#Happy Birthday, Steve!#50 Not Out.

Steve Birthday-2

Next on Crimewatch: Many Happy Returns…

Tomorrow sees the 50th birthday of Steve, HCA’s Senior Support Worker  He thought he’d get away without a fuss by taking tomorrow off, but fortunately his mum, volunteer Pat, reminded us.  She bought him a cake, which was shared by Millman Street Community Centre members.  They also sang Happy Birthday to him.

Steve has worked at HCA for at least a decade, in two tranches.  London born and half-Irish, like many others who don’t live in Manchester, Steve supports Man United.  But we won’t hold that against him.  Come on, it’s his birthday after all…

Steve shares his special day with actors Meryl Streep, Prunella Scales and Kris Kristofferson, 1930s gangster John Dillinger, director Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot, Stalag 17), TV host Esther Rantzen, author Dan Brown (Da Vinci Code) and YouTube star ShoeOnHead (possibly not her real name).


Happy Birthday, Steve…

Here’s to another 50 years, Steve.  From all at Millman Street Community Centre.

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#Open Day at Millman Street Community Centre 2017



Last Friday (16th June), Millman Street Community Centre held its annual Open Day.  Your HCA hack arrived at the Centre to a hubbub of preparations, as garments both vintage and new were put on clothes rails, the buffet was being stocked with delicious grub, weary hands awaited pampering, flowers were arranged, and prizes for the raffle were sourced.  Leaflets were also being displayed, arts were being crafted and volunteers arrived to give a hand as our members awaited the official opening at 11am.  This reporter could see that all was going well, and that his offer to help would only ensure a fiasco, so he sipped tea and took photos in his usual cack-handed manner, and in no way sunned himself in the Millman Street garden as others toiled inside the centre…

There were a number of people from the Get Into Learning community initiative from the Working Men’s College (WMC), which, via Camden Council, has offered HCA members various workshops since March.  Marcia from WMC explained that the community projects are free for any Camden resident over 19.  These include sewing, knitting, arts and crafts and Maths and English courses.  Co-ordinator Marcia’s team also included Stacey, Viola, Jean, Anastasia, Patricia, Hasina and Tracey.  They were busy all day massaging, nail-painting, and arts and crafting our members.


Stacey and Marcia…

There were beauty treatments from Jan.  Lene – who leads arts and crafts at the Centre of a Monday – was also doing so at the Open Day.  Victoria, who usually hosts Friday Drama workshops at Millman Street, turned up with her dog, Whitman, a well-behaved, loveable hound who collected pats on the head and appreciative comments from members, staff and volunteers.  Befriending Manager Kate also had a stall.

HCA’s CEO Lucas came along, as did Saira and even Charles was let out of Bedford House briefly to sample the buffet and soak up the party atmosphere.

Millman Street Centre member Gloria spent a tidy sum on clothes from the Vintage Sales rail, before manning (or should that be wommanning?) the bric-a-brac table.  Said table was stocked with plants in hand-painted pots, a bit of bling, goblets, handmade birthday cards and other bargains.  Even this notoriously stingey reporter’s dusty wallet was crowbarred open in order that he could shell out on a bargain, and the escaping moths also forced him to buy a raffle ticket (fear not, he didn’t win anything).

The grand prize Raffle saw prizes going to a variety of members, and volunteer Gloria won three prizes.  Magnificently, she let others have the second and third wins.  What a star!  Others who hauled away prizes included Joyce (who won twice), Thelma, Tony, Margaret, Fred, Queenie, Frank and member Gloria K.  The slideshow below chronicles the event:

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The Open Day was designed to bring people together, have a good laugh, enjoy tasters of workshops they perhaps haven’t yet experienced, eat, drink and be merry on a lovely summer’s day.


Pummeling David was popular this year…

The sales from the clothes rail, bric-a-brac, raffle and donations raised funds for Holborn Community Association.  Our Activities Co-ordinator, Carmen, estimated that the grand total would pay for a day out for Millman Street Community Centre members.

HCA would like to thank everyone who took part in Millman Street Community Centre’s 2017 Open Day – the staff, volunteers and members; the WMC contingent, and the quartet of gents (Age Concern UK members) who turned up having seen a flyer for the event.

Special thanks to our catering staff: Rose, Ruma and Hanna:

A Selection of other pix from the Open Day:

Poorly-taken pix and ropey reportage: Notes Smudger

Posted in Activities, arts, Atmospheric, Befriending Scheme, community, Events, Free of Charge, fundraising, Hand Massage, Holborn, Party, Spiritual, Uncategorized, Volunteering, Well-being | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

#RADA workshop at Millman Street Community Centre


Canute and Fred embrace RADA…

Today, Millman Street Community Centre members experienced another RADA Elders Taster Workshop.  It was hosted by voice and acting teacher Caroline, along with participant Jenni, who has been with the RADA Elders for four years.

Members Rosa, Anne, Helena, Tony, Joyce, Fred, Canute, Norman, Joan, Tessa, Janice and Christine were joined by staff and volunteers Sarah and Joss.

The session comprised of voice training, warm-up games and also text work.

Caroline first had everyone sitting in a circle, then standing up for a round of Pass The Clap, where members had to clap in synchronised fashion with the next person in the circle.  “The secret is in the breathing,” Caroline explained.  “It helps you connect with your fellow actor.”

The next level was to go round the circle again, but this time to choose whether to go clockwise or anti-clockwise.  This sired much laughter, and members loosened up as the game progressed.  Caroline explained that it was a trust exercise, designed to build rapport with fellow actors and get used to the range of their reactions – essential for stagecraft.

“You act better when you’re relaxed,” Caroline said.  “Acting is quite physical,” she added.  “Your body and mind are working together, ideally.  So try to keep the feeling with your eyes and breathing.”

Then came the Voice Warm-Up exercises.  Members were shown how sitting up straight and slouching affected their voices, and she explained it was best to have “your spine long and the neck to be long,” before initiating a series of “aaahs”, as part of a pitch slide.  She said, “Voices are much better when we have a long back of neck and soft front of neck.

This progressed into a series of long F sounds, to relax the stomach muscles (“Deep belly breathing”) and to “feel the emotional difference when you breathe.”

“It seems harder,” said Canute.  “Like bellows,” added Fred.

Then Caroline moved on to V sounds, with all doing a low hum.  “Try to make your lips buzz with your hum,” they were instructed.  Then, open up with a “Maaah” – an elongated sound.  She said to “use a destination for your aaah : a door handle, light switch,” etc.  Then play with different pitches: “Disturb a flower, make a floor mat feel welcome,” and so on.  “We always have an intention when we speak.”  All did so simultaneously; cue more amusement at the resulting cacophony.  “It’s one thing making a lovely sound,” Caroline said, “Another to fill it with meaning.”

Then there were a series of face stretches, and a couple of tongue twisters from Joyce and Norman.  Finally, the session moved on to the Text.  Caroline passed lines from Richard II around and first everyone read aloud to themselves, simultaneously.  There followed a discussion on what emotions each line produced.

Then round the circle, with everyone reading a couplet, and then reinterpreting what it means in their own words, as the Bard’s 17th Century parlance isn’t always immediately comprehensible to modern ears.

Former manager Sue turned up to see all the members and have a chin-wag.  Nothing to do with RADA, but it happened at the same time, so here’s a pic:


Sue missed HCA coffee (and our members, of course)…

Everyone enjoyed the workshop, Canute very enthusiastically.  Norman – another seasoned performer – had not come across some of the techniques Caroline taught and hopes to share them with the Mary Ward Centre Players for future productions.

“It’s nice to get back to working in a group,” said Jenni.

Before we get to the slideshow, let’s hear from Volunteer Joss.  She said of the workshop that she would “definitely” do it again. “Today was a real high,” she enthused.  “It was great to get stuck in!”

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The idea for staging the workshops at Millman Street came from Carys, the Widening Participation & Outreach Coordinator at RADA.  She can be reached at:


Holborn Community Association would once again like to thank RADA for providing Millman Street Community Centre members with this wonderful workshop.

Frightful photos and rotten report by Notes Smudger


Posted in Activities, arts, Atmospheric, community, Holborn, Performance, Spiritual, Uncategorized, Well-being | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

#This Friday at Millman Street Community Centre: Annual Open Day


Tuck into our open day…

This Friday, 16th June, Millman Street Community Centre will hold its annual Open Day.

The event will take place between 11am and 3pm, and entry is free, so hurry on down.

The activities will include:

  • Prize Raffle with Carmen: wine, chocolates, beauty products

  • Free Buffet

  • Beauty Makeovers with Jan

  • Arts & Crafts with Ambia from the Working Men’s College

  • Befriending talk with Kate

  • Drama Workshop with Norman

  • Bric-a-brac with Carmen – please bring yours to sell on the stall


You need hands (pampering)…

All proceeds will go to Holborn Community Association Funds, so come down, have fun, and help swell our coffers.

Forthcoming attraction by Notes Smudger

Posted in Activities, community, Events, Forthcoming, Free of Charge, Holborn, Music, Party, Performance, Spiritual, Uncategorized, Well-being | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

#Art and Crafts at Millman Street Centre


Busy working on the mural…

Today, Millman Street Community Centre members enjoyed another Arts & Crafts session.  It is part of an ongoing Arts project organised by Carmen, HCA’s Activities Co-ordinator.  Sarah, and volunteers Mandy, Pat and Gloria oversaw the work on a mural, which was today’s activity.


Anne, Mandy and Helena get stuck in…


The Art of Creation…

Photos and report: Notes Smudger

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#Happy Birthday, Pat! from Millman Street Community Centre


The birthday girl about to cut her cake…

Today, Millman Street Community Centre members wished a very happy birthday to long-time volunteer (and former staff member), Pat.  She worked at Millman Street as a Support Worker for around thirteen years, then decided she didn’t want to get paid any more and instead work as an unpaid volunteer.

Pat shares her birthday with Tom Jones (born 1940); Colonel Gaddafi (1942); Damien Hirst (1965); current US Vice President Mike Pence (1949) and Knud J. V. Rasmussen, Danish pole explorer (1879, as if you didn’t know), among others.

Pat-Their Finest-2 (1)

Read into this (geddit?) what you will…

There was a bit of faffing about, in true HCA style.  But eventually, Pat cut her birthday cake and handed slices to HCA members.  Lovely drop of cake it was, too.  Everyone joined in a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday To You.


Save a slice for Knud J. V. Rasmussen…

This shoddy report can’t do justice to Pat’s contribution to HCA.  Holborn Community Association would like to thank Pat for her many years of hard work at Millman Street Community Centre, and of course to wish her many, many more birthdays.


Knives out just in case Colonel Gaddafi tries to nick a slice of cake…

Photos and report: Notes Smudger

Posted in Activities, Atmospheric, Birthday Bash, community, Events, Holborn, Party, Uncategorized, Well-being | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

#Hits From The Blitz at the Mary Ward Centre


Scene from the London Blitz…

On Saturday, 24th June, our friends The Mary Ward Players will present Songs of the 1940s and Music Hall favourites at The Mary Ward Centre, 42 Queen Square, Holborn WC1N 3AQ.

Donation at the door will be £3, and the spectacle will commence at 3pm.

We don’t as yet know what songs The Players will perform, but we can probably rule out any Glenn Miller tunes [mostly instrumental].  And probably not Ballroom Blitz by The Sweet.  Possibly, there will be renditions of The White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again.  Or The Lambeth Walk, the Thingummybob (That’s Going To Win The War) song?

But enough speculation: why not don your best siren suit, or draw stocking seams on the back of your legs with gravy, and pop along to see for yourselves?


London’s Blitz spirit…

Please contact www.marywardcentre.ac.uk for further details.

Puff piece by Notes Smudger

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