Community Matters Cafe – Cromer Methodist Church
The Community Matters Cafe in Cromer began in 2012 as a free meal facility for anyone in the community, but particularly socially excluded people - those in financial difficulty, those with issues related to substance abuse, those with poor mental health and the elderly who wrestle with isolation.
The Community Matters Cafe is now open twice weekly on Monday and Thursday from 10.30am until 1.30pm. There are regularly 30+ visitors and 3000 two-course meals were served up last year.
The project is entirely self-funding from donations (mostly from members of several churches who come to offer conversation and support).
Though overseen by the Methodist Church, it is run by volunteers from several churches and the core service team (front of house and kitchen) come mostly from the wider community. There are links with and support from Cromer & District Foodbank.
The cafe is a hub for other areas of support- the newest project is a Support Store where clothing and household goods are available to those who find themselves in need.
The project offers additional support (listening, exploring options for help, directing to appropriate support agencies and acting as an advocate where required, etc)
Rev Sharon Willimott, Superintendent Minister of the North Norfolk Methodist Circuit, who runs the café, said: “The project is called ‘Community Matters’ as I had seen that loneliness affects people of all ages. Early in my ministry in Cromer I became aware of the very large, usually hidden, numbers of local people who suffer social disadvantage, as evidenced by the need for the Foodbank that we host.
"I therefore wanted to give them access to good food as a gift from the church, dispel some of the social stigma surrounding exclusion by providing a safe space to enable such people to interact together. Clients say that the cafe is a lifeline for them, and for some the only place where they feel accepted and included.
"We have found that the non-judgmental service of all has transformed the confidence of many, and enables the community to see that the church still has relevance today as we express God’s love and grace in action."
Project: Community Matters Cafe
Who: Cromer Methodist with support from other churches and the community.
What: Community Meal
Where: Cromer Methodist Church
When: Twice weekly – Monday & Thursday
Numbers: 30 or more each time. Around 250 meals a month.
Contact: Rev Sharon Willimott at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cromer Methodist Church also runs a monthly Messy Church that feeds around 30 families.
Project: Messy Church
Who: Cromer Methodist Church
What: Family friendly craft, worship and a meal
How many: 30 families every month
Contact: Christine Goodman at email@example.com tel 01263 511729
Photo: © Copyright N Chadwick and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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About the project
Norfolk Feeds 5000 is a research project which aims to establish the extent to which the Christian community across Norfolk is meeting the simple command of Jesus to "feed the hungry".
Christian churches, groups and individuals across Norfolk meet the needs of the hungry and the thirsty every day of the year through foodbanks, free community meals, homeless projects, soup runs, Messy Church and other activities.
A simple survey has been conducted to attempt to quantify the extent to which this is happening and the findings of the survey will be published here, including many of the stories about the projects which feed people throughout Norfolk.
The project is supported by Celebrate Norfolk, Network Norfolk, Christian Aid, the Diocese of Norwich, Good News for Norwich & Norfolk and Bright Map and is named after the Bible story of the Feeding of The 5000.
If your Christian food-related project is not featured in our case studies and you would like us to include you, please send details, a fact file, a picture and web links to us by clicking here.
The research and reporting team behind NorfolkFeeds5000 is from Network Norwich & Norfolk: Jenny Seal, Helen Baldry, Tony Rothe & Keith Morris.
NF5k projects map