A church in Stoke-on-Trent has turned its cold weather facility into a means of helping people stay cool in the hot weather.
Since November, Christ Church Tunstall has run a Winter Warm space which provides hot meals and fellowship for people to help with the cost of living crisis.
Now it's offering people ice-creams and a place to cool down in the Summer months.
It's vicar Fr John Stather has been speaking to Premier about the idea :
“There are about 600 groups across the country that meet in church halls and libraries and all sorts of different places to offer a warm place during the Winter. We started one just before lockdown as a way of getting people to come together to try and improve social inclusion.
“We relaunched it in November to help with the cost of living crisis and the increased heating of homes. We had a good number of people coming along and people were enjoying spending time together and having a fellowship, but also obviously keeping warm as well.”
As temperatures increased however, Fr Stather decided to continue the facility but offer ice-creams and cold drinks instead, as well as a place for people to cool down. He hopes other churches follow his example :
“One of the criticisms of churches is often that they're cold. But that’s a great thing in the Summer. What we’re doing is actually very basic, we’re offering tea or coffee, maybe some sandwiches and ice-creams. You don’t need hundreds of volunteers and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. It becomes self-sustaining and any church can run these sorts of fellowship things.
“Whether you’re a megachurch or a much smaller one without the resources, it’s about bringing people in and what we can do to serve our communities.”