Church on the Street launches town centre hub for Burnley vulnerable

A new community space where Burnley's most vulnerable will be offered support and guidance has opened in the town centre.

Church on the Street's dedicated hub in Hammerton Street houses a food bank, counselling rooms for one-to-one sessions, a medical room, a cafe, and a main space that serves as a church.

The official opening saw a plaque unveiled in honour of COTS’ founder David Hirst, who died last year, followed by a tour of the building’s facilities.

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A number of dignitaries attended the ceremony including Lord Shuttleworth, who offered a dedication, Mayor of Burnley Mark Townsend, leader of Burnley Council Afrasiab Anwar, Bishop Steven Lyn Evans and Mrs Christine Kirk, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire.

Exterior of the new Church on the Street hub in Hammerton Street, Burnley. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Church on the Street was founded in 2019 by Pastor Mick Fleming, and Mary and David Hirst.

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The COTS ministry would meet outside Burnley's town centre McDonalds to hand out food, drink, help and advice to those who needed it.

Services soon expanded to include hot meals, clothing and food banks, recovery groups and funeral services, while opening a night shelter for the local homeless remained an overarching aim.

Lord Shuttleworth with Pastor Mick Fleming at the official opening of the Church on the Street in Burnley. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

The opening of the hub has seen that dream become a reality; all made possible by the hundreds of generous donations that flooded in following COTS' appearance on a BBC news feature before Christmas.

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Pastor Fleming believes its role within the surrounding area is going to be more important than ever now.

"During the pandemic, Burnley’s communities have suffered, with many being driven into debt and poverty. With furlough running out in September and cuts to Universal Credit due later in the year, Church on the Street are already preparing for the winter.

"People’s needs are going to change, and we’re expecting to see a rise in homelessness – so we’re ensuring we’re prepared for that.”

(l-r) Janis Chisnall and Bernadette Naylor (feeder on the streets), Lord Shuttleworth, Mayor of Burnley Mark Townsend and Ann Leverett (volunteer) at the official opening of the Church on the Street in Burnley. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
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