so that less mobile service users would be able to help tend the vegetables. Read the rest of this entry »

Charly, one of Centre 404’s Support Workers at Leigh Road has put together this week’s blog post. Not only has Charly set up a healthy living café at Leigh Road but a few weeks ago she took some service users on a great night out clubbing.

CHARLY’S CAFE

Charly’s cafe opens on a Thursday at Leigh Road. The food is served at 6.30pm but the cafe opens at 4pm for the tenants to come help prepare the food and learn how to cook and what ingredients are in the food.

What we make is pre discussed in tenants meetings and all the food we make is 500 calories or less ranging from dinners to desserts. I collect all the money from the tenants and I prepare ‘menu cards’. On these I put pictures of what is in the food and the quantity needed and the steps on how to make the food. When it comes to buying the food I support the service users to the local shops to buy the food.

The last time Charly’s cafe was open we made chicken and peppers in whole meal wraps with sweet potatoes wedges and a side salad. This cost only £1.90  per serving  and was only 450 calories.

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*This weeks blog post was written by Centre 404’s Project Manager,  Outreach Service, Javed Bhunno

On Tuesday, this week, we celebrated the 75th birthday of one of our Outreach’s oldest Service User Charlie Merriman. Charlie has been part of our Outreach Service since the service started in April 2011. Charlie was born in 1940s and shares the same date of birth as his favourite singer Vera Lynn!

Charlie is a keen musician and plays jazz music and continues to play in various bands across London. He is a gentle and kind person who is always happy to help others. He is also a very fit person; his doctor told him on a recent visit that his heart is similar age to someone in their 30s!

Here at Centre 404 Outreach Service, we are very proud to have the honour of supporting him and look forward to continuing supporting him for many years to come.  To celebrate his birthday, we dedicated our monthly team meeting to this occasion and invited Charlie to share a cake and few other sweets with rest of the Outreach Team. Read the rest of this entry »

quiz-night_centre-404

Our annual Centre 404 quiz night is back and is taking place on Friday 3rd March from 6pm at St Luke’s Church. Familiar Centre 404 faces Bob and Derek will be compering the night whilst testing your knowledge alongside a delicious meal of curry, rice and naan bread.

There will be a raffle with some fantastic prices as well as our famous jewellery stall and a bar.

Tickets are only £12 and include a delicious curry meal.  We only have a handful of tickets left so get in touch to purchase them soon to avoid missing out!

Email us at fundraising@centre404.org.uk or call 0207 607 8762 for more information or to purchase your tickets. Alternatively you can book online here.

This week’s blog post comes from our wonderful volunteer Amanda, as she recounts her night out at The National Television Awards.

In January My Husband and Me went to the National Tv awards by tube from Highbury and Islington station to Green Park then we took another Tube from Green Park to the o2 Arena in Greenwich. When we got there we had to walk to Gate H where We was going to sit then We waited for our bags and coats to go through security. After that We took a escalator to the Arena where We was shown where our seats were. We had good seats about 20 or more rows from the front We were there by 630pm  as the show started at 7pm till 10pm.national-television-awards_amanda

Andrew and Me took pictures of the o2 as We were waiting, then about 640pm a warm up man called Andy Collins come on the stage to tell the Audience when to clap, cheer, and boo .

Then at 755pm a countdown started to the start of the show then Dermot o Leary sung with Tom Jones and after that the awards started with Ant and Dec, This Morning, Mrs Brown’s Boys Emmerdale, Casualty, and many more winning Awards.

Then in the break Andrew and Me took a toilet break, Stood at the bar We saw Richard Blackwood, Scott Maslen, Lee Jay and Billy from Eastenders, We also saw Aaron, Robert, Cain, and Moira from Emmerdale, then We saw David, Tyrone, Sarah, Shane ward, from Coronation Street. Read the rest of this entry »