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Newcomers and Visiting Scholars

All members are welcome to come along to any of the groups listed below. For further information or to register your interest, please email Julie Darsley at


Art and Reading Class (for under fours)

Co-ordinator: Tom Baer

The Art and Reading session for children under 4 is held in the Graduate Union in 17 Mill Lane twice per term.   Look out for the Lent Term dates.



Book Group

Co-ordinator: Lindsey Payne & Marianna Fletcher Williams

The Group discuss a wide range of literature, and occasionally poetry, chosen by the members.  There is a lovely relaxed, friendly atmosphere and we encourage everyone to participate in a lively exchange of ideas. 

The venue is Kellet Lodge on Tennis Court Road, post code is CB2 1QJ.  Due to the nature of the group spaces are limited and you do need to book, more information and bookings should be made via Julie: 

Here are the Lent Term dates:

1.  Thursday 8 February

 2.  Thursday 1 March

 3.  Thursday 15 March

The meetings will be held in Kellet, Lodge, Tennis Court Road with the discussion starting at 1415.  Book titles will follow.    Come and join us for fun discussion, tea and coffee served.



Cambridge Connect

Co-ordinator: Karina Wells

Co-ordinator:  Karina Wells

Cambridge Connect - the group that tackles all the practical issues that confront newcomers in Cambridge in connecting with careers, volunteering and finding success.  Please get in touch and join our meetings and events in the Postdoc Centre, 16 Mill Lane (the basement) CB2 1SB.

We provide all the information on how to become part of the local community, use your skills in the voluntary sector or apply for jobs.  Many of those who have joined this group expressed disappointment that they hadn't found the group earlier, so don't hesitate, join NOW!



Co-ordinator: Marianna Fletcher Williams

Marianna works hard to produce amazing results with NVS members, both for our Christmas Party and for the Choir Workshops.  The next Workshop, directed by former King's Chorister Ben Wingfield, is at Corpus Christi Chapel will be held in the Lent Term - on SATURDAY, 3 FEBRUARY.  This is an intense and highly enjoyable day-long workshop which culminates in a performance in the Chapel and a Reception in the Master's Lodge, you do not have to have singing experience - please come and join us!  email Julie: for more information/to sign up.

Cinema Group

Co-ordinator: Elfrida Heath

The Cinema group meet once or twice a term, usually to see a film in the early evening at The Arts Picturehouse cinema, in central Cambridge. Those attending meet up before the film and then, if they wish, can stay for an informal discussion in the Arts cinema café afterwards. Details are posted on our website and facebook sites, but Elfrida is open to suggestions if you have something you are keen to see with the group.

Cookery Group

Co-ordinator: Elsa Strietman and Naheed Kandil

This group has been highly successful and in huge demand! Given the nature of the group numbers are limited but Elsa and Naheed will try to organise two or three sessions per term. There is a cost to these events of £5 to £8 depending on ingredients. The photos in the gallery will do the talking! 

Watch the event calendar for Lent Term dates!


Craft Workshops

Co-ordinator: Andrea Bronskill

Andrea will run craft workshops during the Lent Term - find the group in the Seminar or Eastwood Room, in the basement (OPDA office) at 16 Mill Lane.  There will be numerous types of crafts this term, projects will be posted at least a week ahead of time on the NVS Facebook page and on the events section of this website.  Please book with Julie via:  fee: £2.00 to cover materials and refreshments.

Andrea enjoys creating big projects with NVS members, the fantastic quilt made over 2015 and 2016 was a triumph, see:!AiL65qOQuySHm_lOVz_J1rMddNnDpw

The next project will be a tiled this space!!



Cultural Discussion Group

Co-ordinator: Samantha Sintes

Would you like to discuss interesting topics from a multi-cultural perspective?  Come and join Samantha for a lively discussion in a friendly and welcoming environment.  This is a unique opportunity to learn about different perspectives from around the world – and to discover that we are often more alike than different!

A new topic is chosen each week and advertised on the NVS website and on Facebook.  There’s no need to worry about your English language proficiency – in this friendly group you will soon feel confident enough to contribute. 

We meet on scheduled Thursdays from 10am – noon in the basement offices of the Postdoc Centre at 16 Mill Lane (known as ‘the Bunker’), usually in the Seminar Room. 


* Sorry, this group is for adults only.



English Conversation Group

Co-ordinator: Margaret Callingham

This group meets every Tuesday morning in full term from 9.45 am to 10.45 am in the second floor Dining Room at the University Centre.  This very popular group is for those who wish to enjoy English Conversation in an informal setting and the subjects discussed will match the talks and events that Newcomers and Visiting Scholars have planned for the term, so we hope you will also learn a lot about Cambridge and life in the UK as well as improve your English!  In the Easter Term we even had a workshop on 'How to Debate'!

Instructors include: Margaret Callingham, Lynn Dowson, Marianne Young, Marianna Fletcher Williams, Elfrida Heath, Samantha Sintes, Christopher Johnson and Gill Maynard, with help from Naheed Kandil and Hyungi An.

As with all our groups and activities, please ensure that you are registered as an NVS member.

Knitting Group

Co-ordinator: Janet Edwards

The group meets every Thursday morning, even outside term, from 10.00 am until noon in The Community Room at West Cambridge, children are welcome. The purpose of the group is to share enthusiasm for making things and to learn new skills in knitting and crochet in a relaxed atmosphere. Many of our members have produced articles which they have taken back home as very special souvenirs of Cambridge.  It is a very sociable group where friendships are made! Conversation while knitting is most enjoyable. Would you like to make a scarf, a pair of socks, a baby jacket or a bobble hat? Do join us on Thursday mornings. You don’t need to bring anything as we have needles and yarn to get you started. Beginners or experienced knitters are welcome.


Spade to Plate

Co-ordinator: Karina Wells

Karina’s Spade to Plate group is still running despite the fact that she is not harvesting from her allotment.  The group was set up in May 2017 with a view of combining harvesting and processing and sharing with friends.  Karina is very creative and interested in vegetarian cooking and she thought that starting a group 2 hour activity every Monday from 11 am to 1 pm (and creating/eating lunch for £5 per person) would be a great start to the week!  Places are limited – please contact Karina Wells for more information or to make your booking via:  • Email: • Read Karina's blog here:

Tea Parties

Co-ordinator: Alice Fleet

Alice holds traditional English tea parties (for Adults only) once or twice a term, it is a great way to meet others, enjoy some conversation and of course wallow in tea and cake!   'A lovely way to experience the English version of a Japanese tea ceremony' is how one visitor described it!  If you are interested in attending the next party please email Alice directly: or contact Julie via:


Walking Group

Co-ordinator: Liz Hodder

This is for those who attend the term-time organised Tuesday morning coffee mornings, timings/destination is announced each Tuesday at the meeting.  Members meet to enjoy a free, guided walk around the City centre with a City Blue Badge Tourist Guide and NVS volunteer. The aim is to introduce NVS members to all that is interesting in Cambridge, the University and Colleges. The walk lasts around one hour and members just turn up but numbers are restricted to 20, no pushchairs please.





Yoga Class with Margaret Schofield

Co-ordinator: Margaret Schofield

Margaret Schofield will resume yoga sessions on Tuesdays (Term time only) from 2.00 pm (note new time) in the basement of 16 Mill Lane - the OPDA offices.  The cost is £4.00 per session on the day, or £3.00 if paid ahead. Contact Julie Darsley at

Margaret Schofield has been teaching Yoga for 40 years, beginning in Manchester where she was trained as an Iyengar Teacher by B.K.S Iyengar himself, who was still at that stage regularly visiting the UK to oversee the Teacher Training programme.  Over the years she has taught in Cambridge both in community classes and privately, on group yoga intensives in Greece, Oslo and Goa, and in Lanzarote on training camps for the British Triathlon Team. The basis for her teaching has always been a yoga practice which allows everyone to find a suitable practice regardless of age or ability. By recognising what the body needs and by stretching, strengthening and releasing tension in the various asanas or postures well-being and stability are promoted.  Margaret is also a wonderful painter, no photo of her so the image shown is one of her lovely paintings!