Empty presbytery now the heart of a new community

28 October 2013

St Mary's Drop Inn volunteers

A vacant presbytery in Hartlepool has become a warm, welcoming gathering place for members of the local community.

Each week, a room in St Mary's presbytery on the Headland comes alive with local people enjoying each other's company, sharing food together and joining in with some fun quizzes and activities.

St Mary's Tea Drop Inn opened in August and is run entirely by volunteers from the local community who are supported by St Cuthberts Care and parish priest, Fr Nick Jennings.

Despite early concerns from volunteers that people might not want to join in, St Mary's Tea Drop Inn is attracting around 20 regular guests every week.

"It's wonderful to see the presbytery at the heart of the community and being enjoyed by local people again," said our Community Services Manager, Kathleen Urwin. "You can tell by the buzz of lively conversation and laughter each week how much it means to the people who come along. Everyone is doing a fantastic job."