St John’s Ark of Palmers Green
The Ark has now be running since March 2020. It was mainly initiated due to the first Covid-19 lockdown. We have noticed as the year has gone on and people have become tired, afraid, anxious and vulnerable a lot more people have come onboard to volunteer or seek assistance. St Johns would not be able to sustain this initiative if it was not for the help of the people community who have become the resource for food, clothes, etc. I will never be able to thank you enough.
What takes place on The Ark
The Boutique – is open every Friday between 12noon and 2pm. It supplies items for a people of all ages to wear. It also supply nappies, baby milk, items for pregnant women, etc. Plus, a suit or outfit to assist people for interviews.
Heart Rock Café – runs a take away system form the parish centre door every Friday between 12noon and 2pm. It offers a full packed lunch, soup, roll and a meal when available. Food Hygiene and certificates are maintained at all times. The amount of people who come for food has increased. We feed approx. 54 every week.
St John’s Food Pantry – A bag of food is given to every person who comes to the Heart Rock Cafe on a Friday. If more is needed for a family, it is offered. A bag of toiletry specific to an individual’s needs are also offered.
Food Parcels and Deliveries – home delivery food bags are prepared on a Thursday. The deliveries take place by helpers who meet us outside the parish centre on a Friday at 10.30am and or at 2.30pm so as to prevent overcrowding. At this present moment we deliver food to approx. 168 people.
Cake Deliveries – Cakes are delivered to nursing/residential homes, carers old and young, schools, doctors and dentist surgeries to promote well-being during the week.
Furniture Deliveries – are undertaken by those who know the vulnerable families or refuge centres.
Youth Provision – has its own volunteers who are informed of any changes and updates. The youth provision is currently not taking place due to Covid-19.
Stay and Play – Usually meets in the parish centre on a Thursday morning. As above.
Mentoring – has its own volunteers who are informed of any changes and updates. The mentoring is currently not taking place due to Covid-19.
Nurseries – Clothes and food are delivered every two weeks (unless earlier is requested) after the Friday session at 2.30pm to our two local nurseries Leading Strings and St John’s Nursery.
Mid-week Food Emergencies – If food is needed by individuals or individuals self-isolating during the week this is arranged by Rev Julie and other volunteers who collect and deliver.
Community Donations – We are so fortunate to live in a community with people who have a heart for it! We thankfully have key streets, people and organisations that support The Ark. Without their kindness we would not be able to support so many. They are being encouraged to deliver donations between 9.30am and 11am Saturday to Wednesday.
Pastoral care and mentoring – is be done by me and lay-chaplains who have been trained and who are DBS checked. Often people are sign-posted to specific agencies to offer further assistance.
Covid-19 regulations and Safety – All volunteers must follow the governments Covid-19 guidelines e.g. risk assessment, sign in, wear a mask, wash their hands regularly and keep the 2-metre distance. If anyone else comes into the building the same applies. As the Covid- coordinator, I keep guidance updated as the regulations are changed by the Government and Church.
Beginning and End – As per usual I check in with all volunteers before and a checkout after each session on a Friday. When needed a meeting is held if issues arise. A prayer is said before we begin and before we leave so as to ensure the Trinity remain at the centre of all we do.
Team – I have learnt throughout the years that no one person has all the gifts. This is evident if you work as a team which we do. The team of many men and women come from different walks of life and yet it has been created through humility, a love of people and a willingness to serve is evident on The Ark. I hope and pray that we will grow together as long standing friends who value the people in the community and beyond.
Money – If money donations are given it goes into St John’s PCC account and ringfenced specifically for this outreach project.
Receipts – For anything that has been purchased receipts are given to Rev Julie.
GDPR – Any personal details are kept in accordance of GDPR or Covid-sign in regulations.
Conclusion – Unfortunately, you will always find the occasional person who will grumble and moan about what you are doing or what you are not doing but we have risen above that. The Ark is a marvellous witness of community and faith and a wonderful work that we do together. We minister to all those in need who come to be clothed, fed, loved and cared for. As one of God’s priests, I believe we do for them, what Jesus did for us.
If you can help with food donations we would be very grateful. Can you please drop items of at St Johns Parish Centre or ring me on 020 8886 9557 and we will collect.
With love in Christ,
Rev Julie Coleman