Hurtado Centre to launch Community report

The Hurtado Jesuit Centre in Wapping will host a community event on 29 September to mark the publication of its report on the value of local community. The report shares voices of its neighbours in the diverse and dynamic village of Wapping in Tower Hamlets. A close-knit community in the heart of the London Docklands, its long tradition of social engagement by Christian agencies and political reformers is challenged by rising economic inequality and social isolation.

The community listening project grew out of a desire to refine Centre priorities to fulfil its mission as a place of welcome in East London. As Centre Manager Kate Monkhouse explains, “The Jesuit tradition is to ‘serve where the need is greatest’. That first of all means being willing to serve, not to promote what we have to offer, but to listen and learn, to be ready to help alongside others and to build relationships of trust. Then to discern how, given our resources, faith and values, we can best be of service through practical projects or spiritual accompaniment to those already working in charities, schools, cafés or youth centres nearby.”

 

As part of the community listening process, The Hurtado Jesuit Centre interviewed 24 people involved in local community projects as participants and organisers. Many spoke about the challenges they faced in restoring value to community in the days of making do with less, where being a good neighbour can be lost in the busy-ness of life. One participant described this challenge by saying, “Do we know our neighbours or do we just annoy them?” All shared inspiring stories of people and organisations working to make the local community more welcoming.

These experiences along with suggestions for strengthening community are recorded in the report, entitled Welcome to Wapping: The value of community in a Tower Hamlets village.