In September 2021 we began a partnership with the Immaculate Conception, our Roman Catholic neighbours. We’ve been enjoying a growing friendship over the past few years – sharing social occasions and times of worship. As we considered how to help our community recover from and thrive after the pandemic, we decided to formally work together to servce the people of Maryhill. The project is titled Together We Make Maryhill and we jointly employ a Community Outreach Worker to help us carry out various activities in the community. It’s been so valuable to see this friendship and partnership strengthen and grow and how we really have been able to achieve more together for our community. Together we aim to nurture our young people, offer hope and healing to others, care for the environment and find wellbeing through volunteering.
Bringing People Together
While we have come through the worst of the pandemic, it has clearly left its mark on our community. So many people had become much more isolated through successive lockdowns and a key priority was to bring people together as soon as it was safe to do so. This has been a focus throughout the year and so we have continued to innovate and have developed a variety of ways for the community to spend time together. We’ve done all sorts of things – boat trips along the canal, pop-up events at our local ASDA, tile and lantern making workshops to engage with the Stockingfield Bridge at the canal which opened at the end of 2022…the list goes on!
Problem Solving Together
Coming together for fun events has been wonderful and it’s been really valuable to offer the community opportunities to just be together. But we soon realised there were also more practical needs to address. We now have a monthly Men’s Breakfast in a local café to bring men together and give them a chance to chat, grow friendships and support one another.
As the cost of living crisis started to bite, we partnered with other churches in the area to offer a Breakfast Club twice a week through the summer holidays. The initiative proved really popular so we decided to keep it going after the summer holidays for one day a week. It gives anyone and everyone the opportunity to have a free breakfast and cup of tea and have a chat with someone who they might not have met any other way.
As the winter drew in, the cost of living crisis deepened and energy prices rose, we felt the need to do more than just the Breakfast Club. We worked with our partners across Maryhill to make sure there was somewhere where people can go each weekday for a warm welcome, a cuppa and a bite to eat. We’ve been doing this since the beginning of November and intend to carry it on as people so value the space and the welcome.
What’s made all of this good work possible is our volunteers! People from every kind of background, all ages and stages have rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in. From serving a roll and sausage with a cup of tea to running a game of rounders for teenagers to litterpicking, our volunteers have gone the extra mile for their community. Our volunteers are always at the heart of what we do – they’re helping to make their community a better place and we take very seriously our role in supporting them to get the most out the experience. Over the years we’ve discovered that this is a key gift that we can give our community. And so we strive to find opportunities which are fulfilling and rewarding for our volunteers where they can use their gifts and grow their skills and experience. Sometimes we don’t have a volunteering opportunity which can tick these boxes for someone and in these situations we use our connections in the community to help point them in the right direction.