Ways volunteers are making a difference in UK churches
As part of our annual church awards, we give out a special award each year to volunteers in each nation who are making a difference in their church and community. Here are our recent winners to help give you some inspiration on how, by volunteering at your local church, you’ll be making a vital difference.
England – The Hub at St Peter’s, Herefordshire
The Hub is an inviting space for the local community to meet and socialise. It offers volunteering and training opportunities for local people, as well as wellbeing support and signposting to local services. Its café serves wholesome and affordable food, and a volunteer-run branch of Herefordshire Libraries operates from its Bell Tower. The Hub relies on volunteers to bake cakes, make soup, serve in their café, help in their library, make friendly phone calls or run errands for people via their Community Helpline.
Wales – The Outpost at St Paul’s Church, Rhosesmor
With the nearest shop three miles away, the Outpost has become a lifeline to locals. The shop and cafe are mainly run by its 37 volunteers, who have enabled it to grow into a thriving community hub. It hosts book swaps and an annual scarecrow competition, as well as sourcing from local suppliers, in turn benefiting the local economy.
Northern Ireland – Immaculate Conception, Strabane
No longer are artefacts hidden or left to gather dust. This amazing church created a museum space that exhibits the church’s rich and varied heritage collection, as well as others from the local areas. The space is run by volunteers, who welcome visitors and tell them about the displays.
Scotland – St Gregory's Foodbank, Glasgow
St Gregory’s foodbank is located in one of the most deprived areas in Scotland. Yet its community have pulled together to look after one another. The food bank is entirely run by volunteers and helps more than 300 people each week – making sure the most vulnerable in their community have food, cleaning products and personal hygiene items. From serving people to helping with paperwork and admin behind the scenes, there’s lots to get involved in.
Despite networks of volunteers existing all over the UK, more are desperately needed to help protect the value that churches offer their communities. However and wherever you choose to volunteer, you’ll be making a vital difference to the lives of others as well as helping to keep churches open and in use.