St Paul’s, New Southgate
World Café and Food Bank
At St Paul’s, our Vision is to have a ‘strong inclusive Christian ethos’ and ‘to work with our whole heart’. This has been our constant guide. Our community sits within an area of high deprivation and families were significantly impacted by lockdown job losses. In response, school sought to provide a secondary source of sustenance, both physically and spiritually; the need was overwhelming. We were sensitive to the fact that collecting food parcels from St Paul’s school could feel humiliating. We wanted our families to know that everything offered in our Foodbank was being done for anyone in need. Our church was the perfect space of sanctuary and our new vicar, Father Matthew, was equally passionate.
From the outset families collected items without any need to ‘evidence’. Our value of compassion, bound with humility, was
intrinsic to our offer. As word spread, so did the numbers. Word travelled and soon families beyond St Paul’s joined the queues. We harnessed this and joined in our collective ambition with Our Lady of Lourdes, a local Catholic school, enriching the provision and widening the arms of support. We fed many families and we offered ears to listen. And it was listening that inspired the second element of our provision; The World Café.
In September 2021, in partnership once again with our church, we launched a café which now sits alongside our ongoing food bank. We offer light refreshments and biscuits to people spanning many generations of age; the cost is whatever can be afforded. To develop their concept of ‘service’ and to truly help them understand what courageous advocacy looks like, we created a system which saw the children laying tables, organising drinks, serving and talking in their own languages with the tapestry of attendees from all parts of the globe. Each week they consider why we have a food bank; how any one of us could be in that place. The teachings of Jesus Christ, and the lessons we learn from them, are given a truly humble space to thrive.
The Foodbank and World Café have deepened our connection as church and school, offered a beacon of Christian hope to those in need and enabled both children and adults to flourish in the fullest sense.