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It might be dark outside, but the basement of Roseberry Avenue is filled with laughter and bright sounds. The children here are blissfully occupied with the act of creating things. Colleen, the lovely and energetic woman who brings everything together, is teaching them pottery.

In an increasingly technological world, Holborn Community Association’s Pottery Sessions are a great way to encourage children to use their own creative instincts and is a wonderful group activity. 

Every Monday, the children, Colleen and several volunteers (some of whom are Colleen’s ex-students) get together to mould, paint and glaze their own works of art. Colleen is a ball of energy - grabbing tools, mixing paints and making helpful suggestions: “If I were you, I’d paint it this way…would you like that?” The children are encouraged to explore and take inspiration from anything that catches their eye.

Hassan, one of the regular UCL volunteers, says working here is extremely rewarding – the children are entertaining and insightful. He relishes the opportunity to relax and interact with the children, patiently answering their questions about how old he is and where he is from, occasionally laughing at their astute observations.

It’s hard not to be happy here.

Colleen takes me to the kiln, where she arranges all the pieces the children have created. “Fitting everything into the kiln is like a jigsaw – no one even knows how fascinating it can be!” she says. Outside, paintbrushes are swishing away, and children carve their wildest fantasies into clay; fashioning slides, imaginary animals and star-stamped plates. They are all at ease, chatting with volunteers and friends alike.

It’s just another wonderful Monday at Roseberry Avenue.

Written by Anoushka Gandhi - UCL Photojournalist.

If you’re interested in hearing more about volunteering with children or the Arts, take a look at our Volunteering Directory.

You can also browse all our current roles with Holborn Community Association.