If I asked you what living well meant then perhaps you’d say that it was about eating the right things, exercising and having occasional treats but Living Well is a caring community a place where, hopefully, people feel not just accepted but also loved and valued.
Living Well supports people with different kinds of needs such as addiction, mental health problems, debt or homelessness. The work they do reflects their Christian beliefs and they welcome everyone who needs help.
Living Well provide services that leave you in awe of this small charity and it’s inspiring to see just how much they do:
- Foodbank – open three times each week
- Hot lunches weekly
- Community garden
- Help with addiction
- Debt advice
- Mental health support
- Listening and drop in
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Christian meditation
- Benefit clinic
“What I like most about Living Well is the meditation each Friday. There is a great sense of equality, no labels, just being, we are all equal.”
The busiest day is Friday when they can serve up to 90 hot lunches served with plenty of conversation! After lunch there is an opportunity to join in with an art or music group and there is time for of Christian reflection and meditation. The foodbank is also open on Friday afternoon.
The food bank has 568 registered users of the foodbank and in the last two years they have given out 5,010 bags of food.
In 2014, nearly two-thirds of people used the foodbank up to five times before moving on thoughh a small group of people are much more reliant on the foodbank and other help that Living Well give them.
About one-third of the foodbank users are women and this number of women increasing slowly
Approximately one-third of users are homeless, sofa surfing or living in hostels
About 35% of users come from Penge (SE20) but people come to the foodbank from Bromley, Sydenham, Crystal Palace, Croydon, Catford and even North and West London.
The core of committed volunteers who keep Living Well running smoothly and safely help with the foodbank or in the kitchen, make tea and coffee or simply sit and chat. Some people help by donating food regularly and others use their skills and abilities in lots of different ways; one volunteer takes her sewing machine to repair people’s clothes. The volunteers are what keep Living Well’s services free of charge.
“Volunteering at Living Well has made such a difference to me – I’ve made new friends, learned new skills and got to know my neighbours better.”
Living Well is a registered charity with the Charity Commission no 1157385.