The new lockdown restrictions in England are affecting everyone in different ways, and now more than ever, we at St Katharine’s want to continue to be a source of help and support for people, both within the local community and beyond.

Here’s an update on how we are continuing to provide help and support over the coming weeks.

Yurt Café

The Yurt Café remains open 7 days a week for takeaway food and drinks. Our Food and Beverage Manager Said Serroukh, formerly Head Chef at the Rembrandt Hotel in Kensington, has created a new Moroccan takeaway menu inspired by his heritage. Choose from the ‘Harira’ – a hearty vegetable soup, the harissa marinated chicken skewers, vegetable casserole, or butternut squash tagine – plus much more. We are also continuing to offer Yurt Café favourites, such as our ciabatta paninis.

If you live in East London, our take away hours are 9am to 7pm Monday to Sunday. Or get your order delivered to your door via Uber Eats or Just Eat. Our home delivery hours are 10am to 10pm Monday to Sunday.

Essentials Shop

The Yurt Café is also open for essential food items, including high-quality fresh fruit and vegetable, dairy and non-dairy products, and store cupboard items that you can collect from us without needing to queue at the supermarket. We are also selling general household supplies, such as kitchen and bathroom cleaning products. We are open Monday to Sunday between 9am and 7pm.

Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for an updated shop list.

Please email any Store Cupboard Essentials, Fresh Fruit and Vegetables and Bathroom Supplies requests to mikec@rfsk.org.uk

Limehouse Aid and Food Bank

We continue to support our Limehouse Aid Volunteer network. Limehouse Aid was set up in the spring to support people during the Covid-19 crisis and operates as a network to connect the many people and groups that came forward with offers of help and assistance.

We are also continuing to support Limehouse Aid’s Food Bank by supplying schools with food boxes for families of children who are eligible for free school meals.

You can learn more about Limehouse Aid or sign up for volunteering opportunities here.

Accommodation & meeting spaces for key workers

Our accommodation is fully available for people who need to stay away from home to continue to do their work. This applies to key NHS staff, care workers, charity workers and professionals who need to travel for work. We have 45 comfortable modern bedrooms, many of which overlook our beautiful enclosed gardens. Book a stay here.

For healthcare, education, charity organisations and other businesses that are needing to have their people meet together in person as part of their work, we continue to offer a safe and welcoming environment. Queen Elizabeth is our largest meeting room, offering plenty of space for groups to social distance. We also have high-quality video conferencing technology to allow others to be included remotely.

Community Hub

We have limited spaces available for workers to book and use our Community Hub as a shared workspace. The Community Hub is Covid-secure and looks out onto our public community garden. We have reconfigured the space to allow 5 co-workers to work in the space socially distanced. Workstations are for individuals only, and include high speed WiFi and two complimentary takeaway hot drinks from the Yurt Café.

Book a place here.

The Chapel

The new guidance allows for places of worship to remain open for private prayer. Our Chapel at St Katharine’s remains open 7 days a week for guests at St Katherine’s. Guests using The Chapel are asked to observe Social Distancing Guidelines and it is being thoroughly cleaned throughout the day in order to protect our guests.

Open Reflective Days

We are still able to offer Open Reflective Days as part of our support for mental and spiritual health. The Open Reflective Days are a chance to use the space at St Katharine’s for your own personal retreat. They usually run from 8am until 6pm but you are welcome to join us for as much of the day as your commitments allow.

We have made a number of changes to ensure the safety of our guests. We have arranged set times for ‘takeaway’ refreshments. All refreshments will be individually served between certain times in the dining room. Please take these to a location around St Katharine’s where you can ensure social distance and silence. Unfortunately, we can not offer overnight accommodation alongside this at present. Guests will also be expected to observe guidance around minimising use of public transport. If you have a car, parking is available free of charge.

View upcoming dates here.

Online Events and Retreats

We will soon be launching a series of online events and retreats to give us the strength and support to get through the coming weeks.

On 10th November we will be running an online Mental Health First Aid course. The course will run over 4 days, with 2.5 hour sessions each day. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course which teaches people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis. To find out more or book your space, click here.

Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages for further updates on our online retreats.

Future Events

On 9th December at 2pm, we will be hosting the St Katharine’s Winter Music Festival from our chapel. We will be collaborating with Red Velvet Sessions with one artist performing each day from 4 – 5.30pm. Included in the price will be a signed CD from each artist, and a ‘meet the artist’ session on each day. Vinyl will also be available to purchase. Find out more here.

Staying Safe

In line with government guidelines, we ask that you do not visit St Katharine’s or the Yurt Café if you have coronavirus symptoms. Please wear face coverings and maintain social distance at all times. Parking is available to reduce the need for public transport. You can find more information about staying safe at St Katharine’s here.

St Katharine’s is committed to continuing to support people over the coming weeks as we navigate through this new lockdown. If you have any suggestions for other ways we can support you through this time, then please get in touch.

A final note from The Venerable Roger Preece, Master of The Royal Foundation of St Katharine:

“However difficult things are, we need to hold onto the hope and confidence that this time will pass. My hope is that all of us will have found a way to grow in strengths, wisdom and compassion as we navigate the way through for ourselves, our organisations and those whom we support.”