Read how one church is helping to tackle loneliness using a Charity Bank loan.
According to Age UK, 1.4 million older people in the UK often feel lonely. It can be difficult to meet people once you’ve retired and your children have left home.
Christ Church Aughton is an Anglican parish church in Ormskirk, Lancashire. Back in 2010, the church was gifted a piece of land on which to build a new church centre. The Ministry Centre is now home to a large café and numerous activities, from prayer meetings and a Sunday school to toddler groups.
Many of the activities are focused on bringing older people together. FACT (Feeling Alone, Come Together) sees people meeting for tea and biscuits every week. A popular lunch club meets twice a month, which costs just £5 for a three-course meal. The Cave men’s club meets Friday mornings for a game of pool and a chat over coffee, and there’s also a Girly Night In and a Knit and Natter club.
It cost Christ Church Aughton £1.1 million to clear the land and build the Ministry Centre. While the church managed to raise most of the money, it still needed a loan of £325,000. Chris Matthews is the former treasurer of the parochial church council. He shared that the church chose Charity Bank for its loan because, “1: It’s an ethical bank; 2: it looks after charities; and 3: other banks weren’t very interested!” The flexible payment terms have enabled the church to overpay the loan at times, for example when it’s been gifted a legacy.
“Charity Bank have always been very speedy at coming back to us if we have a question. They’ve been very helpful, particularly compared to other banks we’ve dealt with. We’re not seen as important to the bigger banks, but with Charity Bank, we’re treated fairly, as a valued customer.”Christ Church Aughton PCC’s treasurer, Mark Patterson, and former treasurer, Chris Matthews
Thanks to the Ministry Centre, people in Ormskirk have a place to socialise and meet new friends. In total, around 500 people a week benefit from the centre, including around 80 volunteers. As Chris explains, “For some people, it’s the only time they’re able to get out of the house.” As an added benefit, once the loan is repaid, the church will have a long-term sustainable income from the café and from hiring the hall out.
“The warm welcome at the carpark and the volunteers’ acceptance of my husband’s dementia meant such a lot to us. Great friendship and fellowship with a great choice of wonderful food at excellent value.”Christ Church Aughton, Lunch club user
“I love it here. It’s my favourite day of the week. Lovely food and wonderful staff.”Christ Church Aughton, Café user
About Charity Bank
Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,100 loans totalling over £400m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.
Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.