St Michael's Church, Aveley
Mardyke Team Ministry
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THE PARISH INTERFACE WITH THE COMMUNITY

St Michael’s and St Stephen’s are firmly rooted at the heart of both communities and are entwined with all aspects of community life.  There is a sense of communal ownership of the Parish Church and St Stephen’s, deriving from the strong feeling that Aveley and Purfleet are coherent village communities and also based on St Michael’s and St Stephen’s outreach in recent years.

The Parish of Aveley and Purfleet is anxious that everyone living in the parish should be aware that St Michael’s is their parish church and they should feel comfortable in crossing the threshold.  For this reason St Michael’s facilities are made available for a wide range of community and church activities, including choral and orchestral concerts and charity events.  St Stephen’s Church is equipped for community and church use and actively promoting wider partnership with all sections of the community.  The Vicarage, too, is used by the parish for events involving the local community.

INVOLVEMENT IN COMMUNITY EVENTS

St Michael’s and St Stephen’s play an active part in major village events.  The St Michael’s Flower Festival usually attracts over 400 visitors.  Members are also involved with the RSPB local site and other local organisations such as the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation in the regeneration of the local area for local people.   

St Michael’s takes a leading role, working alongside both the Aveley Community Forums in support of all aspects of local community interests.

The Act of Remembrance at Aveley and Purfleet war memorials and the Remembrance Service are seen as community, rather than solely church, events.

Links with children’s and young people’s uniformed organisations are being strengthened.

A number of churches in the area have formed an informal ecumenical partnership group known as the Mardyke Churches Together in which the parish plays a pivotal role.

FACILITIES AND SERVICES

The Aveley village centre has a good range of shops, including a small supermarket, meeting most day-to-day needs.  There are several major supermarkets around Aveley and Purfleet.  Lakeside, Grays and Upminster are the nearest major shopping centres.  The community is well served by its general practitioners and there is a veterinary practice in South Ockendon.

Purfleet is served by a progressive health centre with some 4400 patients on its books, also a dentist, pharmacist, and supporting health care.  There is a small shopping parade and a couple of other convenience shops.

EDUCATION

The Parish contains both primary and secondary schools: 

Aveley Primary School

Purfleet Primary School

Woodlands Pre-School and Nursery

Ormiston Park Academy

RECREATION

The Parish has a shortage of recreational facilities for young people, There is a playing field in the centre on Aveley village known as ‘the Rec’ but it is very limited and does not appear to meet the needs of all the young people of the whole of Aveley.  There is, however, Belhus Country Park nearby, bordering the village.  This country park is free to everyone, and contains a Golf course and a Health complex with swimming bath which, of course, charges.  There are two football clubs in the parish.  Aveley Football club is situated in Mill Road Aveley opposite St Michael’s Vicarage and next to St Michael’s church Hall which is now closed to the public.  Purfleet Football club ground is on the edge of Aveley on its southern border near the M25 junction 30-31.

There is a well attended Bowls club in Aveley and two other Bowls clubs on the Uplands estate which is part of the parish.  The Uplands is a small residential estate and is situated between Aveley and Purfleet.

The Parish has a thriving Scout Troop, Guide unit, Brownies and Rainbows in Aveley and a Brownie unit at St Stephen’s Purfleet.  St Stephen’s also boasts a large active Youth group of varying ages, one of the largest in the Borough and run by the church.

There are many walks in the parish, including the river walks and cycle paths along the Thames, the Mardyke way along the Mardyke from Ship Lane to Ford Place.  Access to the RSPB site is free to local people, and there are also Belhus Country Park and its bluebell woods, Cely Woods walk towards Rainham, Kenningtons park with a fishing lake and lakeside walk and Belhus chase walks.