Since November, the Reverend Deborah Grigg has been running a weekly ‘warm welcome’ café at Phillack Church Hall in Hayle, just to the south of St Ives Bay.

At the start of 2023, this initiative was extended to include a Homework Club, offering a free meal and a warm space every Tuesday for local families with school-age children.

Alongside the café set-up, they offer everything from a children’s play corner and a soft seating area to a clothes swap facility and free internet access. They’re open from mid-afternoon till about seven in the evening.

“There’s a great atmosphere, a real sense of community and gratitude,” says Revd Deb. “The word’s now out there in Hayle. Last Tuesday, we served 36 people a roast beef dinner with all the trimmings!

“The children really enjoying playing together. The teenage lads come for the food and access to the internet!”

Volunteers who run the local food pantry bring food collected from local shops for anyone to take home with them after these café sessions.

“A number of other organisations in Hayle are also eager to work with us, and I’ve been able to explain that we’re funded by the Diocese who are keen to support local communities experiencing hardship,” says Deb.

“I’ve been really heartened by the way volunteers from all our local parish churches have rallied to enable this to work and a number of local people who have come to the cafés have also offered to volunteer too, which is very encouraging,” she says. “We have been overwhelmed at the response in the town of Hayle and are grateful to the Diocese for making this possible.”

They are inspiring!

This work engaging local communities and families of course lies at the heart of the church’s mission. The importance of such efforts is emphasized Diocesan Secretary Simon Cade: “I am so grateful to Deb and those like her across Cornwall working to make a difference – they are inspiring!”

“Our hall is rather old and shabby,” Deb adds, “but no one seems to mind, as the welcome is warm!”