New life is being breathed into the grade II listed St Newlina Church in St Newlyn East thanks to a new parent and baby group run by Canon Hilary Samson.

The weekly group, ‘Baby Stop’, has been running in the Oxnam Room across the road from the church since Easter last year and sees between 12 and 14 parents and carers attend each week. The group is free to attend but donations are welcome for tea, coffee & electricity. The group run a coffee morning each term which raises enough to cover the weekly rent.

Priest at St Newlina Church since 2006, Canon Hilary Samson explains how the group came about: “There were two prompts really; I attended a baptism training day which made me realise that our church wasn’t very good at following up and continuing the relationship with families after their children were baptised, and the second was a television programme highlighting loneliness – particularly in new mums.”

“I felt strongly that I could help with both of these problems. By running a weekly group for new mums I could become a friendly contact who they would know where to find each week. I also felt it was a gentler way of maintaining relationships with families in the parish, much better than knocking on doors at the wrong time.”

Canon Hilary Samson enjoys the ‘Baby Stop’ Christmas party

The first six months of the popular village group has seen some great new relationships between local families and the church develop with the booking of two weddings and 6 baptisms. Although Canon Hilary has not seen a direct rise in families attending church on a weekly basis, she said that weddings and reading of the banns have become more popular and the Advent service and Crib service at Christmas were so well attended there was standing room only.