Church needs £250k to repair vital community hall used by foodbank, migrant centre and night shelter

Rev Dilly Baker

Rev Dilly Baker - Credit: Archant

A foodbank, a migrant centre and a night shelter could all be left homeless unless the community hall that houses them can raise £250,000 for vital repairs.

St Mary’s Church in Stoke Newington Church Street has launched an ambitious crowdfunding campaign to ensure the charities and cultural groups who use its adjacent building can keep a toe-hold in the increasingly gentrified area.

Organisations including Hackney Foodbank, Hackney Migrants’ Centre, Hackney Winter Night Shelter, Kehillah North London synagogue and humanitarian aid group Doctors of the World are based at the bustling centre, which also hosts choirs, children’s ballet classes and parties.

But the building is no longer able to keep up with demand. The 25 people who regularly turn up to the night shelter have to share one dilapidated shower, there’s no privacy for people using the medical services, and the migrant centre has to turn people away due to a lack of space.

On top of that, a much-needed soup kitchen, a money advice centre and an older people’s lunch club may have to be put on hold due to the size and state of the hall.

So the church has come up with plans to rebuild the centre, and rector Rev Dilly Baker has called on people and investors to help out.

She said: “Church Street is now an iconic destination for those seeking fine food experiences, independent shops and local history but if you step behind our beautiful street into the surrounding area there is hidden poverty, isolation and need.

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“We’re determined Church Street should be for all. We need to raise £250,000 in cash, which is less than the price of a studio flat in N16.

“We already enjoy the support of local businesses and its residents but now we’re appealing to everyone to dig deeper and ensure that those who are isolated and in need are still included in our community.”

The appeal will launch formally on Saturday with a pop-up food market in the grounds of the church.

The plans for the new building will also be on show, ahead of a consultation event with the architect on Thursday afternoon.

Find out more about the fundraiser here.