Dementia café, dementia choir, mindfulness courses, lunches for the elderly and business chaplaincy. What do all these have in common?
These are just some of the many activities that will be held at the new community hub at St Philip and St James, aka ‘Pip and Jims’ church in Leckhampton, Cheltenham. A new Community Engagement Officer will help organise these and other activities and develop relationships with community groups and vulnerable people. This will help us ensure that we organise activities that people are interested in attending.
Improving mental health
Reducing loneliness, isolation and improving people’s mental health and wellbeing has always been a key aim of Pip and Jims. With our new building we will be able to host a range of activities for the community that do just that. Our area has more people aged 75 and above than others, yet no day care facilities for the elderly exist in the ward.
Lunches for the elderly
Our CAMELOT lunches, before lockdown, were attended by approximately 30 people. During lockdown we switched to home deliveries for those who used to attend the lunches, and others who were in need. In our new building, we will be able to host up to 50 people for lunch, provide dementia support, craft and music activities for the elderly, and a break for carers.
A new community hub
The inside of our old building wasn’t suitable to host these activities. So, we developed a plan to reorder the inside, create new accessible and inclusive meeting spaces, fundraise and are now in the process of completing our building renovation project. The new building will be welcoming, equipped and accessible to a everyone in the community, including those with limited mobility.
A bit about me
I am the churchwarden and have been a member of Pip and Jims for six years. I am a member of the Reordering Project Board. Our vision is for our reordered building to be a beacon of light in the community hosting a variety of activities, both secular and faith based that are attractive to people of all faiths and none. We are particularly focused on hosting activities for those who are vulnerable, lonely and isolated. One of the main roles of the Community Engagement Officer will be to identify and develop relationships with community and voluntary groups and develop activities that meet their needs, and those of the wider community. This includes counselling, business chaplaincy, mindfulness, and a dementia café and community choir. The new St Philip and St James will be open seven days a week and with its numerous spaces and meeting rooms, it will host community meetings, exhibitions, arts and cultural events.
The team that will make this happen
The building project is led by our Reordering Project Board. Our Board members have a wide variety of backgrounds and experience, which has brought a richness and a wealth of knowledge to the project and insights into the activities that should be organised. The other members of our committee include a retired Assistant Chief Constable, our Team Rector, a retired Professor of Epidemiology, a Finance Director , and a retired educationist. Our different backgrounds and experiences have helped us as a Board, with the support of the wider community, to determine which activities will benefit all sections of the community, and to make sure that all the funds raised are used to this end.