Action Zones 

The Pathway Café and Support Centre 6 month report 

27th April 2021
PATHWAY logo 11-2020
As I have reached the 6 month mark of joining Pathway, now felt like a good time to reflect on our progress, embrace our achievements and look to the future
 
Within days of starting, I felt as though I had worked there for years. Volunteers I had known for weeks felt like friends I had known a lifetime. It was easy to settle in and find my feet quickly with such a welcoming, supportive network adopting me and I have enjoyed every second I have been there
 
Over 6 months we have made some necessary adaptations which I believe have enriched our service. I changed the 3 days we opened, to accommodate available donation slots and fit in with other charitys’ arrangements. We now have more food on the days we are open and require it, and there is 7 day coverage of food provision in Great Yarmouth for those who need to access it. We have enhanced our volunteer induction programme so that everyone is proficiently trained and competent in their roles, and volunteers have opportunities for training and development
 
In January, we employed a new chef, Luke, who has reliably volunteered for Pathway for over two years and cooks delicious, wholesome meals in an astonishingly resourceful way. I introduced a new uniform for all volunteers and implemented external signage on the Minster Mission, with a view to increase brand awareness and build a clear identity for our team. In the last 6 months we have taken on 11 new volunteers and 2 new trustees. Our team is evolving and I am forever grateful for the time, effort, and commitment they put in that enables us to serve our community
 
Since September, our daily numbers have doubled and we now serve around 100 people every day! It unsettled me that the demand is increasing as it reflects a desperate time for our town and highlights the deprivation that exists on our doorstep, but I am encouraged that we have always been able to meet this demand and that by working hard and always seeking new opportunities to improve, we are helping many people in need
 
I now publish a monthly newsletter to improve communication channels and inform supporters of what we have achieved each month. This is available in the Minster in paper copy, on our Facebook page and is sent out to everyone on the Parish mailing list. I hope the monthly light read is a nice way for everyone who is interested, to see what we have been doing regularly
 
As I look towards the next 6 months, we have some very exciting and ambitious plans. We are looking to reopen as a café on June 21st assuming government guidance allows us to. This will be a momentous step back towards what we were set up to be: a community café and support centre. I believe that by being open we will be able to increase the support services we provide and offer a much more wholesome experience for our customers. We are currently in the process of establishing ourselves as an official food bank point, giving out food parcels to clients on a referral basis. This is something that there is huge demand for in the town, and I feel it compliments what we currently offer and is the natural next step that our charity needs to take to develop. We hope to be offering this service by June/July
 
So, on reflection, we have plenty of achievements to celebrate, many accomplishments to absorb, and I am motivated to embrace all the opportunities that lay ahead for Pathway and the future that we have serving our community. I would like to thank everyone for their support over the last 6 months, particularly Revd Simon who has been a wonderful mentor to me throughout this time. I hope I am representing myself, Pathway, and The Parish of Great Yarmouth well and our positive work continues for a long time to come
 
Anyone who is interested in becoming part of our team, particularly the new food bank project, please get in touch. We are keen to welcome new people on board. I also welcome any prayers and thoughts as we move through this transitional process from the temporary take away service we have been serving to opening our doors back up in the very near future
                                                                   Jen King


this article also appeared in Parish Life