Following a successful application for funding to the Lancashire Community Foundation’s COVID-19 community support fund, The Well Church has been able to introduce a pop-up version of the much-needed Well Café in the Fylde borough.

The Well Church is a registered charity founded in Ansdell in 1904 and is always extremely active in community support and involvement including toddler groups, youth groups, lunch clubs and arts and crafts classes.

The team of volunteers who run the Well Community Café in St Annes is drawn from 3 local churches; The Well Church, St Annes Baptist Church and Fylde Christian Service Church.

The Well Community Café in St Annes regularly serves over 30 people each week. They offer a freshly cooked meal, a safe environment, a friendly welcome and the opportunity to chat with volunteers if needed. The volunteers regularly signpost to local support services such as the Fylde foodbank, GP’s and rehab facilities should visitors not be aware of these.

With the lockdown measures introduced due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent social distancing requirements that continue, the team at The Well Church looked for a way to continue to provide essential food, drink and advice to some of the most vulnerable in the community, which is when the Pop-Up Well Café idea was born.

Food (soup and sandwiches only) is prepared by a team of 4 adhering to social distancing and extra hygiene measures to support the reduction in the transmission of the virus. The food is then transferred to the church’s minibus which is taken out by a separate team of 3 to various locations including:

  • Pensioners Hall, St Alban’s Rd, St Annes – Monday and Wednesday 12:30-13:30
  • Hoyle Avenue opposite Spring Gardens, St Annes – Friday 12:30-13:30
  • Hunter Road on Lower Lane Estate, Freckleton – Saturday 12:40-13:40

Social distancing markers are set up at each of the locations in order to help those visiting to maintain the current government requirements.

Another longstanding community café Wesley’s has also introduced ‘Wesley’s Larder’ which sits alongside the pop-up café providing food donated from local supermarkets free of charge to any of the guests who visit. The first collaborative project of its kind in Fylde providing the essentials to the vulnerable in the community.

Alan Buckley at the Pop-up Well Café said: “We understood that our normal community café service would be missed by our guests who regularly join us in the pensioners hall, and wondered if we could offer a safe, outdoor service instead using the church’s minibus. As we looked further into the idea and prepared a funding bid to help with things like PPE and safe packaging, we realised it might work in other places as well. Our friends at Church Road Methodist Church have been really generous in lending us their superb kitchen facilities and we can now offer fresh sandwiches and soup on 4 days each week. It has been great to meet with new friends at each of the venues and our volunteer team are excited about how the service can be of assistance”.

Fylde Borough Councillor Roger Small, Chair of the Operational Management Committee added: “This is a superb initiative and I would like to put on record my thanks to all those involved in setting up and running this to various parts of our borough. I know they are visiting Kilnhouse every Friday lunchtime. It was well received last week, and I hope that as word spreads it will reach out to anyone in need. Again, thank you to all those associated with this project.

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