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All Saints centre closes but spirit of hope alive 

The All Saints drop-in centre and café in Norwich city centre closed with a final service on Friday (August 29), but there is hope that the spirit which has carried it over the past 35 years remains and can yet be resurrected elsewhere in the city. Keith Morris reports.

AllSaintsJanet450
Around 60 volunteers, supporters and clients gathered for a short service led by centre chaplain the Rev Janet Wyer and attended by the Bishop of Norwich and the Sheriff of Norwich. Prayers, songs and memories were shared in an emotional finale.
 
Janet said: “It was a sanctuary of peace and an oasis of love and support where people could rest for a while. That now has gone and it is incredibly sad. We are praying that this expression of God’s love in the city will grow and flourish somewhere else. At the moment we have hope and meetings are going on to try to find a way forward.
 
Trustee Katherine Gray, daughter of the centre founder Jo Cook, said: “Over the last 35 years the centre has met hundreds of different needs with hundreds of different volunteers and other involved in the ministry, all playing their different part.
 
“We have come to a halt now, but the spirit is very much still alive and the need is very much still alive. We have had so much support expressed through this process and we need to find out if all of this support will bear fruit and we will be able to get the support we need to find a new venue and some funding to start it off.
 
“We have been entirely self-funding over the past 35 years, which is quite a feat, but now we really have to take stock. The trustees are meeting in the middle of September to look at the finances and see if we have anything left. We may then have an open meeting with all of those interested to brainstorm and see what is possible in terms of continuing to provide the service.”
 
AllSaintsService450Speaking at the service, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, said: “The vision and inspiration that has been with All Saints is bound to continue in one way or another. As Christians we believe in resurrection and I believe that the spirit will raise itself again in this part of the city.”
 
The centre in All Saints Church on Westlegate near the John Lewis store, was well known for providing a warm welcome and food for anyone who needed it, whether they could pay or not, and its Food Voucher Scheme.
 
Click here to read our previous story on this subject.

Pictured above is the closing service at the All Saints Centre.
 


Article printed from networknorwich.co.uk at 14:54 on 17 October 2019