How we started
Hope Kitchen began in autumn 2005 when a group of friends started thinking about the needs of various people in the town. Hastings and St Leonards have high levels of deprivation. Many people are poorly housed, suffer from mental health problems and have issues with alcohol and drug misuse. Ways were sought to reach out to these people, to offer them hope, compassion and friendship through the love of Christ. Where appropriate, it was hoped to encourage them towards recovery.
Among others, Dr Mike Cooper and Rev Chris Sears recognised the need for a soup kitchen to be established in the town. After a few informal meetings, a dozen people came forward from different backgrounds, all committed to working together for this purpose. The priority was to seek God’s help for the best way to reach out and show His love to these people.
In December 2005, three teams of 4-5 people went out on Saturday evenings with soup and bread looking to find people in genuine need. After a few weeks, it became obvious that the people being reached needed to be nourished in a place which was safe and warm. At this time, Wellington Square Baptist Church, in the town centre of Hastings, was looking for ways to serve the poor in their neighbourhood. They generously made their basement available on Saturday evenings and Hope Kitchen opened its doors for the first time.
After a few months, more volunteers offered their help and soon the Kitchen could also be opened on Thursday evenings. With just a short break during the summer holiday period, the Kitchen has continued to operate twice-weekly and, on average, 30 guests are welcomed and supported in any way possible.
In 2009, Hope Kitchen became a registered charity known as Hope Trust Hastings.
What Are Our Aims?
Our vision is “God’s love transforming lives”.
Our mission is “to support people marginalised by poverty, homelessness and addictions; inspiring them to make changes in their lives. We aim to achieve this physically, emotionally and spiritually:
† physically: through the provision of food, clothing, housing, signposting, advocacy and other practical support,
† emotionally: through friendship, encouragement, lending a listening ear and through building confidence and self-belief,
† spiritually: we recognize that people have a spiritual dimension to their lives and we hope to encourage that through prayer, reflection and
fellowship. We believe that faith, hope, love and forgiveness (of oneself and others) can transform lives.
Where Are We Going?
Having seen many people struggle to make changes in their lives while vulnerably housed or homeless, we know the importance of secure accommodation. Right from the outset, many of us have had the vision of “Hope House”. This would be some form of residential accommodation: a home for homeless people who have arrived at a point in their lives where they are hoping to turn their lives around. Guests would be invited to participate in a period of rehabilitation over a period of about 12 months. This would be supported by Hope Trust volunteers and based on Christian principles.
Now you know more about us, we hope you feel able to share our vision and join us in trying to change the lives of some people who have not had a good start in life or have suffered life-changing experiences that have prevented them from coping with the challenges of day-to-day living.
Thank you for showing an interest in Hope Kitchen.