One of London’s greatest problems… Loneliness. Follow Ruth as she finds friendship with those on the fringes.
Living feet away from numerous neighbours but having no one to turn to. This is what many residents of social housing in Vauxhall face. So close to the high flying world of MI6, Westminster and the city centre yet so far from its benefits, Ruth McFerran is getting to know this diverse community:
It's amazing how in such a built up area, we come across so many people who need friendship, a sense of belonging, and someone to help them fight their corner.
Begun 4 years back, the Foodbank helps the hidden poor of the area: those able to pay their bills but not always able to eat. Vauxhall’s Foodbank runs Wednesdays and Saturdays and provides food for around 50 - 80 people per week. On Wednesdays, Ruth sits down to breakfast with guests who’ve taken up the offer of a free meal. She chats with them, listening to the challenges many of them face day to day.
But people need more than just food. They need spiritual nourishment too. The team at Vauxhall cook a meal on Fridays which is followed by a Bible study and socialising...all are welcome and many find it’s the only time they get spiritually fed. The residents around the centre come to chat and eat together with the staff. An informal study and discussion follow. Ruth sees the need for this kind of interaction:
Some of them would say they don't fit into mainstream church and enjoy the more relaxed approach we take at the centre, with plenty of room for tea breaks, smoke breaks and conversation. Others may be isolated as they struggle with mobility, hearing, and appreciate the support of the staff to bring them along and engage with them every week. For many, it’s the social highlight of the week, and it's a privilege to see this group come together and discuss life and faith.
Friendship at Home
Not all are able to seek out friends. One of her contacts struggles not only with ME, but with the isolation and loneliness that accompanies it. So Ruth began visiting her at home, and a lovely friendship has developed between them.
We often spend time together discussing life, health, philosophy, and the gospel. I help her with the practical needs, like grocery shopping, something those of us with family and friends around probably take for granted.
Ruth and the team at Vauxhall work with passion and dedication to reach all those in the surrounding area. Here’s how you can help!
For opportunities to share the gospel with the physically and spiritually hungry people they encounter.
Please give financially to enable more people called to finding and befriending those on the fringes to join London City Mission.
Could you be one of them? Whether it’s youth clubs, over 50s club, breakfast club, Friday lunch, Bible study, or church group on Sunday afternoons… are all needed - so if you have time and love to give, please get in touch!