St Andrew’s Homeless Project
Every Saturday for the past 11 years or so St Andrew’s has been running a busy weekly brunch project for those men and women who are homeless or particularly vulnerable in the area. Open almost every Saturday of the year, we offer a hot, home-cooked, 3-course lunch, endless teas and coffees (with pastries and fruit as available), shower facilities, towels and free toiletries, second-hand clothing, take away sandwiches and Hillsong Church provides a frontline medical support service through their fortnightly medical van. There is also a short communion service at 9.30am for any who would like to join. Doors are open at 7am and brunch is served from 10.15am onwards. We close around midday.
We average around 75 guests each week (more in winter and fewer in summer) and the service is all provided entirely by a dedicated team of volunteers from the local area – some are church members, others are not; some are guests who help; some are children from the local school on placements; some are young people on community placement through the Youth Offending Team, and volunteers completing the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme. The senior, regular volunteers are DBS checked. The volunteers prepare and cook a nutritious 3-course meal, serve at the tables, wash up and clean the whole area (including toilets and shower).
The cost of providing this service is around £1 per person each day. We receive help towards these costs through donations in kind from church members, our local schools, the local butcher HG Walters (who provide all our meat each week at no cost), City Harvest, Tesco, and through the Waitrose green tokens scheme. We have recently been made a Partner with the Pret Foundation and we receive financial assistance to the weekly grocery costs and the replacement of any kitchen equipment needed. But these donations are not sufficient to cover our costs, and do not allow for extra costs or contributions to the costs of utilities. So, we are always keen to explore sponsorship options with potential partners and are very grateful for any donations – financial, food or toiletries. We are also glad to welcome new volunteers – some come almost every week, others dip in and out as far as other time commitments allow. All are welcome!
All that we do here, we do from a conviction that God’s love extends to all, and that through Jesus God demonstrated a particular concern for the vulnerable and rejected of society. So, this is a place where all are welcome.