Church survey to find out what residents need in Arbury and King's Hedges
Two churches have joined forces to survey their local communities in a bid to find out what services they could provide to help the wellbeing of residents.
Over the last year, Arbury Road Baptist Church and the Church of the Good Shepherd have spoken to more than 200 people including local residents, businesses, doctors and councillors, as well as MP Daniel Zeichner.
Now they plan to use the results to design new services for the community, including a mental health cafe and, possibly, a playgroup where dads can take their children at weekends.
Reverend Matt Rowe, of Arbury Road Baptist Church, said: “We are thrilled that so many people were willing to share their thoughts with us, and having listened to the voices of over 200 residents alone, the churches are currently in the process of reviewing the data that we have collected. We hope in the coming months to launch new projects that connect with some of the areas that are on people’s hearts in North Cambridge.
“The survey has demonstrated a clear desire for the church to engage and serve people across all ages. In addition, the issues of mental health and loneliness have also been identified as key issues facing our community today.”
The churches have already started running a monthly cafe for anyone struggling with mental health problems, called Wonderfully Made. It is currently held in a local coffee shop but there are plans to grow this service to help more people in the community.
Rev Rowe added: “We noted from the responses that people want places to build relationships with other families because loneliness is a common problem. When I was a child I could meet people when I was playing out in the street but the world is a different place now and we need to find other ways for people to connect. One service we want to open is a play session where dads can bring their children and spend time with them as well as meeting up with other parents.”
The idea for the survey came from a desire for the churches to offer more than just services on a Sunday. All who took part in the survey were entered into a free prize draw. Cambridge MP, Daniel Zeichner selected the winner, who will now receive £250 in John Lewis vouchers, and also, with thanks to the generosity of John Lewis, a free makeover and personal shopping experience. The winner of the draw has been informed but has asked not to have their name publicised.
Rev Rowe said: “We want to be churches that make a positive impact on the community around us. We believe that Jesus came so that we might have hope and enjoy life in all its fullness, and we want to help each and every person in North Cambridge to know that they are loved, they can have hope, and they can live life in all its fullness today.
“We would like to thank everyone who participated in this survey. We hope North Cambridge knows that it has had its voice heard. If you would like to know more about how we are seeking to respond to the needs of our community, or if you would like to support us as we seek to invest in North Cambridge, please get in touch and we would love to hear from you. North Cambridge is a wonderful place to live, and we hope that through this survey, this will only be enhanced.”