2 March 2023
Ascension Church, Custom House, is situated in one of the most deprived communities in East London. One of the ways the church reaches out to their community is through ‘The Garden Café’, located in a small parade of shops near the local DLR station and close to a local secondary school. It is a place of welcome and fellowship.
The church Youth Café, located within the Garden Café, was established in September 2021 to provide a space of welcome, safety and hope for young people in those vulnerable hours between school and home. It’s open every day providing young people with activities, hot meals, and the chance to develop their gifts and skills with volunteering opportunities.
The Revd Dave Chesney, Vicar at Ascension Church said:
We were all too aware of the problems caused by ‘lost hours’, where young people do not go directly home once leaving the school gates at the end of the day. Whilst we already reach out to young people in so many ways, we wanted to do something to help stem the rise in grooming by gangs, youth violence and anti-social behaviour. Our Youth Café is a place of protection, but it also shows our young people that there is another way to live.”
The Youth Café, run by Ascension Church Youth workers Jodi and Torriece, now welcomes 15-25 young people every day and is already having a positive impact on their lives.
The response from those attending the Youth Café has been really positive. One child has said it has helped them to socialise more with peers of their own age in a safe place, and another has told us it has helped them with their social wellbeing. Our Youth Café is a welcoming, safe space that young people from the local community can come along to, build friendships, learn new skills and have fun.”
Find out more at the Garden Café at www.ascensioncc.org.uk/garden-cafe.