A joint community project between Church Mission Society and Hull Youth for Christ has been given a long term boost with the purchase of a large former vicarage to serve as permanent home for the project. The building, which has been purchased by CMS, will provide security for the community and family projects that have been built up over 17 years and allow Anna and Chris Hembury, CMS mission partners and project founders, the opportunity to plan for the future and fulfil their vision to reach out to people living on the edges of society.
Chris Hembury, explained the ethos behind the project. “The community is to be aptly named Matt’s House, a reference to the vicarage’s former connection with the now-closed St Matthew’s church and to Jesus’ radical choice of dining venue at the home of Matthew, the tax collector. Hospitality and the purposeful inclusion of those most on the margins will be hallmarks of this community.”
As well as a community of people who will live in the house permanently, the vicarage has a large garden and will host events and provide a base for Skill Shed, a local initiative to teach young people traditional skills such as carpentry and bricklaying. Traditionally the local economy was built on fishing and the trade generated through the port, but with the demise of the local economy initiatives like Skill Shed are essential to provide young people with vocational skills and help build their confidence and self esteem.
For 17 years Anna and Chris Hembury have supported the work of local churches and built relationships with families and young people through regular activities such as the Breakfast Club, after schools clubs and youth clubs. The project also supports a number of income generation initiatives such as Orts, a sewing collective run by local women. Together they have designed and produced some items of clothing and items for sale such as document wallets and fabric flowers. Currently, Orts continues one day a week, offering a safe space for many women don’t have English as a first language.