CentrePeace is a small shop run by St Mary’s Church in Burwell and staffed entirely by volunteers, from both St Mary’s congregation and also from the wider community. Since it opened in 2006, it has enabled us to have a church premises in the centre of the village as part of our outreach to the whole community.
CentrePeace has two main functions. Apart from being a centre offering information leaflets about local services and contacts for advice, a shop selling ‘nearly new’ books, greeting cards, crafts and Traidcraft goods, its other, and more important, function is that it is a ‘drop in centre’ where people can come for a drink and a ‘chat’. This opportunity to make new friends is enjoyed not only by members of the public who drop in but also by nearly 50 volunteers, many of whom live alone. In this way we aim to live out our faith by providing friendship and a service to the community.
In a recent development, we have opened ‘CentrePeace @ Reach’ which provides the same facilities at the back of St Etheldreda’s church once a month. This is proving very popular with about 25 villagers attending each session to browse for books and meet their friends for tea and cake.
In 2009, some researchers identified Burwell as providing some of the best facilities for older people in East Anglia. The report particularly praised different organisations that included older people in useful roles in the community and CentrePeace was cited as a specific example of good practice.
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