Fresh air in Fleetwood
A church just north of Blackpool is making its award money count by expanding its amazingly successful community offering into the great outdoors.
Pre-lockdown, Fleetwood Methodist Church created a new ‘coffee lounge’ called ‘Ruth’s Room’ built from a disused stage, and its success inspired them to make their church even more welcoming and accessible to local people in their small seaside town.
They’ve had some incredible results – such as a toddler group that started during lockdown over a year ago and is reaching over 160 families today.
‘Since the lockdowns ended, we’ve got a number of groups using the church,’ said minister Rev Katie Leonowicz. ‘There’s a mental health group, counselling services as part of Home Start, and new well-being groups aimed at getting people together to ‘Just Be’, and enjoy community and self-care, and to ‘Just Sing’ – a new community choir for those who enjoy a good sing-song.
‘There’s something really cathartic about getting together with friends and all singing your hearts out, whether it’s I’m Still Standing by Elton John or Do you hear the people sing? from Les Mis.
‘That’s on top of worship and Bible study groups, markets, and all the existing groups from our church and local area who have come back to using the building.
‘After working to make the inside of the church more welcoming we’re now planning to improve the outside space – after all, the outdoors was so important to us all during the worst of the pandemic.
‘We have a big grassy area to the side of the building which we’re planning to transform into a garden to be used not just by our congregation but potentially by anyone and everyone in Fleetwood. We’re going to fence it off so that the young children can play outside safely, and we would love to create a seating area so that the various groups can meet outside when the weather’s nice in the spring and summer.
‘We have visions of this space being used for things like Muddy Church and Forest Church for youngsters from the local schools, and a community growing space to help support people’s mental health.
‘All of this will now be more possible because of the award money – I was amazed that we won, but we at Fleetwood Methodist Church are so excited.’