Our partners in mission

We work with partners to improve lives in Islington and around the world.

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. And working with national and international partners to help people in need around the globe.

Of course, many church members support fabulous charities themselves. But by sharing some of our own church resources with a vision for worldwide mission, we try and encourage generosity and partnership.

Our Mission Giving Committee helps the church by coordinating our work in this area. As well as supporting long-term mission partners, we fund short-term projects, and emergency appeals. Church members vote for a Charity of the Year that receives focussed support.


Mary's is an independent charity created by us to be a force for good in the community.

Mary's pays a rent to the church for the spaces it uses. But we also give Mary's a grant for its work in extending the community mission of the church. In 2017, this grant was £50,000.

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. 

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 Primary 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 clergy and Youth and Children's Minister visit 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.

We collect donations of tinned and dried goods in church.

In 2017, we made grants to Islington Foodbank of £1000, plus the donation of food from our Harvest Festival.

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.

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.

In 2017, we made a grant of more than £500.

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.

In 2017, we made a grant of £3000.

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.

In 2017, we gave £88600 to the Common Fund. Of this amount, a mission component of £10,300 is paid in excess of the parish standard cost, enabling other churches in the diocese to do valuable work.


Keith Waddell

Keith joined St Mary's as a medical student in 1960.

He has been a long term mission partner since leaving in 1964, when he began working in Uganda with Africa Inland Mission.

At first, Keith was the only doctor in a general hospital serving a rural area. After re-training in ophthalmic surgery, Keith pioneered eye-work, treating many thousands of people whose lives are blighted by blindness and disease.

The work has grown enormously and the teams trained and led by Keith now travel to remote distcts and into neighbouring countries. Keith has taken care of orphans and helped students access medical training.

In 2017, we gave £4000 to this work.


Release International

Release International works to support persecuted Christians around the world.

Every year thousands of Christians are detained and imprisoned for their faith in Jesus Christ. Release provides practical and pastoral support to Christians in some of the most challenging parts of the world.

In 2017, we gave £2000 to this work.


Emergency Crisis Appeals

We respond to emergency appeals such as the recent migrant crisis, the Nepal earthquake disaster and the West African Ebola outbreak.

We are very aware that life in the UK, while hard for many, is comparatively safe from natural disaster. By raising the profile of charities who respond to global emergencies, we hope to be a catalyst for further generosity in our congregation.

In 2017, we made a £300 for emergency grant to Tearfund Iraq.

Working Chance

Working Chance is a UK recruitment consultancy for women leaving the criminal justice and care system, focused on enabling them to find jobs and placements. 

In 2017, we gave £1200 to this work.

Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants

Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants welcomes refugees and asylum seekers at many different stages of their journey from those waiting to hear about an asylum claim, to others with refugee status who need help with learning English, or other aspects of settling in the UK.  

In 2017, we gave £1200 to this work.

Hospice Care Kenya

Hospice Care Kenya brings compassion, care and support to children and adults living and dying with a terminal illness in Kenya.

It was founded in 1991 to support the newly-opened Nairobi Hospice, the first palliative care hospice in Kenya. Today there are over 70 hospices and palliative care units across Kenya.

In 2017, we gave £1200 to this work.


CARIS Cold Weather Shelter

The cold weather shelter is run in the coldest months of the year, providing beds and hot breakfasts in seven Islington churches. It offers hospitality to homeless guests and support in finding permanent accommodation.

In 2017, we gave £800 to this work.

Compassion UK

Through its child sponsorship schemes, our children at St Mary's learn about the lives of children in Haiti and Phillippines. The link encourages our young people's interest in mission and in supporting people less fortunate than themselves.

In 2017, we gave grants of £600 to this work.


Bible Society, Bibles for China

Large numbers of people in China have come to Christian faith recently. In rural areas, as many as ten share one Bible and cannot afford to buy their own. The Bible Society works to address this need.

In 2017, we gave grants of £1000 to this work.




Medair helps people who are suffering in remote and devastated communities around the world survive crisis, recover with dignity, and develop skills to build a better future. Our grant supports the work of Medair in South Sudan where civil war and famine has devastated the country, causing large scale suffering, deaths and mass displacement.

In 2017, we gave £2000 to this work.

SGM Lifewords

Lifewords provides resources for Christians all over the world to share the Bible with others. They produce Bible booklets and digital resources, create imaginative church and schools resources, research the Bible’s role in mission and its impact on cultural life, run programmes that enable people all over the world to connect with the Bible, from children-at-risk to African teenagers to rural communities in Indonesia.

In 2017, we gave £1200 to this work.