Back together, still together: your Church as the centre of the community



Read about how your church can play an even greater role in your community, through fundraising, donations, and social activities.

For many, the pandemic highlighted something that they knew anyway – we need community. Not only is the church a local hub, but it’s a source of comfort and reassurance, even when we aren’t allowed to gather in person.

The final Covid restrictions have lifted, and we can now get together freely, but many things feel precarious, and many still need help and support. At times like these, it seems like one world crisis follows another, and it’s more important than ever to provide support locally and internationally.

Here are some of the ways that you can maximise your church’s potential as a place to raise funds, support causes, and support your community.

Setting up a donation hub
It’s wonderful to be back together, but times remain very uncertain. The community will no doubt want to help those in need, whether it’s a disaster appeal, a food bank, a homeless charity, or anything else. The church is the perfect hub for donations and collection, whether it’s food, clothes, or money.

It might go without saying, but make it clear at your donation point what you would like. If it’s food, specify non-perishables. If clothing, mention if there are any particularly useful or desirable items.

It’s a very straightforward way of rallying the community, but a very effective one.

Baking
Baking is a tried, tested, and ever-reliable way to bring people together, and your church kitchen can become a hub for many different events and initiatives.

Coffee mornings
Loneliness was an epidemic that spread during the lockdowns, but it was with us long before Covid. The elderly tended to suffer from it in greater numbers, and since many spent the last two years or so shielding, your church can help many to recover from the toll that took.

A regular coffee morning is something to look forward to for those who don’t get much social interaction, or indeed for anyone. It’s a very easy way to support the mental health of the community, in what are still very unsettling times.

Make sure that your kitchen is equipped to cater to larger groups. For coffee, you’ll probably need a large hot water urn – a kettle won’t cover many drinks, and you’ll constantly have to refill and boil it. When it comes to cakes and bakes, oven space is of course vital, or you won’t get many batches done in time. You’ll also need sufficient surface space for preparation, which will also have to be hygienic and easy to clean.

A semi-commercial kitchen accommodates those needs, and Steelplan can help you to plan and design yours.

Cake sales
When you’re supporting for a cause or fund, a cake sale is an excellent way to raise money. Baking is inexpensive, so there’s a good margin to be made on the products, and a lot of people are very happy to donate their time, effort, and goods to the cause.

Bake-off
If you want to make an even bigger event, you can run a baking competition. The scale and structure can be anything from a bring-your-own baking contest, with competition categories, or (if your kitchen has the capability) a day-long event where a few contestants compete in a series of challenges, Great British Bake-Off style.

By selling tickets or contest entries, you’ll find it a very effective way to raise funds, especially after so many people discovered baking during the lockdowns.

Social fixtures
Other regular and semi-regular events can be a great source of charitable funds, or income for the church, as well as strengthening community links. Here are some ideas for outreach and events.

Craft classes
People discovered a lot of new hobbies while they were forced to remain at home. As many continue to explore their creative side, organising craft classes could be a very popular way to engage more people from the local area. Volunteers or professionals could lead classes, and the church could raise funds with ticket sales and catering on the evenings in question.

Film nights
A few chairs, a pull-down screen, a projector, and you have your own cinema. Once again, tickets will raise money for whatever cause you might be supporting, plus it’ll be a great service to families who are looking for ways to keep children entertained, especially during school holidays. Your kitchen will come into its own here as well. You can serve teas and coffees for adults, soft drinks for children, and snacks for all. If you’re feeling ambitious, and your kitchen is suitably equipped, you could even run a dinner and movie night.

Performances
Whether it’s in your hall or in the church itself, holding an evening of music, poetry, or any performance will attract a lot of interest. You could invite professionals, but the talent in your local area might surprise you. You’ll be bringing lots of people to the church who might not otherwise have come, and it’ll provide a very valuable and meaningful contribution to the local cultural scene.

Naturally, the kitchen plays a major supporting role, providing refreshments before the show, at the interval, and afterwards as people mingle and socialise. Again, be sure that your kitchen is ready to take on catering at scale. A semi-commercial specification will provide sufficient sizes and types of equipment, as well as surfaces that are wipe clean and hygienic enough for heavier use.

Running a creche
Parents of young children get very little time to relax. With the rise of remote working, many are seeing their home and work life mix into one – time as a parent blending with time as an employee. If you were to run a creche alongside one of your social fixtures, parents won’t have the pressure and expense of arranging childcare, and they can also enjoy themselves knowing their children are nearby and in good hands.

Steelplan can offer expert advice. We design bespoke kitchens for churches of all shapes and sizes, so get in touch with our friendly team today on 0844 809 9186, or by emailing [email protected].

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