A Church in Action
St Richard's has a long history of serving its community through a variety of groups, clubs, events and courses. In a normal week there are up to 18 regular events, 84 hours of activites and 660 individual visits. These include:
- St Richard's Playgroup, offering morning and afternoon sessions five days a week for up to 40 children (Ofsted rated 'Good')
- Scramblers parent/carer and toddler group and Messy Church, a fantastically fun monthly meeting which includes a hot meal for the whole family
- Little Stars and Explorers children's after school clubs, and The Hub evening youth club
- Lunch Club and Friends offering hospitality and fellowship for older people and those who live alone
- Coffee Mornings with Storehouse food and clothes bank outreach
- Afternoon Tea, Art Club, Craft & Hobbies Club and other opportunities for the community to meet together.
But the environment in which these groups is far from ideal, and our capacity for many of these groups is limited by space and safeguarding concerns when more than one group is on site at a time.
In recent years, the church has become increasingly aware of the need to stand with its community in overcoming the causes of deprivation and working to relieve some of its impacts. Deprivation, of course, comes in many forms - financial, relational, health and spiritual.
For these reasons, in addition to our traditional activities, the church has begun to add new courses and programmes aimed specifically at these aspects of our community's life. These include:
- CAP Money Course - a practical money and debt management course (devised by the charity Christians Against Poverty)
- Triple P parenting course (Positive Parenting Programme) - providing parents with a toolbox to address the challenges they face
- The Marriage Course - providing couples in committed relationships the opportunity to spend time investing in their relationship before problems strike (HTB Relationship Central)
- Restored Lives - for those people who need help in recovering from separation and divorce (HTB Relationship Central)
- The Happiness Course - creating a safe space of people to look into the components of happiness - the meaning of happiness, forgiveness, gratitude, relationships and success (Livability).
The Need For Growth
A recent survey of the local community has demonstrated that there is a great need to increase the variety and quality of provision across a range of services: especially leisure/social activities for youth and elderly, health and care services, activities supporting physical and mental wellbeing, and most importantly, activities supporting improved community and social cohesion providing a hub for local residents.
Project Grow will enable St Richard's Church to develop its current activities and groups through increased capacity (while prioritising safeguarding), improvements to the welcome and safety of the environment, enhancement to disabled facilities (including toilets and a disabled lift to the first floor), and through the creation of spaces in which people enjoy being.
It will also allow the church to be far more effective in overcoming the causes of deprivation by creating new capacity for groups and activities which address the key areas of deprivation - education, relationships, wellbeing and finances.
All of these factors will help the church to meet a demonstrated need and fulfil its vision of serving its community, while also providing a space which can be used by local people for their own events, gatherings, meetings and parties.