Heart of the City project to offer holistic care for Lancaster families

St Thomas Church Lancaster is building a new Family Life Centre as part of its major church renovation and building project, Heart of the City. The new centre will enable the church to provide far greater support to vulnerable members of Lancaster’s community, and all services will be available to any family or person in need.

The Family Life Centre will bring together health, education, counselling, financial and listening services and will provide early intervention social support for families under pressure and needing help to cope.

St Thomas’s Family Life Centre will be open six days a week and, on Sundays, will be used for church activities. It will house multiple services, focus on deepening partnerships, and make use of best practice models for provision of community support and social action. A part-time Parish Nurse and Manager will be employed as part of the project.

Peter Mojsa, Grants Officer at Allchurches Trust, said: “St Thomas Church has a long history of providing support and social action in Lancaster and we were delighted to support this ambitious project that will provide a lifeline to some of the most isolated people in the community. The new Family Life Centre will give the church space to grow and develop their children’s and family work, adequately house their family services and provide flexible, accessible, spaces for other organisations too.”

When St Thomas Church was built in the 1840s, the total cost was £1,200 (around £85,000 in today’s money). So, when the congregation were told in 2016 that their planned Heart of the City building project came with a budget of £2.6 million, there was a sharp and audible intake of collective breath from the pews.

Three years later, the congregation have pledged £1.86 million towards the cost, church fundraising has raised a further £25,000 in recent months, and Allchurches Trust is delighted to have made a grant of £40,000 towards the shortfall still needed to complete the project.

Jon Scamman, vicar of St. Thomas Church Lancaster, said: “We are so grateful to Allchurches Trust for their generous grant. Our Heart of the City project is a sign of our commitment as a church to the future health and wellbeing of the City of Lancaster. This significant grant will help us bring that commitment to reality, with building work starting next year.”

St Thomas Church recently received planning approval for the project from the Lancaster City Council, and fundraising for completion of the project continues with great enthusiasm and commitment. To learn more about the project, visit www.st.tees.org.uk

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Vicar Jon Scamman assessing the building repairs