Trinity Methodist Church in South Elmsall, near Pontefract, is a small and elegant building, built during the 1880s when the community was an affluent and vibrant mining town. “One of England’s finest collieries was here then, it was a beautiful and thriving place and everyone had a job who wanted one,” says Trinity Church Council Secretary, Barry Johnson.
A century later, the mine was closed and, since the 1980s, South Elmsall’s community has suffered enormously. Those who can find work are forced to travel; poor health, poor education attainment and poverty have increased; and the parish is ranked 937th out of 12,599 in England, where 1st is the most deprived.* Decades of feeling ignored and unimportant have left this community in pain.
Members of Trinity Methodist Church felt a deep commitment to helping transform and heal the broken community of South Elmsall and, some years ago, consulted with the community to develop a new vision to help.
Trinity’s commitment to South Elmsall
- To establish the church as a Community Health & Wellbeing Hub to care for the body, mind and spirit of those in the community
- To offer hot breakfasts, a warm and supportive welcome and homework clubs for many of the young people and children (and their parents and pre-schoolers), who walk past the church doors every day, often hungry from living in a state of food poverty.
Trinity has begun this work - now employing a parish nurse from its membership, in conjunction with Parish Nursing Ministries UK, and offering regular breakfasts of bacon rolls and coffee to all who pass its door. But the success of its mission can only be achieved with major redevelopment of the Trinity Church building, which is unfit for purpose as a contemporary church and community centre.
The Methodist Grants programme supports Trinity’s major redevelopment
In 2019, Benefact Trust gave a grant of £25,000 from its Methodist programme to help Trinity undertake its major redevelopment. The funds will go towards improving disability access and creating three disabled car spaces (the church has no off-street parking) and a disabled toilet; levelling the raked floor and replacing pews with chairs; refurbishing the kitchen; turning the vestry into a private room for use by the parish nurse; and increasing the environmental performance and impact of the church by double glazing the windows, insulating the floor and roof, and incorporating a new intelligent heating and lighting system.
Paul Playford, Benefact Trust Grants Officer, who heads up the Methodist Grants programme, said: “This project is vital to Trinity Methodist Church and the community of South Elmsall. By turning its traditional Victorian building into a modern, flexible and multi-purpose community hub, the church can facilitate new forms of worship and expand its mission into the community to offer healing of mind, body and spirit, to people of all ages and faiths in need.”