Worried by seeing local youth on the streets Alastair Thom, the vicar of St Luke’s Church in Kilburn Lane W9, has turned over his church grounds to a unique Christmas tree selling business.
Whatever the very cold and wet weather, six 18 and 19 year olds with little or no previous work experience are putting their business skills to the test selling Nordman firs.
“I couldn’t stand all that potential going to waste”, said Rev Thom, “and now the church grounds look like a task from the Apprentice.”
The site is open for business 3 to 8pm on Monday – Friday and all day Saturday and is run in partnership with ‘Trees for Christmas’.
Further details below and from Councillor Barrie Taylor – the voluntary project manager on 079 73 13 52 55
Benefits for youth
- A minimum of 6 youths obtain real experience of work
- Formal employment and wages
- Employer’s written references
- Face-to-face contact with customers
- All for inclusion in their personal CVs
Benefits for the tree supplier (Trees for Christmas)
- A new site for selling trees in West London
- A team of workers organised by voluntary management (Big Society)
Benefits for St Lukes Church
- Social investment in local youth – not merely a commercial transaction
- 15ft Christmas tree and lights provided by Trees for Christmas
- Congregation sets terms for sales (e.g. no selling on Sundays)
- Enhanced community reputation (Lord Mayor of Westminster lighting up ceremony)
Support from the Lord Mayor
Local people are being urged to support St Luke’s church in Kilburn Lane as a way of adding social benefit to their annual purchase of trees. The trees are high quality Nordman firs and are reasonably priced between £30 and £50. The trees are all sourced from Scotland and Denmark. Trees for Christmas has donated a 15ft tree to the church and a ceremony took place on Friday 7th December – at which the Lord Mayor of Westminster switched on a set of tree lights.
As part of the lighting up ceremony children from St Lukes Primary School entertained the Mayor and parents / carers with a selection of carols. The Lord Mayor was very impressed with their renditions and had this to say about the project “I urge those of you wanting to buy a Christmas tree this year to do so by supporting this initiative – which offers tangible benefits to our local youth.”
St Luke’s is on the corner of Fernhead Road and Kilburn Lane – London W9 3EH – and there is off street parking for those who want to collect their tree. Free Home deliveries are also being made. Cllr Barrie Taylor is the voluntary project manager and you can order by phone: 079 73 13 52 55 or by visiting the church site Mon-Fri 3pm to 8pm or all day Saturday to make a selection.