Special Cause for July and August:
LUNCH IN THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS
Back in February, I came across a news story that struck home, uncomfortably close to home: Cambridge was named as the most unequal UK city in terms of income distribution. Oxford has a similar divide, which visitors to these ancient university cities do not see. It’s easy to understand why the hot spots of King’s Parade and John Lewis in the Grand Arcade seem to announce that “all’s well with the world”. But, go out to the areas that lie beyond the centre, and there’s a different feel.
At a meeting at Emmanuel on 29 March, as part of the “End Hunger Now” initiative, Stuart Wood, minister of Barnwell Baptist Church, commented that the ward in which his congregation meets is deprived in terms of all the usual indicators. He noted that children eligible for free school lunches cannot access this benefit – for obvious reasons – in the school holidays. For the families concerned, day to day pressure is increased. His church had already made a plan to fill this gap, within a holiday club scheme.
Stuart Wood Writes:
There is a City-wide holiday lunch programme and in the Abbey ward, Barnwell Baptist Church leads the local provision. Each school holiday, lunches are provided on different days by the two local Churches (Barnwell BC and Christ the Redeemer), promoted through the school book bags. Unfortunately we don’t yet have the resources to provide a lunch every day, but we try to provide a regular meal so local families can at least come along and get a meal on one or two days a week. At our last lunch in the May half term, we had 60 adults and children for lunch, which was a massive increase on previous opportunities. It was helped by running activities in the afternoon afterwards. We will continue to develop the programme as it is needed, and work with the local community to make what provision we can. We haven’t yet finalised plans for the summer as it depends on other factors and events going on locally. Thank you for your support – it is much appreciated.
Here is a local cause that our city centre congregation can support. Do you agree? Cheques payable to Barnwell Baptist Church, and donations can be gift-aided.