Who we are
The TOWN Team's remit from the PCC is to:
Enable, encourage and celebrate the participation of individual church members in local community work and maintain knowledge of what they are doing;
Provide opportunities for organisations engaged in community work to raise and maintain their profile with church members;
Maintain and develop St Nicolas’ contribution to the West Berkshire Community Hospital Therapy Garden;
Be responsive to any further ministries addressing local community needs which we feel called to address;
Provide oversight of the Charity Coffee Mornings held on Thursdays in St Nicolas Hall and support and encourage those church members who facilitate this.
The emphasis in this work is about service to the community as our response to and demonstration of God’s love.
We have lots to do; please get in touch:
Vivien Staunton 01635 48055 firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Moore 01635 41026 email@example.com
Community group of the year 2020
West Berkshire Council, Community Champion Awards
St Nic's Gardening Group has transformed the hospital garden over the past seven years with the help of local companies, residents, and a local landscape designer. During the spring lockdown the garden provided a welcome, tranquil escape for patients and busy staff alike. When Lockdown ended, the gardeners returned to find everything was very brown - but not for long. They worked together every day to get the garden looking even better than before, and it continues to provide a wonderful space for everyone to enjoy.
This "garden therapy" has been just what the hospital needed to benefit the physical and mental wellbeing of the hospital's patients. Some members have been trained to provide garden therapy, working with patients alongside a member of staff. The garden has truly helped hospital staff support patients and their families. They have taken patients out in the garden in their beds and wheelchairs. The team is an inclusive and welcoming group of volunteers. In spite of tough competition they were the worthy winners in this category.
What we are doing
We know about our involvement in the community through surveys where we asked our congregations about voluntary and professional involvement in a wide range of community activities and what skills people had that might help. What we are doing is encouraging…
Mental Health ¤ Photography ¤ Newbury Spring Festival ¤ Theatre Direction ¤ Sports Coaching ¤ Arts ¤ Music
Knitting ¤ Book Clubs ¤ School Governor ¤ Guides ¤ Charity administration ¤ Mentoring
Neighbourhood Watch ¤ Social provision ¤ Uniformed organisations ¤ Youth work
Do tell us what you do! Here are some examples:
Newbury Street Pastors - Sue Elliott
Being a prayer pastor for Newbury Street Pastors certainly has its challenges. Staying up until 4am on a Saturday night is not always easy. But knowing that you are playing an important part in a ministry which is really making a difference in your town certainly makes it all worthwhile. While the Street Pastors are out meeting party-goers and others enjoying the night time economy in the town centre, we prayer pastors remain back at base praying for the work and providing practical support, like making hot drinks and preparing hot food for the team when they come back for their mid-shift break, at around 1am. We may not get to experience the buzz of being out talking to people, but looking through the prayer book and seeing all the answers to prayer we have seen over the past four years is reward enough to carry on.
Charity Coffee Mornings
Each Thursday Morning in St Nic’s Hall we provide an opportunity for a charity to run a Coffee Morning to raise some funds for itself and awareness of what it does. There is a regular clientele, who get modestly priced refreshments, including home-made cakes, and a chance to browse the Bric-a-Brac Stall and pick up a bargain.
St Nic’s provides the host to interface with the charity and a back-up team should a charity be unable to run the morning.
Why not join us?
Loose Ends Volunteering - Graeme Coulam
Volunteering at Loose Ends has been interesting and rewarding in many unexpected ways. Obviously it is nice to think that you are providing a valuable meal to people who might not otherwise have food for the day, but actually many of the people who come to Loose Ends are not necessarily hungry or homeless, but they use it as a safe place to meet socially. So it's not just about providing food, but about providing a venue where people feel safe and welcomed. That often feels like a more important contribution.
It has also been good getting to know the other volunteers. I had expected I might spend more time with those using the service, but it doesn't quite work like that. But you do get time to chat to the other volunteers who come from all over the region to help. It's amazing how word of Loose Ends has spread.
It is brilliantly run, and there's no pressure to volunteer if you haven’t got time. The rota goes round and you add your name if you're free, and it is very nice to know that you can help when you're able and not feel guilty if you have to say no. I think a lot of people are put off volunteering because they are afraid they will be dragged on to a committee or spend more time than they want to, but Loose Ends isn't like that. Of course, if you want to get heavily involved you can, but there is no obligation.
Oh and one more thing, if they happen to over cater – you never know who is going to turn up – you often end up getting a delicious lunch (or breakfast) for your effort. That's not a bad return for a couple of hours of volunteering.
West Berks Community Hospital Therapy Garden
We have been working hard to help re-create a garden at the West Berkshire Community Hospital. The garden is beautiful to look at and provides a therapeutic function for patients with Alzheimer’s and other neurological conditions, as well as those in general convalescence, by involving them in tending the garden. Plants are being incorporated for sensory stimulation to help patients become more connected with the present as well as with past events. Our team of volunteers has grown as have our links with hospital staff and we are seeing the rewards of our work. Would you like to join us? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
We have a well-established fruit and vegetable plot. The chef, Frances de la Cruz regularly harvests fresh produce to serve to patients – salad crops, beans and tomatoes. Fruit crumbles are very popular. At the end of the season he meets with Robin Elliott to decide what crops are most needed. Recently ginger and lemongrass were successfully added to the selection.
We work closely with “Chrissie”, Christine Stockwell, Creative Therapist who is constantly encouraging and inspiring us. She is passionate about giving patients the best possible experience of hospital encouraging them to get out into the garden or greenhouse to help their recovery. Several members of St Nics regularly visit patients and Sandra Reeves uses her specialist skills to help the Friday exercise class, providing valuable support.
A new initiative
This year members of the gardening team came together with OTs and Physios for horticultural therapy training with Thrive, a leading provided in this field. The staff have compiled a “Wish List” for 2018 to enable more patients to use the garden. We will be working with them to deliver this.
A new garden
We are also working with Newbury Cancer Care Trust, the Hospital League of Friends and Marks & Spencer to create a new “Rainbow Garden” transforming the view from two of the hospital’s suites.
Click here to read testimonials from some volunteers at the WBCH Therapy Garden
In June 2020 Berkshire NHS Volunteers (a very wide set of people which includes the Therapy Garden team) received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. 'This prestigious National Honour recognises outstanding contributions made to the local communities by volunteers devoting their time, skills and energy for the benefit of others. It sets a benchmark for excellence in volunteering, with those awarded being judged of the highest standard'. Julian Simms, Chief Executive of Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
The team was delighted that the Garden won the Green Space category in 2018's NHS Sustainable Health & Care Awards. Click here to read the article.
Please join us
St Nicolas is responsible for providing volunteers, predominantly from our congregation, to care for the garden and to assist hospital staff with patient therapy. We need people to offer occasional help in spring, to prepare, and in autumn, to clear, and others to come perhaps once a week for an hour through the growing season, weeding, planting and watering. Those helping with patients will be specially trained and cleared and may spend half a day a week in this role.