A Place To Meet, Share & Help Each Other

When Rev Paul Clarke visited the Benefice of Walton and Trimley for his interview in 2019, he was very excited about the possibility of working with both of our churches. He recalls feeling he was exactly where God wanted him to be but also sensed that while it was an area that God had worked in for many years, there was more work to do.

Rev Paul took up post in January 2020 and soon started helping with our Basic Life Pop-Up Shop at St Philip’s Hall where he could see that all involved had an insight into the local community and their needs and struggles. Relationships had been established and we all knew each other by name.

When we re-opened our pop-up shop in June, it was clear that the pandemic had affected people’s jobs, financial security and mental health in unforeseen ways. We have now been in and out of lockdown for over a year and requests for emergency food parcels from both Walton and Trimley have increased steadily in that time.

Under faithful and loving leadership, the Basic Life Pop-Up Shop has seen customers become volunteers. The philosophy is that we do not ‘do things’ to help people; we ‘work with them’ and help each other.

As a group of volunteers, we recognised that the community wanted more from St Philip’s and together with Rev Paul we started to make plans. Sadly, the pandemic stopped us in our tracks but we used the time of lockdown to formulate a response to the obvious need for a place to get together. Thanks to the efforts of those who love our community and the support of many wonderful volunteers, we have now established St Philip’s Community Hub.

What’s next for the story of St Philip’s?
St Philip’s Hall is to become a Community Hub, a place for people to meet, share and help each other. The Hub will provide the tools to enable them to do this and will be open for an extra morning a week (Thursday) to provide:

  • A comfortable and inviting place for people to meet over tea/coffee
  • A place where people are not rushed and can play games, knit, chat…
  • A place that is inclusive for everybody, regardless of age or background
  • Internet access for those that need assistance with applications
  • A presence from CAP to assist people in budgeting
  • A presence from the Walton Parish Nursing Team
  • Providing lunches in school holidays

This is only the beginning as we will continue to respond to need as the community gathers.

We are pleased to report that we already have received grants of £5,450 so that we can begin this project. This will enable us to provide some of the equipment we need and to plan activities.

Opening date and time
From Thursday 20 May, we will be open every Thursday from 9am to 2pm at St Philip’s Hall, Wadgate Road, Felixstowe (under Roadmap Step 3). Come along and say hello!

We have plans in the summer for a grand opening of The Hub to thank all our supporters and celebrate this community venture! Date to be advised.

We can be contacted at: 01394 813161 / officemanager@waltonandtrimley.org.uk

Carolyn Jones, St Philip’s Community Hub Lead

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