It’s a cold, dark, wet day in Penryn. The bright promise of spring sunshine has given way to drizzling grey. But the lights are on and a warm welcome awaits at St Gluvias Community Hall.

While the Church of St Gluvias is sited a little way out of town, the community hall maintains its presence and its activities in the heart of Penryn.

A resource used and valued by local people, it hosts everything from the Brownies to the Women’s Institute. It’s home to a community café, art classes, choir practice, support groups, and sessions for yoga enthusiasts, toddlers and fans of the tango.

Since early February it has also been providing a warm space for local people on Tuesday lunchtimes, through an initiative funded by the Diocese of Truro.

They offer a safe, friendly environment, hot homemade soup with bread, as well as tea, coffee and cold drinks.

The soup is vegan and organic. The organizers are proud of the fact that it’s made with vegetables grown locally by volunteers on diocesan glebe land, a plot once used to support the parish priest, as a fruitful offshoot of the Falmouth Food Co-op project.

The Warm Hub initiative is run by a group of volunteers including Annie Jones and Jenny Gluyas, supported by Penryn town councillor Adam Russell, a relative newcomer to St Gluvias’s church activities.

St Gluvias volunteers Jenny, Adam and Annie

As well as providing a place in which members of the local community can come together, they collect several housebound people from their homes to bring them along each week.

“It’s a day out for them,” says Annie. “They really enjoy getting out of the house.”

“It’s so important to make people know it’s a safe, secure space,” Jenny adds. “Some people just pop their heads round the door and come in to take a look, and then stay for a coffee. They don’t necessarily stay for lunch the first time. But then the next week they’ll come back.”

They welcome up to around twenty lunchtime visitors each week. Many have already become regulars.

One is a popular and lively gentleman in his eighties.

“A lot of the time, he’s at home on his own,” says Jenny. “But when he comes to us, he just talks and talks and talks. It’s really lovely.”

Adam adds that he hadn’t seemed so sure of himself when he’d first started coming but that this had quickly changed. “It was so amazing after a few weeks to see him open up, and to hear all his stories coming out. He remembers great details of the past. It’s wonderful hearing him sharing his stories of his life and of growing up.”

Another participant can find it hard to communicate and had started off by sitting on her own for her first few visits.

“After coming for a few weeks, she felt safe and comfortable, and began talking with other people,” Jenny says.

“She says it makes her week,” adds Annie. “It seems to make her feel so much better.”

Annie, Jenny and Adam agree that the activities run in St Gluvias Community Hall represent key aspects of the work of the church in Penryn.

“This both is and isn’t church,” says Adam. “Yes, it’s a church hall. But the purpose isn’t just to do traditional church things.”

“This is all church,” Jenny explains, “inasmuch as this is all Christian work – in that we are showing caring and friendship.”

And that, many might say, is core to what their faith is about.