The parish of St Richard's encompasses Hanworth south of the A316 and parts of north Hampton - a total of around 6000 people. It contains a mixture of privately owned and social housing, two schools, a doctor's surgery, a small parade of shops but no other meeting spaces open to the general public or places of worship. There’s not even a single café or pub.
The biggest challenge to the people of the parish comes from deprivation in a variety of forms. Church Urban Fund ranks the parish nationally as 1,850 out of 12,508 parishes in England, where 1 is the most deprived, placing the parish in the 15% most deprived communities in England.
The most significant poverty-related issues in this parish are the high rates of child poverty (28%) and lone parenthood (27%) - both of which are among the highest in the country. 25% of working age adults have no qualifications, far below the national average. Both pensioner and working age poverty in this parish are also higher than average (both at 18%).
In addition to Hanworth suffering the effects of deprivation, it is also an area without suitable provision of services or other places in which community groups can meet. For these reasons, St Richard's Church has a vision to stand with its community to overcome the causes and consequences of deprivation, and to be a catalyst and resource for greater community cohesion.
PARTNERSHIP IN ACTION
One exciting example of St Richard's commitment to working in partnership with the local community came in January 2015 as our previous local community primary school became St Richard's CE Primary School.
The decision made by school Governors and the local authority to close the old school and reopen as a Church of England school demonstrates the positive impact the church can have in its community as well as the trust local people have in St Richard's.
This change is providing exciting new opportunities for the church to support the school and to work with the school's families.
A Church in Action
St Richard's has a long history of serving its community through a variety of groups, clubs, events and courses.
Although centred around a Christian worshipping community, St Richard’s provides different recreational and educational opportunities for the area’s residents – young and old, people from all religious and cultural backgrounds. Over 900 members of Hanworth and the surrounding communities regularly take part and benefit from these programmes every month. These include:
St Richard's Playgroup, providing the best start in life for up to 30 children per session, which run morning and afternoon, five days a week (Ofsted rated 'Good')
Scramblers parent/carer and toddler group and Messy Church, a fantastically fun monthly meeting which includes a hot meal for the whole family
Little Stars and Explorers children's after school clubs, and The Hub evening youth club
Lunch Club, Soup Club and Friends offering hospitality and fellowship for older people and those who live alone
Coffee Mornings, Men’s Supper Club, Art Club and other opportunities for the community to meet together.
But the environment in which these groups is far from ideal, and our capacity for many of these groups is limited by space and safeguarding concerns when more than one group is on site at a time.
In recent years, the church has become increasingly aware of the need to stand with its community in overcoming the causes of deprivation and working to relieve some of its impacts. Deprivation, of course, comes in many forms - financial, relational, health and spiritual.
For these reasons, in addition to our traditional activities, the church has begun to add new courses and programmes aimed specifically at these aspects of our community's life. These include:
Triple P parenting course (Positive Parenting Programme) - providing parents with a toolbox to address the challenges they face