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Churchyard to transform into eating area for pizza restaurant

by Tola Mbakwe

A church in Norwich will allow customers of a nearby pizza restaurant to enjoy meals in its yard when it opens next week.

St Peter Mancroft Church in the city centre has teamed up with Brick Pizza, which needed an outdoor space for customers so it could adhere to social distancing rules. 

Vicar of the church Rev Edward Carter told Premier the business owners approached him about the idea and the church was in a great position to help. 

"We've got a part of our churchyard, just to the north side of the church, which faces onto the market, which is fenced off and has some trees, but isn't really used very much," he said. 

"So it's a really nice grassy space. They're going to provide some benches, they're going to have staff there to supervise. 

"They're going to cook the food in the restaurant, but bring it out to that space, that's the plan with drinks as well. It'll make a really nice space, especially in the summer for people to enjoy eating and having their pieces."

Rev Edwards said as many churches have been at the forefront of helping people in need during lockdown, it's now time to start thinking about small businesses that are desperate for help as the UK eases out of lockdown. 

"It's been a really tough time for them. When people talk about business they often imagine kind of mega corporates with loads of money and very maybe overpaid, chief executives. But a lot of business happens in a much smaller way and much more energizing enterprising way."

Rev Edwards ran a small board game company before becoming a vicar and said he knows how challenging running a business can be. 

"My heart is in helping small businesses like Brick Pizza and others if we can, and not just because it's a nice thing to do, but actually because I think that's what God wants us to do as well."

He said the arts sector in Norwich has also been badly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and he's interested in how the church can practically help. 

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