Service to our community is at the heart of our ministry as a Catholic university. For our ND students in London, that community includes not just the inhabitants of Conway Hall, but our neighbours living in the greater London area. Getting involved in volunteering and service-based activities is a great way to make new friends, become part of the local community, and develop new skills and experiences: all contributing to students' broader formation as global citizens.
The Gateway has a wide range of service partners in the London area. Some of these opportunities are highlighted below. We hope you find something that might be of interest to you which will enrich your time abroad and anchor you more fully into the London experience!
St Patrick's Church
Notre Dame students volunteer regularly with St Patrick’s Church Open House in Soho Square during the week by offering a warm welcome, companionship, and a hot meal to anyone struggling with homelessness or isolation. Student volunteers assist in serving food and clearing tables, as well as providing company to guests in attendance. St Patrick’s Open House initiative runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. On Monday, Friday, and Saturday mornings, St Patrick’s also hosts a Breakfast Club where volunteers assist guests with accessing warm showers and a cooked breakfast.
The Companions of the Order of Malta - Companions’ Café
The Companions of the Order of Malta sponsor a soup kitchen twice weekly at St James’ Church, Spanish Place. At present, Notre Dame aims to provide two student volunteers each Monday evening of term time, and two volunteers fortnightly on Thursdays. Students assist other volunteers to serve a hot, two-course meal to housing vulnerable and displaced members of the central London community. Additionally, volunteers spend time in conversation with their guests.
Coin Street Community Centre
Coin Street Community Centre is a grassroots-based social initiative in the Waterloo and North Southwark area, located just a two-minute walk from Conway Hall. The community centre offers students an array of opportunities to help build community in their immediate neighbourhood. From befriending the elderly to joining a community-based inclusive choir, volunteers are invited to take part in one-off activities, regular sessions, and project-based programming. Working at Coin Street allows students to make connections with locals and to get to know their new immediate community.
The Nehemiah Project
The Nehemiah Project is a non-denominational Christian charity which provieds transitional housing and life-skills to vulnerable men with a history of addiction. The charity is abstinence-based and residential, with the aim of providing safe homes throughout south London and skill development programmes, in addition to ongoing treatment. The Nehemiah Project provides student volunteers with a variety of programme offerings - from one-off service opportunities to regular service roles. Students can run a healthy cooking demonstration, join in gardening initiatives at one of the residences, or offer a series of classes on computing skills or setting up an email account.