Church gets kitchen makeover with funding from believe housing

A Church at the heart of a County Durham town has had a new kitchen fitted so it can serve a range of community groups and activities.

The old kitchen at St Catherine’s Church, in Crook, had fallen into a state of disrepair and was in desperate need of an upgrade.

County Durham-based housing association believe housing awarded a grant of £15,933 from its large community capital grant scheme to replace the facility.

The new kitchen, which was officially opened last week (Wednesday, 22 June 2022), will allow refreshments to be made on the premises so the church can host more groups with a food offer.

This will include a weekly social morning for parents of young children to meet, while their little ones are at nursery and school, and a monthly men’s friendship group.

Rev Linda Lindsay said: “We were looking to be able to do more in the community but to do that we needed a better facility. The way believe housing funded us has made such an enormous difference.

“We’re looking to start projects particularly looking at men’s breakfast clubs, stop-shops for parents as they drop their children at school, to be able to invite them in, have a cup of coffee, rather than them just wandering the streets because they can’t afford the bus fare to go home.”

Volunteer Lynn Copping said it can cost parents £8 a day to travel to and from their child’s nursery or school by bus.

The church will also be able to host holiday activities with food for local families and to store surplus food in freezers for use in the community.

It will also hold cookery courses and demonstrations to help users of surplus food project, The Bread and Butter Thing, to make the most of the food they purchase.

Joanne Norman, Community Investment Co-ordinator for believe housing, said: “We helped the church with funding to provide meals for vulnerable residents during the Covid lockdowns. At that time the meals couldn’t be prepared on the premises, highlighting the need for improvements.

“It is wonderful to be able to return and learn how our funding will enable St Catherine’s to be an even greater facility for people in the town and surrounding villages.

“We hope it helps bring people together and makes life a bit easier for our customers and the wider community.

“We fund projects that address key priorities for our customers and communities around health and wellbeing, employability and training, household income, and a greener, fairer future and the work at St Catherine’s Church ticks all those boxes.”

The church also hosts dementia support activities and welcomes volunteers who want to help in their community or develop their skills for employment.

More than 15 volunteers will get food hygiene and first aid training to support the kitchen developments.

For more information about believe housing grants, including the next round of the large community revenue grants which opens on Monday, 4 July 2022, visit believe housing community grants | believe housing