“This is lovely, coming along here for the company.”
The church is a thriving hub of activity throughout the week and provides essential pastoral support to the community. Members of the church fellowship and volunteers provide a brunch cafe every Thursday, which is free at the point of access. This means there is also a warm space and good company to share. Alongside this, there is a community fridge available, with delivery on a Thursday too.
In addition to this, there is a parent and toddler group running, with links to the local schools.
Each Thursday at the brunch cafe, a cross section of people enjoy attending, including members of the church fellowship, local residents, and a small number of unemployed and homeless people from across Lowestoft. Around 35-40 come along regularly. Roman Hill in Lowestoft where the church is based is in one of the most deprived areas in the Diocese of Norwich and the community has been deeply affected by the cost of living crisis.
Revd Damon Rogers is the vicar at St Andrew’s church. He says;
“One chap who we have known for a few years has not used electricity for the last three months for anything other than boiling a kettle and charging his mobility scooter. When he came to the cafe a few weeks ago, he had his first hot meal since June.”
The community fridge is open again post covid. The church is linked with a local Morrisons supermarket and Morrisons deliver frozen food to the church each week, which is then defrosted in the fridge or passed on as frozen. The delivery is always on a Thursday and ties in with the brunch cafe offer. In one week only, food from the community fridge served 23 different customers. The link with Morrisons works through a community champion called Tara.
Revd Damon says;
“What we have found to be crucial with the fridge is establishing good personal relationships. Tara, the community champion, lives locally and knows folk through our connection with the local primary school which is where her children go. She first heard of us because our team go into the school to take Open the Book assemblies and saw what we were doing to support the community. There are always fascinating consequences in God’s economy.”