Dudley Moore at the piano
7. Shaping The Future
Shaping the Future
We now want to celebrate our wonderful heritage without getting ‘stuck’ in the past, learning from its timeless themes to help shape an exciting future. Kingsley Hall Church and Community is part of the Livability family and a Livability ‘Link Church.’ Since 1844, Livability (formerly The Shaftesbury Society and John Grooms) has provided buildings and support so that local churches can gather community strengths to address social needs, tackle barriers in society, reduce social isolation, and make community more livable for the people we support. In 2013, Jill Garner, a senior director at Livability conducted a review of Kingsley Hall and titled it, “Restoring The Orchard.” This is our vision. To give fresh expression and life to our heritage.
Kingsley Hall has a long historical record of opening its doors to anyone in need of friendship and support. The Kingsley Hall community has not been afraid to help others in the face of opposition: German POWs, conscientious objectors and destitute migrants are just three of the groups who were widely unpopular with society but warmly welcomed at Kingsley.
“Kingsley Hall was a meeting place for Vietnamese people. Having the boat people at Kingsley was
not popular in the immediate locality, but it invigorated Sydney Russell, and many Kingsley members, who
remembered similar opposition when Kingsley sponsored many conscientious objectors.”
Together, Kingsley Hall and Livability are working on visionary plans for the centre’s site, and community involvement for the future. We aim to promote courage, inclusion, and compassion, through a vision for a livable community where every person has the opportunity to live well.
By 1931 Kingsley Hall housed the first voluntary library and the first nursery school in Essex, the latter which took special steps to care for disabled children. In the 1950s and 1960s Kingsley Hall built special services to take care of the needs of older residents, including the first lunch club and daily centre. Livability seeks to uphold Kingsley Hall’s impressive heritage of intergenerational work, nurturing future generations, especially those from backgrounds of disability and disadvantage.
Creating The Community
The mentorship provided at Kingsley Hall gave local people the opportunity to discover their gifts and talents. Dudley Moore, who went on to become an internationally celebrated pianist and actor, was a regular visitor to Kingsley Hall in his youth. Sydney Russell recognised Dudley’s musical talent, and supported early piano lessons for him, enabling him to overcome the challenges of a physical disability.
“Dudley Moore lived in the same road as me when we were
kids, and he was encouraged by Sydney Russell, at Kingsley Hall, with his music Dudley visited England, and I asked him if he would do charity concert to raise money for Kingsley Hall and he agreed.
The gymnasium, which was suppos-ed to hold three hundred, we had four-hundred applications for tickets, all desperate to get in. And
the mayor of Havering, the mayor of Barking, the mayor of Ilford,
the mayor of Dagenham… He retained a great affection for
Kingsley Hall and what it had done for us.”
Dudley and James Johnson at Kingsley Hall
for his charity concert
“Kingsley Hall was not the outcome of any streak of
sentimentalism...A meeting place is not a sufficient end in itself. We hoped good things—serenity, health, fellowship, service, tolerance, self-respect, regard for others, a social conscience, courage, a sense of public duty and reliability—would follow.”
“It’s now moving in the right direction. I’ve found that they
were very supportive and very keen. And they caught the vision.
They had a concern for the people here, and for the people in the
area. It wasn’t just, ‘Hey! Look, let’s grab a load of buildings!’…
It’s about, working together.”
Community Pastor, Ruth Lombard,
at the Eden Tree Cafe
“We want people to have opportunities to participate and
contribute, to discover faith and hope, and to contribute their gifts
and talents. We want to be a part of real community development that
can demonstrate change and transformation … We want to be a
community where every person matters: a liveable community.”
Chris Kapnisis, Director of Kingsley Hall
“I’m always struck by the richness of life at Kingsley Hall, as people of different ages and
backgrounds find a home within the Kingsley community. Volunteers put in hours of effort and love and do
it with a passion and vision that Kingsley’s founders would recognise… I feel privileged to be involved
in Kingsley’s continuing story, as plans to secure its ongoing impact become reality.”
Adam Bonner, Public Engagement Director, Livability