Second round of coffee in Norwich as day-centre reopens

28 November 2014

JOHN SALMON

Back in business: the day-centre in Norwich, which closed in August, has re-opened inside the church of St Peter Mancroft

Back in business: the day-centre in Norwich, which closed in August, has re-opened inside the church of St Peter Mancroft

A UNIQUE day-centre, which shut last summer after 35 years of ministry, has reopened.

The All Saints' Centre, housed in a redundant church in the heart of Norwich, provided a café and haven for weary shoppers, as well as for homeless and vulnerable people. It was forced to shut last summer, blaming rising costs (News, 1 August).

At the time, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, who had offered to lease the building through the diocese, said: "It's a matter of enormous regret that such a wonderful ministry in the heart of the city has had to come to an end."

New premises have been found, however, at St Peter Mancroft, the large parish church in the market place in the centre of Norwich, and "normal service" has been resumed for an initial period of six months.

"It's just one day a week at the moment, but great oaks grow from little acorns," said Pam Uden, one of a number of volunteers and workers at the old premises who have met every week since the closure to keep the concept alive.

"I am really excited by the prospect of starting again," she said. "St Peter's already has its own coffee-bar space that they have used previously, and they said 'Come and join us.' We hope we can now prove there is a need, which will allow us to get grants and other funding to expand.

"We are billing ourselves as The Sanctuary Café - which is what we originally called ourselves - at St Peter Mancroft, 'in the spirit of All Saints', because it is the people from All Saints' doing it.

"We have been tremendously helped by Janet Wyer, who is the Associate Priest at St Peter's, and was chaplain to All Saints'. She runs a project called 'Church Without Walls' for people to talk or pray and have a simple basic lunch, which is a similar sort of thing.

"We are looking to help vulnerable, marginalised people who have nowhere else to go and just want to come in have a cup of tea, a slice of homemade cake, and perhaps talk to someone who can point them towards the right agency to help them. . . All are welcome, whoever they are."

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