Older People's Project
we believe no-one should be isolated, whatever their age.
The Older People’s Project is transitioning.
The Older People’s Project has always been at the heart of what we do as a church. For several years now we have been committed to reducing isolation and loneliness for people over 75 in Kentish Town, holding regular tea parties, lunches and outings. We have welcomed scores of people through our doors, providing a space for friendship and community.
For the past 3 years the project has been funded largely by grants from the City Bridge Trust. This September, that funding comes to an end. This has presented us with an opportunity to take a step back, review the project and see whether there were ways in which we could improve it. So, for the last 8 months, we have undertaken an extensive evaluation. We conducted interviews and questionnaires with key stakeholders and founders, we coordinated a survey of our OPP membership to find out what were their needs, and carried out a needs assessment to determine what we are uniquely placed to offer.
Evaluation & NEEDS ASSESsMENT
Our key findings were as follows:
The greatest areas of need of the older people in our community are poverty and physical, mental and spiritual health.
The restrictions placed on us by the grant funding have limited the extent to which we have been able to meet our members’ mental and spiritual needs.
Within a 1.5km radius of St Luke’s, there are 10 services that cater to older people. 9 of these include social clubs, exercise clubs, dementia-friendly cafes and creative workshops, and the other is a mental health support centre. Many of our current OPP members are involved in some of these services. There are no services focussed on meeting the spiritual needs of the older people in our vicinity.
There are several openings for us to carry out new work. There are a number of care homes close to our church, and we have been developing relationships with them and anticipate being able to conduct visits and services. Social Care at Camden Council have recognised that they do not cater for spiritual needs, and have begun to refer some of their users to us. Our parish also lies open to us.
We have a unique offering: to cater to the spiritual needs of those in our care, and to do this in conjunction with catering for physical, social and emotional needs.
You can view the complete needs assessment document by clicking here.
Social Transformation Ministry
In June, the St Luke’s Church Council unanimously approved the proposal to transition to a new ministry. To serve the need and complementing that which is already happening in the area, we will no longer host lunches or outings, but instead we are pleased to announce the launch of a new Social Transformation Ministry (STM) at St Luke’s that will hold much of what we’ve already been doing, as well stepping into providing deeper engagement with our ‘wise and wonderfuls’. We are passionate about seeing our community transformed and address the widespread experiences of isolation and loneliness. These are some of the exciting things we will be doing from October:
Beginning a mobile chaplaincy, where we can visit with people in their homes, care homes, assisted living centres, or cafés.
Opening a weekly prayer café at church, where older adults volunteer or come along for a cup of tea or coffee (and maybe some cakes). We are only conceptualising the café from October, with a hope to starting it sometime in 2020.
Hosting intergenerational events at the church, beginning with our Christmas Carols and The Christmas Day Community Meal.
In addition, the Social Transformation Ministry will also oversee “Safehaven” - our Saturday Women-only drop-in.
We’re very excited to start this work. We believe this will provide a place for people to form deeper connections with others, experience a deepening of their spiritual lives while creating a space to encounter Jesus.
We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all who have put in so much time, money and prayer to the Older People’s Project. Above and below are a few tokens to honour and remember the joy that has been the OPP. Thank you for making it a beautiful and holy offering to the older people in our community.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.