Community: Social Innovation in Practice

St Mary’s  is more than a church and venue, we are also a charity that takes a holistic and asset based approach to community development and social innovation. We work with communities across Sheffield, helping local people to discover the strength and ability to change their lives. Our vehicle for this work is the TimeBuilders project.

Through TimeBuilders we learn what each person can give to help make society the place we want it to be. Almost all our members are unemployed, a third have mental health difficulties and many have chronic ill health. But they are assets in the community, and TimeBuilders makes it happen.

TimeBuilders is a simple and effective response to the problems of inequality, loneliness and poverty. We use Time-credits to value the work people do. Members earn a Time-credit for each hour they contribute to one of our projects.

Nourishing Projects: Our volunteers tackle food poverty, using surplus good food to cook and serve tasty meals in pop up community cafés.

Connecting Projects: Our members’ groups allow us to share skills, talents and passions, while our events celebrate our work and invite others to join us.

Growing Projects: Our volunteers grow organic food in unused city spaces, supplying community cafés and FoodCycle hubs.

Learning Projects: Our volunteers run informal classes in a variety of subjects. Our main focus is spoken English for learners of all levels.

Making Projects: Our volunteers run communal workshops where tools, materials and skills can be shared, recycling, restoring & reusing.

Find out more at

Annual Report 2017-18

Download our latest Annual Report which gives an illustrated overview of our ethos and methods:

St Mary’s Annual Report 2017-18

St Mary’s Annual Report 2016-17

Lunch Club

At St Mary’s lunch club sixty people per week arriving for a delicious home cooked lunch. We also provide entertainment such as, singing, chairobics, talks, crafts, or sometimes just a chat and a game of bingo. Lunch club members are involved with the wider community of St Mary’s such as the students learning English here, and also the Timebuilders Project. The choir from one of the local schools comes to sing for us a few times a year, which is always a rewarding experience.

Every summer we have a seaside trip and each Christmas we go to the pantomime.

The lunch club is a safe and welcoming environment for anyone over 60 years of age. Many people join us after ill health or a change in personal circumstances, and make important, long lasting friendships here.

If you’d like to refer someone to the Lunch Club please email: