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Generosity Stories: St John’s Community Store and Garden – a story of generosity and mutual support

St John’s Church serves the community of Bransholme, an estate of 18,500 people in East Hull, where life can be tough.

photo of woman smiling in community store, with the generous giving team logo in the top left.

St John’s Church serves the community of Bransholme, an estate of 18,500 people in East Hull, where life can be tough and the challenges of the cost of living crisis hit hard. The church ran a foodbank, which supported local people throughout the covid pandemic, but the vision of St John’s is to offer more than a food parcel.

The church launched the St John’s Community Store in 2022. Each Tuesday morning the church opens the store for local people to receive a bag of groceries – up to 17 items for £3. Food and household goods come from FareShare supermarket collections and donations, and all the money collected goes back into running the community store.

If you visit St John’s it feels like shopping at a corner shop; you pick up a basket and choose from a range of fresh food and tinned and dried goods. For those who can’t afford it, a ‘Blessing Board’ has tickets where someone has pre-paid for the grocery bag. The Blessing Board can be used three times in three months to help people who are really struggling to get back on their feet.

There is a great community feel to the morning, with drinks and snacks for people to enjoy as they stay and chat around tables, with an area for small children to play whilst parents talk. The vicar and team of volunteers are available to listen and offer prayer.

St John’s now has a community garden, where volunteers from the church and local community work to produce healthy fresh food to supply the community store. Their Facebook page has recipe ideas with how to use the fresh produce to cook healthy meals.

Laura Carlisle is church warden and the Mustard Seed Community Minister leading the team of volunteers at the Community Store. Laura said:

“The Community Store has exceeded my expectations; it is such a positive change to the way we do things. We now have many more people, especially families coming along.”

Jan Grey, from the Diocesan Generous Giving team, recently shared a sociable time with the people at the Community Store and reflected on the visit:

“St John’s Community Store is a story of generosity and mutual support. People are sharing their gifts and time to ensure no one is in need, with food to feed your family at affordable prices and fresh food from the community garden.

“There is a real sense of calm, hope and mutual friendship within St John’s Community Store. When chatting over a cup of tea and toast, I heard time and again how grateful and happy people are to be part of the Community Store. This is an extraordinary example of responding to God’s generous love for us in a very enabling and empowering way.

The Diocesan Generous Giving Team love to share these good news stories to encourage and inspire us all to bring God’s Kingdom to earth and show how we can respond to His generous love. If you have a story to share, contact Jan or Phil using the details below.

Jan Grey

Generous Giving Adviser (Inspiring Generosity)

01904 699500

Phil McBride

Generous Giving Adviser (Resourcing Giving)

01904 699500