It is now five years since the first post on the then newly-launched Hope for Belper blog went live and H4B officially came into being.
Since then, it has grown from a small group of Christians praying and planning to a partnership of eight churches alongside schools, the Town Council, local police and many friends and neighbours.
More than 50 volunteers are regularly involved in delivering the two main projects, ‘The Basic Idea’ and ‘Street Angels’ with more interest being shown all the time.
Over 30 separate projects or events have been facilitated by Hope over the years, with more than 70 young people attending Dreamschemes, in excess of 400 children and parents enjoying a film at the Ritz, over 3,000 cups of hot chocolate given away and around 350 families provided with crisis food boxes.
Hope for Belper chair Gareth Greenwood said: “It has been a remarkable five years and (almost) entirely an absolute joy! It has felt like a town coming even closer together and a local church embracing an opportunity to love, and love being a part of its community.
“Hope for Belper has been and is an amazing opportunity for the local church to act in unity bringing the Gospel alive in our town; God’s Spirit is achieving much through this generative friendship. The message of the Gospel is one of grace and reconciliation spanning out of the millennia. Five years is actually a very small jot in the expanse of time, so we can look forward to enjoying bringing Hope to Belper for a long while yet.”
Here’s a pictorial reminder of some of the projects we have undertaken in the course of those five years from our very first project – handing out cups of hot chocolate in the Market Place on New Year’s Eve 2007.
What they all have in common is an element of celebration and a strong sense of community and shared experience.