It is not very often that a church is asked if they would like a new kitchen – for free, but that is what happened last summer to Cleobury Methodist Church, a dozen folk in a rural market town of just a few thousand. After some significant risk taking themselves during the past few years the offer was felt to be confirmation of the ongoing life and future ministry of the congregation.
The church hall had in recent years been a base for part of the work of the St Mary’s Youth Project – originating with the parish church but now separately constituted. Back when the new minister met the new youth worker the dream of a youth café/hub was born as the only evening gathering points in an area with no evening transport is outdoors or pubs.
When the local Housing Association wanted to invest some of its tenant support in the area the youth project was approached. The café dream was discussed and the housing association offered to bring in their contractors to enlarge and renew the limited kitchen area of the church hall bringing it up to current standards and capable of fitting more than one person in!
In August 2013 the youth and church folk stripped out the old kitchen and an internal wall before the professionals moved in. The hall which was largely built by church labour 30 years ago was then redecorated by youth club and church members, with new lighting and ceiling based speakers added by the electrician turned youth worker.
Nov 2nd saw the official unveiling of the finished result, and the launch of The Hub, with 3 after school sessions and 2 evenings a week to start.
As well as the youth hub the congregation are planning other community projects with the new facilities, in continuing partnership with other churches and groups in the town. Thanks go to South Shropshire Housing Association for the build and kitchen fit, and thanks also to the Hereford Diocese and Wesley’s Café in Ludlow and the Police Commissioners grant schemewho have each given grants to buy everything from major appliances, to more youth friendly crockery and café style furniture.