The Vineyard Care Centre is run by the Vineyard Church St Albans. One of our hopes and prayers is to see people breaking out of the poverty cycle, their lives being transformed from injustice and its effects. In response to that hope, we established the Vineyard Care Centre to equip people with the tools and support they need to move towards living a more independent life - empowering them to fulfil their God-given potential.
The Vineyard Care Centre began 14+ years ago when members of the Vineyard Church began gathering food to give it away to whoever needed it. This soon became the first food bank in the district and quickly grew in demand.
It became obvious that food insecurity was just one issue that needed addressing in the fight against poverty. We began other ministries to help further support the individuals and families visiting us each week.
- We continue to run our free Vineyard café, giving guests the opportunity to chat with our friendly team over some free breakfast. We've always been eager to build a sense of community, to develop connection and trust with our guests, rather than functioning as an anonymous handout.
- We set up KIT, offering good quality clothes and baby equipment for free, and helped parents access school uniforms.
- We started running REFUEL sessions during school holidays, offering free healthy cooked lunches to those families whose children are in receipt of Pupil Premium or are on a tight budget.
- We began hosting drop-in clinics around issues like debt management (CAP), mental health (MIND), family law advice (Duncan Lewis), housing advice (St Albans & District Council), health visitors and family support (Sopwell Family Centre), etc...
- More recently we launched BRIDGE, the 'next step' for regular food bank users. This is a 6-month membership scheme focused on three main streams:
1. ONE-TO-ONE MENTORSHIP: Each member will have access to their own mentor who will provide them with lots of support and guidance to fulfil their specific aims for the duration of their membership.
2. FOOD SUPPLY: Members are able to choose from a wide selection of fresh and packaged food, along with essential items, each week from our social supermarket ‘shop’.
3. TRAINING: BRIDGE will fund bespoke external courses and workshops for each individual, according to what they and their mentor decide best meets their goals, eg IT skills course.
Every single donation and act of support makes a difference to someone's life. Your donations facilitate long-term support for individuals and families, as well as supply basic items, food deficit, extra clothing and equipment for KIT, food and fun activities for REFUEL, and more. The money also supports those who’ve joined our recently launched BRIDGE programme with food, recourses, courses and equipment. The Care Centre operation is only possible through a huge number of volunteers freely giving their time, resources and expertise. This means we also have a large spectrum of operational, training and a small staff team cost to cover. Thank you for any support you are willing to give us!