The Sacred Heart in Tamworth, Staffordshire, is one of several churches featured in a new report which shines a light on their delivery of vital services.
The House of Good report by the National Churches Trust highlighted how the nation’s church buildings act as a ‘National Help Service’, providing £12.4 billion worth of essential social and economic support to local communities a year.
Now Church leaders have called for urgent Government support to protect those buildings after a new report highlighted the UK’s increasing reliance on volunteer-led services including food banks, mental health counselling and youth groups based in churches, chapels and meeting houses.
Church buildings are a ready-made network of responsive hubs providing increasing levels of care to local communities throughout the UK, the report found.
It highlighted the work of the Sacred Heart, where over 200 volunteers deliver a variety of services.
The church serves the Glascote Heath neighbourhood, a mainly residential part of Tamworth with a few convenience stores and pubs. The church is building a new cafe area to help reach more people with the aim of creating a welcoming place for people to come and find the support services they need.
During Covid-19, Community Together partnered up with several organisations including Heart of Tamworth, which is based at the Sacred Heart. In partnership with the Tamworth Self Isolation Support Group, the Heart of Tamworth delivered food parcels to the vulnerable in Tamworth including people who were shielding or isolating.
Fr Michael White, parish priest at Sacred Heart, said: “We’ve got over 200 volunteers from our church running all the services.
“Some of them maybe just do the Winter Night Shelter or the Summer Scheme, but that’s the life-blood of our outreach work and if you added the hours up, you’re talking about tens of thousands of hours and probably £250,000 a year’s worth of work. It’s invaluable isn’t it?”
Picture: The Heart of Tamworth Street Angels team is just one of the initiatives praised in the National Churches Trust report.