St John’s Ark of Palmers Green
The Ark has now been running since March 2020. It was mainly initiated due to the first Covid-19 lockdown. We have noticed over the years that a lot more people have come onboard to volunteer or seek assistance through The Ark due to the shift in the economy as well as the re building of lives after the Pandemic. We at St Johns would not be able to sustain this initiative if it was not for the help, kindness and provision of the people in the local and wider community who have become the resource for food, clothes, a listening ear, etc. I will never be able to thank you enough.
What takes place on The Ark
The Boutique supplies items for people of all ages to wear. It also supplies nappies, baby milk, items for pregnant women, etc. Plus, a suit or outfit to assist people for interviews.
Mental Health Awareness Day – On a Thursday all those who struggle to access or line up in a Food Bank que have found this a haven. We ensure they receive food, support with any forms e.g. benefits, housing. We also sign post them to outside agencies and we have become an active listening ear when things are tough.
Heart Rock Café runs a take away system from the church gates every Friday between 12noon and 2pm. It offers a packed and hot meal and bags of food. The amount of people who come for food can be up to 84 every day. They are then offered produce from St John’s Pantry.
St John’s Food Pantry – Several bags of food are 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 needs are also offered. No questions asked – just support given. Food parcels and deliveries – home delivering food bags are prepared on a Thursday. The deliveries take place on a Friday at 10.30am and or after 2.30pm so as to prevent overcrowding. At this present moment we deliver food to approx. 168 people who are still in isolation or struggling with mental health issues.
Stay and Play – this is a pre-nursery group that rose out of the fact that many children born during the pandemic had not been able to socialize. It is now a thriving nursery that takes place on a Monday and Thursday from 9.15am to 11am.
Youth Provision – for young people aged 11 to 17 years. This provision also offers a 6 week life skills course.
Breaking Point and Mentoring – We work with parents of young people leaving gangs or addicted to drugs, drink or anything that forms an addiction for them. In the same way we support the young people through mentoring sessions that involve an organic garden. Often people are sign-posted to us via specific agencies.
Men and Women refuge centers are supported by The Ark in a way that maintains the confidence of the Centre and individuals.
Hub for refugee donations
The local and wider community have been so generous with their donations when there is a crisis in the world. We have supported Afghanistan refugees entering England as well as Ukraine. Sent resources to Pakistan, Turkey and Libya after they suffered terribly after a
natural disaster. This is something we continue to do and support even if it means us driving the donations to wherever the depot is!
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 actively working together to make a difference. I take this opportunity to thank all who offer their time (an amazing group of volunteers) and offer donations to support the continuation of The Ark.
If you can help with food donations we would be very grateful. Can you please drop items off at St Johns Parish Centre or ring 020 8886 9557 and we will collect. If you would be interested in volunteering email email@example.com
Rev Julie Coleman