Tea, toast and tackling loneliness
02 JAN 2020
When Mandy Widdas started a new job as an Allchurches Trust Mission Apprentice at Amington Parish Church in Tamworth a little over a year ago, you’d be forgiven for thinking she had very little to learn about the local area.
Living only eight doors away and a long-time member of the congregation, Mandy’s was already a well-known face at the church. And, when the Reverend, Ben Green, told her about an opportunity to respond to her community’s many needs as a Mission Apprentice, Mandy knew it was her calling, even though it left her facing a difficult decision to reduce her hours working at the neighbouring pre-school.
The Mission Apprentice (MA) scheme is a two-year programme run by the Diocese of Birmingham that is funded by Allchurches Trust. It aims to grow new missional leaders from and for communities in parishes that recognise their need for new hope and regeneration. The scheme provides high quality training for them as they initiate all kinds of local outreach projects, making a positive difference to the lives of local people of all ages.
Mandy’s experience is a case in point. One of the original founders of Amington Parish Church’s ‘Stay and Play’ session for local families 19 years ago when her youngest daughter started at the local school, she now finds herself working proactively to grow the number of parents and carers accessing this busy and bustling session in an area where such opportunities are in short supply.
On the day Allchurches Trust visited, rounds of toast, tea and squash were flowing as parents, carers and grandparents joined in the fun with their active pre-schoolers; many having dropped their older siblings off at the local school. A story and songs led by Mandy followed the socialising.