‘Incredible’ community project launches in St Annes

Vincents supports the Church Road Methodist Church Community Hub

The Hub, a new community café, food larder, training centre and meeting place, has been formally opened by the Church Road Methodist Church in St Annes. Mayor of Fylde Councillor Angela Jacques, and Mayoress Miss Charlotte Jacques, invited guests and members of the congregation all joined Reverend Stephen Heath for a service of dedication and thanks before the official ribbon cutting at the new entrance on Saturday.

Among the guests were The Rev Paul Davis, Chair of the Lancashire District of The Methodist Church, representatives from other local churches and the South Fylde Methodist Circuit, along with some of the businesses which contributed towards the fundraising and construction of the new facility at the church.
They included David Whittle, chairman of Tyson Construction which built The Hub; quantity surveyor David Harrison of Heron Construction Consultants, who project managed the build; and Zoe Fleming from Vincents Solicitors which helped with the sale of a parcel of land at the church to help fund the build, and supported the fundraising needed to complete the project.

Alongside regular church activities, The Hub houses Wesley’s Café and Wesley’s Larder, two initiatives designed to provide food for people in need. Café customers can get an inexpensive meal or their food for free if under 18 or in need, while Wesley’s Larder operates as an informal foodbank.

The Café is run by volunteers including professional chef Paul Caddy and his wife Annie who are teaching their helpers to cook and manage a professional kitchen. Wesley’s Larder is also run by volunteers who redistribute food through a partnership with Fairshare and Tesco Local stores which provides unsold fresh food.

The Hub also has meeting rooms and community space where local groups can meet and training sessions can take place. Blackpool charity UR Potential is offering a drop-in IT course helping people with basic skills such as online applications, banking, shopping, how to use social media, save photographs, open and use various documents. It also hosts a range of family and baby groups, craft sessions and other social groups.

Rev Stephen Heath, Minister at the Church Road Methodist Church, said: “The opening of The Community Hub is the realisation of a long held vision to provide a safe place where people can meet, make new friends, enjoy a healthy meal, and leave feeling happier than when they arrived.

“Our aim is to welcome anyone as a visitor or as a helper, from those who need a helping hand or that little extra support, to those who are retired or have time on their hands and want to give something back by volunteering.

“We are so eternally grateful for the support the project has received from the community and our congregation, and crucially from the professionals who have helped to make it a reality. We really wouldn’t be where we are today without the hard work and support of Tysons, Heron or Vincents, and many other businesses across the Fylde. Deepest thanks to everyone.”

Zoe Fleming, from Vincents Lytham office, added: “It was wonderful to see what a lovely welcoming place the team has created for people to come together. The Hub is open to everybody, of all faiths or none, and is a truly incredible community resource provided by the church. We’re very proud to have provided legal support for the project and assisted with the fundraising, and will be working with the church to continue helping out where we can.”

The Community Hub is open for activities throughout the week, check the Facebook page @ChurchRoadMethodistChurch and website for details. Wesley’s Café and Wesley’s Larder are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Anyone who wants to help by volunteering should contact Rev Stephen Heath on 07711 917 955.

Pictured: Members of the congregation and invited guests at the opening of The Community Hub at the Church Road Methodist Church in St Annes with minister Rev Stephen Heath.