Love they neighbour – all 1,100 of them new to Portsmouth

WELCOME: Annie McCabe and Martin Griffiths in the new student halls overlooking the church
WELCOME: Annie McCabe and Martin Griffiths in the new student halls overlooking the church
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The Rev Annie McCabe, the vicar of St Luke and St Peter’s Church, Southsea, is preparing for an influx of more than 1,000 new neighbours – and plans a welcome they won’t forget

DO YOU know your neighbours? A recent survey revealed only one in four of us introduces ourselves to the people living next door.

With busy lives and lots to juggle, it can be hard sometimes to make the time to get to know those we live closest to in the city.

Well, here at St Luke’s we’re getting ready to welcome 1,100 new neighbours in mid-September.

Just opposite the 19th century heritage church building is a new 21st century high-rise, multi-coloured student accommodation block due to open its doors next month.

The new building in Greetham Street will provide accommodation for 836 residents while the existing Margaret Rule Building across the road will welcome an additional 348 bringing the total figure to just less than 1,200 residents.

Jesus tells those who follow him ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’.

As a bunch of ordinary people at St Luke’s, it’s one of the most practical, simple and profound ways we can express our faith.

We are working closely with Martin Griffiths, the City Manager for Unite Students, and others in the community to make sure the arrival of so many newcomers to the city centre goes smoothly.

On the weekend most students arrive, St Luke’s will create a drop-off zone in the church car park, offer drinks and snacks for those arriving, help with carrying cases into the newly-built accommodation and offer support for parents too.

A welcome barbecue is taking place on the Sunday with some creative ways to help students get their bearings in a new city.

From September we’re starting a Community Brunch pop up café at St Luke’s every Sunday at 11.30am. It will give people a chance to chill, find some relaxed company and enjoy great coffee with a bacon butty.

St Luke’s is planning a major redevelopment of its site and buildings which is expected to start next summer.

Our neighbours can play a key role in helping to reshape St Luke’s into a place everyone can enjoy and find space to breathe.

It is your space: whether you are new to the area or have lived here all your life.

The church is now open through the week.

To find out more about what’s happening, find us on Facebook by searching for stlukeandstpetersouthsea.