I recently became a Trustee of the All Saint’s Centre,
opposite John Lewis,
and next to the residential tower block that is being rebuilt. This old church is a dramatic but comfortable space to meet friends for coffee or a meal. The sunlight shows us that a new, expensive coat of paint is needed, and we are raising funds for this. But the Light of Christ shows all of us a wonderful opportunity to give and receive the blessings of friendship.
I love the idea of having somewhere, at the heart of the city, where everyone is valued. Most of us can enjoy hearty breakfasts, warming homemade soups, tasty lunches, delicious homemade cakes, all excellent value in a warm welcoming atmosphere.
Those that cannot afford food can enjoy a decent meal for free. The centre is efficiently and caringly run by manager Karen
and her deputy John,
with brilliant cooks and wonderful helpful volunteers. The centre depends on the generosity of those who bring in food supplies and pay for the poor and hungry to be fed.
It is a safe haven for distressed people including, mentally ill and homeless people. Peter Threadkell
meets with homeless ex-servicemen, often referred to SSAFA
by St Martin’s Housing
or the Salvation Army
. People like "Fred" who saw his friends killed in Afghanistan, suffers from PTSD and is currently sleeping in his car because he cannot live with his family owing to his frequent rages. Then we had "Paul", found on the streets by the Salvation Army. He volunteered at the Centre until he found another "live in" catering job.
What attracted me was the Christian ethos of the Centre, where everyone is valued and treated equally. I make myself available each Wednesday morning to anyone who may be suffering mental distress; but as long as everyone continues to be so friendly at the Centre, anyone with a problem will find someone to talk to about their problems, any day of the week.
Every Friday at 12 noon there is short time of prayer led by the small band of faithful people who have taken on the responsibility of ensuring that the tradition of prayer in the Centre remains unbroken.
who is Chaplain to the Centre, is also usually around the centre at this time and is always willing to spend time with anyone who seeks her out. Centuries of worship have imbued the building with love, and the regulars know that this is a good community to belong to.
If you would like to support the work of the All Saints Centre there are several ways you can do so.
Make a one-off or regular charitable donation to help pay for the redecoration and new floor which are both desperately needed at the centre.
Become a Friend of All Saints, which costs just £10 a year or £100 for life.
Participate in the Food Voucher Scheme where you buy food vouchers which you can either leave with the centre for them to use for those they know are in need, or you can give out yourself to people you know who would appreciate them.
You can find details of all these options at: www.allsaintsnorwich.org.uk
Pictured above is manager Karen Maidstone inside the All Saints Centre.