February
06
Author
Robin Vincent
Matthew's House

In the past few years there has been an increase in media attention focused on the topic of food waste. The Hill Church, based in Swansea, have sought to utilise the need to address this issue and by doing so have created from scratch a powerful demonstration of Christian hospitality to serve the vulnerable and those affected by poverty on one of the UK’s most challenging streets and in one of its most challenging cities.

INTRODUCING MATTHEW’S HOUSE

Based on the story from Matthew 9:9-13, The Hill Church launched Matthew’s House in March 2017. The project is built around the simple concept of delivering hope through the sheer power of hospitality. This is achieved through numerous expressions of hospitality such as a pay-as-you-feel laundry and shower facility, haircuts, a choir, dignity packs and an early-stage advocacy support scheme. The project is volunteer-led and run with over 100 volunteers actively involved, many of them as vulnerable as the guests who visit Matthew’s House.

The flagship expression of the project has been its café, which reaches 140 guests a day. The volunteer team of over 25 food collectors intercept food from local supermarkets and businesses that would otherwise be destined for landfill. The food is brought back to Matthew’s House and converted into delicious meals for hungry bellies. Since opening in 2017 Matthew’s House has served over 52,000 meals using over 40 tonnes of intercepted food.

Through these simple expressions of hospitality, it has offered hope, dignity, meaning, belonging and community to people when they are often walking through their lowest, loneliness and darkest time.

VOLUNTEER DRIVEN

From the beginning the church behind Matthew’s House realised that there was an opportunity not to just serve the city, but to work with the city. They encouraged the active involvement in the project from anybody wishing to serve the homeless and vulnerable with an ethos of hospitality. This approach has enabled them to create a family-feel community of people who belong and serve together, respect one another and care for one another. It has provided a unique touchpoint for the church to engage with the city, giving The Hill a far wider reach and influence. It has attracted significant attention locally and also been spoken about in Parliament and the national media. The team of dedicated volunteers work hard to give Matthew’s House the feel of a home where genuine hospitality is experienced by all who walk through the doors, regardless of who they are or what they believe. 

GUEST COMMENTS

  • It has stopped me from stealing for food
  • It is better here than walking on the street and going robbing for food
  • There have been times I've been starving with nothing
  • Matthew’s House has kept me alive, warm and with people
  • I don't have money or benefits. I need the food
  • It’s helping me to meet people and to get me out of house to have a good day out
  • I come here to not be at home at my own and to not be isolated
----

To learn more about Matthew's House you can watch this brief BBC documentary featuring their work, or this video made by one of the volunteers, or visit their website. (And there are more videos on their Vimeo channel.



Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by guest contributors are those of the author. Although broadly in keeping with the objectives of Jubilee+, the views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Jubilee+ team and directors and/or other contributors to this site.