Breakfast Club is going from strength to strength
One of the key themes of our Diocesan Vision is the need to be more involved in tackling social injustice - supporting and growing our churches’ initiatives to be more outwardly socially responsible.
Throughout December, we are focusing on the social justice branch of our vision and how is can be seen in action throughout the diocese.
In April, Bishop Cherry launched the Social Responsibility Grant, explaining: “We hope that people will contribute to this fund as it will help our churches support those most in need, when they need it most.”
“Initially, the funds will be used to help the thousands of refugees from Ukraine who are arriving in Wales seeking sanctuary from the horrific violence and devastation being wreaked on that country. However, it will also be available to support the work being done by our churches in welcoming refugees from all over the world, as well as developing projects which tackle the causes of injustice which lead to huge discrepancies in life expectancy, health, education and income throughout our diocese."
One project which has benefitted from the grant is Breakfast Bites, a breakfast club organised by St Peters Church in Blaina.
Fr Dominic McLean, who applied for the grant, shares his story…
“Everyone involved with the project has welcomed the support we are receiving from the diocese, to enable us to maintain and expand a warm welcome to the community.
“Since the beginning of 2022 the people of St Peters and the Gwent Valleys Centre of Mission, have been providing a warm and welcoming space in the community. When lock down had just come to an end it was a place were friends and strangers could meet over a wonderful, cooked breakfast, it was a space where people could meet and chat over a cup of coffee or delicious warm meal. All that was expected of people was to provide a donation however small or large it didn’t matter.
“There have been young mums and children and the elderly, from all walks of life! It’s open from 8.45am until 11 am and called Breakfast Bites, but it’s a place for people who want to meet with others and swap stories of the week.”
As the year progressed, the group recognised that the financial crisis brought on by rising fuel prices, had made this project even more important, but the group faced its own problems!
Fr Dominic, explains: “The cost of our heating a lighting bill was beginning to cripple us, so we turned to the diocese to ask for help with funds.
The Social Responsibility Grant not only enabled the breakfast club to continue, but also to expand it to a Wednesday Club.
Fr Dominic says: “The Wednesday Club offers people a place where they can enjoy a warm space and come together to play games read books or just have a knit and natter over a cup of tea or coffee. People just drop in between 1 and 3 pm, a place for mums to come before picking up their children and for others just to join with others in a space where they can share hobbies and pass times.”
The group has done local fundraising to help support this work and worked with Gwent Valleys Centre of Mission, to enable it to continue this work.
As Fr Dominic adds: “We are only a small congregation so the help that the diocese has made enables us to bring comfort and create a place of welcome, using the resources of the church in terms of its professional kitchen and its people to make this work well.
“We hope that it continues and maintains St Peters church Blaina in the heart of the community. “The work of Jenny, Hannah and Victor at the Gwent Valleys Centre of Mission made this work happen and start before I arrived as the ministry area lead and continue to enable it to happen.
“Diolch yn Fawr Iawn for the support from the diocese and the local and wider community.”