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New Bradwell church starts thriving drop-in

Bradwell Elim Pentecostal Church has only been in existence for a year, but it has already launched a popular community drop-in, known as Saturday Warm Space.

The starting point for the gathering was to provide for people’s physical needs: Jan and Rita had noticed that there was a gap in local provision over the weekend for giving people a warm place to attend and some food, and felt that God was calling them to “stand in the gap.” However, as they go on to explain, it has “got a momentum way beyond just handing out a cup of tea and some cake.” The gathering has grown into a community, with one couple even planning to have a second wedding reception there in the near future.

Jan and Rita from the Bradwell Elim Pentecostal Church, near Great Yarmouth set up the drop-in which opened in January. “While I was praying I was given the words ‘warm space’” begins Jan. She goes on to explain that she didn’t know what it meant but felt that she needed to talk to their local councillor. This catalysed a series of events which resulted in Rita and Jan putting together an application for funding for a warm space to the Norfolk Community Foundation. They had never written a funding application before, so when they were awarded £2000 it felt like confirmation that they were on the right path.

The Saturday Warm Space ran first at the Minster Mission building in Great Yarmouth and then more recently at St George’s Theatre café. Since their launch, without any advertising, their numbers have grown to 25 regulars plus frequent new visitors.

The team feel that they have been drawn to support people who are struggling, particularly with their mental health. “That’s my heart” says Jan “picking up on people who have been dropped.” The need to have somewhere warm to go might be less critical at this time of year, but the call for a listening ear, practical support, connection to other organisations continues. Prayer is also offered and taken up by some, but Rita and Jan explain that “we pray with those who would like it but we are not pushy at all.” As a result they say they are “beginning to see huge differences in people’s lives” This ranges from people finding a place to live, to others wanting to explore faith further.

Rita and Jan are feeling positive about the future of the Saturday Warm Space. They can see the potential in those attending the warm space which they want to develop: “there’s more in them than they realise; there’s a lot of hidden giftings and talents that are beginning to come out.” They have already begun to encourage the attendees to take ownership of the group and its running.

Jan and Rita are encouraged by what they have already seen but not complacent: “Something is opening up here in Great Yarmouth…there’s more yet, a lot more.”

Email Jan and Rita about the Saturday warm space: [email protected]


Photo of Rita and Jan outside St George’s Café, courtesy of Bradwell Elim Pentecostal Church.

Anna Heydon, 12/07/2023

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