Phase 1 has seen the church’s community work flourish
Gravesend Methodist Church has existed for more than 100 years. Their ethos has always been about working with the community groups who are most in need. For the last few years, this has led them to support rough sleepers, homeless people and those who have been disadvantaged through poverty.
In 2015, the church completed Phase 1 of its C21st Project; a major building works project supported by a £50,000 grant from the Methodist Grants programme.
Phase 1 saw the rear of the church re-modelled to provide an inviting entrance to a redeveloped community centre, giving them:
- access for people with disabilities
- a staffed reception
- washroom with shower
- laundry facilities
- counselling room
- extra storage.
Supporting the homeless
In addition to providing a base for Street Pastors, a hub for Foodbank, meals and clothes for the homeless, the community centre now operates a winter night shelter three nights a week, with showers, clean up and laundry services for people living on the streets of Gravesend.
Vicki Clarke, Community Centre Manager said: “Homelessness is definitely getting worse, so by the time people come in here they’re generally at crisis point. I’d say we’re probably on speed dial for most of the guests that come in here as the person they call when there is a crisis. We are the safe person and the safe place. And that’s really hard to come to terms with when you know that you’re the only person in the world that they feel they can turn to.”
Grants Officer, Paul Playford, from Benefact Trust, who run the Methodist Grants programme, said: “The incredible difference that Gravesend Methodist Church is having in its town centre is humbling, particularly the work they are doing to help the most vulnerable in the community. More than anything, the church is providing hope, love and care to those who need it the most and we are very proud to support the work they are doing.”
Phase 2 of the Gravesend Methodist Church’s C21st Project, which is focused on remodelling the front town-facing façade of the church, will be very close to completion by Spring 2020. To learn more about how Gravesend Methodist Church is supporting people with homeless experience to have a voice and regrow their lives, watch this video about the centre’s 10-week drama project, Walk Tall ‘Staying Alive’.