Easter News from the Vineyard Centre & Richmond Foodbanks

By bob Kimmerling

Date 20-04-2020

A Message From Mark

The message of Easter is one of joy, hope and new life. In these perilous days, we continue to help those in crisis and offer hope for life. Thank you for your continued support.

As many people are struggling at home we are rising to the challenge and are now delivering them to the places where people are staying as well as giving out from our satellite Foodbanks.

We are looking at ways in which this basic service can be enhanced to meet the new needs emerging with the pandemic.

Our mission

‘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.’

We thank God that most of our homeless guests have been placed in temporary accommodation in hotel rooms.This is wonderful, but they still need much support.

Most of the Winter Night Shelter guests have been dispersed to hotels in Hammersmith, Hounslow, Putney, Kingston and even as far as Waterloo!

Our Caseworker, Sneha is making every effort with SPEAR, Glass Door and local council Hubs to follow through with them to ensure a co-ordinated approach to their well being.

Being in a hotel gives you a bed- but not cooked food. And a food parcel isn’t much help. This is a challenge and we are looking at solutions.

A few rough sleepers have sadly declined accommodation. We are trying to support them but it’s not easy.

We are negotiating with other agencies how we can work together to support the most vulnerable people through this crisis.

With over one million people who have signed up for Universal Credit across the UK on the two weeks from 16-31 March, we know the need to help those in food crisis will be massive.

“We have never seen anything like this,” said Torsten Bell, director of the Resolution Foundation Thinktank quoted in The Guardian.

“It is not remotely normal even in the grim circumstances of a recession.

While attention has understandably focused on new retention and self-employment schemes, universal credit delivering in the face of this huge jobs shock is the key to many families avoiding real hardship.”

The Guardian report then said that ‘the surge in applications dwarfs the impact on the benefit system during the last recession, which was triggered by the 2008 financial crisis.

Applicants for Jobseeker’s Allowance, then the main plank of welfare, rose from 46,000 in February 2008 to 82,000 a year later, an increase of 78%.

Coronavirus has triggered a rise of more than 500%, from 60,000 to 371,000 claims a week.’

One family already helped, who is in isolation with a young baby, has been extremely grateful and was very relieved to receive the extra food after having been in some distress.

And we will be ready to help many more across Richmond.

Our van, and probably a number more, will be stocked up and ready for action.

We give a big thank you to all those who have given to our appeal- individuals, companies and Grant Making Trusts.

If you’d like to help our Covid 19 Crisis Appeal, please click here.

If you would like to give us non-perishable food items please come on Mondays (not Easter Monday, please) and Thursdays from 12.30 to 4pm at the Vineyard Community Centre.

Thank you

In the 12 months to March 31st 2020 our Foodbank supported 2,964 adults and children most of whom were on low incomes or experiencing benefit delays, or benefit changes.

‘Just do the maths’ said Peter Flower, one of the Vineyard’s Trustees commenting on the number of applications made for Universal Credit.

‘We are expecting a deluge on our Foodbank resources in the months ahead. But in faith we know that the resources needed will be supplied’.

Our team at the Vineyard

Fiona, our Community Support and Engagement Manager,  is one of the Vineyard team keeping in touch with her colleagues working from home, self isolating or at the Centre.

Last Monday morning was our first meeting held via internet dial up. A new way of working and keeping in

Very sadly we have had to shut our morning Drop-in, Community Nursing, Café, Shop and our Roots and Works of Love programmes.

Our committed team of volunteers have had to be stood down and we regret that a number of our staff have had to go on the Government’s Job Retention Scheme.

We are very grateful for this life-line given to us and other organisations.

We are ensuring that our staff on the Scheme receive their full salary. And your continued support in keeping our other service up and running is vital.

Joey’s community care fund

Joey is 7. Mum Caz works for the London Ambulance service and off his own bat Joey first started a fund for NHS staff within the street.

This raised cash to drop off snacks and goodies to give to the A&E staff at Kingston and West Middlesex hospitals.

It was so successful Joey wants to up his game and raise money for those who would otherwise be unable to support themselves over the next few months during this period of isolation.

After explaining how a Foodbank supports communities and how they work, he’s decided that he would like to raise money for our local food Richmond Foodbank for those who may be suffering during in these unprecedented times of concern.
Joey has chosen us to raise money to purchase items we are low on and drop off. 24 donors have so far raised £305.

His target is £500. Please click here to give. Thank you

Food Bank facilities across Richmond

Food Bank facilities across Richmond

no prior referral voucher is needed as one will be given on the spot

Delivery Service

Richmond – currently making deliveries on Mondays and Thursdays.
Please phone 07516 935655 to arrange this.

Walk in Service

Hampton – Wednesdays 2 – 5 pm 020 8783 3380 The White House, 45 The Avenue, TW12 3RN

Isleworth – Thursdays 9.30 – 11.30 am 07593 766520 Bridgelink Community Centre, Summerwood Road, TW7 7QR Telephone: 07593 766520

Barnes – Friday 9.15 – 11.15 am Castlenau Community Centre, 7 Stillingfleet Road, SW13 9AQ

Whitton – Friday 9.30 – 12.30 am Whitton Community Centre, Percy Road, TW2 6JL.
Telephone: 07448 165 356.

Please click here & for a map of our locations.

Needing food help

Our emergency crisis line, open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm is


Please call us if you know someone in need to food help.

Deliveries on the move

Josh getting ready a delivery for our new Foodbank Delivery Service.
He is one of a small group of staff and volunteers operating out of the Vineyard offering  our new delivery service.
Please see below our Crisis Helpline number if you know anyone who is in need.

Ready to go

Chris about to leave on a Foodbank delivery to those in need in the community this week.

Whitton Foodbank on the case

Our Whitton Foodbank is reaching out to the local community.

Volunteer Brenda reported:

“We hadn’t received any produce from the Supermarkets because of the panic buying, but due to the kind donations from the Chef at the Stoop (home of Harlequins Rugby) and the Chef at Kempton Park Race Course.

Both are part of the Compass Group UK & Europe Ltd, we were able to pack 60 fresh produce packages to give to the vulnerable in the community, and we can distribute the Easter eggs shown a surplus donation from Aldi.

Huge thanks to Steve from Compass, a Chef who gathered the food for us and helped us pack the bags.”

We continue to adapt our foodbank services across the borough to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, including expanding our capacity to deliver to those in isolation.

Continuing support for our guests- seven years on

V was supported by the Vineyard when she was in London, homeless and pregnant seven years ago.

Thankfully, our intervention meant that  she did not give birth alone one night in the park. This is her  later with little Maria.

She returned to Romania and later one of our supporters, Sue, visited her. She got in contact with us last month.

She now has Andrada, aged 3, and an older daughter who is at boarding school in the city.

Her husband is working away and rarely home. She has asked for prayer as she is  isolated, depressed, struggles emotionally and is exhausted.

We continue to stand with her. and all who are vulnerable and in need. 

Regular monthly giving

Are you shopping a lot more on line during the lockdown?
Why not use Easyfundraising?
It’s such an easy way to help us and  it will cost you nothing.  Every click you make gives us a donation.
To register on the Vineyard site please 
click here to sign up. 

We have 43 supporters who give regularly each month. Can you make our number 50??
Giving regularly each month through a standing orders or via Virgin Giving. With Gift Aid we get even more.

This is a wonderful way to support our work.  We need £9,000 per week to run the Centre.
Please click here if you’d like to commit to this yourself. Any amount given helps us continue our ministry of helping those in crisis and giving hope for life.

Or, if you’d prefer to contact Annette, one of our team, please email her at annette@vineyardcommunity.org

A reminder that our hope is built on nothing less

We can’t pray together in the Centre now but we are looking forward to regular ‘virtual’ times of prayer each week.

We know the importance of praying:
“Pray as if everything depends on God, work as if everything depends on you.”
(author unknown but attributed to Ignatius of Loyola).

A prayer for the Pandemic season

Keep us Good Lord
Under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord

If you would like to join the Vineyard Life Church ‘virtual’ service on Sundays at 10.30am please do.
Just click here
The church is led by two of our Trustees- Bob Kimmerling and Dave Smith. Dave acts as Chaplain for the charity, too.

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