The winter beer and food festival was a fantastic success again this year, riding high no-doubt on the news that Belper had become the overall winner of the Great British High Street 2014.
One of the things that marks out these type of events is the great sense of the community enjoying rubbing shoulders with itself and others visiting from further afield.
The churches provide a small but significant facility on this particular occasion each year. The Town Council provides a couple of gazebos for us to shelter from the cold breeze, enabling tired children to enjoy free Christmas based crafts. Everything from shepherd masks to 3D Christmas trees are made and brightly decorated, whilst parents get to stand and chat or have a go themselves!
It is always very enjoyable to take part on the Hope for Belper team for this event, so as we approach next year’s festival do think about a stint on the H4B stand yourself – no special skills required just a friendly and encouraging face.
The second Belper Goes Green Eco Festival hit town at the end of May just as the weather turned from very wet to beautifully sunny!
The greener fingered among the church congregations had spent the previous few weeks nurturing tomato seedlings among other things ready for the festival weekend.
The Hope marquee housed a temporary nursery, encouraging youngsters to get enthusiastic about growing things. Over the Saturday of the festival weekend around 150 children dragged willing (to varying degrees) parents in to our tent and got their hands in to some lovely compost, repotting the seedlings in to larger plant pots and taking them away in the hope of juicy tomatoes to come.
We also had an excellent array of fair trade products for sale and a display about what goes in to one of ‘The Basic Idea’ food parcels.
Particular mention should go to Gareth Stoddart for rescuing us with the erection and dismantling of the Hope marquee – one of these days we’ll actually make sense of the labelling. Thank you also to all those who helped out on the day (in particular our very own Percy Thrower in Kate Greenwood), but also to all who had a go at the growing.
Last month saw Belper churches hire the Ritz Cinema for a special matinee performance of ‘Despicable Me 2’.
Arrangements were made and tickets went out to the Children’s Centres and Primary schools. Over 80 children, parents and grandparents came on the day and for some it was their first time at the Ritz. Dozens of cakes and cookies were baked and every last one eaten up by some very excited cinema goers!
There are times when day to day life stretches all of us and illness, financial concerns and emotional upset can get the better of us – so it was a great delight to once again be able to extend a very simple hand of unconditional love through this project.
We hope that everyone who got tickets enjoyed the afternoon and thank you to all who contributed in organising and running the afternoon.
Hope for Belper bought together folks from across the congregations to put together Christmas Hampers for those of our neighbours who through numerous circumstances would have been unable to celebrate Christmas with a festive family meal.
Christians from many local churches responded with amazing generosity to sponsor hampers to the tune of £1,600. This meant that on the day we were able to shop for and put together 33 hampers instead of the initial 20 planned.
The staff at the Sure Start Children’s Centre were delighted to be able to support so money more families in this way.
Many thanks to all those who supported the project again this year, from some anecdotal feedback and a note from one family the provision of these hampers means a lot to those who receive them.
Many thanks also goes to ‘Inspirepac’ for specially making and gifting the hamper boxes to order.
- Christmas Eve also saw Hope for Belper out on the Market Place once again supporting the Town Council Carol Service. This event is always well attended and the cup of hot chocolate has become a fixture over the years.
Around 500 cups were served and our thanks go to the management of The Black Swan for once again allowing us to work out of their kitchen and also to No.28 for supplying tables.
Earlier this year you may have been lucky enough to have your bags packed at Morrisons by a keen bunch of local Beavers, Cubs and Scouts from the 1st Openwoodgate Scout group.
Over a six hour stint, children from all three age groups and supervised by Leaders and parents, raised nearly £1000 from their efforts!
It was decided that the monies should be split between the pack’s funds and Hope for Belper, which among other projects operates the Basic Idea food bank in the town.
Pictured are four of Hope for’s trustees, Caroline Stoddart, Helen Greenwood, Paul Linford and Gareth Greenwood, receiving a cheque for £474 from some of the cubs involved in the bag pack.
The presentation took place at the cubs’ weekly Wednesday evening gathering at St Mark’s Church, Openwoodgate.
Sharon Marshall, the Group Scout Leader said it was “great to see the children all working together and helping others.”
Hope for Belper chair Gareth Greenwood added: “We are thrilled that the scout groups have chosen to be so generous towards their town, in giving half the money raised towards Hope projects!”