Warm hearts in Spalding
With the country gripped in a cost-of-living crisis on a scale not seen for several generations, lots of Methodists are working to help their communities deal with the coming winter.
Among them are the congregation of Broad Street Methodist Church in Spalding, Lincolnshire.
They’re running a ‘Cup of Kindness’ initiative in a bid to mitigate some of the worst problems.
Treasurer Bryn Chappell said, ‘Out here in the Fens it can get bitterly cold – there’s not much between us and Siberia, so when the wind’s blowing in the wrong direction we get their freezing weather. Add to that that we are in a predominantly agricultural area, with low wages, lots of people on benefits, and high free school meal figures – and many senior citizens relying on State pensions.
‘Our local foodbanks and care services are already stretched to breaking point, and the current inflation situation means that some of our neighbours are facing genuine questions as to whether to heat their homes or put food on their tables.
‘We were discussing what we could do to help, and out of that we decided to open up our building to offer a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit in a welcoming, warm environment.
‘The idea is to create books of ‘Cup of Kindness’ vouchers for those who are particularly needy – handing over a voucher negates the awkwardness of walking in and asking for a free drink – but we’re determined that no-one will be turned away.
‘We have recently renovated and upgraded the church – with the help of a grant from Methodist Insurance, as it happens – so we’re easy to access, we have WiFi and several digital screens, and we can offer more than just a seat.
‘Initially we’re planning to run the warm space one day a week, but if the demand is there then we could open for much longer. The church is already in use most days so it could end up being a whole week thing – and it certainly fits in with our mission goal, to increase use of Church by wider community.
‘We were really surprised but obviously delighted to win – the £1,500 will help with heating costs, flyers for publicity, and perhaps a better quality of biscuit – chocolate Hob Nobs instead of rich tea, maybe!’