The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Fayre boost for Norfolk church community hub plan 

A South Norfolk church has embarked upon a project to create a community hub where people can come together, meet with friends, and buy a few key shopping items.

St Mary’s Church in Newton Flotman has always played a key role in the local community. The church currently has a weekly Coffee Stop where anyone can come to enjoy home-made cakes, hot and cold drinks and have a chat with friends and neighbours on Saturday mornings from 10-12.
In the last year, a new community lunch has started on the last Wednesday of each month.
They also run Church Mice a parent and toddler group that meets on alternate Thursday mornings to play, sing, make crafts and of course enjoy refreshments and a chat.  All of these are well established and popular in the village. 
However, the congregation wanted to make sure that the church building is as accessible to residents as possible. They surveyed residents and asked them what they would like to see in their village.
At the top of the list of suggestions was a village shop and somewhere to go for a chat with friends. A lot of work has been carried out to draw up plans, apply for planning permission and fund-raise for their view of how a beautiful medieval Church could look and work better in the 21st century.  The idea is that the space will be flexible and warm for a wide range of community activities whilst remaining the beautiful venue for weddings and funerals and regular Sunday worship that people love.
“We are really excited about the plans for the church building,” said Andy Cox, caretaker at the local primary school.  “This project touches everyone in the village - the lonely and those who are struggling financially, the elderly and the young.  It will be great to have a warm and welcoming space where people can meet friends over a cuppa and pick up some essential groceries.”
St Mary’s have been working on a variety of fund-raising activities including a Ceildh and Christmas Craft Fayre to help raise money for the community project and they are undeterred to reach this goal despite the recent set back of having some of the lead from the church roof stolen.
The Rector, Rev Canon Sally Gaze said, “Everyone has been working so hard to enable the building to become an accessible space for everyone  so it really was devastating to have the lead stolen. However we won’t give up – the church is at the heart of the community and we intend to continue to provide a welcoming space for all to come and enjoy.  Now, we just need to raise the funds to make it happen!”
The Christmas Craft Fayre will take place on Saturday December 3 from 10am until 3pm. A selection of delicious refreshments and light lunches will be available along with the usual crafts, gifts, Christmas decorations, and raffle. There will also be face painting for children and a place where families can have their Christmas family photo taken.
Organiser Vicky Ball said: “We are very lucky to have photographer Gavin and his wife Kathryn on hand to be able to offer photos of families, children and grandchildren.  Gavin creates the most amazing family group photos at reasonable prices and we know all our time slots will be booked very quickly.”
Silly Billy from the Theatre Royal’s pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk is also keen to support the community efforts and will be attending the event from 12 noon.
Pictured above is St Mary’s church in Newton Flotman.

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