The Garden People
The Garden People
The Great Feast
Christmas at The Great Feast
The Night Shelter
Upstairs Under Construction
At the Joel Centre we believe that lives can be transformed through being part of a loving community. Our award-winning, 17-bed, permanent night shelter is a home-from-home for vulnerable single people facing homelessness in the Kingston borough, who would otherwise be sleeping rough or sofa surfing. The centre provides them with a clean and safe place to sleep, wholesome home-cooked meals around a shared table, daily access to laundry facilities and their own lockable wardrobe for personal belongings.
Our ethos is ‘Helping People to Believe in Themselves.' We do this by encouraging guests to take part in preparing meals, cleaning the shelter and tending the garden, as well as volunteering in the local community. We provide a holistic environment in which guests are offered one-to-one therapy and support from our experienced and highly qualified managers. We also work in close partnership with KCAH (Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness) whose offices adjoin the Joel Centre. They offer a vital drop-in advice centre and referrals to the Joel night shelter.
Around 400 people are threatened with homelessness in our borough every year and single people so easily fall through the net. But at the Joel Centre we have seen countless lives being turned around as a result of being part of a supportive, loving community.
In 2008, a local Alcohol and Drugs Homeless project relocated outside of the Kingston Borough. With nowhere else to go an increasing amount of people started gathering in the gardens around St Peter's Church. There were soon over 40 regulars - we named them The Garden People. Revd. Peter Holmes, our Founder and Joel Community Services Chairman, eventually opened up St Peter's doors every Wednesday to provide meals and support to The Garden People. In 2009 St Peter's Church Hall began to be used as part of a network of temporary winter night shelters in local churches. Every week, local volunteers, businesses and charities would help us to deliver these services.
After working with the Garden People for several years, Peter Holmes came up with the vision of a permanent, monastic-style community for single homeless people at St Peter's Church. The Joel Community Trust, now known as Joel Community Services, was set up in 2010 to raise money for a permanent, purpose-built night shelter on the site of St Peter's for people experiencing homelessness, new offices for Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness as well as 'move-on' accomodation for guests requiring lighter support.
WHY ARE WE CALLED JOEL?
In the book of Joel we read that a locust plague and draught had ravaged the land. When Joel warned them about even worse disasters coming, they turned their lives around. God promised to 'restore the years the locusts have eaten'.
"Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. “I will restore the years the locusts have eaten— ."
The Christian Church has had a long history of offering hospitality and providing occupation for homeless people and this is exactly what we would like to do! We intend to provide our guests with a safe, warm place of healing and restoration.
This website was manually updated on
16th February 2017