On Wednesday 25 January, our Chair Jean Willson presented a talk to over 40 guests about the history of Centre 404 and her experiences growing up in the borough of Islington, and as a family carer.
Jean took her audience through the decades introducing it with music. She spoke about what was happening in the decade; what her family was doing; what was happening in the learning disability world, and how the centre was founded and grew.
Jean has been involved with Centre 404 for over 40 years, and an associated exhibition was displayed in the main hall where the talk was held documenting the history of the charity. This included information and pictures from when it was first founded by family carers of people with learning disabilities who were struggling to access the support they needed, and the involvement of our Patron Jeremy Corbyn over the years. Read the rest of this entry »
Thursday 22nd December was an extremely special day at Centre 404 as we were privileged to have players from Arsenal give up their time and come and spend the afternoon with our children who were taking part in the Christmas Playscheme.
Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, Laurent Koscielny and Francis Coquelin spent a couple of hours with our children’s group designing Christmas t-shirts, doing arts and crafts, signing cards and also giving out amazing presents!
Arriving with Centre 404 branded stockings, in Arsenal colours of course, the footballers gave out presents individually to each child and even took some time to learn some makaton.
The atmosphere was amazing and the kids were super excited and couldn’t stop smiling. ‘This is the best day of my life’ was overheard quite a few times demonstrating just what an impact the footballers made.
We would like to say a big thank you to The Arsenal Foundation for arranging this wonderful afternoon and thank you to all the players for giving up their time so close to Christmas.
You can watch footage from the day here.
Yesterday was our last gardening session of the year and it was a busy one that involved not only gardening but learning how to make Christmas table decorations using flowers and leaves from the garden. Elsa kindly brought in a mix of rose buds, white blossoms, ivy leaves and lavender alongside the materials to make a lovely piece for the Christmas table.
We had Christmas songs playing alongside some mince pies and chocolate treats whilst we made the beautiful decorations and they were surprisingly so easy to make!
All you need is:
- Toilet roll
- Elastic bands
- Aluminium foil
- Flowers, branches, leaves
- Wrap some aluminium foil around the toilet roll and fix in place with either glue or an elastic band
- Place a couple of elastic bands in different places along the roll
- Place in the flowers and leaves through the elastic bands
- Decorate with ribbon & any other materials
And there you have a Christmas table decoration!
It was really good fun and the gardening volunteers loved it. We were also treated to Elsa’s cake concoction which this week was a rich chocolate and raisin cake. Read the rest of this entry »
The Volunteer of the year Awards organised by Voluntary Action Islington took place on Wednesday 2nd November and it was a wonderful night out for staff and volunteers at Centre 404. We put nominations forward for each category and felt we had some strong contenders who have shown a wonderful amount of commitment and passion to volunteering with Centre 404 this year.
The categories for the evening were:
Young Volunteer of the Year: 16 – 25 year olds:
Volunteer of the Year: 26 – 60 year olds
Older Volunteer of the Year: 60+ year olds
Pat Haynes Memorial Trustee of the Year
Volunteering Team of the Year
It was a full house at Voluntary Action Islington with over a hundred people attending. 14 of us went to the awards from Centre 404, consisting of volunteers and staff and were warmly welcomed with sandwiches, drinks and cake.
As it was Voluntary Action Islington’s AGM as well as the awards we sat down to listen to the latest news from the organisation and were also treated to a magic show!
Alex Smith, founder of North London Cares, gave an inspirational talk about how and why he set up the charity as well as its sister charity South London Cares and the impact the charities have made on tackling social isolation in the community. It is a wonderful charity that works with connecting young professionals living and working in London with their elderly neighbours through social clubs and a love your neighbour programme.
After Alex’s talk it was time for the awards ceremony. The team of the year was the first one announced and Centre 404’s gardening group were the winner! All of our gardening group apart from Debbie were able to attend and were super excited to have won! We all went up to collect our certificate and were super thrilled to learn that we had won a three course meal, sponsored by Doubletree by Hilton, at Marco Pierre White’s restaurant so we will look forward to that! Read the rest of this entry »
On Sunday 30th October we held our Annual Halloween party for the families we support. We were delighted that DoubleTree hotel in Islington agreed to host the event for us, and provided volunteers, decorations and food on the day.
The venue was wonderful, with lots of space for the children and young people to play in and take full advantage of the food and treats that were on offer! There was facepainting, with a variety of designs requested- from spiderman to a Frankenstein vampire. Children came in fancy dress and a competition was held to judge the best costume, and families were treated to a buffet lunch. Read the rest of this entry »
It may be getting colder and darker but that hasn’t stopped our volunteer gardeners coming each Thursday to help with tidying up the garden, mowing the lawn, sweeping the leaves and still doing some planting. We thought we would have to put the compost bag away until spring however there are still certain plants and herbs that can be planted in autumn time. This Thursday saw us plant some broad beans, garlic, red onions and tulips.
We took some useful tips from James Wong’s guardian article on ways to boost our garlic where we learnt that we needed to ‘Pick the sunniest spot and plant individual cloves 15cm apart any time between now and late January, and water in well. Scattering a couple of tablespoons of Epsom salts over each square metre of planting bed can up the strength of your garlic.’
As it is the week before Halloween we also thought it would be the perfect time to have some pumpkin pie! Pumpkins are great fun to grow. They are easy to cultivate, but need a sunny position, plenty of water and shelter from cold winds. Once harvested, pumpkins can be used for delicious soup, pies and for roasting. Read the rest of this entry »