Serving the community and combating loneliness

May 2024

St James’s Church in Muswell Hill, north London started its Monday night offer of a Warm Welcome Space and a meal with just four guests. Now, almost two years later, there can be up to 60 guests for a special occasion, and regularly between 40 and 50 guests.

The space benefits from donations from a local branch of the ready meal outlet Cook, with 30 meals per week, which volunteers supplement with bread, rice and vegetables.

Five or six volunteers regularly help out serving the meal, and head of community ministries Ellie Lyon has involved year nine students from a local secondary school to help, as part of the volunteering element of their Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.

On a Tuesday, St James’s offers a Community Cafe with a Bible-based 'thought for today' and a prayer.

The local Autistic School (Treehouse) and a group that supports adults with additional needs visit to make homemade soup then serve it to the other guests. 

Ellie says: “It's like a double blessing - the pupils and adults gain food prep and cooking skills, and then everyone shares the delicious soup.”

On a Wednesday one of the church family members, Gill, runs Tea Time - a group for senior members of the community. Ellie says: “There are lovely sandwiches and homemade cakes served and activities include live music, fitness, Beetle Run and talks from guests. This all comes under our Community Ministries.”

“We serve around 100 people every week,” says Ellie.“Although we’re in an affluent area, loneliness seems to be a big thing. We canbridge that gap. I see the sense of belonging we can give and friendships areborne out of that which is fantastic.”

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