Supporting churches and transforming communities
Allchurches Trust Limited believes in supporting churches that make a difference to their local communities. One example is St. John the Baptist Church in Erith, Kent, where we are helping to create a new community centre.
Erith is part of the Thames Gateway. Most accommodation is social housing, and average household incomes are low. A community hall for local groups is urgently needed, yet the old church hall is in a bad state of repair.
A builder has made a timely offer to purchase the old church hall for development, while a redundant industrial unit closer to the church has come onto the market. Through grants and loans, the Diocese of Rochester has helped the church purchase the unit and it is now being transformed into a new community centre.
A space for hope and charity
The first floor of the new hall will provide a large meeting space, with a kitchen and toilets. Many local groups are planning to use the new community hall, including the local foodbank and a Christian enquiry group called Mustard Seeds.
Meanwhile the ground floor will become the new home of Re-Instate, a charity originally set up by the Curate of St. John’s in the 1930’s to help servicemen suffering from shellshock. Although times have changed the founding principles remain the same – to help disadvantaged people such as those with mental illnesses and learning difficulties.
The charity gives its clients the skills they need to live independent lives. For example, one client in his early 40s had spent all of his life in hospital, and was being moved to sheltered accommodation. Re-Instate helped him make the move and find work, settling him into a new journey in his life.
Across the diocese there is a real feeling that the new hall will release the potential within St. John’s to reach out to the wider community.