Supporting the older generation

Funding level: Up to £1,000

Description

Hope Baptist Church has been around since 1777, serving its local community in the 'funky' Pennine town of Hebden Bridge. The church is near the end of a £1m programme of repairs and refurbishment to create a community space that promotes spiritual and emotional wellbeing for all. This includes older members of the community and its 'Chatty' activities are an important part of this work.

‘Chatty Crochet’ was set up in 2011 as a result of a shared interest in knitting and crochet craft work among a small group. This has now grown into a regular meeting of 15-20 people every Monday afternoon, who pay a small weekly fee to cover the cost of coffee, etc. The gathering does provide an opportunity to share tips and techniques, but it also allows the group to work together on fundraising projects for charities or donations of goods to special projects.

Anyone visiting the group on a Monday will be struck by the ‘buzz’ in the room. The ‘chatty’ part of the title reflects one of the most important aspects of the group, which provides an opportunity for informal discussion and access to an inclusive community that has resulted in many strong and lasting friendships.

The current poster for the Thursday coffee morning suggests this community service started in 1777 (when the church was founded). While this may not be quite true, it has been going for over 10 years and the picture does portray what is on offer – a friendly and informal welcome accompanied by coffee, tea, biscuits and homemade cake at very affordable prices for anyone who wishes to call in.

Hebden Bridge does not need more coffee shops – but that is not the heart of this initiative. It has always been a simple way for church members to serve the local community and it has become a vibrant meeting place for many people on market day in Hebden Bridge – typically 25-30. The coffee morning has been recently renamed 'Chatty Café’ to create a unified identity for the two community projects, which are both aimed at the over 65s.

Both of these events are run by volunteers and operate in the Ebenezer Room, at the back of Hope Chapel, alongside the kitchen and toilet block. Five years ago, the church raised £10,000 to refurbish the kitchen and the toilet block is in the process of being rebuilt, at a cost of £62,000. By removing steps and installing a disabled access toilet, these facilities will be suitable for the elderly and infirm. In addition, a disabled access ramp has been installed, with the aid of a grant from Hebden Bridge Rotary to cover the £2,000 cost.

These Chatty activities recently received £1,000 from Calderdale Council's 'Staying Well' fund to purchase a coffee maker and curtains for the Ebenezer Room to strengthen the friendly and informal environment that is already so clearly valued, making both services even more attractive.

This project is seeking funding to help replace the floor covering, which is old, battered and, in some places, unsafe. Sale of knit-ware has raised nearly £1,000 and a further £1,000 will allow this urgent work to be carried out.

Hope Baptist Church

Location: Hebden Bridge

Hope Baptist Church 'hits above its weight' in Hebden Bridge. A recent email arrived at the church, commenting that, '... Your church is a wonderful little community ...'

And it's true.

'Chatty' activities typify the warmth of welcome and inclusive nature of the place.
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