Great Yarmouth churches celebrate community action
2018: Churches and Christian groups throughout the borough of Great Yarmouth are responding to social needs in a wide variety of ways and last 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.
The Celebrate! evening focussed 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 of Gorleston Baptist Church who established the Great Yarmouth Food Bank explained how the needs had increased dramatically in the five years since it began in 2013 when three thousand parcels were 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 that last winter saw over 30 homeless people helped and 230 nights provided. The ultimate aim was to operate throughout the week. Louise Lyle from the local Christians Against Poverty group spoke about the growing number of people who needed help with debt problems.
Highlights of the youth work included opportunities in schools for East Norfolk 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.
Anna Heydon, development worker with Imagine Norfolk and founder of the Living Room 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.”
To read our previous article about the event, click here.
The photo above is courtesy of Anna Heydon.
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