Wellbeing cafe at church seeks funding to expand range of activities

The new Lantern extension at St Augustine's Church in Ipswich. Picture: TONY MARSDEN/Ipswich Society

The cafe is held every Wednesday at 10am at St Augustine's - Credit: Archant

Funding support for a church's wellbeing café could mean more activities and help for regular attendees, who say the weekly meeting provides "hope and warmth". 

St Augustine's Church in Bucklesham Road, Ipswich, has requested more than £4,500 from the council's North East Area committee in order to enhance the activities and space used for the café. 

The Lighted Cross Renew Wellbeing Café was set up as a response to the rise in loneliness, isolation and anxiety in society, particularly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Starting in October 2021, the group meets every Wednesday, with a team of volunteers hosting the café. 

To date, 43 people have attended at least one session, with testimony from one regular telling organisers they "always leave the cafe with hope and warmth". 

But as restrictions have eased further a bigger budget is needed to bring more value to the group - especially if, as expected, referrals from GP and other community groups begin. 

The application for funding states: "We are operating on a shoestring at present with donated or second-hand jigsaws, craft materials and second-hand chairs.  

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"In order to continue to offer an engaging range of wellbeing activities which are attractive for all sectors of our community we are in urgent need of funds to expand the number and range of activities we offer.  

"To do this we need more suitable seating as our current (second hand, upholstered) seating is unergonomic and unsuited to the needs of our regulars, many of whom suffer from chronic health and mobility issues, nor it is suitable for many potentially messy wellbeing activities.  

"We aspire to creating an outdoor garden where we plan to raise vegetables and wildflowers and to create a wildlife haven and an outdoor sitting space." 

Some of the funds will also go towards an 'information screen' to signpost to statutory services and support options from relevant local bodies. 

A fundraising event will be held on March 26 to purchase any further items, with plans to continue these annually.

Members of the North East Area committee will decide whether to approve the funding request at next week's meeting.