12d. Protect and restore outstanding places of cultural and spiritual significance.
In the corner of Trafalgar Square stands the great church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, one of the vital parts of our national heritage and social fabric – a meeting place between heaven and earth.
St Martin-in-the-Fields is a model of social inclusion. It is a haven for the homeless and the helpless. If our country has a soul it lives here, in churches like this (2006).
The Rt Hon John Major, Prime Minister (1990-1997)
You were always there for me during my darkest hours, through alcoholism and drug addiction. The help and support I received has been invaluable to me. I am clean and have been for over 2 years.
John, former client at The Connection at St Martin’s
If our country has a soul it lives here, in churches like this
The church of St Martin-in-the-Fields is a landmark. Its fine architecture and prominent location place it at the heart of the nation. The tradition of helping the dispossessed was started by Dick Sheppard, Vicar of St Martin's during World War I, who gave refuge to soldiers on their way to France. He saw St Martin's as 'the church of the ever open door'.
A recent £36 million renewal project has transformed the church both inside and out and created iconic new buildings, public spaces and a home for The Connection at St Martin's, where the work with homeless people is continued today.
Every day The Connection helps over 200 homeless people rebuild their lives away from the streets through a specialist range of services all under one roof– including a day and night centre.
The church maintains its humanitarian roots supporting the work of The Connection and provides a sanctuary and place of quiet for many people every day of the year.
12. Uphold the right of all, without discrimination, to a natural and social environment supportive of human dignity, bodily health, and spiritual well-being, with special attention to the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities.