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St Paul’s Church, Cantley, in our Diocese of Hallam serves the communities of Cantley, Bessacar and adjacent districts.  The parish is very active and welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds who wish to participate in their liturgy of Christian worship and in the diverse activities of the thirty or so Parish Groups, which work to translate the message of the Gospels into practical reality.

A recent major initiative has been the opening of the new Neighbourhood Centre in St Wilfrid’s Court near St Paul’s Church.

Volunteers from the Church and friends from other organisations worked hard over many weekends to put the finishing touches to the Centre and to make sure that everything was in place in the premises, which are being rented from Doncaster Council.

The Neighbourhood Centre provides a much-needed facility for people living in Cantley, Bessacarr and neighbouring districts.  It will be open between 10am and 2pm on five days each week, Tuesdays to Saturdays, and will offer services to help local people to cope with the challenges faced by so many in the current climate of financial constraints and social need.

Staffed by trained and supervised volunteers, the centre is a place where people can drop in for a cup of tea and a chat and check out the ‘new-to-you’ clothing and other items that will be for sale at affordable prices.  Citizen Advice Bureau–trained volunteers will be present in the Centre on two days each week and appointments can be made for anyone needing advice on how to manage serious financial and other problems.  Members of the Doncaster Health and Well-Being Board will also attend the centre to provide information about health issues and lifestyle advice.

Emyr Jones, Parish Chair said, “At the Pastoral Council we have become aware of significant areas of un-met need in our neighbourhood community.  Opening and staffing this Neighbourhood Centre is our effort to try and go some way to meeting this need.”

The Neighbourhood Centre will also be a location where individuals or families facing crisis situations can collect vouchers for the Doncaster Food Bank in Christ Church in the town centre, which is run by the Trussell Trust.

Parish Priest, Fr Bernard O’Brien said, “The Neighbourhood Centre will be a facility for anyone who needs help or advice – or even someone who just wants a cup of tea and a bit of companionship.  People will have the chance to buy good quality, affordable clothes and anyone with serious financial or other worries can make an appointment to discuss problems with Citizen Advice Bureau volunteers or receive health and lifestyle advice from the Health and Wellbeing Board members.”

The Neighbourhood Centre venture is supported by our Diocese of Hallam.  It is anticipated that in the future there will be other services available at the Neighbourhood Centre, including advice for those seeking employment on how to fill in application forms and how best to prepare for job interviews.