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A Lancashire parish church is going the extra mile to support its local community as the energy and cost of living crisis continues.  

The church is just one of many across the County offering help at this difficult time.  

From Tuesday to Friday 11am - 2pm, at St Laurence’s in Chorley town centre, hot meals and drinks are available to folk living alone in need of support.  

The church will also provide people with a free haircut; a lending library and book swap; a free clothes rail; free newspapers; weekly speakers; debt advice; arts and crafts and rag rugging/build a blanket sessions. 

St Laurence's also has a Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre on site, a Debt Centre manager and team of befrienders available to support people in the Chorley area who are struggling with the burden of debt. 

Their specialist advice and support is available for free, confidential and available not only to people who attend church, but anyone at all in the community.  

The helpline number for people who would like to book an appointment and start tackling their debt issue is 0800 328 0006. They also provide a drop-in service on a Wednesday between 1-2pm inside St Laurence's Church. 

Parish Priest Fr Neil Kelley (pictured above) said: “Winter is always a tough time for those on fixed incomes or little cash to spare, and this year it is going to be even more of a challenge as people struggle to make ends meet and pay for the basics. 

"We hope to provide people with a safe and warm space to spend time in, with volunteers to offer the hand of friendship. We hope that by offering food, friendship and a warm environment it will help people struggle a little less than they otherwise might do. 

"The Church of England has always held to the proud tradition of being a church for all its parish, not just members of its congregation and we hope that all those locally who may be struggling will be able to come along for support and friendship.” 

The Acting Bishop of Blackburn Rt Rev Philip North, speaking recently, commented: "Churches stand ready in this crisis. We have spaces that we can open up as warm spaces, we run activities that people can come to and we run a network of food banks and food pantries and so on. There's a great deal we can offer. 

"I encourage our parishes and schools to live out Jesus' message of hope and respond with positive action to help their communities at this time, just like St Laurence’s has. 

"We want to help people not to be afraid today. As we meet their needs; as we listen to the plight of those going through crisis; as we do what we can ... that's radical contemporary action." 

 

 

Ronnie Semley
23/11/2022