Friendship Really Matters: Affluence and isolation in the same postcode – How one church works to build connections in their community
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is renowned as being one of the most expensive in London. Surprisingly, it also has some of the highest levels of social housing and deprivation.
Laytmer Community Church – part of Livability’s Link Church network – is situated right in the heart of this affluent area and has been working for decades to support those in need.
“Many people in the community are living in high levels of poverty including isolation and ill health compared to the rest of London, so there is a real need to tackle these challenges,” says Mary White. As the Church and Community Development Worker at Latymer, Mary works on projects and initiatives that directly support people and families in the local community.
“Latymer has been loving and serving the borough for over 150 years and despite the church still being small, our members are able to do so much within the community” says Mary.
Mary explains that by living and working in the area where they are most needed, Latymer has been more able to reach the most isolated people. This also means the church has experienced the same challenges as the people it supports. The area around the church – including an estate on which some of the church workers live – is under consideration for regeneration.
“The more people we know, the more we get to walk alongside people who face huge difficulties in their lives. As best we can, we tailor our activities to the needs of the community around us.”
Latymer also uses partnerships to extend its reach when it identifies a need. One of its partnerships, with charity the Eden Network, has allowed them to set up a football project for 16-25 year olds and an open youth club for 8–11 year olds.
Mary explains, “we’ve also been developing activities with adults for over ten years, so we have a variety of regular activities such as craft and fitness groups, as well as opportunities to get together with parties, coach trips and summer events.”
“We see Latymer as being a family, and like any family we have highs and lows, struggles and celebrations. For us, success might be someone staying out of the mental health unit for a good length of time, or a young person cutting back on their recreational drug use.”
“But our hearts’ desire is that each of us would experience the “life in all its fullness” that Jesus promises us; and we will keep on praying and working to fulfil that goal for our community and beyond.”
Latymer Community Church is part of Livability’s Link Church network across London. Each centre is a unique community hub, providing a wide range of projects serving the needs of the local community. Find out more about Link Churches here.
Can you help connect people this Christmas?
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Supporting people recover from mental health illness by taking part in Flourish – our horticultural therapy programme at Livability’s wellbeing centre.[/column][column type=”1/3″]
Enabling disabled people express their creativity and build friendships through art classes and community programmes.[/column] [column type=”1/3″ last=”true”]
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