Finally, on this, the 20th of February, 2019, HCA is able to end the suspense and resume our Millman Street Community Centre Review of the Year for 2018. What’s that, you say? About time? It’ll be time for the 2019 review soon, won’t it? And, while we’re about it, weren’t we to be told what happened to England’s bid to win the World Cup? Hmm?
Quite. All in good time.
Anyway. In July, there was glorious summer. There was also the annual Queen Square Fair. Held in, erm, nearby Queen Square, as indeed all such previous fairs have been – time for a change of venue this year, your HCA hack wonders? [No. It’s called Queen Square Fair for the good reason that that’s where it’s always held – HCA Bigwigs]
Ahem. Anywoo. Holborn Community Association once again joined in the festivities, with stalls selling bric-a-brac, food and refreshments.
Staffed by Bedford House stalwarts Saira, caretaker John and Administrator Charles, the food stall did a roaring trade, with Saira’s delicious cooking a big hit with hungry fair-goers, as usual.
Colleen and Hazel from 1A Arts also held a pottery workshop, and also among HCA’s representatives were Millman Street’s Sarah and volunteers Pat, Bridie and Hannah, the latter two staffing the bric a brac stall. Sarah also took some photos:
Also in July, HCA’s Gardening guru Rima hosted a garden party at Millman Street Community Centre in the, erm, garden, obvs. Our members enjoyed tea, scones and a delicious carrot cake baked to perfection by volunteer Gloria.
Members and staff basked in the summer sunshine, enjoying some vitamin D and admiring the flora lovingly cultivated by Rima, Lilly and other gardening helpers. New gardening volunteer Walter also joined our members.
Former manager Richard also popped in to see our members and staff, and apparently to settle an old score with Rima:
Furthermore in July, HCA’s Befriending Organiser, Kate, and Project Worker Hanif manned a stall at Camden Mela at Coram’s Fields.
HCA’s Activities Coordinator, Carmen, was also on hand, practising her face-painting skills on local kids, and our very own Kate (see below). HCA member George also turned up and chatted to Kate, Hanif and Carmen.
During the Mela, Kate and Hanif promoted HCA volunteering opportunities and services across our three HCA Centres.
“It was lovely weather,” said Hanif. “Quite a few people took information,” he added. “Face-painting was really amazing,” he furthered. “It was a good event!”
July also saw the first seaside trip of 2018, with Millman Street Centre members, staff, volunteers let loose on the Kent town of Whitstable, which, it seems, doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Holborn, given that even your HCA hack was allowed out for the day.
Our members – peckish and parched from the journey – breathed in the breathable air on their way to a fish and chip shop for tea, cold drinks, erm, fish and (can you guess?) chips.
Alas, tragedy struck when Steve crushed your HCA scribe’s reading glasses case. In the ensuing tussle, Steve denied responsibility, saying it was “an accident”, then landed a couple of well-deserved back-handers on the blubbing word-mangler, and threatened to not let him return to London on the coach until he promised not to sue (“lawyers” and extravagant “settlement” sums had been bandied about by the hot-headed hack).
Steve has since enjoyed bias-free write-ups in the Millman Street blog, penned (typed?) by the in no way vengeance-consumed wordsmith. Steve is not an evildoer. Here he is, not looking evil:
Ahem. After perusing the charity shops and high street, our members and staff made their way to the seafront, passing Cushing’s View (named, of course, for the actor-resident) and basked in the sunshine. Those with the stomach for it looked out across the Swale to the Isle of Sheppey, or to the old sea forts in the, erm, sea.
Then it was time to rest, to stop off for drinks and ice creams before heading back into town for a brief snifter in a local pub.
Finally, it was back to The Smoke – the polluted, unfresh air and urban decay of London. To Holborn, HCA and home…It’s funny how much you miss it for the few hours spent away from it…
At the end of July, the Centre was visited by Zoolab. The company provides animal handling therapy to schools and other educational establishments, as well as visiting centres like Millman Street.
Lilly – the lady from Zoolab – brought along a selection of creatures for our members to see and handle, including a snake, a lizard, a millipede, hissing cockroaches, a frog and a tarantula (de-venomed, hopefully). Unlike this scaredy-cat scribe, our members were not the least bit squeamish about handling creepy-crawlies.
“I didn’t mind handling [the millipede],” said David (pictured below). “T’was fantastic; brilliant!”
Fred agreed. “It was great,” he said. “Crawling on your hands – you have to wash your hands afterwards, otherwise you could get an infection.”
July also saw the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. So, did England win? Out with it, man! Out with it! Our readers can take the suspense no longer.
At last, and without further recourse to digression, avoidance, beating around bushes, procrastination or other such stalling, it can finally be revealed that England…
…lost in the semi-finals, to Croatia. Who, in turn, lost in the final to France. Roll on the 2022 tournament in Qatar. The stifling heat shouldn’t prove much of an obstacle to England’s campaign…
In August, Rowena from the Working Men’s College visited Millman Street Centre, asking HCA members and staff to complete a brief survey on the life of proto-feminist and former Bloomsbury resident, Mary Woolstencroft.
Rowena, also a member of the Further Than The Edge theatre company [FTTE], was writing a play – Mary, Mary – which was due to be performed at the annual Bloomsbury Festival last October.
Also in August, Millman Street Centre members and staff visited the Wallace Collection itself, seeing it in its full glory with their own eyes.
They saw a new exhibition celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of the Collection’s founder, Sir Richard Wallace. They were shown around the exhibition by Edwina, who, equally as knowledgeable as her colleagues who have visited Millman Street, provided our members with fascinating insights into various artworks.
Among the huge amount of works on display were, and indeed, still are ceramics, sculptures, paintings, gold and silverworks, antique furniture and suits of armour. The Collection houses, for example, Frans Hals’ famous The Laughing Cavalier, and several self-portraits by Rembrandt.
“It was very good,” said Helena of the exhibition, adding that she had enjoyed it. “It was all very nice!”
“It was very interesting,” said both Carmen and Thelma. “Some of the models and things were good,” the latter added. She went on: “They’re very nice people there,” adding that afterwards there was a “lovely afternoon tea; that was nice!”
August again, and Millman Street Centre members were invited to Bedford Estates in Bloomsbury, for High Tea. It was a lavish spread, served by a lady named Emma (pictured with our own Thelma):
Yet more from August: Alexandra and some other volunteers from Freshminds came to Millman Street Community Centre to give our members an Arts Workshop.
Freshminds are a rescruitment consultancy, based in High Holborn. Their volunteers included Roberta, who is also one of HCA Befriending Manager Kate’s befriending volunteers.
As August drew to an end, it was the birthday of long-time Millman Street Centre regular, Ken, who celebrated in unique style by not actually attending the Centre, but popped in the day before to bring in some chocolate cakes for our other members could celebrate. He was also thoughtful enough to bring a vegan flapjack for Kate. What a star.
On 31st August, Millman Street Community Centre members embarked on a journey to deepest Hertfordshire, to visit Hatfield House for a marvellous day out.
A Jacobean stately home, Hatfield House opened in 1611. At the time, it was home to Robert Cecil. Having previously been Queen Elizabeth I’s trouble shooter, Cecil served as King James I’s Lord Privy Seal, and is often credited as the “discoverer” of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot (you know, Guy Fawkes and Fireworks Night and all that).
Helena, Shonni, Anne and Tom were among the HCA members who undertook the day out, along with staffers Sarah and Carmen. Anne, Shonni, and Ayr United fan Tom declined to be interviewed about their experiences, by dint of not being at the Centre when this reporter asked the questions. And so he restricted his interviews to those who were present at the time he conducted them, and made up the rest in his customary style.
“It was very good,” said Helena. “Very interesting,” she enthused.
“It was fantastic!” Carmen said. “In each room,” she continued,”the guides told us about the history. We saw some fantastic paintings,” she added, including: “the Rainbow Painting of Queen Elizabeth the first”. [Note: not the Rainbow TV show for kids featuring Bungle, George and Zippy, though wouldn’t it be great if there were a painting of them in a stately home?]
In September, our friend Peter, the Master Florist, once again shared his expertise with Millman Street Community Centre members. Peter encouraged our members to produce a spectacular floral display, pictured here by Andrew:
Also in September, Millman Street Community Centre members were treated to an Aromatherapy Session. Mischma from the Mary Ward Centre hosted the session, bringing a fresh bouquet of aromas to our members. Rose enjoyed herself, Queenie perked up noticeably, making Mischma laugh, and HCA’s Activities Coordinator, Carmen, seemed positively chilled out – perhaps inspired to dedicate an evening to listening to The Orb’s Little Fluffy Clouds, some early Orbital albums, or other ambient tunes..?
Ahem. “They all enjoyed it,” Carmen said of our members. She added that the fragrance Mischma concocted was a mixture of lavender, grapefruit and orange.
“Everyone got to make a roll-on,” Carmen continued. “Our members were most pleased that they could take it home with them, and loved the smells!”
HCA’s resident gardening guru, Rima, again engaged Millman Street Centre members with another Gardening Workshop.
Exactly what took place remains a mystery, as plantswoman Rima was not quizzed by HCA’s Gardening Correspondent (i.e: this reporter) at the time. Thankfully, Sarah took some photos, and to judge by them, the theme of the workshop was composting.
September also saw Millman Street Community Centre as the setting for a delve into local History, as volunteers from STANTEC came in to unearth our members’ recollections about the area.
The day began with tea and cakes and a welcoming talk by Anu Sabherwal. There was a group discussion about Holborn’s rich history before lunch, and some art activity after it.
STANTEC’s Karen and Lisa arrived the previous day to set up the montage on the back wall of the Centre, which our members added to on the day itself. Like Rose here:
October, and Holborn Community Association’s resident gardening guru, Rima, gave Millman Street Community Centre members another of her celebrated Gardening Sessions.
The camera-shy plantswoman enlisted our members’ help in planting tulips and other spring bulbs. For the, uh, Spring. You know, next year. Obvs.
Beyond that, HCA’s decidedly agriculturally-impaired hack could comprehend little. His fingers may be green, but this is probably due to an unspecified vitamin deficiency [since identified as Vitamin D deficiency – apparently, there’s not enough sunshine in Britain. Who knew?].
October also saw Halloween, of course.
Back on 31st October, our members were treated to a Halloween Art session, hosted by Carmen, HCA’s Activities Co-ordinator.
Sarah took some photos, which hinted at food decoration being the theme of the session: cakes, pumpkins and so on.
“We had a good time,” said Fred. “Had a good laugh. Olive was telling funny stories about Halloween and ghosts. We had a go at making a pumpkin,” he added. “When all the candles were in it, it looked nice.”
Margaret recalled that, “We made little sponge cakes, put a beetle on it [not a real one, obvs]. We did some icing and decorations,” she continued, “then put in two eyes and lips. We had a pumpkin on the table, [but] it was mostly decorating the cakes!”
Back on 31st October, it wasn’t just Halloween at Millman Street Community Centre. Some of our members enjoyed use of the Centre’s table tennis, erm, table. For table tennis. Or ping pong. Or wiff-waff…
Anyhoo, it was and is all good fun, therapeutic, great exercise and good for the health (of those other than bloggers).
Ahem. David featured in the photos, making his opponents laugh, as is his wont:
On Thursday, 1st November, several of our Millman Street Community Centre members enjoyed a day of Pots and Poems at 1A Arts, part of the Holborn Community Association family.
Poems were produced, and pots thrown by our members. Your potty (mouth) HCA hack was elsewhere at the time (i.e: not invited), but Sarah says that members wrote poems concerned with their own names, and began made pottery of holly and ivy.
November also witnessed Millman Street Community Centre hosting the third and final Speech and Language session by placement student Libby.
Libby was looking at types of communication that older people do: social activities, and where and with whom they do it. It could be exercises, museum visits, restaurants or watching TV.
Last week was a ‘picture description’ task. It’s a shame that Sarah was too busy to take these photos; sadly, your HCA hack had to take these poorly-taken snaps, which, like his writing, are indescribable…
November also saw this:
On Sunday 25th November, Millman Street Community Centre was the venue for the second Sunday Social workshop. Under the guidance of HCA’s Arts Manager, Hazel, several of our members enjoyed creating various artworks.
“It was good,” David said of the various activities. “We done a good bit of ’em!”
He enjoyed the Sunday Social. “I’ll try anything,” he said. “If it was up to me, I’d [just] get a paint and a brush,” he added. “It’s a lot of hard work,” he said.
Even more so in November, Millman Street Community Centre was the venue for Holborn Communty Association’s Annual General Meeting [AGM]. There was a lovely meal after formal business, cooked by Saira. Kate and others said it was “delicious.”
HCA’s Director, Paul, told this daft scribe that “There was a lot of energy” at the AGM, adding that the “vibe was good.” He also praised Elly for successfully publicising the event, and for her presentation on the night.
Carmen, our Activities Coordinator, was presented with flowers and a card by Paul on behalf of all at HCA, in recognition for her work at the charity for thirty years. Thanks, Carmen.
At the end of November, Lloyds Bank came to Millman Street Centre to put up Christmas decorations. They also made Christmas cards and gingerbread men with – and enjoyed chatting to – our members.
Some of them have previously been involved in other group volunteer days, including at another charity in Wembley.
Alex – usually a Customer Relationship Manager – said that he hadn’t met some of his colleagues before at the office, as they work in different departments.
“We deal with all types of clients,” Joe said, explaining that they had undergone training in order to help clients with dementia, Parkinson’s Disease and other ailments. “It’s nice to come [to HCA] and do your bit,” he added.
“It helped me understand,” Alex agreed.
They both feel that they have learned a lot from interacting with the elderly, both at Millman Street Centre and at other charities.
Then it was December. Christmas, New Year’s Eve and all that. There were parties, Christmas lunches, special performances by troubadors at Millman Street Centre; all the festive hoo-ha you might expect of any Yuletide Season. You might also expect a detailed chronicle of said festivities.
Unfortunately, your HCA hack was off ill, and it’s only thanks to Elly at Bedford House that he managed to rescue the following photo of said festive fun from HCA’s Facebook:
Besides, it’s the 20th of February now, so it’s high time to look forward to all the splendiferous events which are sure to occur at Millman Street Centre throughout the coming year. Or is it? Couldn’t the Millman Street Community Centre Review of the Year for 2018 could be stretched out yet further, into a Part 3? With all the missing detail of last Christmas chronicled, even if it takes until June? [No, get on with it – HCA Bigwigs]
Holborn Community Association thanks everyone who contributed to the events, education and entertainment enjoyed at Millman Street Community Centre throughout the last year.
Photos: various; rank review: Notes Smudger