Over the past 10 years Arena Community has been actively serving the community through many impactful local initiatives that benefits 1000’s each month. It is the community arm of Arena Church, based in Ilkeston, and it continues to make a difference for scores of people through the work of an army of volunteers and a small team of staff.

We practically serve and assist the most vulnerable and hurting across the M1 from J25 -28, which also includes helping some with life controlling issues. This may be the lone parent doing their best to raise children, while also serving children who are hungry and vulnerable. It also means we do much work amongst those who are elderly and lonely.


It costs £100,000s to operate this charity each year, and Arena Community has only secured small grants over the years compared to the scale of the operation. In reality, the charity is only able to function through the goodwill of many local people, generous church donations from Arena Church that runs into £1000s each month, and the donations of many generous businesses, businesspeople and individuals.

We run businesses such as Arena Hope and The Project as an endeavour to generate our own income, so that we do not become solely dependent upon grants and government support. Through the running of charity shops, charity coffee shops, the repairing and renewing of furniture (which is then sold through our shops and online) we are able to create employment for people in the town and any profit is put straight back into Arena Community. This enables the charity to provide many services across the M1 corridor that we serve.


  • Foodbank parcels for both the individual and family. This provides basic food and toiletries for 1000s of local families each year. We have given away ten of thousands of parcels over the years.
  • Care for a Coffee that operates twice a week. We serve over a 100 people each week who are lonely, homeless and many of them are vulnerable.
  • We give away homeless packs that can contain food, protein drinks, a sleeping bag and socks. Boots/shoes are also offered.
  • We also run a service that gives away a free meal and run social events for some that could not afford to go or attend anything with a price attached.
  • Partnering with the Winter Shelter in Mansfield for dozens of homeless people.
  • Hot 2-course meal served twice a week that serves over a 100 people each week. We have served multiple thousands of meals.
  • A hot shower that provides washing facilities for the homeless. This also includes toiletries being made available.
  • Washing and Drying machines for people and families without adequate facilities in their home.
  • We have established, through the rental of 5 houses, a base for 13 people who otherwise would be homeless or sofa surfing. We provide a room for them to live in from a house and give them the support of a worker who helps them to change their behaviours. This is with the hope of them living “normally in society”.
  • Give away baby equipment for young mums and families including toiletries and nappies.
  • Clothing giveaway including school shoes, trousers etc
  • Furniture and white goods giveaway (or for a very small donation) for families in hardship and including domestic abuse issues.
  • After school kids club partnering with 2 schools. It provides a 2-hour safe place for them to have a hot meal, play and learn. Including a homework corner.
  • We organised a Summer holiday residential for 20 kids who have never been on holiday
  • Establishing a central hub with a staff team that oversees 80 volunteers. Here we partner with over 40 organisations in both Ilkeston and Mansfield.
  • Food hampers and parcels at Christmas for scores of families with children and the elderly
  • Quality Christmas gifts for those children without presents as identified by the schools and social services.
  • Easter eggs for 3 schools. Making sure every child gets a gift without exception.
  • Organise a “Serve Day” where we mobilize over 300 people who serve our towns practically through food giveaways, children’s fun activities, street clean ups and serving our local care homes by renovating their gardens.