What we do
Currently the church has various groups catering for different interests and ages. Pre-school children are welcomed to a ‘Tea & Tots’ group during term time, where the aim is to provide a safe place for carers to mix, share joys and frustrations and children to enjoy the toys and space to run and play. This is also a gentle introduction to the church, a welcome into a worshipping community built through relationship. Several families introduced through this group have chosen to have their children baptised. Until lockdown, a second group ‘Songs & Stories’ also ran, which was geared towards learning through music and participation for the youngest children. This is now restarting. The older members of the congregation are invited to join the ‘Open Age’ sessions. They run a Pilates class on Mondays, and Dance Exercise on Fridays. There is also a Jewellery making group.
The participants often have no church connection, and the emphasis is on welcome and hospitality. A long-established Jewellery group also meet in the café area at the same time. In the past the church café has been a space of welcome and was run as a community café.
In addition to the special interest groups, we have held musical evenings, revues and quizzes. Scottish Ceilidhs are a popular part of our calendar on St Andrew's Day, and Burn's Night suppers. These are inclusive events which attract a real cross-section of people and ages, including those from outside the immediate worshipping community.
Separate to the church based activities, but having its roots within the strong call to social action, is the W14 Youth Club which meets on the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates. This is headed by Banny N’Gola, our part time Community Youth Worker, who is assisted by a team to provide activities and trips for ages 11+.
Photo: The W14 Youth Club following a drama workshop on Knife-Crime
The Homeless Project
The final group of the week happens on Saturday mornings, when the Homeless Project opens its doors to offer a cooked meal and a mini food bank. Guests can also shower, and are signposted to other agencies offering specialised support such as housing or benefits. This is only possible because of a team of volunteers, ably led by Ruth Finnis, who cook, serve, welcome and clear away week by week. The local butcher and several supermarkets offer produce and we receive a weekly delivery from City Harvest. This was continued (with adaptation) throughout the lockdown, when many other facilities were shut. It has been running for about 12 years, welcoming up to 100 guests each Saturday in times past and now especially reaching out to those who are not homeless but in food poverty.
The homeless project is one of the most fundamental aspects of our church's mission.
Photo: Volunteers at the homeless project during the pandemic.
Photo: Archbishop Rowan Williams at the opening of the Star Centre.
The Star Centre
The completion of the Star Centre in 2012 has enabled St. Andrew’s to become a key resource within the local community. The charity IntoUniversity occupies the top floor as a new learning centre to provide sustained academic support for disadvantaged youngsters from all our local schools. Their aim is to help them gain entry to further and higher education that they may originally have thought was not a realistic ambition for them.
Other regular users of the Star Centre and church space include London Dance Studios, Pilates classes and Potter’s House church, together with various local community groups from the NHS Trust Claybrook Centre to Residents’ Associations and from the local Ward Councillors’ Surgery to children’s parties.
Though meeting at another venue, the church has strong links with the 10th (Fulham) St Andrew's Scouts and has input into their executive committee. Scouts participate in key services throughout the year.