A place of welcome gives opportunities for learning disabled people
10 September 2019 IN: Parish News
The Hive Community Kitchen at St Paul’s Withington is a ‘Place of Welcome’ offering restaurant quality food and a place of welcome, with volunteering opportunities for adults with learning disabilities.
The Hive a focus on diversity, breaking down barriers and valuing the gifts of everyone. The project is run in partnership with Withington Food Bank and Manchester L’Arche (an ecumenical community and charity working with adults with learning disabilities).
Originally running one day a week in the church hall, it has become so successful that it is now open Monday-Wednesday every week. The Hive has benefited from “Place of Welcome” funding and offers free tea and coffee in the morning. Any homeless person coming to the Hive is welcomed with a free meal.
Hils and Mike Corcoran, who do a clergy job share at St Paul’s, explained: “The Hive enables people from different backgrounds, circumstances and experiences to share in the hospitality we have to offer. It also offers volunteering experiences to people who might not be able to secure a similar position elsewhere. We believe this models something to the wider community about the Kingdom of God.”
The Hive provides a base to the Manchester L’Arche Community who run their day activities from the hall. A beautiful garden is near completion, along with summer-house, raised beds and poly tunnel, which will enable people regardless of disabilities to grow fruit and veg to feed hungry visitors to the Hive.
Mike added, “Headed up by Pete, our talented and creative chef, and staffed by volunteers who learn cooking and hospitality skills, the Hive provides delicious restaurant quality food at reasonable prices and is visited by people all over Withington (and beyond). Volunteers include people with learning disabilities, students, members of St Paul’s, and those who might otherwise not have a place of employment.”
The project was celebrated with a thanksgiving service and big party for the whole community, attended by local MP, Jeff Smith. There was food, music, singing from the church choir, and activities for young people. The day concluded with the illumination of the new church clock that was restored following damage by Storm Doris two years ago.