A message from Mark our Chief Executive

By bob Kimmerling

Date 09-04-2021

A message from Mark our Chief Executive

During Lent I have been reflecting on the passage from Isaiah about fasting: “Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – and when you see the naked to clothe him?” (Isaiah 58 v7)

We have indeed been looking after ‘poor wanderers’ here at the Vineyard! With a huge thanks to everyone who’s been involved in our morning service for homeless people we have been busy providing hot breakfasts and assisting people to find new homes. Since October, when we partially re-opened, we have now helped 20 people off the streets and into accommodation.

And the Food Bank continues to provide over 800 people a month with emergency food parcels. Great work from a great team!

What next? We are super excited at the prospect of finally ending this awful period of isolation and are looking forward to reconnecting and rebuilding community. All things being well, from 12 April, we are planning on resuming:

– the Charity Shop
– the new Charity Shop in Paradise Road
– Afternoon café sessions in the garden (table service only to start with)
– All the walk-in Food Bank sessions at the Centre and across the borough
– And partially restarting our Roots programme, with social events and employment support

We also want to start opening on Saturdays – both the shops and the café.
We will be inviting all the remaining staff back off furlough and getting in contact with all our volunteers again.

We’ll be closed over Easter – including Good Friday and Easter Monday – and I trust that God will bless you this Easter time!

As the anniversary next month draws near of the tragic death of Norman Chingwaru due to Covid 19, we remember him with deep affection as a friend and faithful servant of those in need at the Vineyard. We continue to pray healing for his wife, Connie and his two daughters in their bereavement.

As we reflect on the Easter story we rejoice that Norman now with the Master he served in his earthly life. Norman’s name is written in the Book of Life.

Our mission to the community

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’. Jesus said ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

There is a smile behind the mask. We continue to offer a warm welcome to those in crisis who come to us.

Our crisis morning sessions at the Vineyard have been busy with up to 30 people a day coming for support. This has been a challenge to manage safely within the social distancing guidelines but we’re still providing hot breakfast, showers, food to take away, nursing clinics, advice and support. So far this year we have assisted eight of our homeless guests to move into accommodation.

Caseworking with individual guests is essential for giving the right support. Here is Gemma from Glass Doors helping one of our guests. Over the last six months last year, 38% of our guests had mental health difficulties compared with 18% in the boroughs elsewhere where Glass Doors is working. Our heart is not just to help guests into accommodation but to see healing in their lives.

First class breakfasts are on the menu for our drop-in guests. We are so pleased that our chef Kim is  able to offer our guests a hot takeaway breakfast. On this morning it was smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and the best quality sausages donated to us by Petersham Nurseries. Yum!

We were delighted to host a visit from the Vineyard Surgery to vaccinate our guests againt Covid. We have also now registered under the Govrernment’s Workplace Testing facility to use lateral flow tests in future.

We have significantly expanded the work of the Food Bank. Thanks to our splendid team of volunteer drivers and packers we are now delivering over 260 food parcels to people’s homes every month.  When we include the satellite food banks and all the bulk deliveries to other agencies we are now providing food for over 800 people per month. We are looking forward to enabling guests to visit our foodbanks in person shortly as lockdown restrictions ease.

Glass Door has been providing an evening meal for 10-15 guests cooked by volunteers from seven Richmond Churches:

All Saints (East Sheen), Christ Church (East Sheen), Holy Trinity (Richmond), St John the Divine, St Matthias (Richmond), Teddington Baptist Church and the Vineyard Life Church using the Centre’s premises. Here are Donna and Alan who have helped on Tuesdays.

We are very grateful for this service which draws to an end after Easter.

The Angel & Crown in Richmond is serving a takeaway Easter meal with local volunteers’ home baked treats on Sunday 4th April serving between 11-12. If you meet anyone homeless this Friday or Saturday please let them know.

The team at The Vineyard are getting ready to re-open the Charity shops, Foodbank Satellites, and Community Cafe next month. The restarting of these projects has allowed us to welcome back many of our volunteers who had to stand down during lockdown and has produced many more volunteering opportunities. We are actively recruiting volunteers now and are delighted to have spoken to so many people who have come forward to help. We have volunteering vacancies for shop assistants, foodbank drivers, cafe assistants, fundraisers, gardeners with horticultural backgrounds, kitchen porters and cooks!!

Whatever your skill we would welcome you into our community!

If you know anyone who might be interested in joining our team please direct them to our website: www.vineyardcommunity.org.

We have several paid vacancies too which are on our website. Please take a look.

We are very grateful to Richmond Parish Lands for providing new, extra temporary premises for a Pop Up Charity Shop in Paradise Road (entrance through the front door). We will open on April 12th. Please pop in to see us!

Community Giving

The eBay UK team is fundraising for Mind and the Richmond Food Bank for their Big Walk from 15 March onwards. Support them to reach 18 Million steps in 31 days!

The pandemic has been difficult on body and mind for everyone. That’s why the eBay UK team is taking part in this challenge to motivate everybody to stay active day to day, all while supporting the leading mental health charity, Mind, as well as the local Richmond Foodbank. Their aim is to reach 18 million steps in 31 days, equal to the number of times Mind’s mental health information service was accessed in 2020.

Please support the team by sponsoring them here.

Thank you Big Yellow

We are very grateful that the Big Yellow continue to provide free storage for our Foodbank stock in Richmond.

This is a huge help to us.

Many thanks to you!

Please give as you shop on line with…..

Just click here to sign up to shop with Amazon Smile and chose the Vineyard for your donation.

Thank you!

Every click you make gives us a donation. To register to give to the Vineyard please click here.

Our beautiful garden this spring. Our cafe will be open next month for customers to enjoy our delightful cuisine seated in the peace of our garden. Enjoy!