Open letter to the leader of Waltham Forest council, Chris Robbins
We are collectively writing to you to as the leader of the council, asking that you intervene to find a resolution to the crisis involving the Christian Kitchen, which the council is trying to relocate from its present site at Mission Grove, Walthamstow.
As you will be aware, the Christian Kitchen has provided a cooked meal to homeless or destitute people on the Mission Grove car park site for over 20 years.
Many religious communities support this work because it is clearly meeting a real need.
Rev Dr Malcolm Patten has produced a report on the Christian Kitchen’s work, Here to Serve.
He makes the point that many users of the kitchen have fallen through the gaps in public welfare provision and notes that the Christian Kitchen has an extensive network of contacts which have assisted users to be rehabilitated by finding access to health services, benefits and accommodation.
In fact, the report points out that the Christian Kitchen is an ideal first step location for those seeking to help homeless people, allowing them to build a “trusting and supportive relationship with a client”, which is “a prerequisite for further work, including resettlement away from the streets”.
We also understand that a road safety assessment finds that Walthamstow Avenue, the council’s proposed relocation site, is deemed dangerous and likely to cause accidents.
Given that all the parties concerned are on the side of the needy and vulnerable in our society, we are surprised that a solution to this situation has not already been reached.
We look to you to find an acceptable solution before the High Court hearing so that this valuable work can be continued.
Waltham Forest clergy including: Rev Simon Heathfield, Anglican Dean of Waltham Forest, Fr Maurice Gordon, Catholic Dean of Waltham Forest.