New project to support Aylesbury's vulnerable takes next steps

Granville Street Church set up ahead of one of the meals
Granville Street Church set up ahead of one of the meals

A new project that aims to support the vulnerable members of the community in Aylesbury has taken its next steps after coming to the end of its pilot phase.

Run by the Aylesbury Quakers and based at Granville Street Church the project aims to support the homeless and those who fall upon hard times.

Karen Crussell, who helped to set up the project alongside Kathy Russell, explained how the idea originated.

She said: "It all started when me and some friends went for a pre-Christmas meal in Kingsbury.

"During conversation we talked about how we felt there was an increase in homeless people on the streets of Aylesbury.

"We resolved that we would try and do something about it.

"We were aware that St Joseph's Church held meals for homeless people and wondered if we could do something similar.

"Our eventual aim is to offer more than one meal per week but we are still looking at the logistics of that."

Aylesbury Quakers has supported the project by helping the volunteers with insurance and paperwork and getting off the ground while Granville Street Church has provided a location from which meals can be served on Monday evenings.

Meanwhile, Aylesbury Homeless Action Group have helped the volunteer team, which currently stands around 30, with training and support.

Aylesbury Foodbank is involved with providing ingredients for the meals before volunteers cook the food at the church and then serve it to users at tables.

Karen said: "We are not here to solve people's problems but give them a sense of normality.

"They appreciate the food and a hot drink.

"Talking to people it is interesting finding out their back stories and how they ended up being in a situation where they required our services.

"We average around 12 guests per week but sometimes it can be 16 - our users vary in terms of age but the oldest person we have had is 55."

Currently the project opens its doors on Monday evenings at Granville Street Church between 5.30pm and 8pm.

At the end of June the plan is to move the service to Quaker House on Rickfords Hill.