WHEN MARKS and SPENCER’s Foodhall in Dalston announced it had chosen as its charity partner an outfit whose charity commission statement raved about Jesus like a high-street evangelist, eyebrows were raised.
Loving Dalston asked the retailer for an outline of the charitable work of what the store referred to as “St Mark’s Community Hall” and found that no such organisation existed. And the information given by the M and S press agents turned out to be inadequate and ambiguous.
So the site made several attempts to contact St Mark’s church — and got no response.
A year later, Loving Dalston again asked what the church was doing with the M and S gifts and whether it was time for the Foodhall to think anew about its stated intention to support “community” initiatives. Perhaps the church would want to tell the publicists about its weekly food-aid scheme?
An exchange of many emails followed but the best efforts of the retailer’s publicists yielded no details. The church, it seems, was not telling even its benefactor what it was doing with the largesse.
Happily, Loving Dalston can now report some good news about a charity using premises in St Mark’s.
The church has since the spring been hosting Hackney Migrant Centre (HMC), a weekly drop-in for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. In the absence of information from the church, let us hope that HMC is getting some of the M and S largesse.
Regrettably, this site’s enquiries of HMC had the same result: information shutdown.
In 2017 St Mark’s surprised local homeless helpers when it closed the weekend winter-night shelter there. The church had been providing space for 16 stretchers for desperate people but vicar the Rev Joshua Zvimba decided his church’s hall needed a rest. The desperate had to seek their rest elsewhere.
David Altheer 120819
* Hackney Migrant Centre, St Mark’s Church hall, corner St Mark’s Rise and Colvestone Crescent, Dalston E8 2LJ: enter via car park in Colvestone Crescent. Advice drop-in Wednesdays; registration of first 20 people in queue is at 8.30am.
* Photographs © DavidAltheer@gmail.com, and for sale for reproduction. Bigger format versions are usually available.
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained. A link indicates neither approval nor disapproval by Loving Dalston.