Colne Parish Church – Free Lunches

Colne Parish Church offering FREE packed lunch on Mon & Thur throughout the summer

Colne Parish Church (St. Bartholomews) are offering free packed lunches to anyone that would like one . The offer is on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the summer holidays (i.e. from Mon 22 July – Thur  29 Aug 2019) between 11.30 am and 12.30 pm.  

No such thing as a free lunch?
Well, yes there is. Pop down to Colne Parish Church between 11.30 am & 12.30 pm on any Monday or Thursday over the summer holidays. The free lunch consists of a sandwich, a bag of crisps, a biscuit, some fruit and a drink. It’s intended for children.

So you’re asking “what’s this all about?” and “who is it for?”.  Just for the homeless or those starving? Do you need to attend Church? No, it’s simply for anyone with children that feels they are in need of a bit of help.

Well, we popped down to Colne Parish Church today (Wed 31st July 2019) to get the facts.  We spoke to Mandy Kroukamp of the PCC (Parochial Church Council) for St. Bartholomew’s.

“We are aware that there is a lot of poverty in Colne. Not just the homeless, but there are lots of people that are *just* about getting by and they often struggle to make ends meet. We wanted to try to help everyone. After all, we are a living church … and we want to engage with, and help, our community.

Colne is characterised by a generous and warm community.  You can see this everywhere. We’ve had lots of people walking into the church, just wanting to give us a donation to help towards the provision of these free lunches.

It’s so nice to see the caring nature of local people and business. We’re supported by the people of the Parish itself, Asda (Colne), Co-Op (Colne), Tesco and Fresco (Nelson).

So, we can offer free lunches to *anyone* – the elderly, the homeless, families, children … anyone. Just pop into the church on Mon or Thur between 11.30 & 12.30.”

Breaking down barriers
This scheme was heavily publicised – all the schools in Colne were notified and information was given out to family support workers.  

Are you taking a lunch away from someone worse off? No you are not. Last week, they supplied 60+ lunches.  The volunteers tell us that they have the capacity to provide many more free lunches (perhaps over triple that amount). The meals are prepared on the day and more will be prepared if the demand increases.  The point here is: don’t be shy … the Colne Parish Church and their volunteers are a fabulous, friendly set of people.

We’re told that many people are a bit embarrassed to come into Church to ask for their free lunch. To combat this apprehension, Church volunteers have been out on the street in front of the Church trying to break down the perceived barriers … talking to those who clearly want a lunch, but are afraid to come inside the Church. 

Engaging the Community 
We’ve been visiting Colne Parish Church regularly and it’s a regular stop off point for a refreshing brew whilst we are out and about in the community. Did you know that they have a little cafe / food serving area in the Church itself? Any day of the week, you can drop in for a brew & cake.

It would be completely misguided to think that ‘its an old stuffy environment’ or that ‘it’s all about religion’ – a significant part of the Church activities are designed to engage with, and help, the community. (This also applies to other churches, mosques and other religious establishments).

The Rev. Lisa Senior (pictured here with a teacher from Lord Street Primary School) is very friendly and easy going.  On Wednesdays, they have a Luncheon Club (paid for lunch, although it’s pretty cheap!).  On Thursday mornings they have the infamous Knit & Natter group. If you visit on a day that the Knit & Natter group are there, there will be plenty of friendly folk around!

Then there’s a very active ‘Mothers Union’ too … you might see them hard at work creating flower displays at Easter time or perhaps doing a spot of WW2 re-enactment … (always nice to see Colne in Bloom lurking around with cakes too!)

Have we convinced you that this is friendly environment yet? Well, Colne Parish Church often joins in with major events in the town. They took part in the Easter in Colne event, offering all sorts of activities for the children and the much-prized Church Tower Tour.

Tower Tour? Yep! It’s awesome and includes a tour of the bell ringing area. Your next opportunity will be the weekend of the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival.

Sometimes you might pop into Church and there will be a band playing. What, in church? Yes! First Sunday of the month.  If you’re *really* lucky, you might hear children from our local schools singing or enjoying a church visit.

Very Old Church – Local Heritage
Colne Parish Church is a very old church – it’s been around since the 12th century.  The building is wholly maintained by its members and there’s always something to fix or improve. So, if you fancy helping these folk out … pop in, say hello, buy a coffee and, if you’re feeling generous, make a donation.

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About Naz Alam 293 Articles
Naz is well known in the local community as a photo journalist. He is group creator for 'Colne Talk' - a Facebook Community Group which has approx 20K members. He also runs multiple Facebook pages for the local community & local business, such as 'Visit Colne'.