Our FCJ Centre at St Hugh’s in Liverpool is focussed on young people, faith development and community building. The broad focus means that no two days are the same and we are constantly discerning where to put our energy as local needs and opportunities change.
One project that we have running at the moment involves sixth form students from our local FCJ School who come along for a short time each Monday to run a community kitchen. The students meet many young mothers from the local community who are struggling with language, culture, large families, a new education system, health issues and finances. These women find a place of welcome, laughter. It is a social space where they can readily express their needs and seek help.
Once the women have gone, the students sort clothing donations, learn about food insecurity, discover the challenges of shopping for a family on a limited budget, learn some simple recipes and prepare for the following week.
What we have noticed in this simple project is that we are known in the local area, and women from different cultures are meeting each other, building tolerance and trust together, laughing about language and recognising the needs of others in the community.
Building community is less about structures than about relationships and opportunity to interact.