St Catherine's CE Church and Community Centre in Burnley helping the vulnerable for more than 20 years
A Burnley church has dedicated more than 20 years to helping the town's most vulnerable.
St Catherine's CE Church and Community Centre in Mary Street runs drop-in groups on Mondays and Fridays to help feed the homeless and tackle loneliness.
Fr Roger Parker and Helen Beech, community centre coordinator, lead the church's mission to help people escape poverty, including handing out food parcels and working with agencies like Inspire and Homeless Navigators.
Fr Parker said: "We've been going for over 20 years and offer people a warm place to be and meet friends."
The drop-in Monday group runs from 9-30am to 11-30am and offers people breakfast, lunch, a hot shower, and a change of clothes for free, plus advice from homelessness and addiction charities.
Cath's Cafe, also known as the free Feel Good Friendship Group, is open every Friday from 9-30am to 11-30am for breakfast and board games.
The church also runs four children's groups, plus a Tuesday gardening club from 10am to noon and Bingo Buddies on Thursdays from 1-30pm to 3-30pm.
As part of its development, St Catherine’s received funding to build its current home 10 years ago to continue all its kind work. And even when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the kind-hearted volunteers remained determined to carry on their good deeds and find new ways to help people.
"We had to close down during the lockdown, but we continued to serve food from here throughout, so people could come and collect a meal. Quite a few families would come for that,” said Fr Parker.
"We have this wonderful building now, and everyone is welcome, particularly those in need."
The latest challenge to the church's mission is the cost of living crisis, which has plunged more people into poverty, according to Fr Parker.
"More people come here now. They know they will get a hot meal and be somewhere warm.
"People of all ages feel the pinch, particularly the elderly, vulnerable people and families.”
Fr Parker added: "I want to thank all those who support our work and donate to us. We are most grateful because we couldn't do this work without all the help we get.
"Anybody out there who wants somewhere to come and have a hot lunch is welcome to join us."