St Bede's celebrates a year of making a positive difference

September 2012


St Bede's church hall in Bedlington was packed out recently for an evening of entertainment and celebration.

The event marked the first anniversary of St Bede's Open House: one of eleven parish projects supported by St Cuthberts Care's successful PACE (Parish and Community Enablement) initiative.

Fr Chris Hughes joined guests and volunteers for a wonderful time, as they enjoyed a celebratory buffet and birthday cake and were entertained by members of the Lemington Male Voice Choir.

Many of the 40 guests enjoying the evening were keen to comment on the difference St Bede's Open House has made to them:
"The volunteers are so helpful they make everyone welcome and we really enjoy our evening with them"
"I never feel awkward coming here alone as I know friends I have made at Open House are waiting for me to join them"
"Since my husband became ill, Open House gives me something to look forward to; it's a chance to get out of the house and have a chat and a few fun games"
"Everyone here is just like a member of my family"
"I look forward to coming here so much, it keeps me going through the rest of the week."

Fr Chris added, "I'd like to thank each and every one who has helped not only to make this parish project possible, but so successful. As we join each other in celebration of our first year together, I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to all those involved: St Bede's parishioners, the dedicated volunteers and our guests. The co-operation between St Cuthberts Care and the parish has been highly effective.

I am delighted that this initiative with St Cuthberts Care and St Bede's Parish to address community needs has reaped so many rewards for so many people within and beyond the parish community."

Every week, St Bede's Open House provides a warm welcome to dozens of people from the community who are lonely, elderly or isolated. As well as offering light refreshments, volunteers provide engaging activities and quizzes which get everyone involved and chatting together. As a result, many friendships have been made since Open House first opened its doors a year ago.

St Bede's Open House is held every Tuesday between 6pm and 8pm at St Bede's church hall, Catholic Row in Bedlington and costs just £2 per session.