We work with local partners to improve lives in Islington.
We believe that the Christian faith is not just to be talked about and it's not just for Sundays. Working with others in the heart of Islington helps to build community, to help residents become neighbours, to address issues of injustice and exclusion.
Mary's is an independent charity created by us to be a force for good in the community.
In 2008, we radically refurbished our crypt meeting rooms and our Neighbourhood Centre. We knew that getting the very best from them would need specialist leadership, so we set up Mary's. It's a great relationship, one that's based on trust and mutual co-operation. We make a big grant to Mary's each year. That cancels the rent that Mary's pays to us.
So instead of earning an income for church activities by occasionally hiring our rooms, we're ensuring that our rooms are operated to a really high standard and the wider community gets the benefit. Come to our site any day of the week and chances are that you'll find people here learning, supporting each other, having fun or games or building friendships.
Mary's Youth Club
Mary's Youth Club builds on decades of amazing work. Young people get the opportunities and confidence to develop the skills for your future. The club has recently been recognised by the award of the coveted London Youth Quality Mark – Gold Status – in recognition of the excellent work we do with young people. Its unique Co-producers scheme employs young people to participate in running the Club. Activities run from Monday to Thursday, and holiday times too.
Mary's Pre-School provides children with care in a safe and loving environment. The Pre-School welcomes and encourages the active involvement of parents and other volunteers and has an open door policy for enquiring parents. Please feel free to visit our pre-school any morning between 9.30 and 11am and any afternoon between 1.30 and 3pm.
Mary's Play-Scheme provides children aged between 6 and 12 years old with fun, safe and creative activities. Many of these take place in our Neighbourhood Centre but every Play-Scheme has plenty of outings to keep the adventure going all week. The core opening hours are 8:30pm to 5:30pm.
St Mary's Primary School
St Mary's was the first school in the ancient parish of Islington and it offers local children a fabulous education. The single-form entry means that children quickly get to know each other and we see them thriving in a supportive and caring school. Links between the church and the school are strong. Our vicar and other church members work as school governors.
Our Youth and Children's Minister visits every week, making a substantial investment in young lives. Volunteers listen to children read. School assemblies on Thursdays are taken by clergy and ministers from the three local churches: St Mary's, St Stephen's and St James'.
Children from St Mary's School regularly use the three local churches for activities and special services.
Islington Food Bank
The image of Islington as a well-heeled gentrified district is false. Behind the conspicuous wealth is huge deprivation. Our parish is among the most deprived in the Church of England. Child poverty in Islington is the third worst in the country. Pensioner poverty is fifth worst in the country.
Upper Street has lots of restaurants, bars and cafes but people go hungry in Islington every day. Our support of the Trussell Trust's Islington Foodbank enables people to get the most basic of needs satisfied: food on the table.
The Children's Society
The Children's Society works with the Church of England and others to fight child poverty and neglect, and help all children have a better chance in life.
It is a painful fact that many children and young people in Britain today are still suffering extreme hardship, abuse and neglect. Too often their problems are ignored and their voices unheard. The Children’s Society is a national charity that runs local projects, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn. It also campaigns for changes to laws affecting children and young people, to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated in the future.
We support The Children's Society through our annual Big Family Carols with Christingle service.
CARIS Islington Bereavement Service
Losing a loved one can be devastating. With the patient support of friends, family, and church, most of us eventually come through bereavement. But for others, grieving can lead to long-term problems. Specialist help is often the key to helping bereaved people come to terms with loss and begin to live more fully again.
The CARIS Bereavement Service helps children and adults in Islington who are experiencing bereavement. It will help anyone in Islington who has been bereaved, regardless of disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, race, or sexuality, or whether the bereavement was recent or a long time ago. The service is free and confidential. Counselling can take place in its premises in Tollington Park, or at the client's home.
Diocese of London Common Fund
The Common Fund allows the Church of England to put a vicar in nearly every London parish. The Common Fund is about every parish seeing itself as part of the big picture and giving generously and sacrificially.
At St Mary's, we contribute more than "our share" because we feel it's important to help parishes in poorer areas of the capital. It's one of the practical ways that we express our belonging to the bigger Church.