Dawson Hall and Bethel Christian Centres tell us about the work they do in our local area.
“Community is very important to us at Dawson and Bethel and we greatly enjoy serving and getting to know the people of Dagenham, regardless of their background or culture.
We want people to feel valued. As Christians, we believe that God values and loves everyone and He wants us to serve the people we live amongst. In the daily life of our centres, this can mean many things. At the heart of our support is the individual. This could mean anything from being the listening ear to someone with a cup of tea, sharing stories and chatting, to singing and fun games with the children or helping a young person feel valued and cared for through simple things like playing pool, or even giving them extra cream on their hot chocolate if they have had a bad day at school!
At each of our centres we run different groups, all of which are free of charge. We have a term time mothers & toddlers, two youth groups, and
a weekly cafe style group which is open to all ages. We also offer support through different ways, including visiting and giving practical support to people we know in their homes, making visits to hospital or to those who have reached the stage in their lives that they are living in residential care. If the situation arises, we will also visit people in prison, so that they know that despite what they have done, we still care for them.
We also have options available to those who want to learn more about the Christian faith with our ongoing groups. We aim to be as flexible as possible as to how we arrange these, as we understand that people have busy lives.
We believe, as Christians, that it is fundamental to our work that we offer support to those who are experiencing disadvantage within the community, as is so often spoken of in the Bible. Social justice is therefore very close to our hearts and we have two main areas of support that we offer. Firstly, there is the food bank based at Dawson where emergency food supplies are given through various forms of referrals, from self referral to work with agencies. Secondly, there is the new Baby Bags scheme at Bethel where again emergency supplies of essential items such as nappies are delivered, through social services, to struggling families of babies and toddlers. When the need arises, we work with other services, whether that is providing practical assistance or through supporting a person to make phone calls or writing letters of support.
Just as there is variety and diversity in the community of Dagenham, so there is in our centres too. We wouldn’t want it any other way! So feel free to come and visit at any time or contact us for any further information!”