A message from Mark our Chief Executive October 2020

By bob Kimmerling

Date 22-10-2020

A message from Mark our Chief Executive

Warm greetings from the Vineyard Community:

October 2020 and the coronavirus is still with us. At the Vineyard Community Centre and Foodbanks we continue to provide help in crisis and hope for life.

Providing services safely during these dark times has been an ongoing struggle but thanks to the support from the wider community we have been able to carefully resume some of our services and are planning to reopen more in the near future.

We have been encouraged by these words from Nehemiah “The God of Heaven will give us success; we, his servants, will start rebuilding!” It feels as if we are also returning from exile as we start to rebuild the services at the Vineyard. We have got off to a quiet start – after three days this morning just seven homeless people came in for assistance. But the numbers are increasing and once the kitchen is operational again things will get busier. Next week we resume the food bank sessions. Forwards we go!

Thank you for your support, keep healthy and, we’ll see you all again soon!

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.


These photos were taken over the summer locally. With the nights drawing in, the weather wetter and colder, more people out of work and some not able to get benefits, the need to reach out to those in need is even more critical.

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.’

Our Foodbank Delivery service introduced in May to those in food crisis across the borough  continues. Since the beginning of the month we have a new base in All Saints Church Hall in Hampton and our team of volunteer drivers now operate from there.

We are providing emergency food for over 100 people each week. This has included one man who had been forced to move following a dispute with his neighbours and was having trouble getting his benefit payments.Thank you ever so much for helping me out with some food, it is most appreciated. I will be all right from now on as I have finally got everything sorted out. Many thanks!”

In these challenging times we find an increasing number of people needing emergency food parcels – in situations which they never expected. And they are enormously grateful for this help in times of crisis. “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your compassion will never be forgotten. May the Lord bless thee!” Another said: “I want too thank you from the bottom of my heart! And to say you guys do a great job whilst  protecting the vulnerable and to serve a greater purpose your kind compassion will never forgotten”.

From 19 October we are aiming to resume our walk-in service at the Vineyard Community Centre on Monday and Thursday afternoons – but please phone first to check!


The satellite food banks in Barnes, Isleworth and Whitton have continuously provided walk-in services. Click here for details or phone Caroline on 020 8940 0274 or email foodbank@vineyardcommunity.org

Meet our team

The team met last week to plan our services over the next few weeks.

Our morning drop-in sessions have now started but in a very limited way. The kitchen is still not operational due to extensive refurbishment but we are able to provide a comprehensive range of advice, health care and other support for homeless people. Due to limitations on numbers we are prioritising those who have no accommodation  – working closely with our partner agencies SPEAR and Glass Door.

As the winter draws in we are very concerned at the rise in the number of people becoming homeless and sleeping rough in Richmond and will be working together to help them move off the streets and back into accommodation.  Please see below the plans that Glass Door are putting into operation.

Crisis Support for Homeless People: Monday–Friday from 9.30am to 11.30am at the Vineyard Community Centre.

The previous way of running the Winter Night Shelters is not possible under current Covid-19 government guidance. Glass Door is working towards a new model that will involve individual rooms for people experiencing homelessness. For the coldest months of the winter, Glass Door aims to provide Covid-safe single-occupancy rooms in two hostels in central London.

Glass Door also plans to give a hot meal each evening in partnership with local churches in Richmond.  Meals, cooked and prepared by church volunteers, will be available every evening from Monday 9th November until early April in the Centre. Due to Covid regulations they will only be able to serve about 15 guests.

There will be an opportunity for guests to get help from Glass Door caseworkers who give advice and support to move beyond homelessness. For more information about Glass Door please click here.

Our Charity Shop will probably reopen at the end of this month but due to its small size there will be considerable restrictions on the number of customers we can allow in.

We are delighted that Richmond Parish Lands Charity has offered us the use of the Vestry Halls in Paradise Road for a Pop-Up Shop for eight months. Watch this space!

Our Community Café at the Vineyard sadly remains closed, due to delays in the building works, but we are getting a splendid new kitchen and are looking forward to reopening some time in November.

Since starting back in the summer, our sewing workshop ladies continue to create new designs and items. Here is the team making aprons for the Etna Junk Food Project and ‘this purple bag is green’, as well as a unique range of masks on sale for £6.00. Thanks to our visiting instructors for their help.

Community Fundraising

Due to very generous community food donations we have asked schools to collect funds for the Richmond foodbank as an alternative to the traditional harvest food gifts.  Kevin from our Foodbank is receiving the gift from the Mall school which raised £598.08 for our foodbank van appeal. They are one of several school who have responded with funds. Many thanks to pupils, mums, dads and teachers!

Our Roots volunteer, Jules, ran the full Marathon in the heavy rain and against a lot of wind 10 days ago in Richmond Park together with her coach Kieran.

Jules also spent the Friday night in the rain on the street in Richmond in front of the Angel and Crown Pub to raise awareness for the homeless, an event organised by Glass Door. She has raised £390.00 so far. If you’d like to boost this, please click here.

Thank you Big Yellow

@bigyellowselfstorage has agreed to support The Richmond Foodbank by supplying us with a much-needed free storage space. We are particularly grateful during the Harvest Festival period as our generous supporters donate non-perishable food and other items to us. We can now care even better for the needs of the people in our community.

We are delighted to be recognised as an award charity by the Faith and Belief forum and also received a £500 award.

Many thanks to all our staff and volunteers who maintain our Christian values and ethos in the work that we do for the benefit of our whole community.

Are you shopping a lot more on-line during the lockdown? Then fundraise as you shop!!

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.

In memory of our friends

Michal and Norman

A vigil is being held for those who have died in the last year who were homeless, or worked or volunteered in this field. Held under the open sky in the Courtyard of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square on Thursday  5th November from 11.00am to 11.00pm it will be led by Revd Richard Carter.

Norman from our Drop-in and Michal from our Charity Shop will be remembered. More information is given here.

Prayer is foundational to our work. We meet to pray every Tuesday at 12.00noon for 15 minutes at the Centre and with those on able to be there via Zoom. If you would to join this time of informal prayer, please email our prayer co-ordinator for the Zoom link to be sent you: peter@vineyardcommunity.org