Stories of Growing Good

A Place To Connect

The congregation of St Peter’s Church, Wawne, outside Hull, love where they live, and wanted to reach out to their community. A team of congregation members worked through CUF’s Growing Good course, which prompted them to consider needs in the village – including those that may not be obvious.

The team realised that without a coffee shop, pub or church hall in the village, there was a need for somewhere where people could connect, especially after they had had to keep themselves to themselves during the pandemic.

The idea of a pop-up café was proposed, and the team set about establishing it with a welcome to everyone in the community. It would meet in the village hall and the drinks and the home-made food would be free to customers so that cost would be no barrier. Team member Liz, a longtime resident of Wawne, explains: “The invitation was open to anyone, and it was for all generations.”

A group of women chatting in a church cafe, Wawne

The café was launched in November 2022 with eight volunteers from the church, and opens fortnightly through autumn, winter and spring. It has become a key opportunity for people to meet, and is especially popular with older residents and mums with young children.

Pam, a regular, shared: “We’ve lived in Wawne for 43 years and when we came to that first café, we met people who had lived here just as long, who we didn’t know!”

Students at the local sixth-form college and other people who don’t attend the church have begun volunteering and cooking for the café.

Revd Eileen Connolly, the curate at St Peter’s, said: “I don't think any of us expected that it would be so popular.” She said the café has proved a huge encouragement to the volunteers from the church. “It’s given a little bit of a new life to people in their faith, the fact that they can do something like this if they're in a team.”

She added that the key themes of the café are “welcome, generosity and hospitality” - themes that the community in Wawne was looking for and have found at the pop-up café.

Join Church Urban Fund this Lent in reflection, prayer and action. Use our new materials in a group or on your own to help you spot expressions of love in your community. Tell us what you love about where you live, or get a group together to tackle our popular Walk Towards Hope challenge.