top of page

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.

Tony Lucas

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.”

James Johnson

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.”

Muriel Lester


“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.” 

Jem Trehern

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

Commemorative plaque 

“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

bottom of page