This year the Canary Wharf Multifaith Chaplaincy celebrates our 20th birthday.
Fiona Stewart-Darling reflects.
I can hardly believe it was 20 years ago that I set the chaplaincy up – how time flies! Over the years the Chaplaincy has grown along with the Canary Wharf estate. We currently have six Chaplains including me, two volunteer retail Chaplains, and an office manager. You can see us all here.
The Canary Wharf estate has been through changes too, and today it is home to 150 companies, including leading financial businesses and more recently Life Sciences, which between them employ more than 120,000 people. There are also around 4,000 residents and over 360 retail outlets, and at any one time there is a large and changing contingency of construction workers on site.
The core of what we do has never changed over the years: our aim is to provide pastoral care to all, with a clear self-directed remit to support people of all faiths and no faith.
With this continuity in mind, though, we had some major achievements in 2023.
It was our first year back on the Wharf in person after the difficulties of the Covid period, and this wasn’t just for us Chaplains, but also for the people who work in, or visit the Wharf. During the pandemic we had taken time to build a social media presence – including our weekly podcast which is now a regular Monday morning fixture, and developing our ability to be in contact with people using different technologies, from the humble telephone through to using video conferencing platforms.
In this, our 20th birthday year, we look forward to building on our successes. We will continue to work closely with the businesses on the Wharf, supporting them in running events such as those with a focus on particular religious festivals, and in developing and offering one-to-one support to their staff. In addition we will work with people in retail and construction, residents and visitors.
With new people constantly arriving to work, live, shop or socialise on the Canary Wharf estate, there are always opportunities for us to make new contacts, and provide help and support.
There is one other thing I particularly want to do this year.
After 20 successful years, we plan to take a look at our strategy, thinking about how we can be even more creative in our work, continue to help companies integrate faith into their wellbeing strategies, and focus on the core tenets of enjoyment, fun and caring for each other.
I’m looking forward to an exciting and productive 2024. I hope you are too.