Belper’s Winter Food & Real Ale Festival is rapidly becoming an event not to be missed. Many hundreds of folk poured in to the town centre and consequently there were many tired little ones in their parents wake.
Folks from across the churches under the banner of Hope for Belper were on hand for a third year to provide the opportunity for kids to enjoy some Christmas related crafts – tree decorations, cards and masks galore were produced and there have never been so many Marys, Josephs and Shepherds wondering the high street!
Hope for Belper Street Angels were also at the stand, chatting about their support for people finding themselves vulnerable in the wee small hours of a Friday night in town.
It was again a privilege to come alongside the council in working for and loving our town together.
On the evening of Monday 7th October Jo Lambourne and Gareth Greenwood joined the 2nd Belper Guides to talk about food poverty and the way in which it is affecting some of our neighbours around the town.
Jo and Gareth talked about how ‘The Basic Idea’ food-bank project had been set up in response to the credit crunch and that since then hundreds of families and individuals had been helped to get through times of financial hardship and crisis in and around the Belper area.
The Guide Troop were very engaged with the issues involved and asked some very searching questions throughout the evening. They had the opportunity to sort and label many cans and packets that had been recently donated by local churches and schools.
They packed some of these items along with food they themselves had brought along on the evening in to boxes ready to be delivered to their neighbours in need.
Hope for Belper would like to thank them for their generosity in giving both food and their evening toward the project – well done girls!
Thanks also to Rachel Kenning and her team of leaders for inviting us along for the evening.
The Hope team were together again for Christmas Hamper packing on the weekend of the 8th December. In previous years, folks from the town lead by the Community Church have been out on a pre-Christmas shopping spree to put together a number of family Christmas hampers for families across the town who would otherwise struggle to celebrate in the traditional manner.
This year with extra funding from the Baptist congregation and the Community Church, Hope have been able to partner with the Belper Family Centre to supply 15 hampers this Christmas.
Most of us take for granted the ability to be able to put some kind of a festive feast on the table, but this is not necessarily the case for all our neighbours across Belper.
The Children’s Centre identified 15 families with whom they have had significant contact over the past year and for whom hosting a family Christmas day would be, to say the least, financially problematic. It is for these families that Hope were able to be a significant blessing this Christmas, by delivering a hamper of goodies including traditional favourites such as Yule logs, Christmas puds and stuffing etc along with a £20 Howarth’s meat voucher.
A great time was also had by all those spending time together on the Saturday, shopping and packing the colourful festive hampers. We pray that we all will continue to have compassion over 2013 towards those who are struggling financially in our community.
Belper’s 2nd Winter Food Festival went ahead with nearly double the number of stall holders participating – we enjoyed a very cold spell of seasonal weather that weekend, but it certainly didn’t stop neighbours from across the town and beyond, wrapping up and coming out to browse and enjoy meeting up with old friends.
In our busy lives, these communal dates in the calendar are certainly great opportunities not just to enjoy all that local traders and producers have to offer, but also a time to connect maybe even just once a year with old friends, catching up with their news in a kind of face to face round robin replacement! There is something that feels quite medieval about such a street scene.
The children’s activities that Hope for Belper provided were very busily taken up, especially over the morning and due to the nature of some of the craft options to hand meant that we were able to have some good conversations with parents – plenty of interest was shown in the display materials, with special interest in developments to both the Street Angels and The Basic Idea projects.
Personally, I fulfilled one of my ambitions, which was meeting someone who lives well ok, works) in Halfway in Sheffield – never take the tram it only promises to take you ‘Halfway’!
Until now, the only places we have had donation points for ‘The Basic Idea’ have been in local church buildings – whilst these are accessable to most people, we have been looking for a way to make donating simpler.
So, to make it even easier for our friends and neighbours living around the Gregory’s Way and John O’Gaunts Way areas of town to donate items to ‘The Basic Idea’ we have partnered with the local team at the TESCO Express to provide a donation point in store.
The donation point can be found towards the front of the shop near the tills.