Sherriff Centre ‘feels like a large family’ and thanks West Hampstead as it turns 5

The Sherriff Centre turns five. Picture: Sherriff Centre

The Sherriff Centre turns five. Picture: Sherriff Centre - Credit: Archant

Just over five years ago West Hampstead almost lost its Post Office.

Staff at the Sherriff Centre celebrate their fifth birthday. Picture: Sherriff Centre

Staff at the Sherriff Centre celebrate their fifth birthday. Picture: Sherriff Centre - Credit: Archant

But then Father Andrew Foreshew-Cain had an idea - why not put the facility in St James' Church?

After some wrangling and a few more good ideas, the Sherriff Centre opened in July 2014 and half a decade later it's still going strong.

The centre, which also has a cafe, soft play area and gift shop, has been pushing all the money it makes into running a debt advice clinic for the community.

Since 2017 it has helped 100 local people.

It also has a community fridge - which holds fresh produce donated for those who need it.

As it turned five, it held a family fun day to thank visitors and celebrate.

Most Read

Centre manager Steph Duell told this newspaper all about it.

She said: "The family fun day was an opportunity to celebrate that we are still here and to remember what we've managed to achieve.

"The mayor came - although I'm not sure if she brought her new baby - and the church's Father Robert called the raffle!"

Steph added that the way the service, led by Paul Scannell, was a huge success.

She said: "What's great is we are not bound by any box-ticking - if it takes Paul however long with people to get them out of debt that's fine.

"We got a really lovely email this week, a women wanted to say thank you for helping her mother.

She also praised the community spirit the Sherriff Centre had tapped into, adding: "People understand that when they come and buy a coffee from the Sanctuary Cafe, that that money is supporting the community.

"It feels like a large family here. "Parents look out for their own kids and other people's - everyone's keeping an eye.

"And as s we are a church, we do find people in need - people who have been sleeping rough - come to us, so we always ensure they've got something to eat, a cuppa."

Now, the centre is keen to use its birthday to bring in donations.

So far they have raised £360 of their £1,000 goal.

To donate, please see the Sherriff Centre's crowdfunding page here.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter