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Rallying for Support

Friday 3rd August, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

by Monica White | tags: , , , , , ,

Monica White explains how the Rally Project is helping the homeless and vulnerable in Nottingham

The Rally project is an inspiring example of ecumenical co-operation to support homeless and vulnerable people in Nottingham. Administered by the organisation 58i, which oversees a number of other charitable projects in the local area, Rally is run by a partnership of five churches: The Christian Centre, Cornerstone Church, St Nic’s, The Rock Church and Grace Church. Each church takes responsibility for one evening per week, recruiting volunteers to prepare and serve a hot, nutritious meal for about forty to sixty people. During the evening, service users may speak with an Aspire Mentor who is on site to discuss everything from benefits to dealing with substance abuse. Free clothes are also available occasionally.

My husband and I have volunteered with Rally for about two and a half years, and have been impressed by the project’s professional organisation and welcoming atmosphere. Although we work on the evening run by St Nic’s, the volunteers come from many local churches of various denominations. All volunteers help with all jobs, including preparing and serving food, taking names on the door, chatting with service users and cleaning up. The religious element is very lighttouch, and usually involves a brief prayer before the service users arrive and after they leave. There is, of course, no expectation that volunteers or service users have any particular beliefs, although there is an optional bible study group one evening per week before the meal.

Making conversation with the service users was difficult for me at first, but this has become a very fulfilling aspect of the work. They are a diverse group, and it is fascinating to hear about people’s varied experiences and ambitions, and the conversations open up aspects of Nottingham, and life in general, of which I had no knowledge previously. This opportunity to meet new people, both volunteers and service users, and to be part of a project which is filling an obvious need, is both satisfying and humbling.

Need for Rally’s services has been increasing in the current economic climate, and the project would welcome new volunteers. It would be wonderful to increase our parish’s representation in the project, and if there is sufficient interest we may even be able to look into the feasibility of serving meals on another evening. At the moment, the project needs volunteers on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday or Sunday. The commitment is about once per month for 3.5-4 hours. A rota is organised several months in advance, and volunteers can contact each other via an e-mail list to swap evenings if necessary. The meals are served in the church hall of St Peter’s Radford, on Hartley Road.

For more information or to arrange a visit please contact Monica White ( or Nicole Watts of 58i (

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