Why It Matters: Queen’s Crescent Community Association


Despite living in NW5 for nearly four years, I’m ashamed to say it’s only recently that I’ve really grown to …



Despite living in NW5 for nearly four years, I’m ashamed to say it’s only recently that I’ve really grown to love my local area. Prior to this, walking to and from the tube station to travel to work in London Bridge was pretty much my only interaction. But last September, just as I began ten months of maternity leave, my five year old Jack started primary school at Carlton and I decided to become a parent governor there. As a result of making this local connection and having more time on my hands, I’ve really got to explore what Kentish Town has to offer. I’ve even now got local ‘mummy’ friends – something I never thought would happen.

A few months after I had my second child, I decided I should stop living off chocolate and make at least a token attempt at losing the baby weight. But I couldn’t justify spending my meagre maternity pay on joining a fancy gym, let alone expensive crèche fees on top. After all, someone has to look after the sproglet while I’m honing my physique (and trust me, this physique needs a lot of honing).


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Queen’s Crescent Community Centre was a surprise, then. I pay £14 a month to use its gym (less for those on benefits) which boasts cross-trainers, exercise bikes and treadmills plus other machines that scare me. We go on Tues-Thursday mornings when little Josh can stay in the crèche for £1.50 an hour. So I’m not breaking the bank, and Josh is happy because he gets a well-deserved break from me.

But it’s not just about the gym and my unrelenting struggle towards weight-loss. The crèche doubles as a ‘drop-in’ where mums and dads can come along with their under 5s and play with a selection of toys. There’s a state of the art recording studio where teenagers can learn to produce their own music. And the cafe provides healthy cheap lunches for older people too. You can’t knock that.

Queens Crescent Community Association (QCCA), which runs the centre, also runs a number of other community projects locally. One of those is Caversham Nursery, where Josh will go when I return to work in July. This month it’s been rated as good with outstanding elements by Ofsted and is a couple of hundred pounds cheaper a month than every other nursery we looked at. In many cases it’s even cheaper as the fees are tiered depending on income.

The association also runs the Peggy Jay centre, another drop-in at Hampstead Heath, Fleet Community Centre and Maitland Park Sports Centre. (Which incidentally, my £14 a month also enables me to access).

QCCA really does matter. In a climate where services are closing down left, right and centre, QCCA is making sure our local community doesn’t miss out – and not just the most deprived people either. But it can only continue to do this if we give it our support. Which is a good incentive for me to continue going, anyway. And who knows? I may finally lose those excess pounds after all.

Words: Noella Bello Castro @mamadaveycastro

Why It Matters comes in association with Discount Insurance,whose boss is a fan of our daily digest and lives in one of Kentish Town’s leafier streets (lucky him!)


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  • Tania

    Thanks, it’s great to hear this info from a local Kentish Town mum, look forward to hearing more about things to do & tips for mum’s & dad’s in the area!

  • Noella

    Thanks Tania. My other favourite things are the free crafts sessions at Queens Crescent Library every Wed after school. You’re right. Would be great to get more tips from other local parents!

  • noorjahan

    other events at queens crescent library:
    story time session on fridays at 3.35pm
    story sacks- time and date vary each term (session includes creativity activity and a free story book. stories read by teachers from carlton school)

    i would also like to add that my child goes to Carlton school, and recently a few parents and myself have approached all the local businesses on queens crescent and we were delighted with the donations and support we recieved.

    • noorjahan

      i just want to mention that the donations received are going towards our schools summer fair.

      • Noella

        Ah yes, story sacks. I took Jack to his first one of these recently and it was brilliant!

        For those parents who haven’t been, the kids are read a story (in our case Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave by Quentin Blake), then they spend time making some of the characters and they get a copy of the book to keep. They also get a tote bag to decorate and take it all home in.

        They’re run at libraries across Camden, not just QC – usually they have flyers with all the dates up on the noticeboards. Well worth checking out, and most importantly, free!

  • Hannah

    It would be great to see more people make use of Caversham nursery. I almost sent my daughter there (as we live around the corner) but ended up opting for a far too expensive nanny for the time-being. I would love to send her to Caversham in the future but was put off by a general lack of experience of staff and hardly anyone using the nursery at the moment. I guess if more of us Kentish Towners send our children there it stands a better chance of being successful. It takes a few of us to make that first step….
    I’ve also noticed that lots of Camden council run children’s services are being cut (mabel’s monsters etc). I’ve therefore been trecking to Islington children centres (where the children’s services budget has not been cut). Any other mums or dads noticed a similar impact of the cuts?