All Hallows, Bow
All Hallows Church in Bow is located in one of the most disadvantaged areas of the country where:
More than half of local children live below the poverty line and many families are dependent upon food banks
The majority of social housing tenants are benefit dependant and in rent arrears
There are very high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour, much of which is gang-related, and the gangs are drawn along racial lines
Ill-health, obesity, drug and drink abuse are all endemic.
The majority of the local population are of Bengali or other Muslim backgrounds, so All Hallows has run numerous projects over the years to encourage people of different backgrounds to have fun, build relationships based on what they have in common, and overcome what might pull them apart.
In 2012, the church ran a community café with a widescreen television so that people could watch the Olympics together, and the success of that initiative eventually led to the development of AHABA, which is an Arabic word for love incorporating the initials of All Hallows, Bow. The project will bring together projects for families, teenagers seeking to avoid the gang culture and people suffering addictions under one roof; it will also provide a base for social events and will be self-sustaining through a non-profit making café that offers work experience to ex-offenders.
It has been developed over several years with the active and enthusiastic support of the local Muslim community and is a genuinely multi-cultural project, even though it is being built alongside the church.
CSC has been part of the story for some years, having done the initial research that proved that local people supported the principle of the project and would use the café and its associated projects if it was built. We then developed a feasibility study and business plan and worked with the church in developing applications that raised over £430,000 in grant funding.
AHABA opened in January 2020 and is already a well-used and highly valued community facility. It also serves fabulous cakes and coffee and we feel very proud to have been part of the story.
The Vicar of All Hallows, the Rev Cris Rogers said: "Working with CSC Regen has been a pleasure and a joy right from the start. Their commitment to us and our project has been outstanding and their ability to build relationships with funders, working things through to grants being given has proven to be fantastic. We cannot more highly recommend their work and them as people".