Many people on the Woodloes Park estate who used The Rock community cafe have been saddened to learn that it is about to close, mainly for financial reasons.
Among them is Rachel Smith, a member of the Christchurch community of Baptists, Methodists and Anglicans who began the cafe and used to hold services in Woodloes Primary School.
Rachel said: “I’ve been a member of Christchurch for three decades and when it was decided we could no longer be a mixed ministry church the congregation ploughed money into this community outreach project called The Rock.
“Now, in the space of just a few months, we have lost both our church and are about to lose the cafe which was a registered ‘Safe Place.’ It hosted a memory cafe for dementia sufferers, ran talks, quizzes and poetry groups and was used by children from Ridgeway Special School.
“Many of us feel angry and let down by St Nicholas Parish Council, which made the decision to close. Unfortunately, they only seem to see the financial side - but money isn’t everything.”
At St Nicholas Church, which took over responsibility for The Rock in April, Rev Linda Duckers said: “The decision to close was not taken lightly - every avenue was explored.
“Sadly the financial position, plus a number of other reasons, led the church to accept the recommendations of a review. We hope some of the pastoral benefits of The Rock will be retained and have already started to explore how some of the groups could be dispersed to other venues. It was a sad decision. However, we are excited about planning for a new future on the estate.”