Ministry at The Yard continues to go from strength to strength and has become a real hub for the local community. We are so grateful for the very many volunteers who give of their time and energy to serve our neighbours in so many diverse ways. Here are just some of the things that are going on...
Week-in, week-out, our teams of amazing volunteers have continued to serve those most in need from our local community. There are still many in Wandsworth who remain locked in poverty, unable to afford basic essentials like sufficient food.
In 2018-19 Foodbanks run by local churches across the Borough provided a record 5,770 3-day emergency food supplies to local people referred in crisis. This is a 78% increase in food supplies provided in five years. 37% of food supplies were for children.
One Foodbank guest writes:
‘I was made to feel at ease and not feel judged or humiliated for needing to use the service. Everyone was very friendly, helpful and supportive. I was also able to access advice which I wouldn't otherwise have done.’
Getting involved in Foodbank is a great way to give back to the local community and be a blessing and we'd love to have even more people come and join the team.
Teams welcome guests, serve drinks and toasted sandwiches, pack food parcels, talk & listen to guests as well as provide signposting to agencies and organisations that offer on-going support.
We have spaces for people to serve once a month on Sundays from 1:30pm to 4:15pm at The Yard. If you'd like to find out more please contact Mike. firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Foodbank read the full report here: Wandsworth Foodbank Report 2019
Over the last couple of years we've been working alongside Glass Door, a London-based Homeless Charity, which has developed London's largest open-access network of emergency winter shelters and support services for men and women affected by homelessness.
Anyone in need can come to the Yard on a Tuesday and speak with Patricia, one of Glass Door's dedicated caseworkers, for advice, advocacy and practical support. A steady flow of people come through The Yard seeking out Patricia's expert advice on matters ranging from housing, homelessness, benefit cuts and more.
Patricia joined Glass Door in October 2018 as a caseworker based in Wandsworth. After obtaining her undergraduate law degree in Argentina, Patricia went on to gain a PhD in Environmental Law in Spain and a Master’s degree in State Law. She has lived in six different countries and has volunteered in environmental and animal charities including Greenpeace and Healthy Planet.
Patricia is available at The Yard from 12:30pm - 2:30pm on Tuesdayss.
One of the things we are seeing happening more frequently at The Yard is the number of people just dropping by. These could be for a range of different reasons; to seek advice, to ask for support or just to grab a coffee or a toasted sandwich. The community is pretty diverse and any given week is always an adventure - we never quite know what's going to happen! We're now wanting to encourage those who are homeless or sofa-surfing to come in and use The Yard as a drop-in centre, where they can get something to eat and drink and connect with others. We've just had a brand new shower installed downstairs so that anyone who wants to come in and freshen up can do so in both privacy and comfort. Over the summer we'll be installing a washing machine and dryer so that anyone sleeping rough can get their clothes washed free of charge. The Yard is currently open for Drop-Ins on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, during Job Club and Foodbank hours.
Charlie has done an outstanding job leading a weekly Bible study during Job Club for those from the local community. Each week they've been looking at the Gospel of John together, before discussing it and working out what it means for each one of them. Again, a very diverse bunch, from those with some faith to those with none, but all very keen to find out more about this wonderful book! We've had some great discussions and it's always fascinating to hear people's very different but very strongly held opinions. Bible Study at The Yard runs every Tuesday from 2:15 - 3:00pm and all are welcome.
Every Wednesday morning we are joined by a local Citizen's Advice Bureau Advisor who offers support and advice to those in need. This has proved to be an invaluable service and demand is always high.
We've recently started a Sundays at The Yard group, which meets for breakfast once a month. This relaxed and informal group is a great way for the local community to gather together over food and then, if they'd like, to come along to a Sunday service.
Acts 435 is a Church of England web-based initiative that enables people to give money directly to others. Managed through a network of churches and local charities, the goal is to get 100% of donations quickly to those in need. This has proved to be such a blessing to so many who come to The Yard as, through the website, people are able to more easily identify people's need, in the knowledge that their financial gifts will go entirely to those who need it. Acts 435
We are constantly seeking the Lord for ways in which we can continue to be a blessing to those around us - of all faiths or none - and our hope is that, through The Yard, our local community would experience the love of Jesus in a practical and tangible way.