On Sunday, 5th July 2009, around 300 members of St Stephen’s Church East Twickenham spent the day volunteering as part of an initiative called HOPE 09. The initiative, which first began in July 2008, aims to bring “hope” to the local community by undertaking practical projects for individuals in need, organisations and local charities as well as carrying out random acts of kindness.
Projects which volunteers took part in included the following:
- Gardening and fence painting in Marble Hill Park
- Visiting local care homes
- Planting a vegetable patch in a home for vulnerable young adults run by St Christopher’s Fellowship
- Gardening and general DIY at Orleans Park School & St Stephen’s School
- Decorating a house of multiple occupancy for local homeless charity, SPEAR
- Offering a free cafe in the church garden for passers by
- “Cheeky Monkeys”, under 5s kids club party in Marble Hill Park
- Decorating at The Vineyard Project, local homeless drop in centre
- Gardening at St Margarets Station
- Gardening at a home for young adults with learning disabilities
- Gardening at a local property owned by Richmond Housing Partnership
- Painting the office at MENCAP on Richmond Road
- Clearing of overgrown carpark at ETNA (East Twickenham Neighbours Association)
- Free car wash in Marble Hill Park
The church also reached out to the community by offering “Prayer stations” in two locations; Moormead Park and on Richmond Road near Richmond Bridge. Two teams offered passers by on the spot prayer for any issue such as relationship problems, job worries, illness etc. The teams saw between 30-40 people stop for prayer.
Towards the end of the day, Vince Cable visited the cafe at the church for an update on the day’s progress along with local councillors Denise Carr, David Trigg & Michael Wilson. Associate Vicar of St Stephen’s, Andy Sachs, was there to greet them along with project organisers Helen Pett & Vicki Smith. He then accompanied the project organisers to visit a house of multiple occupancy run by SPEAR in Twickenham where a team had been decorating all day.
Stephen Ely, Tenancy Support Team Leader at SPEAR commented afterwards;
“I just wanted to thank you and the teams that transformed the Heath Road house. It was very heartening to see so many people so motivated to do this…”
Nick Brooker, Deputy Head of St Stephen’s School also thanked the team;
“We are delighted and grateful for the transformation of our perimeter fence and the litter picking and clearing of the Playground. We all feel renewed and revitalized. Thank you all!”