Something to Celebrate!
7th November 2018
Tony Mallion reports
pictures by Anna Heydon
With churches and Christian groups throughout the borough of Great Yarmouth responding to social needs in a wide variety of ways, Friday saw around 150 people from 12 of the borough’s churches come together at the Kings Centre for the first ever celebration of these activities
Celebrate! focused on the Food Bank, the Living Room Project for the homeless, debt counselling service Christians Against Poverty, and two youth organisations, East Norfolk Youth for Christ and Identity
Liz Townson (pictured right) of Gorleston Baptist Church who established the Food Bank, explained how the needs had increased dramatically in the five years since it began in 2013 with three thousand parcels being issued. When Great Yarmouth was used for the pilot scheme of Universal Credit in 2016 numbers almost doubled and this year had already seen a record number of over 11000 handed out. Four churches are involved in the distribution but she said many more support the work
The Living Room Project provides winter night shelter accommodation at three churches each weekend and is about to start its third year. Coordinator Jo Morrison said last winter saw over 30 homeless people helped and 230 nights provided. The ultimate aim was to operate throughout the week. Louise Lyle (pictured left with Rev Peter Timothy, minister at Park Baptist Church) from the local Christians Against Poverty spoke about the growing number of people who needed help with debt problems. Highlights of the youth work included opportunities in schools for Youth For Christ and the appointment of a new youth worker, Matt Ashpole (23) who had started with the Gorleston based Identity the day before. All the organisations said they would welcome new volunteers, particularly CAP who need more befrienders for people with debt problems. Worship was led by the Cliff Park Community Church band (pictured below)
Anna Heydon, development worker with Imagine Norfolk and founder of the Living Room project who helped organise the event said: “It was wonderful to see people from different churches across the area come together in unity. We were able to share and celebrate how local Christians are working in partnership to demonstrate the love of God in practical ways in our communities. Our hope is that this is the beginning of more opportunities to meet together to worship and work together to bless the area we live in”
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