A support centre in Wellingborough was paid a special visit by a Church of England Bishop in a bid to help secure its future.
Yesterday (Tuesday) The Rt Revd Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough, visited the Daylight Centre Fellowship as special guest at an awareness lunch to highlight the centre’s vital role in the town and the need for ongoing financial support to guarantee its future.
Last month the centre announced that, due to a lack of funding, it was no longer able to offer its five-day service and took the difficult decision to close on Fridays.
Having first visited the centre’s food bank, Bishop Donald spoke to guests, including centre staff, trustees, volunteers and users, about the importance of the fellowship’s work and urged those with influence to help secure its long-term future.
He said: “It is great to see the fantastic work that’s being done here to help some of those most vulnerable in society as we know that cuts to statutory services, which are only set to increase, mean that support and benefits are all the harder to access.
“There is clearly a huge, huge need for what’s offered here and I call upon those who can help, both in terms of monetary donations and in securing the future fabric of the centre, to do all that they can to assist.”
Those were sentiments echoed by the fellowship’s chairman of trustees, Josephine Palmer.
She said: “Our mission is to offer time, space and practical guidance to anyone who walks in the front door to enable them to tackle the problems that limit their quality of life.”
“Our services, whether that’s offering advice, a cost-effective lunch or even access to a computer, are coming under ever-increasing pressure, so I very much hope that Bishop Donald’s visit will inspire those who can to ensure that we are still here in the months and years to come.”
Among those at the event was centre user Steve, a former alcoholic, who began dropping in at Queen’s Hall just a few months after it opened.
He said: “I would drink 14 pints a day and at night, I’d lie down in a graveyard and use a half-drunk bag of cider as my pillow.
“But coming here and meeting others who understood what I was going through has turned my life around.
Now I have somewhere to live, friends to talk to and something to want to get up for, so I’m really grateful to the Bishop for coming today and helping us.”
The fellowship is an independent local charity which opened its doors in December 1994 with the aim of meeting a variety of personal needs - everything from complex mental health issues and drug and alcohol abuse to homelessness and isolation.
It also offers a hot meal, a warm place to meet and access to practical support such as sourcing benefits and work opportunities or simply using a telephone or the internet.
To support the centre – either by making an individual donation, setting up a charitable trust gift or giving time to volunteer – please call the team on 01933 446490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.