InSight Projects

 By Sue Cregan.

The first InSight project was initiated in December 2015 when a small group of parishioners was invited by their two priests and a representative from Caritas to a meeting . We were asked to consider if St John’s Cathedral Parish would like to take the first steps towards developing a project to support those experiencing mental health issues. Following research in the local community, in May 2016, InSight was launched,

InSight meets in the hall of St John’s Cathedral on a Tuesday morning from 10.30-1pm. The group aims to build community for those who may often feel isolated, particularly due to mental health issues, but also through homelessness and addictions. It offers a welcoming environment in which guests can build friendships based on respect and tolerance. The emphasis reflects warmth, support and safety, as well as a shelter from the outside world. We do not offer counselling but use signposting to direct our guests to appropriate local and national support groups. During the session, we provide the opportunity to take part in activities ranging from chess and jigsaws, to craft projects and table tennis. We conclude each session with a shared two course hot meal, prepared by our volunteers.

people sitting around tables with a christmas tree in the background. Two men with beards sitting in the foreground facing the camera
two masked volunteers are packing food into paper bags for guests to take away with them

InSight operated throughout COVID 19, providing takeaway hot food twice a week for those in need in Portsmouth. Food parcels were distributed to families via our local schools and telephone support was given each week to over 20 people who were shielding.


We still provide emergency  food to those in need, including parishioners, when required. We are part of the Food Support Network in Portsmouth, where we work closely with Portsmouth City Council and other statutory and voluntary agencies to support vulnerable individuals and families in our city.

We collect most of our food via the charity Fareshare, preventing food waste. We also receive food from a local Bangladeshi restaurant, who have been very generous in their support of our community. 

If you would like to find out more about InSight@StJohn’s please contact Sue Cregan by email:[email protected] or by text:07435249257.

Since the opening of InSight@StJohns other parishes have set up similar projects looking to support people who are socially isolated. These have evolved differently depending on local need. People who are socially isolated struggle with loneliness which can increase the risk  of depression, anxiety and over time, reduced cognitive ability. Community is so important, spending time together  to chat, participate, share hobbies, interests and concerns. If you or your parish would like to find out how you can support people in your community, contact us at [email protected]


4 people sitting on chairs facing the camera playing colourful harps