An Update from Whitechapel Mission
Whitechapel Mission has continued to operate throughout the Covid19 crisis and greatly appreciates the support and prayers it receives from friends across the District.
These difficult times have brought some significant challenges but also provided blessings and opportunities we couldn’t have imagined.
The pandemic has required substantial changes to the way the Mission operates. Volunteer groups who routinely worked in the kitchen and in clothing exchange have not been available since before the national lockdown – and social distancing requirements have meant we have had to adapt the way we work. But Tony, Sue and a small team of Centre staff – (Michelle, Ramesh, Charley, Gary and Lukasz) supported by a few individual volunteers – particularly Tony and Sue’s daughter, Jess, and Deacon Terry, have worked with immense dedication and commitment - keeping the Mission open to serve the needs of guests throughout the lockdown. A takeaway service (full English breakfast and a lunch pack) has been provided for up to 400 guests each morning. The Government initiative to provide hotel rooms for the homeless during lockdown has made an impact on the numbers sleeping rough on the streets but the Mission has seen an increase in guests (both men and women) struggling to cope with the economic impact of lockdown and in need of food. We have not been able to provide showers and life skills support during the last 2 months but staying open to provide a basic food service has been vitally important and is making a real difference supporting many desperate and hungry folk in our community.
The Whitechapel team have worked together with an amazing camaraderie and selfless devotion to serving the needs of our guests which reflects the Methodist commitment to practical Christianity and is truly humbling. Although the crisis initially created concerns about income for the Mission we have been blessed to continue to receive donations from individuals and corporate organisations which allow our work to continue. We hope and pray that the initiative to provide shelter for rough sleepers will continue beyond the Covid crisis and have a lasting impact on homelessness – but it is clear that even if this happens there will continue to be a need for our work to support those destitute, hungry, lonely and in need in East London. As more of our staff team come back to work over the coming weeks we will be thinking about how best to develop the services we offer to fulfil our mission to serve Christ in the world – reaching out to those in need in our neighbourhood.
Thank you again for all your prayers and support.
Chair Whitechapel Mission Trustees.