Amazed – Activities in the Parrish – 8th April 2024

Rotary were pleased to welcome guest Jon Andrews at our Monday Springfield meeting.  Jon is the Youth and Children’s Worker for the Holywell Ministry ( the Church in Wales churches at Holywell and Greenfield).   Jon told us about the extensive work currently happening to provide community support to so many people in need.  We were very impressed with ‘The Table’ initiative, which for two years since the end of the pandemic has been providing much needed practical support through a Monday lunch where people can meet with friends and support each other.  In practice however, there are some people for whom this lunch is only one of a few they will actually get that week, and Jon told us about a young mother who, in order to feed her baby, had gone without food for six days.  Grants and donations have enabled this Monday lunch to be free, but for a £2 contribution, people can access ‘The Pantry’ which enables them to select up to 12 items from the food bank stocks. This valuable resource allows people to have the essentials such as sugar, tea and coffee etc as well as some tinned food.  Again, all this has been funded through grants and donations, but Jon says that the stocks can only reflect what the income can allow, and shelves can be a bit sparse at times.     In addition to all this, St Peter’s does have a food bank, but as above stocks depend on funds available.  Local supermarkets have been very helpful in providing support.

Jon went on to tell us about numerous workshops he organises with young people.  His career as a sound and lighting engineer has been put to excellent use.  Jon also does extensive work with local schools in providing spiritual and pastoral support with young children, and the need for this is much greater than most will imagine.

Finally, we learnt of the exciting plans to transform St James’ Church into a community hub for Holywell – a venue where everyone can access support they need. This project – costing £450, 000, funded through grants and donations, will include a ‘Well Cafe’, a parish nurse, a community counselling service and space for community groups to operate.  There will also be a ‘Skill- Way’ -an innovative scheme to pass on skills to young people to help them enter the world of work.

All Rotarians present were just amazed at the amount and extent of the work currently being done by Jon and his parish colleagues, and in thanking him for coming, Rotarian Barry Harrison said that the Club would be exploring ways of giving some sustained support, both to the projects currently running, and the new ‘Well- Being’ centre.

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