New Step In Cafe for over 50s starting in November

ASCEND are delighted to launch their new Step In Cafe at ASCEND Step Up (39 Oxhey Drive, WD19 7SD) for anyone over 50 who is lonely and would love to meet new friends living locally. The Cafe opens once a month on a Saturday and offers an opportunity to socialise with afternoon tea in a relaxed atmosphere with board games available for the more competitive as well as other activities and speakers.  Cafe participants will also have the opportunity to visit local venues as an organised group and to have a say in local escorted outings over the next year.  For more details, please contact Sally at ASCEND on 020 8420 1364.

The first opening of the Step In Cafe is on Saturday 9 November from 2pm to 4pm.

This initiative has been funded by the Building Connections Initiative through the National Lottery Community Fund with a contribution by Hertfordshire Adult Family Learning Service (HAFLS).

The Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire to Open ASCEND Network SOx Event

ASCEND is delighted to welcome The Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Mr Robert Voss CBE, to officially open the inaugural Network SOx event on Thursday 13th June 2019 at 10.30am.

The event will showcase local business and enterprise, and is for people looking for local employment or thinking of changing career or starting their own business. Visitors will be able to talk to local companies, as well as talk to careers and job advisors as well as receive advice from WENTA and Better Business for All about business start-ups.

Visitors can also participate in a programme of free 25 minute workshops run by business professionals on a variety of topics supporting jobs and careers.

Network SOx is a one day event on Thursday 13th June from 10.30am until 3pm at All Saints Church, Gosforth Lane, Watford WD19 7AX. The event is free-to-attend and refreshments will be available.

Launching Safe Monday

We are delighted to bring back a successful initiative on safety, funded by the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s Action Fund.   Safe Monday will be launching on 13th May, at ASCEND Step Up (39 Oxhey Drive) with an opportunity to have your property marked with your postcode eg. bicycles, tools etc.  Except for bank holiday Mondays, when timings will be a little different, Safe Monday will operate every two weeks at ASCENDs Step Up building in Oxhey Drive, and there will always be someone available to talk about your safety and crime concerns.

Co-Op Supporting ASCENDs Dig Deep Project

This year, ASCEND’s Dig Deep Allotment Project has been chosen to benefit from the Co-op Local Community Fund.

To help us raise vital funds, we’ll be relying on Co-op shoppers. Every time they buy Co-op own-brand products they get a 5% reward for themselves, and a further 1% goes to local causes like ours.  Co-op members can back our project by going online – https://membership.coop.co.uk/causes/20771              We really hope that people will visit the website and choose to support us.  If you’re not a member and would like to support us, you can join at your local store or online at www.coop.co.uk.

When a community comes together we’re able to achieve great things, so we hope you can help promote our project.

Bike Maintenance and Bikeability for Safe Riding

ASCEND is part of the Building Better Opportunities (BBO) STRIVE project, funded by The Big Lottery and the European Social Fund and project managed by Hertfordshire County Council.   In May, we ran a Bike Maintenance and Bikeability project to encourage participants to become safe cyclists, through Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the national Standards Cycling Proficiency.   Four bikes were donated by the local community and part of the programme was to learn how to maintain and repair the bicycles and bring them up to a safe standard.  Once road worthy, the bicycles were used to teach participants the essentials of riding a bike on the road, which included rules of the road, and riding in different environments including a bike lane, countryside roads, crossing intersections, negotiating roundabouts etc.

Two of the participants, Jason and Amy really enjoyed the course.  Jason had not ridden a bike since his BMX days as a child, and really enjoyed participating in a physical outdoor activity.   The project has given him the confidence to ride on the roads and improve his communication skills; and he was awarded both the Level 1 Bike Maintenance and the Level 3 Safe Cycling certificate!   On presentation of his certificate, Jason said, “Now I want to learn more.  I want to drive a car and work repairing bikes, or perhaps even motorbikes or cars”.

Amy rarely used her bike, which was abandoned in the back of her garden.  The project allowed her to get the bike repaired, built up her confidence generally and to achieve the Level 3 Safe Cycling certificate.  On receiving her certificate, Amy promised that she would finally use her bike and won’t let it rust in the back of her garden again.

This project has given all the participants an inexpensive, sustainable and environmentally friendly way to travel around and to be more independent and because of its success, the project is going to continue with a Level 2 Bike Maintenance course, in partnership with Safe Riding.

ASCEND Wins HAFLS Provider of the Year

ASCEND is delighted to announce that it has won the HAFLS best provider of the year award.  Commenting on the award, HAFLS Commissioning and Contract Management Officer, Sumayyah Shah said, “The provider we have chosen as the winner has impressed in so many different areas this year.   They have consistently shown their capacity to improve by taking HAFLS feedback on board and running with it.   Through this pro-active approach and hard work, they have reduced their actions on their action plan down to zero.   They also spent the time and effort to meticulously internally moderate their quality paperwork and in an organised manner before sending into HAFLS, proving to be invaluable as they passed all moderation with flying colours.  They are embedded deep within their local community and will do above and beyond to ensure learners have a wonderful learning experience as well as ensuring the paperwork requirements are being met at the same time. it is clear through interaction with this provider that they understand partnership working is invaluable and are always willing to share excellent best practice sessions and fully commit to participating in a range of HAFLS activities such as training and forums.”

Digging Deeper


We were delighted to welcome The Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Mr Robert Voss CBE to our Dig Deep site to officially open our new learning centre ‘The Seed Pod’. The building will be used for Dig Deep courses, and also for ASCEND creative courses, including Art and Creative Writing where we hope the magic of Dig Deep will inspire. We are grateful to The People’s Health Lottery, The Co-op, John Lewis, Thrive Homes, Awards for All and Affinity Water for supporting this project, which includes the next phase of creating raised beds and a sensory garden.

A Clients View

We often hear from clients who appreciate the services we provide.  We recently heard from Amanda who took time to write the following,

“I like coming to ASCEND.  They have given me a lot of confidence and self belief; something I have lacked for so many years due to unforeseen circumstances.  But the one thing I have liked about ASCEND is that everybody is kind and very friendly to each other. ASCEND has also given me the confidence to try and forget things that have happened in my past. My advice to anyone is to try and go the ASCEND because you never know what you can achieve in yourself.”

ASCEND is open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm.

ASCEND is 21!

Twenty One years ago, ASCEND came into being to support people living in the South Oxhey area to improve their lift chances. ASCEND is still doing that today and is now based in 2 buildings (All Saints Church and Step Up in Oxhey Drive) as well as managing the Dig Deep Garden Project. It has come a long way, and is busier than ever, supporting more than 5000 people every year! We look forward to the next 21 years, with anticipation.